Hispanics serving on both sides participated in some of the bitterest fighting of the Civil War as Texas, critical to the Confederacy as its primary source of food supplies and ports for cotton export, represented a civil war within a civil war. Tejano (Hispanic Texans) fought Tejano and they faced particularly complex choices as to where to place their loyalties. Slavery, being relatively scarce, played less of a role in these decisions. Many from the northern frontier of Mexico were proponents of Mexican Federalism, a belief in regional autonomy that coincided with the states’ rights policies of the Confederacy. Others, having engaged in frequent clashes with U.S. troops stationed on the post-Mexican War border, welcomed the removal of those forces from the region. Wealthy Tejano ranchers mirrored their Creole counterparts in Louisiana and were linked to the Confederate leaders of Texas by marriage, politics, and shared economic interests. Santos Benavides, a member of a wealthy Laredo family, represented these Tejanos. He served as a colonel in the Confederate army.