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The Alamo?

Anybody know any who, what, where, when, and why answers on the battle of the Alamo? Also some information abou the battle at the Alamo and the battle at San Jacinto? Thanks!

I have to write a newpaper article pretending to be living in their time.


What happened in Texas during April 1836?

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Plan of the Alamo, by José Juan Sánchez-Navarro, 1836.

    Date February 23–March 6, 1836

    Location San Antonio, Texas

    Result Mexican Pyrrhic victory


    Republic of Mexico Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas


    Antonio López de Santa Anna Pérez de Lebrón William Travis†

    Jim Bowie†

    Davy Crockett†


    6,000 in attack

    (1,800 in assault-see below) 183 to 250


    370 to 600 total

    70 to 200 killed & 300 to 400 wounded (see Below) All defenders killed

    Texas Revolution

    Gonzales – Concepción – Grass Fight – Bexar – San Patricio – Agua Dulce – The Alamo – Refugio – Coleto – San Jacinto

    The Battle of the Alamo was a 19th-century battle between the Republic of Mexico and the rebel Texian forces, including both Anglos and Tejanos (ethnic Mexicans in Texas), during the latter's fight for independence — the Texas Revolution. It took place at the Alamo Mission in San Antonio, Texas (then known as "San Antonio de Béxar") in February and March 1836. The 13-day siege started Tuesday, February 23 and ended on Sunday, March 6 with the capture of the mission and the death of nearly all the Texian defenders, except for a few slaves, women and children. Despite the loss, the 13-day holdout stalled the Mexican Army's progress and allowed Sam Houston to gather troops and supplies for his later successful battle at San Jacinto. The Texian revolutionaries went on to win the war.

    The battle took place at a turning point in the Texas Revolution, which had begun with the October 1835 Consultation, whose delegates narrowly approved a call for rights under the Mexican Constitution of 1824. By the time of the battle, however, sympathy for declaring a Republic of Texas had grown. The delegates from the Alamo to the Constitutional Convention were both instructed to vote for independence

    Texas was part of the Spanish colony of New Spain. After Mexican independence in 1821, Texas became part of Mexico and in 1824 became the northern section of Coahuila y Tejas. Mexico's government, hoping to gain more people, invited people to come live in Texas. This act was called the Empresario System. On January 3, 1823, Stephen F. Austin began a colony of 300 American families along the Brazos River in present-day Fort Bend County and Brazoria County, primarily in the area of what is now Sugar Land. The political center for the colony was San Felipe, a settlement on the Brazos River where Empresario Stephen F. Austin lived and William Barret Travis began his law practice.

    In 1835, Mexican President and General Antonio López de Santa Anna Pérez de Lebrón abolished the Constitution of 1824 and proclaimed a new constitution that reduced the power of many of the provincial governments and increased the power of the presidency. Since the end of hostilities with Spain ten years before, the Mexican government, and Santa Anna in particular, had been eager to reassert its control over the entire country, and control of Texas was seen as particularly important as Santa Anna rightly perceived the province to be vulnerable to America's westward expansion.

    Hostilities in Texas began with the Battle of Gonzales on October 2, 1835, after which the Texian rebels quickly captured Mexican positions at La Bahía and San Antonio.

    With the surrender of General Martín Perfecto de Cos and his garrison at San Antonio, there was no longer a Mexican military presence in Texas. Santa Anna decided to launch an offensive with the aim of putting down the rebellion. Minister of War José María Tornel and Major General Vicente Filisola proposed a seaborne attack to Santa Anna, which would have been easier on the troops and had been a proven means of expeditions into Texas since 1814. Santa Anna refused on the basis that this plan would take too long and the rebels in Texas might receive aid from the United States.

    Santa Anna assembled an estimated force of 6,100 soldiers and 20 cannons at San Luis Potosí in early 1836 and moved through Saltillo, Coahuila, towards Texas. His army marched across the Rio Grande through inclement weather, including snowstorms, to suppress the rebellion. San Antonio de Béxar was one of his intermediate objectives; his ultimate objective was to capture the Texas government and restore the rule of the central or "Centralista" Mexican government over a rebellious state. He had earlier suppressed widespread rebellions across Mexico including Tampico, Yucatán, and Zacatecas. Santa Anna and his army arrived in San Antonio de Béxar on February 23. It was a mixed force of regular infantry and cavalry units as well as activo reserve infantry battalions and prisoners from the Yucatán impressed into the army. They were equipped with the British Baker and the outdated, short range but effective and deadly British Tower Musket, Mark III, or "Brown Bess" musket. Many Mexican soldiers were recent conscripts with no previous combat experience. Although they were well-drilled, the Mexican army discouraged individual marksmanship. The initial forces were equipped with four 7 inch (178 mm) howitzers, seven 4-pound (1.8 kg), four 6-pound (2.7 kg), four 8-pound (3.6 kg) and two 12-pound (5 kg) cannon.

    Several of the Mexican officers were foreign mercenary veterans, including Vicente Filisola of Italy, Adrián Wolle of France, and Antonio Gaona of Cuba, and General Santa Anna was a veteran of the Mexican War of Independence.

    Alamo defenders

    Lieutenant Colonel William Barret Travis commanded the Texian regular army forces assigned to defend the old mission. In January 1836, he was ordered by the provisional government to go to the Alamo with volunteers to reinforce the 189 already there. Travis arrived in San Antonio on February 3 with 29 reinforcements. Within a short time, he had become the post's official commander, taking over from Colonel James C. Neill, who promised to be back in twenty days after leaving to tend to a family illness.

    Various people had also assembled to help in the defensive effort, including several unofficial volunteers under the command of Jim Bowie. Popular legend holds that Travis and Bowie often quarreled over issues of command and authority, but as Bowie's health declined, Travis assumed overall command. Actually, Bowie and Travis only quarreled twice: the first being when a drunken Bowie released two of his men from jail when they had been ordered there by Travis; and a second time when Bowie and Travis both assumed command on the first day of the siege and sent independent parley teams (neither of which garnered satisfactory results for the Texians).[citation needed]

    In the United States, the siege of the Alamo was seen as a battle of American settlers against Mexicans, but many of the Tejanos sided with the rebellion. Many viewed this struggle in similar terms with the American Revolution of 1776. The Tejanos wanted Mexico to have a loose central government which supported states rights as expressed in the Mexican Constitution of 1824. One Tejano combatant at the Alamo was Captain (later Colonel) Juan Nepomuceno Seguín, who was sent out as a dispatch rider before the final assault.

    The defenders of the Alamo came from many places besides Texas. The youngest, Galba Fuqua, was 16, and one of the oldest, Gordon C. Jennings, was 57. The men came from 28 different countries and states. From Tennessee came another small group of volunteers led by famous hunter, politician and Indian fighter David "Davy" Crockett who was accompanied by Micajah Autry, a neighbor and lawyer. The 12-man "Tennessee Mounted Volunteers" arrived at the Alamo on February 8. The previous month David Crockett had resigned from politics having told the electorate that "if they did not elect me they could go to hell and I would go to Texas!"

    Another group, the "New Orleans Greys", came from that city to fight as infantry in the revolution. The two companies comprising the Greys had participated in the Siege of Béxar in December. Most of the Greys then left San Antonio de Béxar for an expedition to Matamoros with the promise of taking the war to Mexico, but about two dozen remained at the Alamo.

    The question of the Alamo defenders' politics has been controversial. The abrogation of the Constitution of 1824 was a key trigger for the revolt in general, yet many Anglos in Texas had strong sympathies for independence or union with the United States. And for many of them, the right to own slaves was a key issue. Though often painted as a villain, Santa Anna was a vehement abolitionist. While the political climate would have been more favorable earlier during 1835 for a reliance on such a Constitution, things changed towards the fall of that year. When the Texians defeated the Mexican garrison at the Alamo in December 1835, their flag did have the word INDEPENDENCE on it. Letters written from the Alamo expressed that "all here are for independence", and the famous letter from Travis referred to their "flag of Independence". Some 25 years after the battle, historian Reuben Potter made the assertion that reinstatement of the Constitution of 1824 was a primary objective, and Potter's comments have also been the source of a myth that the battle flag of the Alamo garrison was some sort of Mexican tricolor with "1824" on it.[citation needed]


    Lieutenant Colonel William Travis was able to dispatch riders before the battle and as late as March 3 informing the Texas provisional government of his situation and requesting assistance. However, Sam Houston's Texas Army was not strong enough to fight through the Mexican Army and relieve the post. The provisional Texas government was also in disarray because of in-fighting among its members. Travis also sent several riders, including James Bonham, to Colonel James Fannin for assistance. Fannin, commander of over 450 Texas forces at Goliad 100 miles (160 km) southeast of the Alamo, attempted an unorganized relief march with 320 men and cannon on February 28 to the Alamo, but he aborted the relief column, citing poor transportation. On March 27, Fannin and most of his men were slaughtered by a Mexican force after surrendering.

    On March 1 at about 1 a.m., 32 Texians led by Captain George Kimbell and John W. Smith from the town of Gonzales slipped through the Mexican lines and joined the defenders inside the Alamo. They would be the only response to Travis' plea for help. The group became known as the "Immortal 32."[1] A letter written by one of the 32, Isaac Millsaps, details events inside the Alamo on the night before the siege. Some historians have argued that this letter is most likely a counterfeit.

    The letter stated the following:

    Dearest Mary,

    Morale is low to-night and many of the men have finished their joy at us, the "Immortal 32". Many rejoiced, though at the suggestion of one Colonel William Travis that sleep was commendable. Indeed we are all tired, as the day has been long for the defenders, and for us, the 32, the fatigue of sneaking past Mexican guard was indeed high. We hope to commence a new attack fresh in the morning to-morrow. At the sight of us, many of the Texan Alamo defenders gave joy, and many sleep in peace to-night with the hope of new recruits coming to-morrow. WE, the thirty-two are much hesitant to tell them of the fact of the Texan government being dispersed- due to much talking and argument; Travis' letters of plea have met no audience, and none know of our plight. it is no wonder that us 32 are indeed low and unable to sleep as we now rethink our plan of joining the Alamo defenders- we shall meet sure death.

    completely yours,


    Final assault

    At the end of 12 days the number of Mexican forces attacking the post was reported as high as 4,000 to 5,000, but only about 1,400 to 1,600 soldiers were used in the investment and the final assault. 6,500 soldiers had originally set out from San Luis Potosí, but illness and desertion had since reduced the force. The Mexican siege was scientific and professionally conducted in the Napoleonic style. After a 13-day period in which the defenders were tormented with bands blaring at night (including buglers sounding the no-mercy call Èl Degüello, which literally translates into "slit throat") occasional artillery fire, and an ever closing ring of Mexicans cutting off potential escape routes, Santa Anna planned the final assault for March 6. Santa Anna raised a blood red flag which made his message perfectly clear. No quarter would be given for the defenders.

    Lieutenant Colonel Travis wrote in his final dispatches: "The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion otherwise the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken — I have answered their demand with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the walls — I shall never surrender or retreat."

    The Mexican army attacked the Alamo in four columns plus a reserve and a pursuit and security force, starting at around 5:00 a.m. The first column of 300 to 400 men led by Martín Perfecto de Cos moved towards the northwest corner of the Alamo. The second was of 380 men commanded by Colonel Francisco Duque. The third column comprised 400 soldiers led by Colonel José María Romero. The fourth comprised 100 cazadores (light infantry) commanded by Colonel Juan Morales. The attacking columns had to cover 200 to 300 yards (180 to 275 m) of open ground before they could reach the Alamo walls. To prevent any attempted escape by the fleeing Texians or reinforcements from coming in, Santa Anna placed 350 cavalry under Brigadier General Ramírez y Sesma to patrol the surrounding countryside.

    The Texians initially pushed back one of the attacking columns, although Cos' column was able to breach the Alamo's weak north wall fairly quickly where the first defenders fell—among them William Barret Travis, who was allegedly killed by a shot to the head. Meanwhile, the rest of Santa Anna's columns continued the assault while Cos's men flooded into the fortress. The Alamo defenders were spread too thin to adequately defend both the walls and the invading Mexicans. By 8:00 that morning, nearly all of the Alamo defenders had been slain in brutal hand-to-hand combat. Jim Bowie is reported by some survivors to have been bayoneted and shot to death in his cot. The battle, from the initial assault to the capture of the Alamo, lasted only an hour. According to a Mexican report[citation needed], a group of male survivors were executed after the battle. Davy Crockett was alleged to be among them, but this claim is subject to heavy controversy.

    The victorious Mexicans spared 15 women and children as well as Bowie's slave Sam and Travis' slave Joe after the battle. Joe told of seeing a slave named John killed in the Alamo assault and another black woman killed. Another reported survivor was Brigido Guerrero, a Mexican army deserter who had joined the Texian cause. He was able to convince the Mexican soldiers that he had been a prisoner held against his will. In addition, Henry Wornell (sometimes spelled Warnell in early accounts) was reportedly able to escape the battle but died from his wounds three months later.


    Mexican: There are wide variations among reports regarding the number of Mexican casualties at the Alamo. However, some historians and military analysts accept those reports which place the number of Mexican casualties at approximately 600. (See below "Mexican Casualties")

    Texan: 183 to 250 Texian and Tejano bodies were found at the Alamo after the battle, though Santa Anna's official report back to Mexico City, dictated to his personal secretary Ramón Martínez Caro, stated 600 rebel bodies were found. Historians believe this to be a false claim. All but one of the bodies were burned by the Mexicans; the sole exception being Gregorio Esparza, who was buried rather than burned because his brother Francisco had served as an activo and had fought under General Cos in the Siege of Béxar.

    Texan independence

    Texas had declared independence on March 2. The delegates elected David G. Burnet as Provisional President and Lorenzo de Zavala as Vice-President. The men inside the Alamo likely never knew this event had occurred. Houston still held his rank of supreme military commander. The Texian Army numbered around 2,000 men at the time of the Alamo siege. Successive losses at Goliad, Refugio, Matamoros and San Antonio de Béxar, reduced the army to about 1,000 men.

    On April 21, at the Battle of San Jacinto, Santa Anna's 1,250-strong force was defeated by Sam Houston's army of about 910 men who used the now-famous battle cry, "Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!" The Mexican losses for the day were about 650 killed (in only eighteen minutes) with 600 taken prisoner. Texian losses were about 9 killed and 18 wounded. Santa Anna was captured the following day, dressed in a common soldier's jacket, having discarded his finer clothing in hopes of escaping. He issued orders that all Mexican troops under the command of Vicente Filisola and José de Urrea were to pull back into Mexico.


    Line in the sand

    A legend exists that on March 3, March 4, or March 5, Lieutenant Colonel Travis drew a line in the sand with his sword, and invited all those who were willing to stay (and presumably and almost certainly to die) to cross over the line. According to one variant of the story, all but one Alamo defender crossed the line. Moses Rose (a/k/a Louis or Lewis Rose), said to be a French soldier who had fought under Napoleon in Russia before arriving in Texas, allegedly slipped out of the Alamo. After evading the Mexican forces by moving at night, Rose is said to have taken shelter with the family of William P. Zuber to whom he told the tale of his escape.

    In 1873, Zuber (his son) published a version of the story, which has not been historically documented. The phrase "drawing a line in the sand" has remained part of English jargon for taking a stand with no compromise. This account is carried in numerous Texas histories, including Steven Kellerman's The Yellow Rose of Texas, the Journal of American Folklore, and numerous other histories of the time. A moving account of this "line in the dust" story and Bowie's being carried over in a cot can be found online in a city guide to San Antonio and the Alamo shrine.

    Crockett's death

    Before the war ended, Santa Anna ordered that a red flag be raised from San Fernando cathedral indicating to the defenders that no quarter would be given. According to the controversial José Enrique de la Peña diary, several of those not killed in the final assault were captured by Colonel Manuel Fernández Castrillón and presented to Santa Anna, who personally ordered their executions. It is speculated that Davy Crockett was one of the six prisoners. De la Peña also states that Crockett attempted to negotiate a surrender with Santa Anna but was turned down on the grounds of 'no guarantees for traitors'. However, there is little evidence to support this.

    Still, some people believe that Davy Crockett was killed by Santa Anna's men after the 12 day struggle. A contemporary history summarizes the battle thus: "They fought all one bloody night, until he [Travis] fell with all the garrison but seven;--and they were slain, while crying for quarter!"[2] This history, while not providing proof that Crockett was among those who survived the assault, does corroborate de la Peña's diary entry. However, two eyewitness survivors attested that Crockett did die in the battle. Susanna Dickinson, the wife of an officer, said that Crockett was killed in the assault and that she saw his body between the long barracks and the chapel, and Travis' slave Joe said that he also saw Crockett lying dead with the bodies of slain Mexican soldiers around him.

    Col. William Fairfax Gray was present during the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos and kept a detailed diary of events. His entry for March 20, 1836 reads in part:

    Sunday, March 20, 1836

    This morning Messrs. Zavalla, Ruis and Navarro arrived. The cabinet are now all here, except Hardiman.

    The servant of the late lamented Travis, Joe, a black boy of about twenty-one or twenty-two years of age, is now here. He was in the Alamo when the fatal attack was made. He is the only male, of all who were in the fort, who escaped death,[27] and he, according to his own account, escaped narrowly. I heard him interrogated in presence of the cabinet and others. He related the affair with much modesty, apparent candor, and remarkably distinctly for one of his class. The following is, as near as I can recollect, the substance of it:

    The garrison was much exhausted by incessant watching and hard labor. They had all worked until a late hour on Saturday night, and when the attack was made, sentinels and all were asleep, except one man, Capt. -----, who gave the alarm. There were three picket guards without the fort, but they, too, it is supposed, were asleep, and were run upon and bayonetted, for they gave no alarm. Joe was sleeping in the room with his master when the alarm was given. Travis sprang up, seized his rifle and sword, and called to Joe to follow him. Joe took his gun and followed. Travis ran across the Alamo and mounted the wall,and called out to his men, "Come on, boys, the Mexicans are upon us, and we'll give them Hell." He discharged his gun; so did Joe. In an instant Travis was shot down. He fell within the wall, on the sloping ground, and sat up. The enemy twice applied their scaling ladders to the walls, and were twice beaten back. But this Joe did not well understand, for when his master fell he ran and ensconced himself in a house, from which he says he fired on them several times, after they got in. On the third attempt they succeeded in mounting the walls, and then poured over like sheep. The battle then became a melee. Every man fought for his own hand, as he best might, with butts of guns, pistols, knives, etc. As Travis sat wounded on the ground General Mora, who was passing him, made a blow at him with his sword, which Travis struck up, and ran his assailant through the body, and both died on the same spot. This was poor Travis' last effort. The handful of Americans retreated to such covers as they had, and continued the battle until only one man was left alive, a little, weakly man named Warner, who asked for quarter. He was spared by the soldiery, but on being conducted to Santa Anna, he ordered him to be shot, and it was done. Bowie is said to have fired through the door of his room, from his sick bed. He was found dead and mutilated where he lay. Crockett and a few of his friends were found together, with twenty-four of the enemy dead around them.

    The Handbook of Texas online reports several noncombatants being killed: an unknown black woman (in the battle); two sons of gunner Anthony Wolf and an unnamed boy of 8 to 9 and gunners Anthony Wolf and Jacob Walker were bayoneted in front of Mrs. Dickinson by Mexican soldiers.

    Mexican casualties

    After the battle, Santa Anna reported that he had suffered 70 dead and 300 wounded, while many Texian accounts claim that as many as 1,500 Mexican lives were lost. While many quickly dismiss Santa Anna's account as being unrealistic (since Santa Anna had plenty of reasons to lie about the number of men he lost), the Texian account of 1,500 dead also lacks logic. Most Alamo historians agree that the Mexican attack force consisted of between 1,400 and 1,600 men, so a count of 1,500 sounds improbable, although 1,500 killed during the entire time of the siege could well have been achieved. The accounts most commonly accepted by historians are the ones that place the number of Mexican dead around 200 and the number of initial Mexican wounded around 400. These losses (at about 43% casualties) would have been considered catastrophic by the Mexican Army, while still being realistic to today's historians.


    The Texans rode into battle with a white flag displaying one blue star. The Mexicans waved their national flag in the Alamo conquest. Preceeding each day of the battle, a soldier rode into the battle field waving a white flag, symbolising the start of the battle.

    After the battle, Mexican soldiers discovered the company flag of the New Orleans Greys and sent it to Mexico City as proof of U.S. involvement. It is now the property of the National Historical Museum in Mexico City. No one knows which flag flew over the Alamo during the battle. One flag of note was the Mexican tri-color flag with the numbers "1824" set in the middle denoting the Constitution of 1824. Another flag might have been the Mexican tri-color with two stars in the middle denoting Coahuila y Tejas. The image of a tricolor with "1824" on it flying over the mission has been a myth handed down through the years. The flag with the two stars was probably a company banner of those of Mexican ancestry fighting against Santa Anna—perhaps just less than ten answering to Juan Seguin.

    The New Orleans Greys banner might not have flown at all over the mission but was simply discovered in a room after the battle. It was in a pristine state with no tears or bullet holes, and the earliest photographs of it show it had no way to be attached to a pole. The de facto flag of the Texas Revolution was a banner patterned after the American Flag with 13 stripes of red and white and a blue field. A large single star was present in the blue field with the letters T-E-X-A-S appearing between the points. This identification of the Alamo battle flag has been confirmed in the recent book Texas Flags by Robert Maberry. It is also the earliest representation of an Alamo battle flag being first declared as such a few months after the battle.

    Prior military experience of the defenders


    William Travis served in the Alabama Militia.

    James Bonham served in a Charleston South Carolina Artillery Company.

    Davy Crockett served in the Creek War in 1813-1815

    US Army:

    Robert Musselman served in the US Army in the Seminole War

    Date April 21, 1836

    Location near modern La Porte, Texas

    Result Decisive Texan victory


    Mexico Republic of Texas


    Antonio López de Santa Anna{POW}

    Manuel Fernandez Castrillon†

    Juan Almonte{POW} Sam Houston{wounded}


    about 1,400 800


    630 killed, 208 wounded, 730 captured 9 killed, 26 wounded

    Texas Revolution

    Gonzales – Concepción – Grass Fight – Bexar – San Patricio – Agua Dulce – The Alamo – Refugio – Coleto – San Jacinto

    For other battles of the same name, see San Jacinto.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 Texas Army engaged and defeated General Antonio López de Santa Anna's Mexican forces in a fight that lasted less than twenty minutes. Hundreds of Mexican soldiers were killed or captured, while there were relatively few Texan casualties.

    Santa Anna, the President of Mexico, was captured the following day and held as a prisoner of war. Not long afterwards, he signed the peace treaties 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 cry, "Remember Goliad!" and "Remember the Alamo!," became etched into the American history and legend

    During the early years of Mexican independence, numerous Anglo-American immigrants had settled in Mexican Texas, then a part of the state of Coahuila y Tejas. In 1835, they rebelled against the Mexican government of General Santa Anna after he rescinded the Constitution of 1824 and asserted dictatorial control over Mexico. Besides capturing a few small outposts and defeating the Mexican army garrisons in the area, the Texans formed a provisional government and drafted a Declaration of Independence.

    Hundreds of volunteers from the United States of America headed into the fledgling Republic of Texas to assist the colonists in their quest for independence. Two full regiments of these volunteers were soon organized to augment the Regular Texas Army. Other volunteers (including Tejano and Texian colonists) also organized into companies to defend various places that might be targets of Mexican intervention. Examples at San Jacinto included the Kentucky Rifles, a uniformed company raised in Cincinnati and northern Kentucky by Sidney Sherman, which were the only troops in the Texian army that wore formal uniforms. The New Orleans Greys, another company raised in America, had fought and died at the Battle of the Alamo while serving under a regular Texas army officer.

    In 1836, Santa Anna personally led a force of several thousand Mexican troops into Texas to put down the insurrection. First, he entered San Antonio de Béjar and defeated a Texan force at the Battle of the Alamo, and then the right wing of his offensive, under General José de Urrea, defeated a second Texan force near Goliad. Santa Anna had most of the captured men, whom he considered to be pirates, put to death, resulting in the deaths of over 350 Texans.

    Sam Houston, in command of the main Texan army, slowly retreated eastward. To President David G. Burnet, no fan of Houston's, the general appeared unwilling to turn and fight his pursuer, despite Burnet's frequent dispatches that Houston do so. Concerned that the Mexicans were rapidly approaching unchecked, Burnet and the Texas government abandoned the capital at Washington-on-the-Brazos and hastily crossed the prairie towards the Gulf of Mexico, reestablishing key governmental functions in Galveston. In their wake, thousands of panicked colonists (both Texian and Tejano) fled in what became popularly known as the "Runaway Scrape."

    Houston at first headed towards the Sabine River, the border with the United States, where a Federal army under General Pendleton Gaines had assembled to protect Louisiana in case Santa Anna tried to invade the U.S. after dealing with the rebelling Texans. However, Houston soon turned to the southeast towards Harrisburg.

    Santa Anna pursued Houston and devised a trap in which three columns of Mexican troops would converge on Houston's force and destroy it. However, he diverted one column to attempt to capture the provisional government, and a second one to protect his supply lines. Meanwhile, he personally led the remaining column against Houston. Santa Anna caught up to Houston on April 19 near Lynch's Ferry. He established positions near the confluence of the San Jacinto River and Buffalo Bayou. Meanwhile, Houston set up his camp across a grassy field 1,000 yards away.

    [edit] Prelude to battle

    Believing Houston to be cornered, Santa Anna decided to rest his army on April 20 and attack on April 22. He received roughly 500 reinforcements under General Martín Perfecto de Cos, bringing his total strength up to roughly 1,400 men. Santa Anna posted Cos to his right, near the river, and posted his single remaining artillery piece, a 12 pound brass gun, in the center, erecting a five-foot (1.5 m) high barricade of packs and baggage as hastily constructed protection for his infantry. He placed his veteran cavalry on his left flank and settled back to plan the following day's attack.

    On the morning of April 21, Houston held a council of war, and the majority of his officers favored waiting for Santa Anna's eventual assault. Houston, however, decided in favor of his own surprise attack that afternoon, concerned that Santa Anna might use the extra time to concentrate his scattered army. With his army of roughly 800 men, he decided to attack Santa Anna, whose immediate command now numbered about 1,400. Most of the assault would come over open ground, where the Texan infantry would be vulnerable to Mexican gunfire. Even riskier, Houston decided to outflank the Mexicans with his cavalry, stretching his troops even thinner. However, Santa Anna made a crucial mistake—during his army's afternoon siesta, he failed to post sentries or skirmishers around his camp.

    Houston soon gained approval for his daring plan from Texas Secretary of War Thomas J. Rusk, who had caught up with the army to consult with Houston at the insistence of President Burnet. By 3:30 p.m., Houston had formed his men into battle lines for the impending assault, screened from Mexican view by trees and by a slight ridge that ran across the open prairie between the opposing armies. Santa Anna's failure to properly post lookouts proved fatal to his chances of victory.

    [edit] Battle

    Site of "Twin Sisters" with San Jacinto Monument in the background.At 4:30 p.m. on April 21, after scout Deaf Smith announced the burning of Vince's Bridge (cutting off the primary avenue of retreat for both armies), the main Texan battle line moved forward. A fifer played the popular tune "Will you come to the bower I have shaded for you?"[1] General Houston personally led the infantry, posting the 2nd Volunteer Regiment of Colonel Sidney Sherman on his far left, with Colonel Edward Burleson's 1st Volunteer Regiment next in line. In the center, two small brass smoothbore artillery pieces (donated by citizens of Cincinnati, Ohio, and known as the "Twin Sisters," pictured right) were wheeled forward under the command of Major George W. Hockley. They were supported by four companies of infantry under Captain Henry Wax Karnes. Colonel Henry Millard's regiment of Texas regulars made up the right wing. To the extreme far right, 61 Texas cavalrymen under newly promoted Colonel Mirabeau B. Lamar planned to circle into the Mexicans' left flank.[2] Lamar had the day before been a private in the cavalry, but his daring and resourcefulness in a brief skirmish with the Mexicans on April 20 had led to his immediate promotion to colonel.

    The Texan army moved quickly and silently across the high-grass plain, and then, when they were only a few dozen yards away, charged Santa Anna's camp shouting "Remember the Alamo!" and "Remember Goliad!," only stopping a few yards from the Mexicans to open fire. Confusion ensued. Santa Anna's army primarily consisted of professional soldiers, but they were trained to fight in ranks, exchanging volleys with their opponents. Many were also ill-prepared and unarmed at the time of the sudden attack. General Manuel Fernández Castrillón desperately tried to mount a semblance of an organized resistance, but was soon shot down and killed. His panicked men fled, and Santa Anna's defensive line quickly collapsed.

    Hundreds of the demoralized and confused Mexican soldiers routed, and many ran into the marshes along the river. Some of the Mexican army rallied and attempted to push the Texans back, but their training had left them ill-equipped to fight well-armed American frontiermen in hand-to-hand combat. General Juan Almonte, commanding what was left of the organized Mexican resistance, soon formally surrendered his 400 remaining men to Rusk. The rest of Santa Anna's once-proud army had disintegrated into chaos.

    During the short but furious fighting, Houston was wounded in the left ankle and Santa Anna escaped. In 18 minutes of combat, the Texan army had won, killing about 630 Mexican soldiers, wounding 208 and taking 730 prisoners. This battle is an important one, though not remembered by many Americans.[3]

    [edit] Aftermath

    During the battle, Santa Anna disappeared and a search party consisting of James A. Sylvester, Washington H. Secrest, Sion R. Bostick, and a Mr. Cole was sent out the next morning. When discovered, he had shed his ornate general's uniform, and when surrounded and compelled to surrender, he was initially thought to be a common soldier. However, when grouped with other captured soldiers, he was enthusiastically saluted as "El Presidente," revealing his true identity to the Texans. Houston spared his life, preferring to negotiate an end to the overall hostilities and the withdrawal from Texas of Santa Anna's remaining columns.

    On May 14, Santa Anna signed the Treaties of Velasco, in which he agreed to withdraw his troops from Texan soil and, in exchange for safe conduct back to Mexico, lobby there for recognition of the new republic. However, the safe passage never materialized; Santa Anna was held for six months as a prisoner of war (during which time his government disowned him and any agreement he might enter into) and finally taken to Washington, D.C. There he met with President Andrew Jackson, before finally returning in disgrace to Mexico in early 1837. By then, however, Texan independence was a fait accompli, although Mexico did not officially recognize it until the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican-American War in 1848.

    [edit] Memorialization

    The San Jacinto MonumentToday, the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site commemorates the battle and includes the San Jacinto Monument, the world’s tallest memorial column. The park is located in Deer Park, about 25 miles (40 km) east of Houston. The monument contains the inscription:

    "Measured by its results, San Jacinto was one of the decisive battles of the world. The freedom of Texas (not part of the United States at the time) from Mexico won here led to annexation and to the Mexican-American War, resulting in the acquisition by the United States of the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma. Almost one-third of the present area of the American Nation, nearly a million square miles of territory, changed sovereignty."

    An annual San Jacinto Day festival and battle reenactment is held in the month of April at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site. [4]

    Alfonso Steele, to whom a roadside park is dedicated in Limestone County, Texas, is generally credited as being the last remaining Texan survivor of the battle.

    In the 20th century, the state of Texas erected various monuments and historical wayside markers to mark the path and campsites of Houston's army as it marched to San Jacinto

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  • 4 years ago

    I live just south of San Antonio Texas . What the daughters of the Alamo have done to screw up the site is unbelievable. When you go to see the battle grounds there is nothing to see but lawns and flowers every where. Nothing like the historical Alamo should look like. The fake one built at Brackettville is fun to go to even if it was a movie set. When you look up the real reasons Bowie and Crockett were at the Alamo in the first place You may not like them so much. Houston was a arrogant drunk.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You can look up Alamo on Wikipedia and it will tell you all about what happened.

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  • 1 decade ago

    google both and you'll get gobs of info.

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