A Guide to the A. F. Randall Papers, 1867-1868
During the Civil War, the citizens of Brownsville, Texas, relied upon the smuggling trade to import goods into the region. Since most of the southern ports had been closed due to the blockade, many goods came though Matamoras, Mexico. After the Battle of Palmito Ranch on May 13, 1865, Brownsville was occupied by the Union army, and much of the smuggling halted. In 1867, Hugh McCulloch, U.S. Secretary of Treasury, suspected that some merchants were still smuggling merchandise from Mexico. He instructed A. F. Randall, a special treasury agent, to investigate several merchants, including Richard L. Robertson, a deceased collector of customs, and Henry M. Field, acting special deputy collector in charge of the customs house in Brownsville. The latter were accused of charging the government sums of money and furnishing fraudulent vouchers. McCulloch directed him to inspect ports along the Rio Grande River from Brownsville to Nuevo Laredo, among other directions. Randall confirmed McCulloch’s suspicions and ensured the merchants repaid the U.S. Treasury.
Handbook of Texas Online,s.v."Brownsville, Texas,"http://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/BB/hdb4.html (accessed October 15, 2010).
The A. F. Randall Papers, 1867- 1868, consists of correspondence that documents the investigation into the smuggling activities of merchants in Brownsville, Texas. The collection contains correspondence to and from Secretary of State Hugh McCulloch, Henry M. Field and other deputy collectors, as well as financial records pertaining to the investigation.
This collection is open for research use.
A. F. Randall Papers, 1867-1868, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers