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Harry P. Hewitt

GARCÍA CONDE, PEDRO (1806–1851). Pedro García Conde, general in the Mexican army, member of Congress, and commissioner of the Mexican boundary survey commission, was born to Alejo García Conde and María Teresa Vidal en Lorca on February 8, 1806, in Arizpe, Sonora, and was baptized Pedro José. His siblings included at least two brothers. His father was head of the western Provincias Internas in 1817; in 1821 he supported independence under the Plan of Iguala and Agustín de Iturbide and became a general of division in 1822. He died July 28, 1826, in Mexico City. Pedro began a military career as a cadet at San Carlos presidio in Cerro Gordo, Durango, in 1817 and was promoted to alférez in 1818 by his father. While stationed at San Buenaventura presidio in Chihuahua in 1821, he supported Mexican independence, then transferred to San Elizario, and was promoted to lieutenant of cavalry. He interrupted his career in 1822 to study at the Colegio de Minería in Mexico City, returning to the service in 1825 as a member of the Estado Mayor. In 1828 he joined the newly organized Corps of Engineers and was promoted to captain. He was responsible for carrying out military reconnaissances on the Gulf Coast between Tuxpan and Tampico, in the interior between Villa de Valles and Zacualtipán, and the topographical survey of Mexico City. He also served on the faculty of the Military Academy as its mathematics instructor until 1831. For the next two years he was involved in engineering projects and a reconnaissance of the "Southern Coast." During 1833 he began work on a projected road between San Luis Potosí and Tampico that included improvements in navigation on the Pánuco River at Tampico. He was chosen to complete a map of the state of Chihuahua begun by Estevan M. L. Stapples and was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1834. García Conde returned to Chihuahua in 1835 as inspector of the Milicias Civicas Urbanas y Rurales and led several campaigns against the Comanches, but was not involved in Antonio López de Santa Anna's movement into Texas. In 1836 he returned to Mexico City to head the reorganized Military Academy and was promoted to colonel in 1837, retroactive to 1835. He was promoted to general by President Anastasio Bustamante in 1840, a rank which became permanent in 1841. He took a leave of absence from the Military Academy in 1843 to serve in the Congress and became embroiled in the political fights of the day.

Between December 1844 and August 1845 he served as President José Joaquín Herrera's secretary of war and marine and during that time opposed Santa Anna's efforts to return to power. When Herrera was ousted by Mariano Paredes Arrillaga in December 1845, García Conde was removed from the legislature and was denied his request to return to the Military Academy. As war with the United States approached he declined serving on a "congress of war" in the spring of 1846. When Santa Anna returned to Mexico in August of 1846, García Conde tried to invoke a leave of absence, granted previously for travel to Europe for health reasons, but was prevented by Santa Anna. Instead he was ordered to Irapuato, Guanajuato, and then to Chihuahua City to prepare defenses against an expected attack from Parras, Coahuila, by Gen. John E. Wool, a job he did not desire to fulfill. When threatened with arrest and a forced transfer to Chihuahua he grudgingly complied. He arrived in Chihuahua early in January, joining Angel Trías and Gen. José Heredia in preparing for Col. Alexander Doniphan's attack from El Paso. García Conde participated in the battle of Sacramento on February 28, 1847, and following that defeat retreated to Parral and subsequently Durango. He returned to Mexico City as a member of the Senate and was appointed Mexican boundary commissioner in December 1848, a position he held until his death.

García Conde's significant achievements include the map of Chihuahua he completed in 1834; his leadership of the Military Academy where he was credited with introducing notable improvements; his statistical publication on Chihuahua, Ensayo estadistico sobre el estado de Chihuahua, published in 1842; and his tenure on the boundary survey. As boundary commissioner he lead a group of engineers, under very difficult circumstances, in successful surveys of the California boundary; the southern boundary of New Mexico as compromised in his agreement with United States commissioner John R. Bartlett; a section of the Gila River; and the beginnings of work on the Rio Grande. He married María Loreto Regina Rosalea Josefa García Conde, daughter of Lt. Col. Diego García Conde and María Luisa Rodríguez Monterde, in the fall of 1826. They had at least one child, Agustín García Conde, who followed in his father's footsteps in the Corps of Engineers and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. García Conde received a diploma and the Cross of Honor in August 1840 for defending the administration of President Bustamante against a coup. He also received a diploma and cross in 1843. He died December 19, 1851, in Arizpe, Sonora, from health complications that developed during his tenure on the frontier.

Francisco R. Almada, Diccionario de historia, geografía y biografía Chihuahuenses (Chihuahua: Ediciones Universidad de Chihuahua, 1968). Odie B. Faulk, Too Far North, Too Far South (Los Angeles: Westernlore Press, 1967). Harry P. Hewitt, "The Mexican Boundary Survey Team: Pedro García Conde in California," Western Historical Quarterly 21 (May 1990). Harry P. Hewitt, "The Mexican Commission and Its Survey of the Rio Grande River Boundary, 1850–1854," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 94 (April 1991).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Harry P. Hewitt, "GARCIA CONDE, PEDRO," accessed April 05, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fgakg.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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