An acrimonious civilian-military conflict reached into the halls of Congress and the White House when residents of Brownsville, Texas accused the First Battalion, 25th Infantry, of attacking the town from Fort Brown around midnight on August 12, 1906, claiming the life of one townsman and injuring two others.

The disputed episode took place against the background of deteriorating racial relations in the state and region, an enhanced selfconfidence of black soldiers following heroic achievements in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine insurrection, and the economic decline of the South Texas town bordering the Rio Grande. Texas, like other southern states, was tightening segregation at the turn of the century. Brownsville, bypassed when rail joined San Antonio to Laredo, Texas in the late nineteenth century, failed to recover the prosperity the Civil War had inspired.


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