Inspector George T. Hammonds

Inspector George T. Hammonds

United States Department of the Treasury - United States Customs Service, U.S. Government

End of Watch Friday, December 18, 1868

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George T. Hammonds

Inspector William Hammonds and Inspector George Phelps were shot and killed in Brownsville, Texas, by a group of bandits that attacked the United States Customs House at the mouth of the Rio Grande River.

The bandits had crossed into the United States from Mexico and encountered the acting deputy collector in front of the Customs House. A struggle ensued in which the deputy collector was knocked unconscious. The subjects then entered the Customs House and, without speaking, opened fire on Inspector Phelps, killing him as he sat in a chair.

After raiding the Customs House the bandits went to a nearby home and attempted to lure out the homeowner, but were refused entry to the home. Inspector Phelps, who had heard the gunfire, as the bandits left. When he learned that the homeowner did not have any weapons he attempted to leave to obtain assistance, but the bandits ambushed him and shot him in both legs. He tried to crawl back to the house but was grabbed by the bandits and shot and stabbed repeatedly.

The groups of bandits fled back into Mexico while being chased by citizens.

Inspector Hammonds was 26 years old and left behind a wife and a child. He had written to his family and they were expected on the next steamer from New Orleans. Customs officers from the United States and Mexico attended the funeral. Both men were buried locally but the grave sites have not been located.


  • Age 26
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Texas
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Not available

Most Recent Reflection

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May your memory be a blessing for those who hold the line, their families, and all who remember you

CBPO/Chaplian A Aronson
United States Customs and Border Protection

December 18, 2019

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