While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Margaret Swett Henson

FORT ANAHUAC. Fort Anahuac is located in a Chambers County park on State Highway 563 one mile south of Anahuac. It was the site of the first armed confrontation between Anglo-Texans and Mexican troops, on June 10–12, 1832. In November 1830 Col. Juan Davis Bradburn chose the site for the fort and its town on a bluff, called Perry's Point since 1816, overlooking the entrance to the Trinity River. The garrison was one of six new outposts located at strategic entrances to Texas and designed to enforce the Law of April 6, 1830. All the garrisons carried Mexican names. Anáhuac, the name of the ancient home of the Aztecs, was borrowed for the Chambers county fort. Bradburn brought plans and a cardboard fort with him.

The garrison lived temporarily in a fortified wooden barracks a half mile north of the bluff in the center of the site of modern Anahuac. The barracks was later used as the jail that held William B. Travis and others. Bricks for the walls and buildings of the permanent fort were made by convict soldiers on-site, beginning in March 1831. A Masonic and military ceremony marked completion of the foundation on May 14, 1831. The exterior walls were 100 by seventy feet and enclosed two redoubts diagonally opposite on the southwest and northeast corners. Inside the perimeter was a reinforced-brick building about fifty by thirty-five feet. The southwest redoubt, overlooking Trinity Bay, was named Fort Davis (for Bradburn); it was manned by a maximum of fifty men and defended by a six-pound cannon, while its twin on the northeast guarded the land approach. The cavalry tethered its horses between the two redoubts. An excavated passage connected the enclosure with the powder magazine on the east side, where two bulwarks named Hidalgo and Morelos (for martyrs of the Mexican independence movement) near the sites of the brick kilns, each with a sixteen-pound cannon, guarded the compound.

The garrison grew from forty men and four officers in November 1830 to a maximum of 285 men and ten officers in May 1832. After March 1832 about 100 of the men were stationed at Velasco, at the mouth of the Brazos, under Col. Domingo de Ugartechea. The troops were from the Eleventh and Twelfth battalions; the boatmen came from the battalion of Pueblo Viejo de Tampico; La Bahía supplied twenty-five cavalrymen and one officer.

Texan insurgents under Col. Francis White Johnson attacked the fort on June 10–12, 1832, to rescue Travis. The troops dismantled the fort when they left in July 1832, and a fire in November gutted the wooden parts. The wooden calaboose was burned in December 1832, and practical residents removed bricks for fireplaces and foundations.

In January 1835 Capt. Antonio Tenorio arrived with about forty troops to reopen the fort, but it was in such disrepair that he asked his superiors for wood to make repairs. The wood arrived in May but was burned by irate Texans. Tenorio had no artillery when Travis and his volunteers attacked on June 29, so his troops fled into the woods. He capitulated the next day, and the small garrison sailed to Harrisburg and retreated to Bexar.

The fort was never used again; the land became private property. In 1938 the county surveyor made field notes of the existing foundations. Erosion caused by rechanneling the Trinity River sometime after the 1930s caused the remains of the southwestern redoubt to fall into the water. Chambers County acquired the site for a park in 1946, and officials ordered it cleared and the rubble buried for safety reasons and to prevent vandalism. An amateur excavation was made in 1968 before preservation laws went into effect, but no in-depth archeological study has been made of the site. See also ANAHUAC DISTURBANCES.

Margaret S. Henson, Anahuac in 1832: The Cradle of the Texas Revolution (Anahuac, Texas: Fort Anahuac Committee of the Chambers County Historical Commission, 1982). Margaret S. Henson, Juan Davis Bradburn: A Reappraisal of the Mexican Commander of Anahuac (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1982). James Wright Steely, comp., A Catalog of Texas Properties in the National Register of Historic Places (Austin: Texas Historical Commission, 1984).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Margaret Swett Henson, "FORT ANAHUAC," accessed August 11, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qbf01.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...