Fort Texas

Fort Brown, originally called Fort Texas, was established when Zachary Taylor and the United States forces of occupation arrived on the Rio Grande on March 26, 1846, to establish the river as the southern boundary of Texas. In April 1846 Taylor built an earthen fort of 800 yards perimeter, with six bastions, walls more than nine feet high, a parapet of fifteen feet, and the whole surrounded by a ditch fifteen feet deep and twenty feet wide. Armament was four eighteen-pound guns. The Seventh Infantry, with Company I of the Second Artillery and Company E, Third Artillery, commanded by Maj. Jacob Brown, garrisoned the fort. Mexican troops led by Mariano Arista intercepted United States troops as they brought supplies from Fort Polk at Point Isabel to Fort Brown, leading to the opening battles of the war, Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, fought on May 8 and 9, 1846. On May 9 Major Brown died from injuries received during the bombardment of the fort by Mexican forces in Matamoros. Shortly after his death he was buried within the fortifications, and the post was named in his honor. The fort was held by a strong force during the Mexican War. In 1848 quarters for officers and enlisted men and a permanent post were built a quarter mile north of the first site. The land was purchased from heirs of José Salvador de la Garza, recipient of the Potrero del Espíritu Santo land grant and one of José de Escandón's colonists.