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Rebellion 1855     
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Texas Ranger
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A Texas Ranger, wood engraving, 1848, from Pictorial History of Mexico and the Mexican War by John Frost. Library of Congress.
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Filibusters

The presence of runaway slaves in Mexico continued to attract American filibusters and slave raiders throughout the 1850s. Ford estimated that there were 4,000 runaways in Northern Mexico, a situation he railed against from the pages of The Southwestern American and The Texas State Times, two of several newspapers he edited during the period. In private correspondence he was equally blunt:

Something must be done for the protection of slave property in this State. Negroes are running off daily. During the past week seven slaves left this portion of the country. Let the frontier of slavery begin to recede and when or where the wave of recession may be arrested God only knows.

The rhetoric from Ford and other slaveholders ultimately contributed to an infamous raid in 1855 led by Captain James H. Callahan of the Texas Rangers. The official pretext for Callahanís raid was a punitive expedition against Lipan Apaches. The actual plan appears to have been a straightforward punitive slaving expedition directed at the Black Seminoles. When Callahanís main force engaged the allied Seminole and Mexican forces, associates under William R. Henry staged a side attack attempting to seize the Black Seminole women and children. Fortunately for the Black Seminoles, they ambushed Henry before his raid could take place. Callahanís men were forced to retreat to Piedras Negras. There, facing 700 Mexican regulars, including the Seminole allies, the Texans briefly held on before torching the town and beating an ignominious retreat across the Rio Grande.

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Sources: John S. Ford to John A. Quitman, July 2, 1855, as quoted in May 260, Tyler 8-10, Mulroy 78-79, Sumpter 62-69.
Part 4, Freedom: Outline  l Images
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 Trail Narrative
 + Prologue
 + Background: 1693-1812
 + Early Years: 1812-1832
 + War: 1832-1838
 + Exile: 1838-1850
 - Freedom: 1850-1882
+ Cost of Freedom
spacer spacer Arrival
Second Exodus
Comanches
Border Etiquette
Filibusters
Duval's Desserts
Indian Killers
End of an Era
+ Liberty Foretold
+ Liberty Found
 + Legacy & Conclusion