A Confederate History Minute (12) –  by Calvin E. Johnson, Jr.

Colonel Santos Benavides and Hispanic Confederates

Our school children should know about Santos Benavides who was born on November 1, 1823, in Loredo, Texas. Benavides was an descendant of Tomas Sanchez de la Barrera y Garza , who founded the city of Loredo. Benavides was the highest ranking Mexican-American soldier to serve in the Confederate States of America military. He served as captain of the 33rd Texas Cavalry, which was also known as Benavides’ Regiment, before he was promoted to Colonel in 1863.

On May 22, 1861, at the Battle of Carrizo, he engaged Mexican leader Juan Cortina, who had invaded Zapata County, that is usually called the 2nd Battle of Cortina War, and drove him back to Mexico. On March 19, 1864, he defended Loredo against a Union invasion of the First Texas Cavalry, whose commander was Colonel Edmund J. Davis, and defeated the Union forces. It is written that his greatest contribution to the Confederate cause was securing the passage of Confederate cotton to Matamoros in 1863. After the War Between the States he went back to being a merchant and rancher. Santos Benavides died on November 9, 1891.

Hispanic American’s contributed greatly to the Confederacy with complete units in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. According the author John O’Donnell-Rosales, the Hispanic Confederates fought to maintain their way of life and when the South was invaded to protect their families and homes.

Units included:the Mississippi’s Twigg Rifles, 9th Mississippi Cavalry, and Alabama’s: Alabama Light Artillery and 21st Alabama Regiment.

Copyright © 2003-2011, GeorgiaHeritageCouncil.org

On The Web:   http://georgiaheritagecouncil.org/site2/commentary/johnson-confederate-history-minute12.phtml