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Battle of San Jacinto

Battle of San Jacinto
Part of the Texas Revolution

The Battle of San Jacinto-1895 painting by Henry Arthur McArdle (1836–1908)[1]
Date April 21, 1836
Location Near modern Deer Park, Texas

Decisive Texian victory;

  • Mexican surrender and retreat to the south of the Rio Grande
 Mexico Texian rebels
Commanders and leaders
Antonio López de Santa Anna (POW)
Manuel Fernández Castrillón 
Juan Almonte (POW)
Martín Perfecto de Cos (POW)
Sam Houston W
Thomas J. Rusk
James C. Neill W
Mirabeau B. Lamar
1 cannon
2 cannons
Casualties and losses
650 killed
208 wounded
300 captured
11 killed or fatally wounded
30 wounded
approximate location of the battle is located in Texas
approximate location of the battle
Location within Texas

The Battle of San Jacinto, fought on April 21, 1836, in present-day Harris County, Texas, was the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. Led by General Sam Houston, the Texian Army engaged and defeated General Antonio López de Santa Anna's Mexican army in a fight that lasted just 18 minutes. About 630 of the Mexican soldiers were killed and 730 captured, while only nine Texans died.

Santa Anna, the President of Mexico, was captured the following day and held as a prisoner of war. Three weeks later, he signed the peace treaty that dictated that the Mexican army leave the region, paving the way for the Republic of Texas to become an independent country. These treaties did not specifically recognize Texas as a sovereign nation, but stipulated that Santa Anna was to lobby for such recognition in Mexico City. Sam Houston became a national celebrity, and the Texans' rallying cries from events of the war, "Remember the Alamo!" and "Remember Goliad!," became etched into Texan history and legend.


  • Background: December 1832– March 1836 1
    • The Mexican constitution is overturned 1.1
    • Cos is appointed military governor of Texas 1.2
    • Santa Anna takes the Alamo 1.3
  • Retreat: March–May 1836 2
    • Texian retreat: The Runaway Scrape 2.1
    • San Jacinto 2.2
    • Mexican retreat 2.3
  • Aftermath 3
    • Military 3.1
    • Republic of Texas 3.2
    • Foreign relations 3.3
  • Legacy 4
  • See also 5
  • Notes 6
    • Footnotes 6.1
    • Citations 6.2
  • References 7
  • Other Links 8

Background: December 1832– March 1836

The Mexican constitution is overturned

General Antonio López de Santa Anna was a proponent of governmental federalism when he helped oust Mexican president Anastasio Bustamante in December 1832. Upon his election as president in April 1833,[3] Santa Anna switched his political ideology and began implementing Centralist policies that increased the authoritarian powers of his office.[4] His abrogation of the Constitution of 1824, correlating with his abolishing local-level authority over Mexico's state of Coahuila y Tejas (Coahuila and Texas), became a flashpoint in the growing tensions between the central government and its Tejano and Anglo citizens in Texas. While in Mexico City awaiting a meeting with Santa Anna, Texian empresario Stephen F. Austin wrote to the Béxar ayuntamiento (city council) urging a break-away state. In response, the Mexican government kept him imprisoned for most of 1834.[5][6]

Colonel Juan Almonte was appointed Director of Colonization in Texas,[7] ostensibly to ease relations with the colonists and mitigate their anxieties about Austin's imprisonment.[8] He delivered promises of self-governance, and conveyed regrets that the Mexican congress deemed it constitutionally impossible for Texas to be a separate state. Behind the rhetoric, his covert mission was to identify the local power brokers, obstruct any plans for rebellion, and supply the Mexican government with data that would be of use in a military conflict. For nine months in 1834, under the guise of serving as a government liaison, Almonte traveled through Texas and compiled an all-encompassing intelligence report on the population and its environs, including an assessment of their resources and defense capabilities.[9]

Cos is appointed military governor of Texas

In consolidating his power base, Santa Anna installed his brother-in-law Martín Perfecto de Cos as the governing military authority over Texas in 1835.[10][11] The initial eruption of hostilities, and first Texian victory in the revolution, came on October 2 at the Battle of Gonzales when colonists refused to relinquish a cannon the Mexican government provided them in 1831 for self-defense.[12] The following week at the Battle of Goliad, a militia composed of both Texians and Tejanos gained control of the presidio and installed Phillip Dimmitt as commander.[13] Area land owners in Goliad, however, were angry that their properties had been confiscated and pillaged by the occupying Texians.[14] When local area residents attempted to legally prevent a recurrence, Dimmitt declared martial law.[14]

Cos established headquarters in San Antonio on October 9, triggering what became known as the Siege of Béxar.[15] Austin was selected as commander of the Texian resistance forces, joined by a stream of United States volunteers. James Bowie, James Fannin and 90 militia advancing into Béxar repelled Mexican troops under Mexican colonel Domingo Ugartechea at Mission Concepción.[16] Rebel reinforcements of 160 rancheros (Mexican ranch owners) arrived under Juan Seguín, José Carbajal, Plácido Benavides, Salvador Flores and Manuel Leal.[17][18] Edward Burleson assumed command of the Texian forces when Austin was selected to join Branch T. Archer and William H. Wharton on a diplomatic mission to seek international recognition and support.[19][20]

The November 1835 Consultation of Texians in San Felipe de Austin created the General Council, a provisional government based on the 1824 constitution. Although it had not been decided on whether to break away as a republic, or to remain with Mexico but push for a reinstatement of the constitution, they moved to establish a regular paid defense force initially named the Provisional Army of Texas. Sam Houston was named commander-in-chief and expected to recruit and train the men.[Note 1][Note 2] Santa Anna temporarily stepped down from the presidency on November 28, intent on putting down the rebellion by taking personal charge of the Mexican army .[10][11] On December 10, the General Council in San Felipe called new elections to choose delegates to determine the fate of the region.[21]

After two months of trying to repel the Texian forces, Cos raised a white flag on December 9, and signed surrender terms two days later: "That general Cos and his officers retire into the interior of the republic, under parole of honor; that they will not in any way oppose the re-establishment of the federal Constitution of 1824."[22] With the cessation of hostilities in Béxar, Burleson left for home and turned over the garrison command to Frank W. Johnson.[23] Every military engagement of 1835 had resulted in a Texian victory. The surrender of Cos effectively removed the occupying Mexican army from Texas. Many believed the war was over, and volunteers began returning home.[24]

In compliance with orders from Santa Anna, Mexico's Minister of War José María Tornel issued his December 30 "Circular No. 5", often referred to as the Tornel Decree, aimed at dealing with United States intervention in the uprising in Texas. It declared that foreigners who entered Mexico for the purpose of joining the rebellion were to be treated as "pirates", to be put to death if captured. In adding "since they are not subjects of any nation at war with the republic nor do they militate under any recognized flag," Tornel avoided declaring war on the United States,.[25][26]

Santa Anna takes the Alamo

The Mexican Army of Operations numbered 6,019 soldiers[27] and was spread out over 300 miles (480 km) on its march to Béxar. General Joaquín Ramírez y Sesma was put in command of the Vanguard of the Advance that crossed into Texas.[28] Santa Anna and his aide-de-camp Almonte[29] forded the Rio Grande at Guerrero, Coahuila on February 16, 1836,[30] with General José de Urrea and 500 more troops following the next day at Matamoros.[31] Béxar was captured on February 23 and when the assault commenced, attempts at negotiation for surrender were initiated from inside the fortress. Travis sent Albert Martin to request a meeting with Almonte, who replied that he did not have the authority to speak for Santa Anna.[32] Bowie dispatched Green B. Jameson with a letter, translated into Spanish by Juan Seguín, requesting a meeting with Santa Anna, who immediately refused. Santa Anna did, however, extend an offer of amnesty to Tejanos inside the fortress. Alamo non-combatant survivor Enrique Esparza said that most Tejanos left when Bowie advised them to take the offer.[33]

Cos, in violation of his surrender terms, forded into Texas at Guerrero on February 26 to join with the main army at Béxar.[34] Urrea proceeded to secure the Gulf Coast, and was victorious in two skirmishes with Texian detachments serving under Fannin at Goliad. On February 27 a foraging detachment under Frank W. Johnson at San Patricio was attacked by Urrea . Sixteen were killed, and 21 taken prisoner, but Johnson and 4 others escaped.[35][36] Urrea sent a company to Agua Dulce searching for James Grant and Plácido Benavides who were leading a company of Anglos and Tejanos towards an invasion of Matamoros. The Mexicans set a trap, killing Grant and most of the company. Benavides and 4 others escaped, and 6 were taken prisoner.[37][38]

The Convention of 1836 met at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 1.[39] The following day, Sam Houston's 42nd birthday, the 59 delegates signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, and chose an ad interim government.[39][40] When news of the declaration reached Goliad, Benavides informed Fannin that in spite of his opposition to Santa Anna, he was still loyal to Mexico and did not wish to help Texas break away. Fannin discharged him from his duties and sent him home.[41] On March 4 Houston's military authority was expanded to include "the land forces of the Texian army both Regular, Volunteer, and Militia."[42]

At 5 a.m. on March 6, the Mexican troops launched their final assault on the Alamo. The guns fell silent 90 minutes later; the Alamo had fallen.[43] Survivors Susannah Dickinson, her daughter Angelina, Travis' slave Joe, and Almonte's cook Ben were spared by Santa Anna and sent to Gonzales, where Texian volunteers had been assembling.[44]

Retreat: March–May 1836

Texian retreat: The Runaway Scrape

On March 11, Santa Anna sent one column of troops to join Urrea, with instructions to move to Brazoria once Fannin's men had been neutralized. A second set of 700 troops under General Antonio Gaona would advance along the Camino Real to Mina, and then on to Nacogdoches. General Joaquín Ramírez y Sesma would take an additional 700 men to San Felipe. The Mexican columns were thus moving northeast on roughly parallel paths, separated by 40–50 miles (64–80 km).[45]

The same day that Mexican troops departed Béxar, Houston arrived in Gonzales and informed the 374 volunteers (some without weapons) gathered there that Texas was now an independent republic.[46] Just after 11 p.m. on March 13, Susanna Dickinson and Joe brought news that the Alamo garrison had been defeated and the Mexican army was marching towards Texian settlements. A hastily convened council of war voted to evacuate the area and retreat. The evacuation commenced at midnight and happened so quickly that many Texian scouts were unaware the army had moved on. Everything that could not be carried was burned, and the army's only two cannon were thrown into the Guadalupe River.[47] When Ramírez y Sesma reached Gonzales the morning of March 14, he found the buildings still smoldering.[48]

Most citizens fled on foot, many carrying their small children. A cavalry company led by Seguín and Salvador Flores were assigned as rear guard to evacuate the more isolated ranches and protect the civilians from attacks by Mexican troops or Indians.[49] The further the army retreated, the more civilians joined the flight.[50] For both armies and the civilians, the pace was slow; torrential rains had flooded the rivers and turned the roads into mud pits.[51]

As news of the Alamo's fall spread, volunteer ranks swelled, reaching about 1,400 men on March 19.[51] Houston learned of Fannin's defeat on March 20 and realized his army was the last hope for an independent Texas. Concerned that his ill-trained and ill-disciplined force would only be good for one battle and aware that his men could easily be outflanked by Urrea's forces, Houston continued to avoid engagement, to the immense displeasure of his troops.[52] By March 28, the Texian army had retreated 120 miles (190 km) across the Navidad and Colorado Rivers.[53] Many troops deserted; those who remained grumbled that their commander was a coward.[52]

On March 31, Houston paused his men at Groce's Landing, roughly 15 miles (24 km) north of San Felipe.[Note 3] Two companies that refused to retreat further than San Felipe were assigned to guard the crossings on the Brazos River.[54] For the next two weeks, the Texians rested, recovered from illness, and, for the first time, began practicing military drills. While there, two cannon, known as the Twin Sisters, arrived from Cincinnati, Ohio.[55] Interim Secretary of War Thomas Rusk joined the camp, with orders from President David G. Burnet to replace Houston if he refused to fight. Houston quickly persuaded Rusk that his plans were sound.[55] Secretary of State Samuel P. Carson advised Houston to continue retreating all the way to the Sabine River, where more volunteers would likely flock from the United States and allow the army to counterattack.[Note 4][56] Unhappy with everyone involved, Burnet wrote to Houston: "The enemy are laughing you to scorn. You must fight them. You must retreat no further. The country expects you to fight. The salvation of the country depends on your doing so."[55] Complaints within the camp became so strong that Houston posted notices that anyone attempting to usurp his position would be court-martialed and shot.[57]

Santa Anna and a smaller force had remained in Béxar. After receiving word that the acting president, Miguel Barragán, had died, Santa Anna seriously considered returning to Mexico City to solidify his position. Fear that Urrea's victories would position him as a political rival convinced Santa Anna to remain in Texas to personally oversee the final phase of the campaign.[58] He left on March 29 to join Ramírez y Sesma, leaving only a small force to hold Béxar.[59] At dawn on April 7, their combined force marched into San Felipe and captured a Texian soldier, who informed Santa Anna that the Texians planned to retreat further if the Mexican army crossed the Brazos River.[60] Unable to cross the Brazos due to the small company of Texians barricaded at the river crossing, on April 14 a frustrated Santa Anna led a force of about 700 troops to capture the interim Texas government.[61][62] Government officials fled mere hours before Mexican troops arrived in Harrisburg, and Santa Anna sent Colonel Juan Almonte with 50 cavalry to intercept them in New Washington. Almonte arrived just as Burnet shoved off in a rowboat, bound for Galveston Island. Although the boat was still within range of their weapons, Almonte ordered his men to hold their fire so as not to endanger Burnet's family.[63]

At this point, Santa Anna believed the rebellion was in its final death throes. The Texian government had been forced off the mainland, with no way to communicate with its army, which had shown no interest in fighting. He determined to block the Texian army's retreat and put a decisive end to the war.[63] Almonte's scouts incorrectly reported that Houston's army was going to Lynchburg Crossing, on Buffalo Bayou, in preparation for joining the government in Galveston, so Santa Anna ordered Harrisburg burned and pressed on towards Lynchburg.[63]

The Texian army had resumed their march eastward. On April 16, they came to a crossroads; one road led north towards Nacogdoches, the other went to Harrisburg. Without orders from Houston and with no discussion amongst themselves, the troops in the lead took the road to Harrisburg. They arrived on April 18, not long after the Mexican army's departure.[64] That same day, Deaf Smith and Henry Karnes captured a Mexican courier carrying intelligence on the locations and future plans of all of the Mexican troops in Texas. Realizing that Santa Anna had only a small force and was not far away, Houston gave a rousing speech to his men, exhorting them to "Remember the Alamo" and "Remember Goliad". His army then raced towards Lynchburg.[65] Out of concern that his men might not differentiate between Mexican soldiers and the Tejanos in Seguín's company, Houston originally ordered Seguín and his men to remain in Harrisburg to guard those who were too ill to travel quickly. After loud protests from Seguín and Antonio Menchaca, the order was rescinded, provided the Tejanos wear a piece of cardboard in their hats to identify them as Texian soldiers.[66]

San Jacinto

San Jacinto battlefield with troop movements

The area along Buffalo Bayou had many thick oak groves, separated by marshes. This type of terrain was familiar to the Texians and quite alien to the Mexican soldiers.[67] Houston's army, comprising 900 men, reached Lynch's Ferry mid-morning on April 20; Santa Anna's 700-man force arrived a few hours later. The Texians made camp in a wooded area along the bank of Buffalo Bayou; while the location provided good cover and helped hide their full strength, it also left the Texians no room for retreat.[68][69] Over the protests of several of his officers, Santa Anna chose to make camp in a vulnerable location, a plain near the San Jacinto River, bordered by woods on one side, marsh and lake on another.[67][70] The two camps were approximately 500 yards (460 m) apart, separated by a grassy area with a slight rise in the middle.[71] Colonel Pedro Delgado later wrote that "the camping ground of His Excellency's selection was in all respects, against military rules. Any youngster would have done better."[72]

Over the next several hours, two brief skirmishes occurred. Texians won the first, forcing a small group of dragoons and the Mexican artillery to withdraw.[67][73] Mexican dragoons then forced the Texian cavalry to withdraw. In the melee, Rusk, on foot to reload his rifle, was almost captured by Mexican soldiers, but was rescued by newly arrived Texian volunteer Mirabeau B. Lamar.[73] Over Houston's objections, many infantrymen rushed onto the field. As the Texian cavalry fell back, Lamar remained behind to rescue another Texian who had been thrown from his horse; Mexican officers "reportedly applauded" his bravery.[74] Houston was irate that the infantry had disobeyed his orders and given Santa Anna a better estimate of their strength; the men were equally upset that Houston had not allowed a full battle.[75]

Throughout the night, Mexican troops worked to fortify their camp, creating breastworks out of everything they could find, including saddles and brush.[76] At 9 a.m. on April 21, Cos arrived with 540 reinforcements, bringing the Mexican force to 1,200 men, which outnumbered the Texians.[77] Cos' men were raw recruits rather than experienced soldiers, and they had marched steadily for more than 24 hours, with no rest and no food.[78] As the morning wore on with no Texian attack, Mexican officers lowered their guard. By afternoon, Santa Anna had given permission for Cos' men to sleep; his own tired troops also took advantage of the time to rest, eat, and bathe.[79]

Not long after the Mexican reinforcements arrived, Houston ordered Smith to destroy

  • Battle of San Jacinto – Handbook of Texas Online
  • Flags of Guerrero and Matamoros Battalions – Texas State Library and Archives Commission
  • San Jacinto Monument & Museum

Other Links

  • Buisseret, David; Francaviglia, Richard; Graves, Jack W. Jr.; Saxon, Gerald (2009). Historic Texas from the Air. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.  
  • Calore, Paul (2014). The Texas Revolution and the U.S.–Mexican War A Concise History. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.  
  • Davis, William C (2004). Lone Star Rising: The Revolutionary Birth of the Texas Republic. New York, NY: Free Press.  
  • de la Teja, Jesus (1991). A Revolution Remembered: The Memoirs and Selected Correspondence of Juan N. Seguin. Austin, TX: State House Press.  
  • Edmondson, J.R. (2000). The Alamo Story-From History to Current Conflicts. Plano, TX: Republic of Texas Press.  
  • Green, Michael (2015). Aircraft Carriers of the United States Navy: Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives. South Yorkshire, UK: Pen & Sword Maritime.  
  • Hampton Roads Naval Historical Foundation (2014). Naval Station Norfolk. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing.  
  • Hardin, Stephen L; de la Teja, Jesús F. (2010). Tejano Leadership in Mexican and Revolutionary Texas. College Station, TX: Texas A & M University Press.  
  • Hardin, Stephen L. (1994). Texian Iliad – A Military History of the Texas Revolution. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.  
  • Hardin, Stephen; McBride, Angus (2001). The Alamo 1836: Santa Anna's Texas Campaign. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing.  
  • Henderson, Timothy J. (2008). A Glorious Defeat: Mexico and Its War with the United States. New York, NY: Hill and Wang.  
  • Jackson, Jack; Wheat, John (2005). Almonte's Texas: Juan N. Almonte's 1834 Inspection, Secret Report & Role in the 1836 Campaign. Denton, TX: Texas State Historical Association.  
  • Lindley, Thomas Ricks (2003). Alamo Traces: New Evidence and New Conclusions. Plano, TX: Republic of Texas Press.  
  • Menchaca, Antonio; Poche, Justin; Matovina, Timothy; de la Teja, Jesus (2013). Recollections of a Tejano Life: Antonio Menchaca in Texas History. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.  
  • Moore, Stephen L. (2004). Eighteen Minutes: The Battle of San Jacinto and the Texas Independence Campaign. Plano, TX: Republic of Texas Press.  
  • Poyo, Gerald Eugene (1996). Tejano Journey, 1770–1850. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.  
  • Reid, Stuart (2007). The Secret War for Texas. Elma Dill Russell Spencer Series in the West and Southwest (28). College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press.  
  • Silverstone, Paul (2006). Civil War Navies, 1855–1883 (The U.S. Navy Warship Series). New York, NY: Routledge.  
  • Todish, Timothy J.; Todish, Terry; Spring, Ted (1998). Alamo Sourcebook, 1836: A Comprehensive Guide to the Battle of the Alamo and the Texas Revolution. Austin, TX: Eakin Press.  
  • Zamora, Emilio; Orozco, Cynthia; Rocha, Rodolfo (2000). Mexican Americans in Texas History: Selected Essays. Denton, TX: Texas State Historical Association.  


  1. ^ "Picture and Key for "The Battle of San Jacinto" – Texas State Library and Archives Commission". Retrieved 2013-04-21. 
  2. ^ The official report of the battle claims 783. The more detailed roster published after the battle lists 845 officers and men but failed to include Captain Wyly's Company, giving a total of around 910.
  3. ^ Jackson, Wheat (2005), p. 28
  4. ^ Poyo (1996), pp. 42–43, "Under the Mexican Flag" (Andrés Tijerina)
  5. ^ Henderson (2008), pp. 86–87
  6. ^ Jackson, Wheat (2005), pp. 30–31
  7. ^ Jackson, Wheat (2005), pp. 49, 57
  8. ^ Jackson, Wheat (2005), pp. 38–39
  9. ^ Jackson, Wheat (2005), pp. 42–44, 208–283
  10. ^ a b Davis (2004), p. 143.
  11. ^ a b Todish et al. (1998), p. 121.
  12. ^ Hardin, Stephen L. "Battle of Gonzales". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved May 24, 2015. 
  13. ^ Poyo (1996), pp. 113–116, "Finding Their Way" (Ana Carolina Carrillo Crimm)
  14. ^ a b Zamora, Orozco, Rocha (2000), pp. 41–42 Occupied Texas: Béxar and Goliad, 1835–1836 (Paul D. Lack)
  15. ^ Menchaca, Poche, Matovina, de la Teja (2013), p. 63
  16. ^ Hardin (1994), pp. 33–34
  17. ^ Zamora, Orozco, Rocha (2000), pp. 35–49 Occupied Texas: Béxar and Goliad, 1835–1836 (Paul D. Lack)
  18. ^ Poyo (1996), p. 53, "Efficient in the Cause" (Stephen L. Harden)
  19. ^ Denham, James M. (January 1994). "New Orleans, Maritime Commerce, and the Texas War for Independence, 1836". The Southwestern Historical Quarterly (Texas State Historical Association) 97 (3): pp. 510–534.  
  20. ^ "The Siege of Béxar". Texas Library and Archives Commission. Retrieved May 29, 2015. 
  21. ^ Lack (1992), p. 76
  22. ^ "Surrender terms signed by General Cos and General Burleson at San Antonio, December 11, 1835". Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Retrieved May 29, 2015. 
  23. ^ Reid (2007), p. 63
  24. ^ Poyo (1996), p. 54, "Efficient in the Cause" (Stephen L. Harden)
  25. ^ Calore (2014), p. 56
  26. ^ Todish et al. (1998), pp. 137–138
  27. ^ Hardin (2004), p. 15
  28. ^ Todish et al. (1998), p. 34.
  29. ^ Jackson, Wheat (2005), pp. 351–352
  30. ^ Hardin (2004), p. 25
  31. ^ Hardin (2004), p. 21
  32. ^ Groneman, Gill. "Green B. Jameson". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved June 25, 2015. ; Edmondson (2000), pp. 306–307; Jackson, Wheat (2005), pp. 367–368
  33. ^ Poyo (1996), p. 53, 58 "Efficient in the Cause" (Stephen L. Harden); Lindley (2003), p. 94, 134
  34. ^ Jackson, Wheat (2005), pp. 366–367, 208–283
  35. ^ Hardin (2004), p. 53
  36. ^ Jackson, Wheat (2005), p. 372
  37. ^ Bishop, Curtis. "Battle of Agua Dulce Creek". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved May 29, 2015. 
  38. ^ Hartmann, Clinton P. "James Walker Fannin Jr.". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved May 29, 2015. 
  39. ^ a b Hardin (1994), 161
  40. ^ Lack (1992), p. 83
  41. ^ Hardin-Teja (2010) pp. 64–66
  42. ^ Moore (2004), p. 14
  43. ^ Jackson, Wheat (2005), pp. 373–374
  44. ^ Moore (2004), pp. 37–38
  45. ^ Davis (2006), p. 253.
  46. ^ Moore (2004), pp. 43, 48, 52, 57.
  47. ^ Moore (2004), pp. 55–9.
  48. ^ Moore (2004), p. 71.
  49. ^ Moore (2004), p. 60.
  50. ^ Davis (2006), p. 243.
  51. ^ a b Hardin (1994), p. 182.
  52. ^ a b Hardin (1994), pp. 183–4.
  53. ^ Moore (2004), pp. 71, 74, 87, 134.
  54. ^ Moore (2004), pp. 134–7.
  55. ^ a b c Hardin (1994), p. 189.
  56. ^ Davis (2006), p. 263.
  57. ^ Moore (2004), p. 185.
  58. ^ Davis (2006), p. 254.
  59. ^ Moore (2004), p. 154.
  60. ^ Moore (2004), p. 176.
  61. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 190.
  62. ^ Moore (2004), p. 182.
  63. ^ a b c Hardin (1994), p. 191.
  64. ^ Hardin (1994), pp. 190–3.
  65. ^ Hardin (1994), pp. 199–200.
  66. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 209.
  67. ^ a b c Hardin (1994), p. 202.
  68. ^ Hardin (1994), pp. 200–1.
  69. ^ a b Moore (2004), p. 258.
  70. ^ Moore (2004), p. 283.
  71. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 208.
  72. ^ Moore (2004), p. 287.
  73. ^ a b Hardin (1994), p. 203.
  74. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 204.
  75. ^ Davis (2006), p. 267.
  76. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 205.
  77. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 206.
  78. ^ Moore (2004), p. 292.
  79. ^ Moore (2004), p. 328.
  80. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 207.
  81. ^ Hardin (1994), pp. 312–8.
  82. ^ Moore (2004), p. 210.
  83. ^ Moore (2004), p. 211.
  84. ^ Davis (2006), p. 271.
  85. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 213.
  86. ^ Hardin (1994), pp. 211–5.
  87. ^ Davis (2006), p. 274.
  88. ^ a b Hardin (1994), p. 215.
  89. ^ Moore (2004), p. 364.
  90. ^ a b Davis (2006), p. 272.
  91. ^ a b Davis (2006), p. 273.
  92. ^ Davis (2006), p. 276.
  93. ^ Moore (2004), p. 353.
  94. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 216.
  95. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 245.
  96. ^ a b c Davis (2006), p. 277.
  97. ^ a b Hardin (1994), p. 246.
  98. ^ Davis (2006), p. 279.
  99. ^ Davis (2006), p. 282.
  100. ^ Lack (1992), p. 180.
  101. ^ Lack (1992), p. 245.
  102. ^ Moore (2004) p. 242
  103. ^ a b Henderson (2008), p. 103.
  104. ^ a b c Davis (2006), p. 288.
  105. ^ Davis (2006), p. 289.
  106. ^ a b Lack (1992), p. 201.
  107. ^ Davis (2006), p. 291.
  108. ^ Lack (1992), p. 206.
  109. ^ a b Vazquez (1985), p. 315.
  110. ^ Henderson (2008), p. 125.
  111. ^ Reid (2007), p. 169.
  112. ^ Henderson (2008), p. 123.
  113. ^ Henderson (2008), p. 127.
  114. ^ Lack (1992), p. 104.
  115. ^ Lack (1992), p. 105.
  116. ^ Lack (1992), p. 106.
  117. ^ Lack (1992), p. 107.
  118. ^ Lack (1992), p. 256.
  119. ^ Davis (2006), p. 295.
  120. ^ Davis (2006), p. 301.
  121. ^ Vazquez (1985), p. 316.
  122. ^ Vazquez (1985), p. 317.
  123. ^ Henderson (2008), p. 116.
  124. ^ Scott (2000), p. 69.
  125. ^ Lack (1992), p. 232.
  126. ^ Miller (1961), p. 343.
  127. ^ Miller (1961), pp. 344, 346.
  128. ^ Lack (1992), pp. 250–1.
  129. ^ Stuntz (2012), p. 56.
  130. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 250.
  131. ^ a b Hardin (1994), p. 177.
  132. ^ Lack (1992), p. 132.
  133. ^ Lack (1992), p. 254.
  134. ^ Henderson (2008), p. 114.
  135. ^ Henderson (2008), p. 121.
  136. ^ Barker (1967), p. 185.
  137. ^ Barker (1967), p. 187.
  138. ^ Reid (2007), p. 10.
  139. ^ Reid (2007), p. 76.
  140. ^ Reid (2007), p. 157.
  141. ^ Henderson (2008), p. 139.
  142. ^ Henderson (2008), p. 146.
  143. ^ Henderson (2008), p. 147.
  144. ^ Henderson (2008), p. 177.
  145. ^ Moore (2004), pp. 230–231
  146. ^ Moore (2004), p. 425
  147. ^ "San Jacinto Battlefield". National Historic Landmarks. National Park Service. Retrieved July 7, 2015. 
  148. ^ "How Tall is it?". National Park Service. Retrieved July 7, 2015. 
  149. ^ Buisseret, Francaviglia, Graves, Saxon (2009), p. 75
  150. ^ Moore (2004), p. 426.
  151. ^ "San Jacinto Monument". Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Retrieved July 7, 2015. 
  152. ^ "San Jacinto". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved July 8, 2015. 
  153. ^ Silverstone (2006), p. 15
  154. ^ "Mallory Line Twin-Screw Passenger and Freight Steamship San Jacinto". Marine Engineering (Marine Engineering Incorporated) VIII: 547–554. November 1903. 
  155. ^ Hampton Roads Naval Historical Foundation (2014), p. 71
  156. ^ Green (2015), p. 56, 107
  157. ^ "USS San Jacinto". United States Navy. Retrieved July 8, 2015. 


  1. ^ The Provisional Army of Texas consisted of three different categories of enlistees. The Regular Army was much like a modern-day army in its command structure, and had a two-year enlistment period. Permanent Volunteers ran a democratic structure allowing internal elections, and was for the duration of the war. The Volunteer Auxiliary was short-termed with an enlistment period of only six months.Todish et al. (1998), pp. 14–15,24."Proclamation of San Houston, A Call for Volunteers, December 12, 1835". Texas State Library and Archives Commission. State of Texas. Retrieved May 23, 2015. 
  2. ^ Locally organized volunteer militias were initially separate from the Provisional Army of Texas and operated autonomously. Whether or not they were paid, or had supplies or uniforms, varied. Each had its own framework and elected leaders. They decided as a unit which battles they would fight. The Consultation only made Houston commander-in-chief of the paid provisional army he was to recruit and train. On March 4, 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos , the Convention also put the volunteer militias under Houston's command."The Texas Revolution: Part C (January–March 7, 1836)". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved May 23, 2015. Todish et al. (1998), pp. 14,44,46,75,127.
  3. ^ Groce's Landing is located roughly 9 miles (14 km) northeast of modern-day Bellville. Moore (2004), p. 149.
  4. ^ After getting inaccurate reports that several thousand Indians had joined the Mexican army to attack Nacogdoches, American General Edmund P. Gaines and 600 troops crossed into Texas. This would have provoked a war if they had encountered the Mexican army, which might have followed Houston if he continued his retreat. Reid (2007), pp. 152–3.
  5. ^ Peggy Lake, also called Peggy's Lake, no longer exists. It was located southeast of the Mexican breastworks, which is now the site of the monument. Hardin (2004) pp. 71, 93
  6. ^ Lamar thought Houston was deliberately shot by one of his own men. Moore (2004), p. 339.
  7. ^ New Mexico, Sonora, and California revolted unsuccessfully; their stated goals were a change in government, not independence. Henderson (2008), p. 100. Vazquez (1985), p. 318.



See also

  • Texas Navy schooner San Jacinto was commissioned in 1839 and decommissioned in 1840 after she wrecked at Cayos Arcas.[152]
  • The first USS San Jacinto was a screw frigate launched by the United States Navy in 1850. She was in service with the Africa Squadron in 1860 when she captured the slave ship Storm King. The frigate was in service for most of the American Civil War until she wrecked in the Bahamas in 1865.[153]
  • SS San Jacinto was a United States civilian passenger ship built in 1903 by the Delaware River Iron Shipbuilding and Engine Works for the New York and Texas Steamship Company.[154] The US Navy considered acquiring the civilian passenger-cargo ship, for use during World War I as USS San Jacinto (ID-1531), but never acquired or commissioned her. On April 21, 1942, the ship was sunk by a German U-boat.[155]
  • The second USS San Jacinto was a United States Navy Independence class World War II light aircraft carrier commissioned in December 1943, and was decommissioned in 1947.[156]
  • The third USS San Jacinto is a currently active guided missile cruiser commissioned by the United States Navy in 1988.[157]

Both the Texas Navy and the United States Navy have commissioned ships named after the Battle of San Jacinto: the Texan schooner San Jacinto and three ships named USS San Jacinto. There has been one civilian passenger ship named SS San Jacinto.

The San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960.[147] The site includes the 570 ft (170 m)[148] San Jacinto Monument, which was erected by the Public Works Administration. Authorized April 21, 1936 and dedicated April 21, 1939, the 220-ton monument cost $1.5 million (equivalent to $25.43 million in 2015).[149][150] The site hosts a San Jacinto Day festival and battle re-enactment each year in April.[151]

When Republic President Burnet unknowingly escaped death at New Washington, Almonte had found him by following courier Mike McCormick,[145] whose widowed mother Peggy was the owner of the land on which the battle was subsequently fought.[69] Although she sought financial restitution from the Republic of Texas for loss of livestock and other goods during the battle, McCormick died without recompense. Decades after her death, the state of Texas purchased part of her acreage for a commemoration site.[146]

The San Jacinto Monument


The United States voted to annex Texas as the 28th state in March 1845.[141] Two months later, Mexico agreed to recognize the Republic of Texas as long as there was no annexation to the United States.[142] On July 4, 1845, Texans voted for annexation.[143] This prompted the Mexican–American War, in which Mexico lost almost 55 percent of its territory to the United States and formally relinquished its claim on Texas.[144]

For several decades, official British policy was to maintain strong ties with Mexico in the hopes that the country could stop the United States from expanding further.[138] When the Texas Revolution erupted, Great Britain had declined to become involved, officially expressing confidence that Mexico could handle its own affairs.[139] In 1840, after years in which the Republic of Texas was neither annexed by the United States nor reabsorbed into Mexico, Britain signed a treaty to recognize the nation and act as a mediator to help Texas gain recognition from Mexico.[140]

The United States agreed to recognize the Republic of Texas in March 1837 but declined to annex the territory.[135] The fledgling republic now attempted to persuade European nations to agree to recognition.[136] In late 1839 France recognized the Republic of Texas after being convinced it would make a fine trading partner.[137]

Mexican authorities blamed the loss of Texas on United States intervention.[103] Although the United States remained officially neutral,[131] 40 percent of the men who enlisted in the Texian army from October 1 through April 21 arrived from the United States after hostilities began.[132] More than 200 of the volunteers were members of the United States Army; none were punished when they returned to their posts.[131] American individuals also provided supplies and money to the cause of Texian independence.[133] For the next decade, Mexican politicians frequently denounced the United States for the involvement of its citizens.[134]

Foreign relations

Republic of Texas policies changed the status of many living in the region. The constitution forbade free blacks from living in Texas permanently. Individual slaves could only be freed by congressional order, and the newly emancipated person would then be forced to leave Texas.[128] Women also lost significant legal rights under the new constitution, which substituted English common law practices for the traditional Spanish law system. Under common law, the idea of community property was eliminated, and women no longer had the ability to act for themselves legally – to sign contracts, own property, or sue. Some of these rights were restored in 1845, when Texas added them to the new state constitution.[129] During the Republic of Texas years, Tejanos likewise faced much discrimination.[130]

The first Texas Legislature declined to ratify the treaty Houston had signed with the Cherokee, declaring he had no authority to make any promises.[124] Although the Texian interim governments had vowed to eventually compensate citizens for goods that were impressed during the war efforts, for the most part livestock and horses were not returned.[125] Veterans were guaranteed land bounties; in 1879, surviving Texian veterans who served more than three months from October 1, 1835 through January 1, 1837 were guaranteed an additional 1,280 acres (520 ha) in public lands.[126] Over 1.3 million acres (559 thousand ha) of land were granted; some of this was in Greer County, which was later determined to be part of Oklahoma.[127]

During his absence, Santa Anna had been deposed. Upon his arrival, the Mexican press wasted no time in attacking him for his cruelty towards those executed at Goliad. In May 1837, Santa Anna requested an inquiry into the event.[121] The judge determined the inquiry was only for fact-finding and took no action; press attacks in both Mexico and the United States continued.[122] Santa Anna was disgraced until the following year, when he became a hero of the Pastry War.[123]

On June 1, Santa Anna boarded a ship to travel back to Mexico. For the next two days, crowds of soldiers, many of whom had arrived that week from the United States, gathered to demand his execution. Lamar, by now promoted to Secretary of War, gave a speech insisting that "Mobs must not intimidate the government. We want no French Revolution in Texas!", but on June 4 soldiers seized Santa Anna and put him under military arrest.[114] According to Lack, "the shock of having its foreign policy overturned by popular rebellion had weakened the interim government irrevocably".[115] A group of soldiers staged an unsuccessful coup in mid-July.[116] In response, Burnet called for elections to ratify the constitution and elect a Congress,[117] the sixth set of leaders for Texas in a twelve-month period.[118] Voters overwhelmingly chose Houston the first president, ratified the constitution drawn up by the Convention of 1836, and approved a resolution to request annexation to the United States.[119] Houston issued an executive order sending Santa Anna to Washington, D.C., and from there he was soon sent home.[120]

The land comprising Mexican Texas, between the Red, Sabine, and Nueces Rivers, is shaded yellow.  The land between this boundary and the Rio Grande on the south and the Arkansas River on the north is shaded green and marked as
The Republic of Texas, including the disputed territory

Republic of Texas

For years, Mexican authorities used the reconquering of Texas as an excuse for implementing new taxes and making the army the budgetary priority of the impoverished nation.[109] Only sporadic skirmishes resulted.[110] Larger expeditions were postponed as military funding was consistently diverted to other rebellions, out of fear that those regions would ally with Texas and further fragment the country.[109][Note 7] The northern Mexican states, the focus of the Matamoros Expedition, briefly launched an independent Republic of the Rio Grande in 1839.[111] The same year, the Mexican Congress considered a law to declare it treasonous to speak positively of Texas.[112] In June 1843, leaders of the two nations declared an armistice.[113]

Most in Texas assumed the Mexican army would return quickly.[106] So many American volunteers flocked to the Texian army in the months after the victory at San Jacinto that the Texian government was unable to maintain an accurate list of enlistments.[107] Out of caution, Béxar remained under martial law throughout 1836. Rusk ordered that all Tejanos in the area between the Guadalupe and Nueces Rivers migrate either to east Texas or to Mexico.[106] Some residents who refused to comply were forcibly removed. New Anglo settlers moved in and used threats and legal maneuvering to take over the land once owned by Tejanos.[104][108] Over the next several years, hundreds of Tejano families resettled in Mexico.[104]

When Mexican authorities received word of Santa Anna's defeat at San Jacinto, flags across the country were lowered to half staff and draped in mourning.[103] Denouncing any agreements signed by a prisoner, Mexican authorities refused to recognize the Republic of Texas.[104] Filisola was derided for leading the retreat and quickly replaced by Urrea. Within months, Urrea gathered 6,000 troops in Matamoros, poised to reconquer Texas. His army was redirected to address continued federalist rebellions in other regions.[105]

April 21, 1906 Army of the Republic of Texas veteran reunion. L-R are William P. Zuber, John W. Darlington, Aca C. Hill, Stephen F. Sparks, L. T. Lawlor and Alfonso Steele. All participated in the Battle of San Jacinto, as well as other skirmishes.[102]



When Urrea began marching south in mid-May, many families from San Patricio who had supported the Mexican army went with him. When Texian troops arrived in early June, they found only 20 families remaining. The area around San Patricio and Refugio suffered a "noticeable depopulation" in the Republic of Texas years.[100] Although the treaty had specified that Urrea and Filisola would return any slaves their armies had sheltered, Urrea refused to comply. Many former slaves followed the army to Mexico, where they could be free.[101] By late May the Mexican troops had crossed the Nueces.[96] Filisola fully expected that the defeat was temporary and that a second campaign would be launched to retake Texas.[97]

For several weeks after San Jacinto, Santa Anna continued to negotiate with Houston, Rusk, and then Burnet.[98] Santa Anna suggested two treaties, a public version of promises made between the two countries, and a private version that included Santa Anna's personal agreements. The Treaties of Velasco required that all Mexican troops retreat south of the Rio Grande and that all private property be respected and restored. Prisoners-of-war would be released unharmed, and Santa Anna would be given passage to Veracruz immediately. He secretly promised to persuade the Mexican Congress to acknowledge the Republic of Texas and to recognize the Rio Grande as the border between the two countries.[99]

Urrea urged Filisola to continue the campaign. He was confident that he could successfully challenge the Texian troops. According to Hardin, "Santa Anna had presented Mexico with one military disaster; Filisola did not wish to risk another."[95] Spring rains ruined the ammunition and rendered the roads almost impassable, with troops sinking to their knees in mud. Mexican troops were soon out of food, and began to fall ill from dysentery and other diseases.[96] Their supply lines had completely broken down, leaving no hope of further reinforcements.[97] Filisola later wrote that "Had the enemy met us under these cruel circumstances, on the only road that was left, no alternative remained but to die or surrender at discretion".[96]

Santa Anna had successfully escaped towards Vince's Bridge.[93] Finding the bridge destroyed, he hid in the marsh and was captured the following day.[88] He was brought before Houston, who had been shot in the ankle[Note 6] and badly wounded.[90] Texian soldiers gathered around, calling for the Mexican general's immediate execution. Bargaining for his life, Santa Anna suggested that he order the remaining Mexican troops to stay away.[94] In a letter to Filisola, who was now the senior Mexican official in Texas, Santa Anna wrote that "yesterday evening [we] had an unfortunate encounter" and ordered his troops to retreat to Béxar and await further instructions.[91]

A group of men are gathered under a large tree.  One man lays on the ground under the trees, with his bare foot exposed.
"Surrender of Santa Anna" by William Henry Huddle shows the Mexican president and general surrendering to a wounded Sam Houston, battle of San Jacinto

Mexican retreat

Although Santa Anna's troops had been thoroughly vanquished, they did not represent the bulk of the Mexican army in Texas. An additional 4,000 troops remained under the commands of Urrea and General Vicente Filisola.[90] Texians had won the battle due to mistakes made by Santa Anna, and Houston was well aware that his troops would have little hope of repeating their victory against Urrea or Filisola.[91] As darkness fell, a large group of prisoners were led into camp. Houston initially mistook the group for Mexican reinforcements and shouted out that all was lost.[92]

Many Mexican soldiers retreated through the marsh to Peggy Lake.[Note 5] Texian riflemen stationed themselves on the banks and shot at anything that moved. Many Texian officers, including Houston and Rusk, attempted to stop the slaughter, but they were unable to gain control of the men. Texians continued to chant "Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!" while frightened Mexican infantry yelled "Me no Alamo!" and begged for mercy to no avail.[86] In what historian Davis called "one of the most one-sided victories in history",[87] 650 Mexican soldiers were killed and 300 captured.[88] Eleven Texians died, with 30 others, including Houston, wounded.[89]

[85] The killing lasted for hours.[84] Within 18 minutes, Mexican soldiers abandoned their campsite and fled for their lives.[83]

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