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Old 04-21-2021, 06:35 AM   #1
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Default April 21, 1836 - the battle of san jacinto

General Houston disposed his forces in battle order at about 3:30 in the afternoon. Over on the Mexican side all was quiet; many of the foemen were enjoying their customary siesta. The Texans' movements were screened by the trees and the rising ground, and evidently Santa Anna had no lookouts posted. Big, shaggy and commanding in his mud-stained unmilitary garb, the chieftain rode his horse up and down the line. "Now hold your fire, men," he warned in his deep voice, "until you get the order!"

At the command, "Advance," the patriots, 910 strong, moved quickly out of the woods and over the rise, deploying. Bearded and ragged from forty days in the field, they were a fierce-looking band. But their long rifles were clean and well oiled. Only one company, Captain William Wood's "Kentucky Rifles," originally recruited by Sidney Sherman, wore uniforms. The battle line was formed with Edward Burleson's regiment in the center; Sherman's on the left wing; the artillery, under George W. Hockley, on Burleson's right; the infantry, under Henry Millard, on the right of the artillery; and the cavalry, led by Lamar, on the extreme right.

The Battlefield of San Jacinto
Silently and tensely the Texas battle line swept across the prairie and swale that was No Man's land, the men bending low. A soldier's fife piped up with "Will You Come to the Bower,"' a popular tune of the day. That was the only music of the battle. As the, troops advanced, "Deaf" Smith galloped up and told Houston, "Vince's bridge has been cut down." The General announced it to the men. Now both armies were cut off from retreat in all directions but one, by a roughly circular moat formed by Vince's and Buffalo Bayous to the west and north, San Jacinto River to the north and cast, and by the marshes and the bay to the east and southeast.

At close range, the two little cannon, drawn by rawhide thongs, were wheeled into position and belched their charges of iron slugs into the enemy barricade. Then the whole line, led by Sherman's men, sprang forward on the run, yelling, "Remember the Alamo!" "Remember Goliad!" All together they opened fire, blazing away practically point-blank at the surprised and panic-stricken Mexicans. They stormed over the breastworks, seized the enemy's artillery, and joined in hand-to-hand combat, emptying their pistols, swinging their guns as clubs, slashing right and left with their knives. Mexicans fell by the scores under the impact of the savage assault.

General Manuel Fernandez Castrillian, a brave Mexican, tried to rally the swarthy Latins, but he was killed and his men became crazed with fright. Many threw down their guns and ran; many wailed, "Me no Alamo!" "Me no Goliad!" But their pleas won no mercy. The enraged revolutionists reloaded and chased after the stampeding enemy, shooting them, stabbing them, clubbing them to death. From the moment of the first collision the battle was a slaughter, frightful to behold. The fugitives ran in wild terror over the prairie and into the boggy marshes, but the avengers of the Alamo and Goliad followed and slew them, or drove them into the waters to drown. Men and horses, dead and dying, in the morass in the rear and right of the Mexican camp, formed a bridge for the pursuing Texans. Blood reddened the water. General Houston tried to check the execution but the fury of his men was beyond restraint.

Some of the Mexican cavalry tried to escape over Vince's bridge, only to find that the bridge was gone. In desperation, some of the flying horsemen spurred their mounts down the steep bank; some dismounted and plunged into the swollen stream. The Texans came up and poured a deadly fire into the welter of Mexicans struggling with the flood. Escape was virtually impossible. General Houston rode slowly from the field of victory, his ankle shattered by a rifle ball. At the foot of the oak where he had slept the previous night be fainted and slid from his horse into the arms of Major Hockley, his chief of staff.

As the crowning stroke of a glorious day, General Rusk presented to him as a prisoner the Mexican general Don Juan Almonte, who had surrendered formally with about 400 men. The casualties, according to Houston's official report, numbered 630 Mexicans killed, 208 wounded, and 730 taken prisoner. As against this heavy score, only nine Texans were killed or mortally wounded, and thirty wounded less seriously. Most of their injuries came from the first scattered Mexican volley when the attackers stormed their barricade. The Texans captured a large supply of muskets, pistols, sabers, mules, horses, provisions, clothing, tents and paraphernalia, and $12,000 in silver.

Santa Anna had disappeared during the battle, and next day General Houston ordered a thorough search of the surrounding territory for him. In the afternoon Sergeant J. A. Sylvester spotted a Mexican slipping through the woods toward Vince's Bayou. Sylvester and his comrades caught the fugitive trying to hide in the high grass. He wore a common soldier's apparel round jacket, blue cotton pantaloons, skin cap and soldier's shoes. [With Sylvester in the capture of Santa Anna were Joel W. Robison, Joseph D. Vermillion, Alfred H. Miles and David Cole.] They took the captive to camp, and on the way, Mexican prisoners recognized him and cried, "El Presidente!" Thus his identity was betrayed; it was indeed the dictator from below the Rio Grande. He was brought to General Houston, who lay under the headquarters oak, nursing his wounded foot. The Mexican President pompously announced, "I am General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, and a prisoner of war at your disposition." General Houston, suffering with pain, received him coldly. He sent for young Moses Austin Bryan and Lorenzo de Zavala Jr. to act as interpreters. Santa Anna cringed with fright as the excited Texas soldiers pressed around him, fearing mob violence. He pleaded for the treatment due a prisoner of war. "You can afford to be generous," he whined; "you have captured the Napoleon of the 'West." "What claim have you to mercy?" Houston retorted, "when you showed none at the Alamo or at Goliad?" They talked for nearly two hours, using Bryan, de Zavala and Almonte as interpreters. In the end Santa Anna agreed to write an order commanding all Mexican troops to evacuate Texas. Later, treaties were signed at Velasco, looking to the adjustment of all differences and the recognition of Texas independence. Thus ended the revolution of 1836, with an eighteen-minute battle which established Texas as a free republic and opened the way for the United States to extend its boundaries to the Rio Grande on the southwest and to the Pacific on the west. Few military engagements in history have been more decisive or of more far-reaching ultimate influence than the battle of San Jacinto.

Map showing then and now!

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Old 04-21-2021, 06:48 AM   #2
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Man that’s awesome! Thanks for sharing
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Old 04-21-2021, 07:08 AM   #3
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Old 04-21-2021, 07:16 AM   #4
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I enjoy reading that story every year. God bless those men!
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Old 04-21-2021, 07:16 AM   #5
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We stand on the shoulders of these brave men. I hope they still teach Texas History as a mandatory requirement. Thanks for the post to remind us.
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Old 04-21-2021, 07:46 AM   #6
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Love it, one of my favorites. Thanks for posting!
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Old 04-21-2021, 07:56 AM   #7
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Old 04-21-2021, 09:14 AM   #8
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I'm Here!
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Old 04-21-2021, 09:28 AM   #9
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Both sides of my family had a relative at San Jacinto.

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Old 04-21-2021, 09:34 AM   #10
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Old 04-21-2021, 09:41 AM   #11
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Some good interesting history involved here.
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Old 04-21-2021, 11:21 AM   #12
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I bet a lot of kids these days "maybe" know where the Alamo is. But I bet very few know where Goliad is or anything about San Jacinto, or any of the Texas battles. Great story.
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Old 04-21-2021, 02:12 PM   #13
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love it!
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Old 04-21-2021, 03:19 PM   #14
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Great history lesson. Thanks.

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Old 04-21-2021, 03:58 PM   #15
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Just finished watching “Texas Rising” a few weeks ago and reading this was a good reminder of the decisive victory for Texas. Thanks for the recap every year.
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Old 04-22-2021, 09:15 AM   #16
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I read Santa Anna's autobiography. It was interesting to read his perspective. He was full of bullsnot.

Thanks for posting Tmag
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