Fort Velasco and Fort Quintana
Surfside, Texas

Photos/text this page courtesy of William Bozic, Houston TX
For any use of these photos contact
1. Handbook of Texas Online - VELASCO, TX
2. Battle of Fort Velasco
3. 'Come and Take It', and the Battle of Velasco.
4. Handbook of Texas Online - QUINTANA, TX


Texas Historical Commission marker at Surfside, TX Enlarge

This photo was taken on August 15, 2008 prior to Hurricane Ike. It is not known if this marker survived the hurricane. It was located about 50 yards from the beach near the end of Texas Route 332 in Surfside Texas

Inscription. Historic and key Texas port of entry located near here. During the Civil War was fortified by troops and 8 gun batteries at the mouth of the Brazos River, to provide shelter and landing facilities for blockade runners; to protect rich farmlands; and to prevent Federal invasion

The South exchanged cotton for European guns, ammunition, milled goods and medicines for army and home use. Velasco was one of the busiest ports. Federal vessels attempted to stop vital trade, and constantly fired upon runners as well as the shore defenses and patrols. The runners would approach the port on dark nights when the waters were smooth, and by the use of sounding lines could determine nearness to shore and avoid blockaders. Boilers would be kept well fired with hard coal that burned with a minimum of smoke, in case it became necessary to outrun Federal patrol ships

Union ships had to go to New Orleans for drinking water, food and fuel, because Texas marines on rafts or dredge boats or Texas cavalry and infantry units kept them off the shores. The raw courage of the Texas coastal defenders made this a most dramatic story in the history of the Confederacy

From the book CONFEDERATES ON THE CANEY, Self-published by Bobby McKinney, the following partial list of Confederate and Texas State units stationed at Fort Velasco is taken.

2nd Texas Infantry Regt.
3rd Texas Infantry Regt.
13th Texas Infantry Regt.
Infantry Brigade Texas State Troops
Waul's Texas Legion
1st Texas State Cavalry
23rd Texas Cavalry Regt.
35th (Likens) Texas Cavalry Regt.
Jones' Texas Artillery Battery
Gibson's Texas Artillery Battery
Wilke's Texas Artillery Battery
Confederate Engineer Troops


Texas Historical Commission marker at Surfside, TX Enlarge

This marker was photographed in the late afternoon on August 15, 2008. Hurricane Ike hit this area very hard so it is not known if the marker still exists. The site of the mouth of the Brazos River was important in many eras and in recent times the general area has been a large petrochemical shipment and refining site with surprising tourist areas along the beachfront.

Inscription. Here was fought a battle-- the first collision in arms between Texas colonists and the Mexican military-- a conflict preliminary to the Texas War for Independence.

On June 26, 1832, when Texans under John Austin and Henry Smith came down river with cannon for use against Mexican forces at Anahuac, they ran against the resistance of Lt. Col. Domingo de Ugartechea. As commander of Mexican forces at Velasco, Ugartechea refused passage through the mouth of the Brazos River to the vessel bearing the cannon to Anahuac. Some 112 Texans attacked the port at midnight, and after 9 hours under the fire of Texas rifles and cannon, the Mexican garrison was forced to surrender.

The Battle of Velasco, brought on by a customs quarrel at Anahuac, was unknowingly fought after the dispute at Anahuac had been peaceably settled. After the victory at San Jacinto 4 years later, President David G. Burnet moved the capital of the Republic of Texas temporarily to Velasco. Here the Treaty of Velasco, ending hostilities between Texas and Mexico, was signed on May 14, 1836. (1965)


(August 15, 2008) Enlarge Texas Historical Commission marker at Surfside, TX
The large stone monument is dedicated to the various jetties which have been built and lost near this site. The two markers relate the importance of Velasco and the fort during the time of Texas wars for independence from Mexico and the USA

The markers and monument are located along Texas Route 332 about 50 yards from the end of the road and the start of the beach. This photo was taken on August 15, 2008. Hurricane Ike destroyed most of Surfside so the current condition of the site is unknown

(July 21, 2008) Enlarge View of Fort Velasco site from across the inlet
This photo was taken July 21, 2008 from near the site of Fort Quintana toward the site of Fort Velasco. The Brazos River enters the Gulf of Mexico so this was a place the US Navy tried to blockade in order to keep the agricultural riches of the Brazos Valley from being transported by blockade runners to ports friendly to the Confederates and much needed supplies from entering the Confederacy

The general location of Fort Velasco is toward the left side of the photo very near the red tiled roof of the Surfside City Hall and tower which can bee seen in the distance on the other bank

Surfside and Quintana are both a part of Brazoria County Texas. Please note the low elevation above sea-level and imagine the devastation of the tidal surge during Hurricane Ike



(August 15, 2008) Enlarge Sketch of Fort Velasco

This is an artist's rendition of how Fort Velasco might have looked during the Spanish and Mexican eras. Unless the viewer looks very closely, the wood covered walls with earthed interiors can be missed, as well as the fort is not to scale. In fact the fort was quite larger than the figures in the forefront might lead someone to believe. This sketch was on display at the Surfside City Hall, in Surfside, Brazoria County, Texas

(August 15, 2008) Enlarge  Interpretive Sign Plan for a reconstruction of Fort Velasco done by Landscape architect Bob Duke
This plan was photographed on the wall for public display at the Surfside, Brazoria County, Texas City Hall on August 15, 2008. This was the third phase of a development. The first two successful phases were in operation and there were plans for this third phase to include a reconstruction of the fort on grounds near the actual site. This photo and plan were prior to the terrible devastation due to Hurricane Ike. If you look closely at the plan you will notice the idea was to allow visitors to campout overnight in the reconstructed fort, in addition to historical interpretation

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