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CHAPTER VI:
THE ROYAL FORT OF ST. IGNATIUS AT TUBAC

E. 2. Garrison Strength

The original complement garrisoned at Tubac was only thirty men as already discussed (Ortiz Parrilla June 2 1752: 110v). When the royal fort at Altar was established two years after the Tubac post the twenty-man detachment Captain Beldarrain had to maintain at Ocuca returned to Tubac, raising effective strength to fifty.

The Jesuit missionary Ignaz Pfefferkorn stated that during his stay in the province (1756-1767) the frontier posts were garrisoned by three officers and fifty men each (Treutlein 1949:292). The governor of Durango gave the strength at the end of 1761 as fifty men including officers (Tamarón 1937:304305). Captain Juan Bautista de Anza took forty men from Tubac to campaign against the Seris in 1761 (ibid,. p. 268) and a detachment of ten men would have been a reasonable defensive holding force to leave at the post. The total complement of the unit when inspected at the end of December of 1766 was fifty-one officers and men (Rubí Dec. 21, 1766) 195so it had apparently remained at its original figure all the time, and the clerical estimates represent slight errors of estimation around the official figure.

After the recommendations of the Marques de Rubí were embodied in the New Regulations governing royal forts issued in 1772, the authorized strength of the Tubac garrison was set at forty-three enlisted men plus a captain, lieutenant, ensign, chaplain and ten Indian scouts (Escudero 1849:65). Three of the enlisted men were non-commissioned officers-a sergeant and two corporals (O'Conor Aug. 18, 1775).

Actual strength on August 1 of 1775 seems to have been only forty-two enlisted men (Oliva Aug. 1, 1775 No. 4).  The royal inspector who reviewed the company in that month reported that as a result of his review the effective force became forty-three men and ten scouts (O'Conor Aug. 16, 1775), after he transferred Sergeant Pedro Marques from the Sonora Flying Company to fill the vacant sergeancy (O'Conor Aug, 18, 1775).

196No bonus was required to attract recruits for the Sonoran frontier garrisons in the middle eighteenth century. More volunteered than the tables of organization called for, so enlistments tended to be similar to the tenure of U. S. jurists: service during life or good behaviour subject to the right of resignation (Treutlein 1949:290).

This favorable situation enabled the company commander to pick and choose his recruits. Three general principles of selection were proposed to Captain Anza by Field Marshal Pignatelly y Rubí:

  1. The recruit should possess the disposition and robustness required by the fatigues of frontier duty.
  2. The non-Spanish recruit should be accepted if he possessed the necessary qualities-a plea for racial tolerance and opening the ranks of the army to mestizos.
  3. Recruits should not be sought among the citizens settled at the post (Rubí Dec. 31, 1766a), which would defeat the purpose of civilian settlement there.

The next general inspector of the Tubac garrison repeated the Field Marshal's recommendations, ordering that recruits be of tall stature, good disposition, and robust and agile to carry out the incessant fatigues of frontier duty. They were to be free from notable facial defects, chronic or incurable diseases and from immorality (O'Conor Aug. 16, 1775).

b. Service Records. Like any military organization the Spanish presidial unit required records of its individual members. Each frontier fort comandant kept or supervised a 197Filiation Book which contained enlistment papers and service records of the soldiers (Rubí Dec. 31, 1766a).

This volume was checked by royal inspectors when they reviewed the post (O'Conor Aug. 1, 1775) but Lt. Oliva was unable to present the Tubac volume for Comandant-Inspector O'Conor's perusal in the summer of 1775 because Captain Anza had the volume in his possession (Oliva Aug. 1, 1775). The state of the post archives was so deplorable that the royal inspector issued precise instructions for the future management of its records (O'Conor Aug. 16, 1775). The acting comandant was ordered to solicit copies of missing documents, to fill out the company records and to maintain an inventory of the contents of the archive, without allowing a single document to be removed therefrom.

The service record of every recruit began with his enlistment paper in this prescribed form:

Name, son of John so much and of Mary so much; Native of such and such town belonging to which district; with what occupation; in what district; stature of so many feet, so many inches; aged ___; of such and such town belonging to which district; with what occupation; in what district; stature of so many feet, so many inches; aged ___; Religion Catholic Apostolic Roman; his marks these: skin color, eye set and color, eye-brow color, nose form, scars on what part of the face, enlisted as soldier for eight, six or five years, in such and such town, and on such and such day.

He received so many reales bonus for enlisting, and the penalties provided by ordinance were read to him, and he signed, or from not knowing how to write made the sign of the cross, being advised of what it is the 198atestation and would not serve him as any excuse, being witnesses: Name of Sergeants or Corporals of the place.

Among other things Comandant-Inspector Hugo O'Conor felt the sorry post of Tubac sorely needed in the summer of 1775 was an improved filing system. How an illiterate acting-commander could devise one is another question.

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