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Disaster at San Sabá (CEC)

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Misreading the new order on the southern plains, the Spanish in Texas agreed to an Apache scheme to place a mission and presidio complex on the San Sabá River as a focus for friendly settlement in the area. In 1757, workers built Presidio San Luis de las Amarillas near present-day Menard, Texas, and, seven miles downstream, Mission Santa Cruz de San Sabá. The Comanches recognized this as an attempt by the Apaches to reassert their presence on the southern plains and on March 16, 1758, a coalition force of Comanches, Taovayas, Tonkawas, and Hasinais, well equipped with French weapons and equipment, razed the mission and intimidated the fifty or so Spanish presidials into inaction while the Apaches fled far to the south.

In August, 1758, Colonel Diego Ortiz Parilla led a Spanish force a few hundred strong of regulars, militia, and Apaches on a retaliatory campaign against this Indian coalition, dubbing their enemy “Los Norteños.” Despite some success against an isolated band of Tonkawas, the Spanish force failed to take a Taovaya village in present-day Montague County, Texas, and retreated in disorder.