SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
1997-1998, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved
New Spain: Kingdom of Spain-Index

Juan Bautista de las Casas
Proceedings of Trial and Execution

(Transcript courtesy of Marc Austin)


APPOINTMENT OF A FISCAL TO CARRY ON THE PROSECUTION

The President of the Government Junta of Bexar to Captain Nicolas Benites.
San Fernando De Bexar, May 14th, 1811
In date of the 19th of April last his Excellency the Commanding General directed me to have proceedings instituted against Juan Bautista Casas who assumed lately, the authority of Governor, and is now confined in the Barracks of Valero, his various crimes amounting to High Treason. With the conviction that you united all the requisites for the fulfillment of that important duty, I hereby, confer on you full authority to prosecute the cause with as little delay as possible, and with the assistance of Juan Antonio Padilla, as Secretary. When the case will be in the state of passing sentence, you will, through me, direct the whole proceedings to the Commanding General. May God... Juan Manuel Zambrano.

APPOINTMENT OF A SECRETARY
The President of the Government Junta of Bexar To Ensign Antonio Padilla.
San Fernando De Bexar, May 14th, 1811
Agreeable to the instructions of His Excellency the Commanding General, and for the purpose of instituting proceedings in the cause of Juan Bautista Casas confined in the Barracks of Valero, under the charge of High Treason, I have vested Captain Jose Nicolas Benites with full powers in the capacity of "Fiscal", and do, hereby appoint you as Secretary, to act in the cause with said Fiscal. May God...Juan Manuel Zambrano.

ACCEPTANCE AND INSTALLATION OF THE SECRETARY
I, Nicolas Benites, Captain of Provincial Cavalry of New Leon, Certify that, in compliance to the above extended Decree of the President of the Government Junta, with the object of prosecuting Juan Bautista Casas, late Captain of New Santander Militia, charged with the crime of High Treason, before me appeared Don Juan Antonio Padilla, Ensign in the aforesaid corps of New Santander Militia, and appointed by the President of the Government Junta to act as Secretary in said Cause, who promised upon his word of honor, to act faithfully in the proceedings. In testimony whereof, we have both hereunto set our hands. In the City of San Fernando De Bexar, the 16th day of May 1811. Jose Nicolas Benites Juan Ant. Padilla

EXAMINATION OF THE 1st WITNESS
Ensign Jose Ramirez, of the New Santander Militia.  In the City of San Fernando De Bexar, the 16th day of May 1811,
Captain Nicolas Benites, Fiscal in this Cause, caused to be introduced before him Ensign Jose Ramirez of New Leon Militia, 1st Witness in the case, who having been directed to put his right hand on the hilt of his sword, and asked:

Question: Do you promise on your word of honor, to answer the truth to the questions directed to you? Answer: I promise it.

Question: State your names and profession. Answer: Jose Ramirez, Ensign of Provincial Cavalry of New Leon.

Question: Are you acquainted with Juan Bautista Casas, and if so, what is his profession, and where does he actually reside? Answer: I am acquainted with Juan Bautista Casas, late Captain of New Santander Militia actually confined in a room of the Mission of San Antonio Valero.

Question: Do you know the cause of his confinement? Answer: He has been confined for having raised the flag of insurrection in the Capital, the 22nd of January last, assuming military command of the Province, and arresting both Governors, Captains Geronimo De Herrera, Miguel De Areos, Gascoscoechea, Juan Martin De Echevarria, Lieutenant Bernardino Montero, Gregorio Amador, Surgeon Jayme Gurra and several other persons.

Question: Do you know by whose orders he assumed command of the troops, and arrested the lawful authorities? Answer: I do not know.

Question: Do you know who offered him the command of the troops to execute the attempt of the 22nd of January? Answer: I heard of Sergeant Miguel Reyna who told me the same in my house, that himself with Sergeants Blas Jose Perales and Trinidad Perez did offer him the command of the troops and Province.

Question: Do you know any of the followers of said Casas in his attempt? Answer: The greatest part of the Auxiliary Troops, some men of Texas Militia and the whole of the Regular Troops stationed in the Capital took up arms and with Casas at the head, marched off from their quarters to the Principal Square, Ensign Pedro Falcon and Vincente Flores, and the citizens Francisco Travieso and Savino Delgado marching on both sides of Casas, and Sergeant Trinidad Perez following on horseback.

Question: Do you know whether other persons were arrested besides the authorities and officers whose names you have already stated? Answer: I saw all the Europeans, then existing in the Capital, with the exception of Sergeant Gabriel Perez of Militia and Juan Hernandez, a barber. The whole property of the persons arrested was also sequestered.

Question: Do you know whether any other Europeans were arrested in other points of the Province? Answer: On the very 22nd of January, Lieutenant Antonio Saens proceeded to Nacogdoches at the head of an armed force, and with instructions to arrest any Europeans he should find: and also, Captain Agabo Ayala left two days after for La Bahia, on an errand of the same nature. These officers were acting by virtue of orders they received from Casas, and consequently, Lieutenant Antonio Saens brought as prisoners Captain Andres Matero, the two merchants Appolinar De Monuela and Francisco Collantes, Francisco Cacho, and two others whose names I do not recollect. The Adjutant Inspector Cristobal Dominguez and the Reverend Padre Maynes being left in confinement at Nacogdoches, and all the property of the aforementioned persons seized.

Question: Did not Casas, after having assumed command, set at large the prisoners? Answer: Immediately after having assumed command, he ordered the release of Lieutenant Antonio Saens and Francisco Ignacio Escamilla, the Frenchman Labarre and several others whom I do not know and who were all in charge of the guard, very few prisoners remaining in jail afterwards.

Question: Do you know whom Casas acknowledged as Chief, after having disposed and arrested the lawful authorities? Answer: I presume he acknowledged as Superior the insurgent Lieutenant General Mariano Ximenes and Marshall Don Pedro Aranda to whom he reported on the success of the movement, and every further measure he took.

Question: Are there any other foundations to your presumption that he acknowledged the superiority of the leaders of the insurrection? Answer: I found it also on his communications to the aforesaid persons for the purpose of recommending several officers of the Auxiliary Troops and Texas Militia, and on an Order of the Day issued by Casas himself by which he acquainted the troops with his promotion to the rank of Brigadier General of the "American Army".

Question: Does Casas follow the precepts of the Church? Answer: I know he does not.

The above evidence being read to the witness, he declared, upon his word of honor, that it is true and exact, having nothing to add nor retract in his statements. He declared himself, further, to be 39 years of age, and signed jointly with the Fiscal and Secretary. Jose Ramirez - Jose Nichols Benites - Juan Antonio Padilla

EXAMINATION OF THE 2nd WITNESS
Ensign Jose Maria Sanchez, of the Light Company of "Punta De Lumpazos."   In the above written day, month and year, the aforesaid Fiscal caused to be introduced before him, Ensign Jose Maria Sanchez, of the Light Company of "Punta De Lumpazos", second witness in the cause, who having been directed to put his right hand on the hilt of his sword, was asked:

Question: Do you promise upon your word of honor to answer the truth to the questions directed to you? Answer: I promise it.

Question: What are your names and profession? Answer: Jose Maria Sanchez, second Ensign in the Light Company of "Punta De Lumpazos".

Question: Are you acquainted with Juan Bautista Casas, and do you know his residence? Answer: I am acquainted with Juan Bautista Casas, late Captain of Militia and actually confined at the Alamo.

Question: Do you know the cause of his confinement? Answer: For having raised the standard of rebellion at the head of the troops, and arrested the Governors.

Question: Do you know by whose orders he assumed command of the troops, and arrested the lawful authorities? Answer: I am unaware under whose orders he acted.

Question: When Casas raised the flag of rebellion and took the lead of the troops, was he acting under his own impulse or advised by some one and offered the command? Answer: I am not enable to answer this question.

Question: Do you know who accompanied Casas, when he proceeded to arrest the Governors? Answer: In the morning of the 22nd of January, I was in command of the Main Guard of the Auxiliary Militia Barracks, and saw, there, Juan Bautista Casas at the head of a battalion formed under arms, and composed of Auxiliary and Texas Militia and Regular troops of the garrison. The most conspicuous persons who accompanied him, were Ensign Pedro Falcon of New Leon Militia, Ensign Vincente Flores of Texas Militia, the Citizens Francisco Travieso and Savino Delgado. Juan Bautista Casas marched at the head of the battalion towards the Government Mansion where he could not find the Governors who had already repaired to the Quarters, but having been informed of their movements, he went back to said Quarters with the troops, and demanded the Governors to rejoin their lodgings; which injunction having been complied with, Casas followed and arrested them.

Question: Do you know whether Casas arrested any persons besides Lieutenant Colonels Manuel De Salcedo and Simon De Herrera? Answer: In the same day, he caused to be arrested Captains Geronimo De Herrera, Juan Martin De Echevarria, Miguel De Areos, Jose Gascoscoechea, Ignacio Arrambide, Lieutenants Jose Montero, Gregorio Amador and every European then residing in the town.

Question: Do you whether on the 22nd of January, Casas did set at large any prisoners? Answer: I know that Lieutenant Antonio Saens and Francisco Escamilla, Jose Antonio Saucedo, Francisco Arocha and several other persons were released from the prison in which they had been confined by order of the Governors.

Question: Do you know whom Casas acknowledged as Superior after having arrested the lawful authorities? Answer: I know he reported on his proceedings to Don Pedro De Aranda who appointed him Governor "ad interim" of the Province, and afterwards, to Don Mariano Ximenes who confirmed him in the Government, with the rank of Brigadier General.

Question: Have you any other reasons for affirming that Casas acknowledged as his superior Don Pedro De Aranda and Don Mariano Ximenes? Answer: I have seen several commissions conferred by Mariano Ximenes and rendered public by Casas in various Orders of the day.

Question: Do you whether any other persons were arrested at other points of the Province by the Order of Casas? Answer: On the 22nd of January, Casas commissioned Lieutenant Antonio Saens to proceed at the head of an armed force and in company with Don Francisco Travieso to Nacogdoches, to arrest the Adjutant Inspector Cristobal Dominguez. I understood also that Captain Luciano Garcia, and subsequently Captain Agabo De Ayala had received a similar mission for La Bahia.

Question: Do you know the destination of the Governors and other officers arrested by Casas? Answer: They were conducted as prisoners under arrest, to Presidio De Rio Grande, there, to be delivered to Pedro De Aranda, under charge of Ensign Vincente Flores and Sergeant Trinidad Perez.

Question: Do you know how these prisoners were secured? Answer: They were all handcuffed with the exception of Governor Manuel Salcedo and Captain De Areos who were shackled.

Question: Do you know if any article of furniture, or valuables belonging to these officers and the Europeans were sequestered? Answer: All the property belonging to these officers and the Europeans was sequestered, commissioners being appointed to the effect.

Question: Does Casas follow the precepts of the Church? Answer: I do not know.

The Witness further declares to have nothing to add nor retract in his evidence, having said the truth upon his word of honor, and declared to be 41 years of age. The presents were signed by him together with the aforesaid Fiscal and Secretary. Jose Maria Sanchez-Jose Nicolas Benites-Juan Antonio Padilla

EXAMINATION OF THE 3rd WITNESS
Lieutenant Isidoro De La Garza, of New Leon Militia.  In the town of San Fernando De Bexar, the 18th day of May 1811, the Fiscal caused to be introduced before him, Lieutenant Isidoro De La Garza, of New Leon Militia, 3rd witness in the cause, who having been directed to put his right hand on the hilt of his sword, and asked:

Question: Do you promise upon your word of honor, to answer the truth in the questions directed to you? Answer: I promise it.

Question: What is your name and profession? Answer: Isidoro De La Garza, Lieutenant of New Leon Mounted Militia.

Question: Are you acquainted with Juan Bautista Casas, and do you know his actual residence? Answer: I am acquainted with Juan Bautista Casas, late Captain of Militia, actually confined in a separate quarter at the Alamo Barracks.

Question: Do you know the cause of his confinement? Answer: For having, by the means of the troops, raised in this town, the flag of insurrection.

Question: How did he avail himself of the troops, to enter into rebellion and on what day did the occurrence take place? Answer: He called the troops under arms, and arrested the Officers in command of the Province, and other Europeans, on the 22nd day of January last.

Question: Do you know by what means Casas took possession of the troops, and called them to arms? Answer: I am unaware of the means employed by Casas to prevail upon the troops to leave the quarters. I only saw the troops formed in front of the Guard house, and the officer commanding the guards arrested.

Question: Do you know whether Casas was offered the command by some persons, or assumed it of his own impulse? Answer: I know nothing about it.

Question: Did you observe that Casas was accompanied by any persons when he proceeded to arrest the authorities? Answer: I saw, besides the troops, the Citizens Gavino Delgado and Francisco Travieso, Ensigns Vincente Flores and Pedro Falcon, by the sides of Casas.

Question: Do you know if Casas set at large any prisoners after he had assumed the command? Answer: I saw Lieutenant Antonio Saens and Francisco Ignacio Escamilla and the Citizens Alexander De Reso and a certain Fecias going at liberty; it was, further, publicly said that the release of all the prisoners had been ordered by Casas.

Question: Do you whether after the arrest of the authorities and the Europeans, Casas acknowledged any person as his superior? Answer: I understood that he acknowledged the leaders of the insurrection, and I knew since, that he and a Major who was in command at Presidio Del Rio Grande, were acting in accord: the fact that Casas ordered me on duty to the port of M. Atascosito, with instructions to obey to said Major.

Question: While on your march to that destination, did you hear that Casas communicated to the Commanders of the various points in the Province his official acts? Answer: While on the march, I was passed by several expresses bearing sealed letters, and on my arrival at the town of Trinity, I heard of the Commander thereof that, the day previous, Casas had been publicly acknowledged as Brigadier General and Governor of the Province.

Question: Do you know what destination Casas gave to the arrested authorities and officers? Answer: I heard they had been conducted as prisoners to Presidio De Rio Grande.

Question: Do you know how they were secured? Answer: Don Manuel De Salcedo, Governor of the Province, and Captain De Areos were shackled, and the others handcuffed, as I heard of Lieutenant Juan Angel De Ibarra. Question: Do you know if the articles of furniture, and valuables belonging to these officers and the Europeans were sequestered by the order of Casas? Answer: The property of every prisoner was sequestered, myself and Don Juan Besamendi were commissioned to seize upon the property of Don Francisco Pereyna and Surgeon Jayme Gurra.

\Question: Does Casas follow the precepts of the Church? Answer: I do not know.

The witness having declared that he has nothing to add nor retract in his evidence, which he confirmed as true and exact upon his word of honor, said further to be 37 years of age, and signed the present together with the aforesaid Fiscal and Secretary. Isidoro De La Garza - Jose Nicolas Benites - Juan Ant.Padilla

EXAMINATION OF THE 4th WITNESS
Captain Juan Angel De Ibarra, of the Company of Artillery.  In the town of San Fernando De Bexar, the 18th day of May, 1811, the Fiscal caused to be introduced before him, Captain Juan Angel De Ibarra, of the Company of Artillery, 4th witness in the cause, who having been directed to put his right hand on the hilt of his sword, was asked:

Question: Do you promise upon your word of honor, to answer the truth of the questions directed to you? Answer: I promise it.

Question: What is your name and profession? Answer: Juan Angel De Ibarra, Captain of the Company of Artillery newly organized.

Question: Are you acquainted with Juan Bautista Casas, and do you know his actual residence? Answer: I am acquainted with Juan Bautista Casas, late Captain of the New Santander Militia, and already a prisoner.

Question: Do you know where he is confined? Answer: I saw him confined in a house next to the Government Mansion.

Question: Do you know whether he still continues in that house, or has been removed to some other place? Answer: I cannot say whether he is still in that house, or has been removed therefrom.

Question: Did you remain in town since the 3rd day of March last, and if not, where were you? Answer: From the 3rd day of March, up to today, I have been absent 32 days, engaged in the expedition to Laredo.

Question: How can you affirm that you do not know where Casas is confined, when exclusive of 32 days of absence, you have been 45 days in town since his arrest, his place of confinement being known to every one in town? Answer: I retract my answer to the preceding questions which I have not well understood at first; I beg they may be asked anew.

Question: Are you acquainted with Juan Bautista Casas and do you know his actual residence? Answer: I am acquainted with Juan Bautista Casas, late Captain of New Santander Militia, and actually confined in the Barracks of San Antonio Valero.

Question: Do you know the cause of his confinement? Answer: For having raised the flag of insurrection and arrested the Governors.

Question: Do you know the date and circumstances of the occurrence? Answer: On the 22nd of January, at day break, I saw a battalion under arms in front of the Government Mansion, and commanded by said Captain Casas who arrested in their lodgings, both Governors Manuel Salcedo and Simon De Herrera.

Question: Do you know by what means Casas took command of the troops? Answer: I know nothing about that.

Question: When you saw the troops on the Square, did you particularly notice any of the persons who accompanied Casas? Answer: The party was composed of Auxiliary Militia, Texas and regular troops. Having left my quarters with precipitation and undressed, I did not approach the group; therefore, I could notice only Captain Casas and Sergeant Trinidad Perez who was on horseback.

Question: Do you know if any persons, besides the Governors, were arrested by Casas on the 22nd of January? Answer: He arrested Captains Geronimo De Herrera, Juan Martin Eshevarria, Jose De Gascoscoechea, Miguel De Areos, Juan Ignacio Arrambide, Joaquin De Ugarte, Lieutenant Jose Bernardino Montero and Gregorio Amador, surgeon Jayme Gurra and several other residents of the town.

Question: Do you know if any other persons were arrested in other points of the Province by orders of Casas? Answer: On the 22nd of January, Lieutenant Antonio Saens left for Nacogdoches for the object of arresting the Adjutant Inspector Cristobal Dominguez, which mission he fulfilled, bringing back as prisoners, Captain Andres Mateos, Appolinar De Monmela, Francisco Collantes, Francisco Cacho and other Europeans whose names I have not at present.

Question: Do you know if Casas seized upon the property and valuables belonging to the officers and Europeans who were arrested? Answer: I know that commissioners were appointed by him to seize upon such property as found in possession of the prisoners.

Question: Do you know whom Casas acknowledged as superior after having assumed the Command? Answer: He acknowledged as Superior, Don Mariano Ximenes who titled himself Lieutenant General of the "American Army"; I saw various orders issued by said Ximenes, in favor of several officers of the garrison, agreeably to Casas recommendations; furthermore, several papers were rendered public in favor of proclamation, which originated with the leaders of the insurrection.

Question: Do you know if, in the 22nd of January, Casas set at large the prisoners who had been confined by Orders of the lawful authorities? Answer: I know that by the Order of Casas, Lieutenants Antonio Saens and Francisco Ignacio Escamillas, the citizen Francisco Arocha and several others whose names I have forgotten were released from confinement.

Question: What destination was given by Casas, to the officers arrested by him? Answer: They were transferred to Presidio Del Rio Grande, under charge of Ensign Vincente Flores with an escort.

Question: How were they secured? Answer: They were handcuffed, with the exception of Governor Manuel De Salcedo and Captain De Areos who were shackled, as I was told by the Sergeant of Infantry Domingo Bustillos who saw them in that state, when they left the Government Mansion.

Question: Do you know if Casas follows the precepts of the Church? Answer: I do not know.

The present evidence having been read to the witness, he declared to have nothing to change thereto, the same being true and exact. He declared, further, to be 25 years of age, and signed herein below jointly with the aforesaid Fiscal and Secretary. Juan Angel De La Ibarra - Jose Nicolas Benites - Antonio Padilla

EXAMINATION OF THE 5th WITNESS
Blas Jose Peralez, Sergeant of Artillery
In the aforesaid City, the above written day, month and year, the Fiscal caused to be introduced before him, Blas Jose Peralez, Sergeant of Artillery and 5th witness in the cause, who having been directed to raise his right hand, was asked:

Question: Do you swear to God, and promise to the King to answer the truth to the questions directed to you? Answer: I swear it.

Question: What is your name and profession? Answer: Blas Jose Peralez, Sergeant of Artillery.

Question: Are you acquainted with Juan Bautista Casas, and do you know where he is now? Answer: I am acquainted with Captain Juan Bautista Casas, late Captain of Colonial Militia, who is now a prisoner at the Mission of Valero.

Question: Do you know the cause of his confinement? Answer: I know that Captain Casas is confined for having rebelled with the Auxiliary and Texas Militia and the regular troops of the garrison, for the purpose of arresting and deposing the Governors.

Question: Do you know which day the occurrence took place, and also, state the circumstances within your knowledge. Answer: I have not the date present, but in the evening previous to the day when Captain Casas arrested the Governors, he went to my quarters, and after the usual courtesies, inquired of me about the news of the day, my answer was, that I had just heard said on the public square of the Alamo, that Governor Manuel De Salcedo was to take out the Companies and go to camp on the San Marcos or Colorado. Upon which, Captain Casas asked what I thought of such a campaign, and if I was going willingly; to which I answered that I did not like it on account of my family; "Well" replied the Captain, "if you go it is because you wish it, as there is nothing easier for you than to remain; and if, at any time, you have to flee to the Insurgent Army, I will provide horses and other necessaries for you." My reply was that I would not do such a thing. Then Casas observed that I should not go after all, as his intention was to arrest the Governors, for which I could assist him in preparing the Companies for that attempt. My answer was that I could not do so, as I was unaware if his intentions were good or bad.-"I do not care," said Casas, "if the troops give me a hand or not, as I have several citizens devoted to me; I wished their assistance only for the sake of their own honor."-Upon which he withdrew, taking the direction of his house.

Question: Subsequently to the conservation just related by you, did you not have another interview with Casas, either in his, or your house, or in some other place; and also, do you know who were the citizens whom Casas pretended to have to assist him? Answer: After having called the roll at retreat, to go back to my quarters, I had to pass through the street on which Captain Casas lived, and there, I saw him in conversation with Santiago Rodriquez and Encanacion Balboa, both privates in the New Santander Militia Company, on my passing by, Casas asked me what I thought about the subject of our conservation in the evening;-Nothing said I "besides what I have already told you"; nothing more passed between us. At the same time, I heard some persons talking in Captain Casas "yacal" but saw nobody. I do not know whom the citizens alluded to by the Captain as being devoted to him can be.

Question: After you parted with Casas, did you return to your quarters and sleep there, and did you observe any movements before the following morning? Answer: I went directly to my quarters where I slept, and observed no movements during the night, but at dawn while reveille was beating, Sergeant Miguel De Reyna came to awake me, saying that Captain Casas had sent him after me. I went, at once, in company with Reyna to the house of the Captain who said to me that all the companies were at his disposition and that, since I would not assist him in gaining them, I should, at least, take charge of the Main Guard. I felt so surprised at that proposal, that I could find no answer, and accompanied the Captain as far as the door of the Guard house. I, then refused positively to take charge of the Guard, for fear of bad results, and went back to my quarters without speaking to anybody; I remained at home until I saw all the troops formed under arms. Fearful that Casas might in the future do me some harm, I took my musket and fell in, on rear of the battalion.

Question: When you went to see Casas in company with Sergeant De Reyna, did you notice any of the persons who were with him? And if so, state their names: also, do you know why Casas intended to give you charge of the Guard, which was necessarily commanded by some officers? Answer: When I arrived at Captain Casas House, two men were with him, but I could not distinguish their features as they were entirely wrapped in their cloaks; the same men followed me to the Guard house when I lost sight of them, having, as already stated, gone back to my quarters. It is true the Guard was commanded by Captain Nicolas Benites, but Casas intention was, probably to remove that officer from that duty, as he did afterwards; when the battalion was marched off, I saw Sergeant Reyna in charge of the Guard. I am unaware of the further destination given to Captain Benites.

Question: Do you know whether Casas engaged or induced any other persons to lead the troops into his interest, and of what means he availed himself of for that purpose? Answer: I know not, if he has persuaded anyone to that effect, and am unaware of the means used by him to gain the troops.

Question: Do you know if Casas follows the precepts of the Church? Answer: I do not know.

The above evidence having been read to the witness, he declared it to be true, and to have nothing to add or retract therein. He declared further that he is 36 years of age, and signed the presents together with the aforesaid Fiscal and Secretary. Blas Jose Peralez - Jose Benites - Juan Antonio Padilla

EXAMINATION OF THE 6th WITNESS
Sergeant Miguel De Reyna a prisoner under charge of the Guard
In the Town of San Fernando De Bexar, the 20th day of May 1811, the Fiscal caused to be brought before him, Sergeant Miguel De Reyna, actually a prisoner under charge of the Guard, who having been directed to raise his right hand was asked:

Question: Do you swear to God, and promise to the King, to answer the truth to the questions directed to you? Answer: I swear it.

Question: What is your name and profession? Answer: Jose Miguel De Reyna, sergeant, in the late company of the New Leon Militia.

Question: Are you acquainted with Juan Bautista Casas and do you know where he is now? Answer: I am acquainted with Captain Juan Bautista Casas, late of the 4th Company of Colonial Militia; when I was arrested, he was a prisoner at the Mission of Valero, but I never saw, nor heard of him since I have been in confinement.

Question: Do you know the cause of his confinement? Answer: I do not know it positively.

Question: Has not Casas been Governor and military Commander of the Province? Answer: I saw him at the head of the Government; and, by his orders I was detached to La Bahia.

Question: Do you know when and by whom he was appointed Governor, and how long he continued in that capacity? Answer: I do not know how Captain Casas was appointed Governor; but I will state what I have seen the day when he assumed the Government. At the break of day, Captain Casas presented himself in front of the guard of the Militia Barracks, which guard was then commanded by Captain Nicolas Benites. Captain Casas removed that officer from the command of the guard and immediately after, on his call, the companies turned out under arms. I was in the ranks; and Casas ordered me to detail a number of men equal to that of the guard, and to take charge of the post thus reinforced. To which I observed that I could not do so, it being customary to have the post under command of a Captain, and furthermore, Sergeant Jose De La Cruz Sanchez who was a member of the guard being my senior, it would not do to have me in charge over him. Captain Casas' answer was, that he would settle the matter with Sergeant Sanchez, and Captain Benites should remain without command, within the guardroom until further orders. The same day, at about 9 o'clock A.M. the guard was relieved by a Captain, in the habitual forms; I went to report to my first sergeant and repaired to my quarters. I do not recollect the date of that occurrence, nor how long Casas remained at the head of the Government.

Question: Where were you previous to calling Sergeant Blas Peralez, by Casas' orders, and at what time did you call him? Answer: The night previous, Captain Casas came to the back door of the barracks where I saw him talking with private Encarnacion Balboa who went round the quarters and told the men that Captain Casas was below, and wanted to see them. It was then, after retreat. The most of the Sergeants, Corporals, and Privates went down to the place where the Captain stood, and who told them to be ready for the next morning at reveille, his intention being to prevent the Governor from sending to the Colorado. Sergeant Blas told me after retreat call, that the Captain was to present himself at the barracks very early on the next morning. Corporal Tomas Fenedo, who was warming himself with me, at the guard fire, distant about 15 steps from the guardhouse, accompanied me to buy a bit worth of brandy in a grogshop, next to Captain Casas' house. The Captain was already up, and ordered me to go and rouse up Sergeant Peralez; which I did, and I accompanied said Peralez until he was in the presence of the Captain who was already on his way to the Guard house; I reported to him that Peralez was present, and with Peralez, I continued on, until we reached the Guard house.

Question: Who was with Casas, when he sent you to call Peralez? Answer: I saw, then, with Captain Casas, the Citizens Francisco Travieso and Gavino Delgado; although I was not personally acquainted with the latter, I knew his name; there was also present Ensign Vincente Flores; everyone of those persons had a musket in his hands. They went with Casas as far as the Guard house.

Question: What did Casas do on the morning after the troops were formed? Answer: I saw the troops marching off with Captain Casas at their head, toward the main Plaza; shortly after they came back, looking for both Governors who had gone within the Guard house, and came out to speak to Captain Casaswho was still in front of the troops formed in a line with their muskets to a present. The Governors proceeded toward their lodgings in company with several officers, and closely followed by Casas and the troops. I heard since of some men who returned that the Governors and Europeans had been arrested.

Question: Do you know if any persons went through the quarters to seduce the troops and induce them to give command to Juan Bautista Casas? Answer: I saw no one besides Encarnacion Balboa going about the quarters with an apparent intention of seducing the troops.

Question: Do you know if Casas follows the precepts of the Church? Answer: I do not know.

The present evidence having been read to the witness, he declared it to be true, and to have nothing to add nor retract therein, and declared further to be 31 years of age; signing herein below, together with the aforesaid Fiscal and Secretary. Jose Miguel De Reyna - Nicolas Benites - Juan Antonio Padilla

EXAMINATION OF THE 7th WITNESS
Ensign Vincente Flores, confined in charge of the guard
In the said Town, and the above written day, month and year, the Fiscal proceeded, in company with the secretary to the Barracks of Valero, where Ensign Vincente Flores was confined in charge of the guard, and whom the Fiscal caused to be brought before him in one of the rooms of said barracks, and there, asked him if, upon his word of honor, he promised to answer the truth to the questions directed to him: "I promise it". Then the examination continued as follows:

Question: What is your name and profession? Answer: Vincente Flores, I am Ensign in Captain Mariano Rodriquez' company of Bexar Militia.

Question: Are you acquainted with Juan Bautista Casas, and do you know his actual residence? Answer: I am acquainted with Juan Bautista Casas, late Captain of Colonial Militia, actually confined in a room of these barracks.

Question: Do you know the cause of his confinement? Answer: For having arrested the Governors and other Europeans.

Question: State the date of that occurrence, and the particulars thereof, within your knowledge. Answer: The occurrence took place on the 22nd of January last. In the night previous, having assisted Francisco Collantes in preparing and executing his flight to Nacogdoches, I took the direction of my quarters, disturbed in this mission, and entered in the house of Casas who told me that his intention was to arrest the Governors during that very night, and that he had already received the participation of the troops for that purpose; he invited me to accompany him; I accepted for the sole object of avoiding, if possible, any loss of life, and it was agreed that we should ready at day break, at the beating of reveille, and appointed our meeting in Casas' house. We parted after the beating of retreat; went to my quarters where I met Don Francisco Travieso to whom I communicated the plans of Captain Casas, and who said he would stand by him and we should accompany him. Upon which, Travieso went to his house, and I, to my bed. Before the beating of reveille, Travieso came to awake me, saying that it was time to join Casas; we both went to the Captains' house; we found him up and alone; he said that immediately after reveille, we were to be at the door of the Guard house, and consequently, we had better wait for him. A short time after, came Corporal Tomas Penedo of Captain Felix Perez' Company; Casas went out to meet him, and they exchanged in a low voice some words which I could not hear. In the meanwhile, reveille began beating, we went out; Casas locked his door, and we took the direction of the Guard house of the Militia Barracks. Before reaching our destination, I asked of Casas how we could, being only three men, render ourselves masters of the Guard, adding that blood would unavoidably be shed; to which Casas answered, that there was nothing of the kind to fear, the whole guard being devoted to him, and the troops in the barracks disposed in his favor, the Captain commanding the guard might alone attempt a resistance, but he would soon be done with him. When we reached the Guard house, the Guard rendered the honors to Casas who addressed the men in the name of the King, with a few words which I do not recollect. He, then, entered alone the room of the Captain of the Guard and we heard some hard and violent words exchanged between him and that officer; both came out, Casas saying, "Well, surrender if you choose Sir, and if not, you shall surrender at any rate." In the meanwhile, the troops had formed under arms, inside of the yard; stepping in front of them, Casas ordered either to relieve or reinforce the Guard, I do not remember which, and appointed Sergeant Reyna in command thereof, the Captain previously in command being put under arrest for disobedience of orders. I saw the whole transaction from the door of the Guard house where I had taken position with Travieso as soon as we arrived at the spot. Captain Casas having taken his place at the head of the battalion, Travieso and myself went by his sides; we thus, marched toward the main Plaza, with the intention to secure and arrest the Governors, whom we did not find in their houses. A corporal came to bring intelligence that the Governors had been seen going down the Main Street and crossing the bridge, probably to go to the Militia Barracks. Upon which Casas marched back with the troops for the barracks, where having arrived, he formed his party on a line, with the arms to a "ready". The Governors advanced toward Casas, Don Simon De Herrera saying, "Casas, what is the meaning of this?" To which Casas said, he was looking for the Governors and desired them to retire to their lodgings, which demand was complied with by the Governors followed by Captains Echevarria, Geronimo De Herrera and Miguel De Areos. Casas followed them closely with the troops which he formed on a line in front of the Government House, and accompanied by Francisco Travieso and Savino Delgado, he went in to signify them their arrest, and left them under charge of a guard and sentry. He then, proceeded with said Travieso and Delgado, followed by the troops, to the Mission of Valero, and to set at large, Lieutenant Francisco Ignacio Escamilla and Antonio Saens, and several other prisoners, previously confined in charge of the guard by lawful authorities.

Question: You have just said that Savino Delgado and Francisco Travieso entered the Government House to arrest the Governors; when and where did said Delgado join Casas? Answer: The first time we went to the Government House, Savino Delgado joined us and, since, followed the movements of Casas until after the arrest of the Governors.

Question: What other persons did you see in the company of Casas during the transaction? Answer: Besides the persons already referred to, I observed only Ensigns Pedro Falcon and Francisco Montelongo, Sergeant Trinidad Perez who was on horseback, Sergeant Miguel De Reyna and Patricio Rodriguez.

Question: Do you know why Casas took command of the troops and arrested the Governors? Answer: I made the very same question to Casas himself, and the reason he gave me was, that he wanted to prevent them from fleeing away, abandoning the Command of the Province as it was their intention.

Question: Do you know if any other officers and Europeans were arrested? Answer: All the European residents of the town were arrested on the same day with the exception of Sergeant Jose Tassa and the barber Juan Fernandez. Captain Miguel De Areos and Lieutenant Jose Montero, both native Americans shared the captivity of the Europeans.

Question: Do you know if the property of the prisoners were sequestered by orders of Casas? Answer: All their property was seized on the same day, several persons being commissioned to that effect by Casas.

Question: Do you know whom Casas acknowledged as Superior after the arrest of the Governors? Answer: He acknowledged as Chiefs, Don Mariano Ximenes and the Curate Hidalgo, both leaders of the insurrection, such, at least, is my impression from various documents and proclamations issued by Casas.

Question: Do you know what became of the Governors and other officers arrested by Casas? Answer: They were conducted, under my charge, with an escort of 30 men to Presidio De Rio Grande and there, delivered to the insurgent General Don Pedro De Aranda.

Question: Who were these prisoners? How were they secured, and what orders did you receive concerning them? Answer: They were Lieutenant Colonel Manuel De Salcedo, Governor of the Province, Lieutenant Colonel Simon De Herrera, Commanding the Auxiliary Militia, Captains Geronimo De Herrera, Jus. Martin De Echevarria, Juan Ignacio Arrambide, Jose De Gascoscoechea, Miguel De Areos, Joaquin De Ugarte, Francisco Persaysa, Lieutenants, Gregorio Amador, Jose Montero, Juan Jose Elguezabel, Juan De Castaneda, Ensigns Miguel Serrano. Governor Manuel De Salcedo and Captain Miguel De Areos were shackled, the others handcuffed, with the exception of Lieutenant Elguezabel who walked free. When on the road, I was overtaken by an express who delivered to me written orders of Captain Casas, directing me to secure the prisoners as closely as possible, not to allow them any intercourse with any persons, and not to delay over three days and a half or four days on the road; these orders are still in the hands of Sergeant Trinidad Perez. Owing to the sufferings caused to the prisoners by their irons, I took it upon myself to remain seven days on the road.

Question: Do you know if Casas follows the precepts of the Church? Answer: I do not know.

The present evidence having been read to the witness, he declared to be true, and to have nothing to add, nor retract therefrom; he declared further that he was 54 years of age, and signed hereunto jointly with the aforesaid Fiscal and Secretary. Vincente Flores - Jose Nicolas Benites - Juan Antonio Padilla

REQUISITION TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE JUNTA TO SUMMON THE WITNESSES BELONGING TO CIVIL JURISDICTION
In the town of San Fernando De Bexar, the 21st day of May 1811, the Fiscal deeming it necessary to receive the declarations of Don Francisco Travieso and Don Gavino Delgado, both associates of Casas in the revolutionary movement, headed by him on the 22nd of January last, and, in order to have them summoned, directed to Don Juan Manuel Zambrano, President, of the Government Junta of Texas, a communication in the following terms:

"Having been commissioned by the Government Junta of this Province, to prosecute Juan Bautista Casas, late Captain of Colonial Militia, and deeming it necessary to receive the declarations of Don Francisco Travieso, Alcalde of first Vote, and Don Gavino Delgado, Member of the Junta, I have the honor to request you to issue a writ to the effect that the above mentioned persons be summoned to present themselves, at my quarters, this day, the first, at 10 o'clock A.M. and the 2nd, at 3 o'clock P.M." San Fernando De Bexar, May 21st, 1811. May God ... Jose Nicolas Benites

"To The President of the Government Junta" I, the aforesaid secretary, Certify that I have delivered the above mentioned communication in the President's own hands. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand. Juan Ant. Padilla.

I, the aforesaid secretary, Certify that this the 21st day of May 1811, Captain Nicolas Benites, Fiscal in the foregoing trial, received the answer of Don Juan Manuel De Zambrano, President of the Government Junta of the Province, to the communication, copy of which is above extended, and directed that said answer should be copied herein below. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand. Juan Ant. Padilla.

The President of the Government Junta To Captain Nicolas Benites San Fernando De Bexar, May 21st, 1811
In answer to your communication of this date, I have the honor to inform you that I have issued a summons to Don Francisco Travieso, Alcalde of first Vote of this town, to appear before you, this day, at 10 o'clock A.M. there and then to make his declaration. Don Gavino Delgado, Member of this Junta, being absent, could not be summoned. May God.. Juan Manuel Zambrano

EXAMINATION OF THE 8th WITNESS
Don Francisco Travieso, Alcalde
In the town of San Fernando De Bexar the 21st day of May 1811, before Captain Nicolas Benites, Fiscal, and in presence of the aforesaid secretary, appeared Don Francisco Travieso, Alcalde of first Vote of said town, who having been directed to perform the sign of the cross, was asked:

Question: Before God our Lord, and upon the sign of the cross, do you swear to answer the truth to the questions directed to you? Answer: I swear it.

Question: What is your name and profession? Answer: Francisco Travieso, Alcalde of 1st Vote appointed by the Government Junta.

Question: Are you acquainted with Juan Bautista Casas, and do you know his actual residence? Answer: I am acquainted with Juan Bautista Casas, late Captain of Colonial Militia, actually a prisoner; but I do not know the place of his confinement.

Question: Do you know the cause of his confinement? Answer: He has been confined for having arrested the Governors Manuel De Salcedo and Simon De Herrera.

Question: On what date did that attempt take place, and of what means did Casas avail himself to affect it? Answer: I have not present the date of the arrestation of the Governors; it was affected with the participation of the New Leon, New Santander and Bexar Militia, and regular troops stationed in this town.

Question: Do you know how Casas succeeded in leading the troops into his interest? State all the particulars of his attempt within your personal knowledge. Answer: Ensign Vincente Flores told me, at about 5 o'clock in the afternoon previous to the day in which the attempt was made, that the soldiers had requested Captain Casas to employ himself to prevent the troops from being sent out to camp somewhere between the Cibalo and the Guadaloupe. Governor Manuel De Salcedo having declared his intention to do so for the pretence of instructing the men, and giving them an opportunity to run mustangs. I observed to Ensign Flores, that if such was indeed the Governors intention, it was every good man's duty to assist Casas in his undertaking, and not to allow the town to be left unprotected and exposed to imminent danger. In consequence, we both agreed to go at once to find Casas and have with him an understanding on the best means to prevent the departure of the Governors and troops. We met Casas in his house, and I observed that, while we were with him, soldiers came at every moment to bring him intelligence; but as he always went out to talk with them, I could notice particularly none of the Messengers, nor heard what they said. Finally, it was agreed that we should meet in Casas' house on the following morning before the beating of Reveille, thence to proceed to the Guard house, form the troops under arms, and affect the arrest of the Governors. I must observe, here, that we had been told by several soldiers, that the intentions of the Governors was to send out the greatest part of the troops, and remaining behind with some few men, to put to death Lieutenants Antonio Saens and Francisco Escamilla who were confined for having attempted to arrest the Governors. Anxious to prevent the execution of these officers, I adhered more firmly than ever to Casas' plan. I am under the positive impression that the execution was to take place; I ground my opinion on the departure on the same afternoon of the Governors' lady, and the preparations made in Don Manuel Salcedo and Don Simon De Herrera's houses; in fact, every person who entered those houses on the next morning can bear witness that all these officers effects were boxed and packed up, and all the travelling necessaries, ready inside of the yards. Somewhat after midnight, having concerted all our dispositions, we parted, Flores and myself returning to our houses. A few moments before the beating of reveille, I got up, went to awake Flores and with him proceeded to Casas' house. The call having begun, we quickened our steps, and reached said house, when Casas was locking his door from outside. We went together, with two soldiers we found in the company of Casas, toward the Guard house; the soldiers left us to go to answer their names at their Company's roll call, and as we three reached the Guard house at the moment when the call ceased to beat, I took position close to the door of the Guard house, and Casas stepping to the sentry, grasped his musket by the lock, and ordered him not to make a motion, in the same time addressing him thus: "Whom do you serve?" The sentry's answer was "Our King Ferdinand the 7th." "Do you promise to support the King, Religion and Country?" "I promise it" said the sentry. "If so," replied Casas, "give up your arms." In the meanwhile, the Corporal of the Guard called the men to turn out, which order they executed, taking up their arms to defend the post. Casas entered the Guard house followed by Flores, I remained outside, close to the sentry, beseeching the Corporal not to make use of the arms, our intention being not to injure anybody, but on the contrary, to save the lives of Lieutenants Saens and Escamilla whom it was the Governors' intention to have put to death as soon as the troops would have left the town. These expressions persuaded the corporal, who ordered the arms to be replaced on the racks. At the same moment, Casas came out, and addressed the corporals in the same terms as previously he had done the sentry; this already persuaded by my own observations, promised obedience to Casas. The guard was then reinforced and command thereof given by Casas to a certain person whom I could not distinguish. In the meanwhile, the troops had turned out under arms, and were formed by Captain Casas within the yard of the barracks.

Question: Do you know who was the officer in charge of the Guard? Answer: I do not know.

Question: What did Casas do after the troops were formed under arms? Answer: Immediately after the troops were formed, Casas took his position at the head of the battalion, Flores and myself standing by his sides. We, then, marched off, turned the Main Plaza, to affect the apprehension of the Governors; but, not finding them in their houses, and having been informed that they had gone to the Militia Barracks, we followed the same direction with the troops who, when we reached the barracks, were formed in a line in front of the Guard house presenting their arms. The Governors came out of the Guardroom and asked Casas what was the meaning of that movement; Casas told them, in the name of the King, to consider themselves prisoners; to which Don Manuel Salcedo declared that he was willing to obey, adding that he had already been warned of what was to happen, but in order to show his loyalty to his Majesty, he was ready to take his place next to the least of the soldiers; stepping at the time toward the troops and making a motion to take the musket of one of the soldiers, Casas prevented him from executing his intention, saying: "It is too late now". To which the Governor replied that he would obey, and compulsion was useless, requesting only, to be allowed to repair to his house, pledging his honor that he would not attempt to escape. Which request was granted, and he withdrew toward his house with several officers who were previously in his company. Captain Casas followed him closely with the troops, and after having reached the Main Plaza, formed the battalion on a line, and stepped in the Government House where he arrested Don Manuel De Salcedo, Don Simon De Herrera, Captains Juan De Echevarria and Geronimo Herrera, leaving them in charge of a strong Guard. This done, Casas went back to the Mission of Valero, where he set at liberty Lieutenant Saens and Escamilla who had been confined by the lawful authorities; subsequently, some other prisoners were also released. The troops were dismissed, and Casas proceeded to the Government House where he commissioned me and Lieutenant Saens to go to Nacogdoches with instructions to overtake and bring back the Governor's lady, and to arrest the Adjutant Inspector Cristobal Dominguez. I withdrew to my house to make the preparations for my journey.

Question: What other persons did you see accompanying Casas during the transaction? Answer: Don Gavino Delgado joined us the first time we went to the Main Plaza and was present at the arrest of the Governors, he was, afterwards, to accompany me and Lieutenant Saens to Nacogdoches.

Question: Do you know if, besides the Governors, any other persons were arrested by Casas? Answer: Previous to my departure for Nacogdoches, I saw Captain Juan Ignacio Arrambide and Don Benito Anton arrested. I heard since, that all the Europeans had been arrested. On my return from Nacogdoches, I saw several "Gachupines" in the prison in which I was confined by order of Casas for having attempted to prevent Lieutenant Saens from selling at an underprice some mules, the property of the Adjutant Inspector.

Question: Do you know whom Casas acknowledged as superior after having assumed the Government? Answer: I do not know, but my firm intention in joining him, was to support the King, Religion and Country.

Question: Do you know if Casas follows the precepts of the Church? Answer: I do not.

The present evidence having been read to the witness, he declared it to be true, having nothing to add nor retract therein. He declared further that he was 53 years of age and signed hereunto jointly with the aforesaid Fiscal and Secretary. Francisco Travieso - Jose Nicolas Benites - Juan Ant. Padilla

Proceedings of Trial and Execution-Part 2


New Spain: Kingdom of Spain-Index
SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
1997-1998, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved