Most people don’t know the name, Benjamin Milam. Which is a shame because he was one of the many heroes of the Texas Revolution. Benjamin Rush Milam, named after the American Founding Father Benjamin Rush, was born in Kentucky in 1788. In his youth, he received little formal education and ultimately enlisted in the Kentucky Militia. He fought in the War of 1812 and was commissioned a lieutenant.
In 1818, Milam went to Texas to trade with the Comanche. Shortly after arriving in Texas Milam joined up in the cause for Mexican independence from Spain. His efforts landed him in prison, in Mexico City, until 1822. When Mexico adopted the Constitution of 1824 Milam returned to Mexico City, was granted Mexican Citizenship, and was commissioned a Colonel in the Mexican Army.
Ben Milam was instrumental in the colonization of Texas. He acquired empresario Grants, owned two mining operations, and worked to get land titles for the Texas settlers. When news arrived that Antonio López de Santa Anna had overthrown the representative democracy of Mexico and set himself up as dictator Milam fled with Agustín Viesca, the Governor of Texas. But they were both captured and imprisoned in Monterey, Mexico. Eventually, Ben escaped from prison with the help of some sympathetic jailers.
After escaping prison, Milam learned of the movement for Texas Independence and set out to join a company of the Texas Army under the command of George Collinsworth. They set out to capture the Mission of Goliad. After they had won the skirmish and taken control of the fort Milam had this to say:
“I assisted Texas to gain her independence. I have endured heat and cold, hunger and thirst; I have borne losses and suffered persecutions; I have been a tenant of every prison between this and Mexico. But the events of this night have compensated me for all my losses and all my sufferings.”
The company then set out to rejoin Stephen F. Austin and the rest of Texas Army to capture San Antonio de Bexar. After some minor skirmishes, Milam heard that Austin and many of the other commanders were considering falling back to winter quarters. Ben was adamantly opposed to this course of action and strode brazenly into the Texan camp and calling out; “Who will go with old Ben Milam into San Antonio?” 300 Texans cheered their support for him!
It was decided that on December 5 the Texans would attack San Antonio de Bexar. It would be a two-pronged attack with one prong being led by Milam and the other being led by Colonel Francis W. Johnson. At the opening of the attack, the Texans under Milam captured two houses in the Military Plaza. They were unable to advance further that day so they set about fortifying the houses. On December 7 Milam resumed that advance and gained a foothold in the city.
During the attack, Milam was killed. But his actions were vital to the capture of San Antonio de Bexar and The Alamo, which would play a major role in the Texas Revolution.
Benjamin Milam Fought in 3 wars, for the independence of 2 Nations, and gave his life in defense of Texas Independence.