Nation at risk

How important is our vote? Our country depends on us to keep America going in the right direction. When we stop caring, that’s when we begin to see the beginning of birth pains of trouble in America that come by voting the wrong people into office. People who don’t care about America and bold enough to show that they hate America by their speech and actions and when challenged, they react as victims of assault.

That speaks louder than words in my book.

I see a change in America and is not a good change. Our leadership is being hijacked by individuals united in mind and goals not in the best interests of America but their own agenda.

Are we in trouble? Yes, we are in serious trouble. And if we fail to react and stand firm against it and fix it, we may lose America forever. It is that serious.

Rafael Madrigal

Worry about our humanity

Does rounding up and imprisoning “illegals” remind anyone else of Hitler’s policies? Some people just stood by, but some citizens resisted and helped one another.

It is our humanity we need to worry about, not the upcoming elections.

Sydney Roby

Forgotten history: Battle of Laredo

Texas history has long forgotten the Battle of Laredo in the Civil War, when Confederate Tejanos fought Union Tejanos. After President Lincoln ordered the blockade of all major Southern seaports by the Union navy, the only major cotton pipeline to a major seaport was now from Laredo to the Rio Grande Valley to the Mexican seaport, Bagdad, across from Boca Chica.

Protecting this cotton pipeline that started in Laredo was Col. Santos Benavides, the highest-ranking Tejano in the Confederacy, along with his two brothers, Capt. Refugio Benavides and Capt. Cristobal Benavides. Jim Fisk and Paten Smith, Union spies operating in Nuevo Laredo, discovered that Col. Santos Benavides was sick in bed with a high fever and had only 42 Tejanos guarding 5,000 bales of cotton in the main plaza.

Union Gen. Edmund J. Davis approved an attack on Laredo with 200 Union soldiers that included 100 Tejanos under the field command of Cecilio Valerio, a former horse and mule trader from the Corpus Christi area. Valerio and his Tejanos were not regular Union soldiers but mercenaries, because Gen. Davis paid them with gold coins, Burnside carbines and ammunition to harass the cotton wagon shipments along the Rio Grande as well to rustle cattle from the southern ranchers for the Union army.

Cecilio and his son Juan scouted for the Union army that left Brownsville on the Mexican side of the river to escape detection from Benavides’ scouts. Several miles from Laredo, the Union army crossed the river on March 18, 1864, and were soon detected. Col. Santos Benavides literally got out of his sickbed to lead his Tejanos to defend Laredo near Zacate Creek. Benavides also gave instructions to burn the bales of cotton as well as his new house if his soldiers should lose the battle.

The Union forces broke up into 35-40-man groups to attack in three separate charges, but after a three-hour battle, the Union Tejanos and Union soldiers retreated from the battlefield back to Brownsville.

Col. Santos Benavides was promised a promotion to brigadier general by three Confederate generals — John Magruder, James E. Slaughter and Barnard Bee, but Col. Rip Ford from Brownsville said his command would be diminished with this promotion. Benavides never received his promotion for his victory at the Battle of Laredo, even though his Tejanos continued to keep the only major cotton pipeline open all the way to Bagdad.

The Rio Grande Valley needs to remember that southern Texas from Laredo to the Valley played an important part in the Civil War, and Confederate Tejanos and Union Tejanos were a major part of it.

Jack Ayoub