Walk in the Footsteps of Stephen F. Austin:
Known as the Cradle of Texas, Surfside Beach is the home of the famous Fort Velasco. The actual fort was located near the current City Hall. It was at this port that Stephen F. Austin and his colonists first arrived in Texas in 1821. Eleven years later, in 1832, the first battle of Texas’ war for independence was fought here. Historical markers state:
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 downriver with a 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, de 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 nine 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 four 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.
Off the end of the Bird & Butterfly trail, there is a fort fence replica of Fort Velasco. Stroll through and read about the timeline of our rich history in Texas!