This event developed from the disastrous Mier Expedition, last raiding expedition toward the Texas/Mexico border which set out in December 1842 as tensions remained high between the two nations. Poorly planned, the foray ended in the Texans' surrender on December 26, 1842.

Being marched to Mexico City for execution per orders of Presidente Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (which was quickly reversed) the prisoners made a break for freedom February 11, 1843 at Salado. The escape was successful, but once in the open in the dry season, the group became separated and lost. 176 were recaptured by Mexican troops.

Again Santa Anna ordered them all executed, but Governor Francisco Mexía of the state of Coahuila refused to obey the order, and the foreign ministers in Mexico were able to get the decree modified. The government then ordered that every tenth man be executed.

The victims were chosen by lottery, each man drawing a bean from a jar containing 176 beans, seventeen black beans being the unlucky tokens. Observers of the drawing later described the dignity, the firmness, and general courage of the men who drew the beans of death. Some left messages for their families with their companions. The doomed men were unshackled from their companions, placed in a separate courtyard, and shot at dusk on March 25, 1843.

In 1848 the bodies were returned from Mexico to be buried at Monument Hill, near La Grange, Fayette County, Texas.

Hence the term, "Drawing the black bean."

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