Saturday, 4 June 2011

Manuel Dominguez &The Mexican Spy Company. New 40mm Military Miniatures from Gringo 40's.

Manuel Dominguez was a noted, some would say infamous, highwayman and bandit leader who made his living on the roads between Vera Cruz and Mexico City in the 1840’s. Dominguez demonstrated a style and dash more associated with earlier European highwaymen than the road agents of the American West. Having had the pleasure of being robbed by Dominguez he would issue his victims with his calling card which was to be used somewhat like a passport should the unfortunate traveler be yet again held up by bandits.

Dominguez considered the outbreak of war between Mexico and the United States in 1846 as an opportunity to improve business. Not only would the Mexican Army have more important things to attend to than a lowly highwayman but the American invaders would provide rich pickings for him and his men. In fact, during the early part of the war in Mexico, Dominguez and his muchachos robbed American troops on a number of occasions.

Unfortunately for Dominguez he had underestimated the ability and resources of the Mexican Army and along with some of his compatriots found himself captured by an Army Patrol. So it was when the United States army marched into Puebla on May 15, 1847, Dominguez was enjoying free room and board in the towns jail.

Luckily for Dominguez Col. Ethan Allen Hitchcock; future ACW Union General and grandson of the commander of the famous Green Mountain Boys was General Scotts chief of intelligence. Displaying a resourcefulness that would have made his grand-daddy proud Hitchcock offered to release Dominguez and a number of his associates with the proviso that they work for the United States Army as irregular scouts. Dominguez, ever the opportunist, readily agreed and was released in June of 1847.

Dominguez was as good as his word and before long had enlisted the majority of his old gang into the service of the United States and with that the Mexican Spy Company was formed.

Wearing a  splendid uniform of a green dragoon’s jacket with scarlet cuffs and collar, large back felt hat complete with a scarlet red scarf, which according to legend was boldly emblazoned with the words “Spy Company” in white lettering, and carrying lances they served as guides, scouts and dispatch riders. On occasion dressing as ranchers, beggars and such to carry out their spying activities the Spy Company also proved most useful in Guerrilla and anti-guerrilla operations. The Spy Company distinguished themselves as both reliable and loyal troops of the United States army, although they were never formally recognized as such, they did however receive much praise from their foreign masters.

So effective was Dominguez and the men of the Spy Company that General Santa Anna offered them a full pardon for all previous crimes, a large bribe and the rank of Colonel for Dominguez should they switch sides. Dominguez refused.

It is estimated that the Spy Company may have numbered as many as two thousand, before being disbanded in June of 1848 at Vera Cruz. Dominguez ,along with nearly half of his men thought it safer to return to the United States rather than remain in Mexico were they were considered by many to be no better than traitors.

The new Vignette from Gringo 40’s contains a mounted trooper awaiting orders from his commanding officer who is on foot viewing some enemy activity through his spyglass.
The Spy Company vignette set of model soldiers is available from our online shop at http://www.gringo40s.com.

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