Battle of San Jacinto
Overview
 
The Battle of San Jacinto, fought on April 21, 1836, in present-day Harris County, Texas
Harris County, Texas
As of the 2010 Census, the population of the county was 4,092,459, White Americans made up 56.6% of Harris County's population; non-Hispanic whites represented 33.0% of the population. Black Americans made up 18.9% of the population. Native Americans made up 0.7% of Harris County's population...

, was the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution
Texas Revolution
The Texas Revolution or Texas War of Independence was an armed conflict between Mexico and settlers in the Texas portion of the Mexican state Coahuila y Tejas. The war lasted from October 2, 1835 to April 21, 1836...

. Led by General Sam Houston
Sam Houston
Samuel Houston, known as Sam Houston , was a 19th-century American statesman, politician, and soldier. He was born in Timber Ridge in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, of Scots-Irish descent. Houston became a key figure in the history of Texas and was elected as the first and third President of...

, the Texian Army
Texian Army
The Texian Army was a military organization consisting of volunteer and regular soldiers who fought against the Mexican army during the Texas Revolution. Approximately 3,700 men joined the army between October 2, 1835 during the Battle of Gonzales through the end of the war on April 21, 1836, at...

 engaged and defeated General Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón , often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, known as "the Napoleon of the West," was a Mexican political leader, general, and president who greatly influenced early Mexican and Spanish politics and government...

's Mexican
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 forces in a fight that lasted just eighteen minutes. About 630 of the Mexican soldiers were killed and 730 captured, while only nine Texans
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 died.

Santa Anna, the President of Mexico, was captured the following day and held as a prisoner of war.
Encyclopedia
The Battle of San Jacinto, fought on April 21, 1836, in present-day Harris County, Texas
Harris County, Texas
As of the 2010 Census, the population of the county was 4,092,459, White Americans made up 56.6% of Harris County's population; non-Hispanic whites represented 33.0% of the population. Black Americans made up 18.9% of the population. Native Americans made up 0.7% of Harris County's population...

, was the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution
Texas Revolution
The Texas Revolution or Texas War of Independence was an armed conflict between Mexico and settlers in the Texas portion of the Mexican state Coahuila y Tejas. The war lasted from October 2, 1835 to April 21, 1836...

. Led by General Sam Houston
Sam Houston
Samuel Houston, known as Sam Houston , was a 19th-century American statesman, politician, and soldier. He was born in Timber Ridge in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, of Scots-Irish descent. Houston became a key figure in the history of Texas and was elected as the first and third President of...

, the Texian Army
Texian Army
The Texian Army was a military organization consisting of volunteer and regular soldiers who fought against the Mexican army during the Texas Revolution. Approximately 3,700 men joined the army between October 2, 1835 during the Battle of Gonzales through the end of the war on April 21, 1836, at...

 engaged and defeated General Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón , often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, known as "the Napoleon of the West," was a Mexican political leader, general, and president who greatly influenced early Mexican and Spanish politics and government...

's Mexican
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 forces in a fight that lasted just eighteen minutes. About 630 of the Mexican soldiers were killed and 730 captured, while only nine Texans
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 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
Republic of Texas
The Republic of Texas was an independent nation in North America, bordering the United States and Mexico, that existed from 1836 to 1846.Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S...

 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, "Remember the Alamo!" and "Remember Goliad
Goliad Campaign
The Goliad Campaign refers to a series of battles which occurred in 1836 as part of the Texas Revolution, which ultimately led to the Goliad massacre...

!" became etched into American history and legend.

Background

During the early years of Mexican independence
Mexican War of Independence
The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the people of Mexico and the Spanish colonial authorities which started on 16 September 1810. The movement, which became known as the Mexican War of Independence, was led by Mexican-born Spaniards, Mestizos and Amerindians who sought...

, numerous American immigrants had settled in Mexican Texas
Mexican Texas
Mexican Texas is the name given by Texas history scholars to the period between 1821 and 1836, when Texas was an integral part of Mexico. The period began with Mexico's victory over Spain in its war of independence in 1821. For the first several years of its existence, Mexican Texas operated very...

, then a part of the state of Coahuila y Tejas
Coahuila y Tejas
Coahuila y Tejas was one of the constituent states of the newly established United Mexican States under its 1824 Constitution.It had two capitals: first Saltillo, and then Monclova...

, with the Mexican government's encouragement.
In 1835 they rebelled against the Mexican government of Santa Anna because he rescinded the democratic Constitution of 1824
1824 Constitution of Mexico
The Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1824 was enacted on October 4 of 1824, after the overthrow of the Mexican Empire of Agustin de Iturbide. In the new constitution, the republic took the name of United Mexican States, and was defined as a representative federal republic, with...

, dissolved Mexico's Congress and state legislatures, and asserted dictator
Dictator
A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch. When other states call the head of state of a particular state a dictator, that state is called a dictatorship...

ial control over the nation. After capturing a few small outposts and defeating the Mexican army garrisons in the area, the Texans formed a provisional government
Provisional government
A provisional government is an emergency or interim government set up when a political void has been created by the collapse of a very large government. The early provisional governments were created to prepare for the return of royal rule...

 and drafted a Declaration of Independence
Texas Declaration of Independence
The Texas Declaration of Independence was the formal declaration of independence of the Republic of Texas from Mexico in the Texas Revolution. It was adopted at the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 2, 1836, and formally signed the following day after errors were noted in the...

.

Hundreds of volunteers from the United States of America headed into the fledgling Republic of Texas
Republic of Texas
The Republic of Texas was an independent nation in North America, bordering the United States and Mexico, that existed from 1836 to 1846.Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S...

 to assist in its quest for independence. Two full regiments of these volunteers were soon organized to augment the regular Texas army. Other volunteers (including Tejano
Tejano
Tejano or Texano is a term used to identify a Texan of Mexican heritage.Historically, the Spanish term Tejano has been used to identify different groups of people...

 and Texian
Texian
Texian is an archaic, mostly defunct 19th century demonym which defined a settler of current-day Texas, one of the southern states of the United States of America which borders the country of Mexico...

 colonists) organized into companies to defend places that might be targets of Mexican intervention. For example, American volunteers at San Jacinto included the Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

 Rifles, a uniformed company raised in Cincinnati and northern Kentucky by Sidney Sherman
Sidney Sherman
Sidney Sherman was a Texan general and a key leader in the Texas Army during the Texas Revolution and afterwards.-Early life:...

, who were the only troops in the Texian militia
Texian Army
The Texian Army was a military organization consisting of volunteer and regular soldiers who fought against the Mexican army during the Texas Revolution. Approximately 3,700 men joined the army between October 2, 1835 during the Battle of Gonzales through the end of the war on April 21, 1836, at...

 that wore formal uniforms. The New Orleans Greys, another company raised in the United States, had fought and died at the Battle of the Alamo
Battle of the Alamo
The Battle of the Alamo was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. Following a 13-day siege, Mexican troops under President General Antonio López de Santa Anna launched an assault on the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de Béxar . All but two of the Texian defenders were killed...

 while serving under a regular Texas army officer, while two companies from Alabama (one each from Huntsville and Mobile) fought and died at Goliad.

In 1836, Santa Anna led a force of about 6,000 Mexican troops into what is now Texas to put down the insurrection. He first entered San Antonio de Béxar
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States of America and the second-largest city within the state of Texas, with a population of 1.33 million. Located in the American Southwest and the south–central part of Texas, the city serves as the seat of Bexar County. In 2011,...

 and, after a 13-day siege
Siege
A siege is a military blockade of a city or fortress with the intent of conquering by attrition or assault. The term derives from sedere, Latin for "to sit". Generally speaking, siege warfare is a form of constant, low intensity conflict characterized by one party holding a strong, static...

, defeated and slaughtered a Texan force on March 6, 1836 at the Alamo. The right wing of Santa Anna's offensive, under General José de Urrea
José de Urrea
José de Urrea was a noted general for Mexico. He fought under General Antonio López de Santa Anna during the Texas Revolution. Urrea's forces were never defeated in battle during the Texas Revolution...

, then defeated, captured, and murdered the survivors of a second force near Goliad
Goliad Campaign
The Goliad Campaign refers to a series of battles which occurred in 1836 as part of the Texas Revolution, which ultimately led to the Goliad massacre...

 after disarming them. Santa Anna ordered the prisoners (about 350) to be shot or bayoneted on March 27 (Palm Sunday). Gen. Urrea resisted the orders at first and sent a special message to Santa Anna to confirm the order, which Santa Anna upheld. Urrea refused to shoot the Texian doctors - since they had not carried arms - and eventually released them. A practical problem was how to shoot 350 prisoners of war. To do so he told them that they were being moved under guard to a new location. When moving down the road prisoners moved single file on the right with a Mexican guard to his left. At a signal on the road, each guard turned and slew his man, some with rifle, others with sword or bayonet. In the melee twenty eight prisoners escaped and six carried the tale to Sam Houston's militia, and this became known as the Goliad massacre
Goliad massacre
The Goliad Massacre was an execution of Republic of Texas soldiers and their commander, James Fannin, by Mexico, reluctantly carried out by General Jose de Urrea.-Background:...

. At the Battle of San Jacinto, both the cries of "Remember the Alamo!" and "Remember Goliad!" were heard. The fortress where the prisoners were held for one week before execution is today in excellent repair and is the finest example of a Mexican fort in the United States. It is called Presidio de la Bahia
Presidio La Bahía
The Presidio Nuestra Señora de Loreto de la Bahía, known more commonly as Presidio La Bahia, or simply La Bahia is a fort constructed by the Spanish Army that became the nucleus of the city of Goliad, Texas, United States. Originally founded in 1721 on the ruins of the failed French Fort Saint...

 and is near present day Goliad TX.

Houston, in command of the main Texian Army
Texian Army
The Texian Army was a military organization consisting of volunteer and regular soldiers who fought against the Mexican army during the Texas Revolution. Approximately 3,700 men joined the army between October 2, 1835 during the Battle of Gonzales through the end of the war on April 21, 1836, at...

 and militia, slowly retreated eastward. To President David G. Burnet
David G. Burnet
David Gouverneur Burnet was an early politician within the Republic of Texas, serving as interim President of Texas , second Vice President of the Republic of Texas , and Secretary of State for the new state of Texas after it was annexed to the United States of America.Burnet was born in Newark,...

, no admirer of Houston's, Houston appeared unwilling to fight his pursuer, despite Burnet's frequent orders that Houston do so. Texas settlers jeered Houston as he passed and his officers threatened to seize command. Houston in reply said he would shoot anyone who tried. Concerned that the Mexican Army was rapidly approaching unchecked, Burnet and the Texas government abandoned the provisional capital at Washington-on-the-Brazos
Washington-on-the-Brazos, Texas
Washington-on-the-Brazos is an unincorporated area along the Brazos River in Washington County, Texas, United States. It was founded when Texas was still a part of Mexico, and the settlement became the site of the Convention of 1836 and the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence...

 and moved towards the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

, reestablishing key governmental functions in Harrisburg
Harrisburg, Houston, Texas
Harrisburg is located within the city of Houston, Texas, United States....

 and later Galveston
Galveston, Texas
Galveston is a coastal city located on Galveston Island in the U.S. state of Texas. , the city had a total population of 47,743 within an area of...

. In their wake, thousands of panicked colonists (both Texian
Texian
Texian is an archaic, mostly defunct 19th century demonym which defined a settler of current-day Texas, one of the southern states of the United States of America which borders the country of Mexico...

 and Tejano
Tejano
Tejano or Texano is a term used to identify a Texan of Mexican heritage.Historically, the Spanish term Tejano has been used to identify different groups of people...

) fled in what became popularly known as the "Runaway Scrape
Runaway Scrape
The Runaway Scrape was the name given to the flight and subsequent hostilities that occurred, as Texan, Tejano, and American settlers and militia encountered the pursuing Mexican army in early 1836....

".

Houston initially headed toward the Sabine River
Sabine River (Texas-Louisiana)
The Sabine River is a river, long, in the U.S. states of Texas and Louisiana. In its lower course, it forms part of the boundary between the two states and empties into Sabine Lake, an estuary of the Gulf of Mexico. The river formed part of the United States-Mexican international boundary during...

, the border with the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, where a Federal army under General Pendleton Gaines
Edmund P. Gaines
Edmund Pendleton Gaines was a United States army officer who served with distinction during the War of 1812, the Seminole Wars and the Black Hawk War.-Early life:...

 had assembled to protect Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

 if Santa Anna decided to invade the U.S. However, Houston soon turned to southeast toward Harrisburg.

Santa Anna pursued Houston and devised a plan in which three columns of Mexican soldiers would converge on Houston's force and destroy it. However, he diverted one column in an attempt to capture the provisional government, and a second to protect his supply lines. Santa Anna personally led the remaining column of about 900 troops against Houston. He caught up with Houston on April 19 near Lynch's Ferry
Lynchburg Ferry
The Lynchburg Ferry is a ferry across the Houston Ship Channel in the U.S. state of Texas, connecting Crosby-Lynchburg Road in Lynchburg to the north with the former State Highway 134 and San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site in La Porte to the south...

. Forced to cross Vince's Bridge
Vince's Bridge
Vince's Bridge was a wooden bridge constructed by Allen Vince over Sims Bayou near Harrisburg, Texas. Its destruction by Texas armed forces played a critical role during the April 1836 Battle of San Jacinto in the decisive defeat of the Mexican army, which effectively ended the Texas Revolution...

, he established positions on less than 3 sq mi (7.8 km²) of ground completely surrounded by the San Jacinto River (Texas), the flooded Buffalo
Buffalo Bayou
Buffalo Bayou is a main waterway flowing through Houston, in Harris County, Texas, USA. It begins in Katy, Fort Bend County, Texas and flows approximately east to the Houston Ship Channel and then into Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico...

 and Vince Bayous, and marshes and bay on the east and southeast. Houston established his camp on a grassy field 1,000 yards (914 m) away.

Prelude to battle

Believing Houston to be cornered, Santa Anna decided to rest his army on April 19 and attack on April 22.

On April 20, Texian and Mexican patrols clashed at New Washington. Santa Anna knew Houston was nearby and sent a probe into the woods to find his army. Colonel James C. Neill
James C. Neill
↔James Clinton Neill was a 19th-century American soldier and politician, most noted for his role in the Texas Revolution and the early defense of the Alamo. He was born in North Carolina.-Early life and career:...

 commanded the Twin Sisters during the battle and sent the Mexicans promptly into retreat, saving the Texians from discovery. Neill was seriously wounded when a fragment of a Mexican grapeshot caught him in the hip. J.C. Neill was then replaced by G.W. Hockley. Mexican Captain Urizza was also wounded.

On the afternoon of April 20, Colonel Sidney Sherman
Sidney Sherman
Sidney Sherman was a Texan general and a key leader in the Texas Army during the Texas Revolution and afterwards.-Early life:...

 accompanied by a detachment of cavalry engaged the Mexican infantry, almost bringing on some major action when they were counter-attacked by Mexican Lancers. Captain Jesse Billingsley came to their aid and the entire regiment under Colonel Burleson promptly joined in. The Mexicans were repulsed and Houston called for the Texians to fall back. Two Texans were wounded, Walter Lane and Olwyn J. Trask (who later died), with several horses also being killed. Private Mirabeau B. Lamar
Mirabeau B. Lamar
Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar was a Texas politician, diplomat and soldier who was a leading Texas political figure during the Texas Republic era. He was the second President of the Republic of Texas, after David G. Burnet and Sam Houston.-Early years:Lamar grew up at Fairfield, his father's...

, from Georgia (a future President of the Republic of Texas), performed so bravely first saving Thomas J. Rusk and later Walter Lane (with help from Henry Karnes), that he was promoted to colonel and placed in command of the cavalry.

On the morning of April 21, Santa Anna received roughly 500 reinforcements under General Martín Perfecto de Cos
Martín Perfecto de Cos
Martín Perfecto de Cos was a 19th-century Mexican general. He was married to Lucinda López de Santa Anna, sister of Antonio López de Santa Anna.-Background:Cós was born in Vera Cruz in the year 1800, the son of an attorney...

. His total strength now approached 1,400 men (2 Battalions = 2 Regiments). Santa Anna posted Cos to his right, near the river, and posted his last artillery 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
Flanking maneuver
In military tactics, a flanking maneuver, also called a flank attack, is an attack on the sides of an opposing force. If a flanking maneuver succeeds, the opposing force would be surrounded from two or more directions, which significantly reduces the maneuverability of the outflanked force and its...

 and settled back to plan the following day's attack.

At noon on April 21, Houston held a council of war. Pro-Houston versions of the meeting say the majority of his officers favored waiting for Santa Anna's eventual assault. The conference lingered on for two hours.
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 900 men, he decided to attack Santa Anna. 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
Siesta
A siesta is a short nap taken in the early afternoon, often after the midday meal. Such a period of sleep is a common tradition in some countries, particularly those where the weather is warm....

, he failed to post sentries or skirmishers around his camp.

The Texian army was ready to meet the enemy. Houston, urged by Texas Secretary of War Thomas J. Rusk, who had caught up with the militia to consult with Houston at the insistence of President Burnet, began the action. 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.

Battle

At 4:30 p.m. on April 21, scout Deaf Smith
Deaf Smith
Erastus "Deaf" Smith was an American frontiersman noted for his part in the Texas Revolution and the army of the Republic of Texas. He fought at the Grass Fight and the Battle of San Jacinto. After the war, Deaf Smith led a company of Texas Rangers.-Biography:Smith was born in Dutchess County, New...

 announced the burning of Vince's Bridge
Vince's Bridge
Vince's Bridge was a wooden bridge constructed by Allen Vince over Sims Bayou near Harrisburg, Texas. Its destruction by Texas armed forces played a critical role during the April 1836 Battle of San Jacinto in the decisive defeat of the Mexican army, which effectively ended the Texas Revolution...

, which cut off the only avenue of reinforcement and retreat for both armies without having to cross water more than 10 feet (3 m) deep. The main Texan battle line moved forward with their approach screened by the trees and rising ground. Emerging from the woods, the order was given to "advance" and a fifer began playing the popular tune "Will you come to the bower I have shaded for you?" General Houston personally led the infantry, posting the 2nd Volunteer Regiment of Colonel
Colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

 Sidney Sherman
Sidney Sherman
Sidney Sherman was a Texan general and a key leader in the Texas Army during the Texas Revolution and afterwards.-Early life:...

 together with Juan Seguin
Juan Seguín
Juan Nepomuceno Seguín was a 19th-century Texas Senator, Mayor, Judge, and Justice of the Peace and a prominent participant in the Texas Revolution.-Early life and family:...

's men on his far left, with Colonel Edward Burleson
Edward Burleson
Edward Burleson was a soldier, general, and statesman in the state of Missouri, the Republic of Texas, and later the U.S. state of Texas....

's 1st Volunteer Regiment next in line. In the center, two small brass (or iron) smoothbore
Smoothbore
A smoothbore weapon is one which has a barrel without rifling. Smoothbores range from handheld firearms to powerful tank guns and large artillery mortars.-History of firearms and rifling:...

 artillery pieces (donated by citizens of Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio. Cincinnati is the county seat of Hamilton County. Settled in 1788, the city is located to north of the Ohio River at the Ohio-Kentucky border, near Indiana. The population within city limits is 296,943 according to the 2010 census, making it Ohio's...

) known as the "Twin Sisters," (replicas pictured right) were wheeled forward under the command of Major
Major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

 George W. Hockley
George Washington Hockley
George Washington Hockley was a Texas revolutionary who served as Secretary of War for the Republic of Texas.Hockley was a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania....

. They were supported by four companies of infantry under Captain Henry Wax Karnes
Henry Wax Karnes
Henry Wax Karnes was notable as a soldier and figure of the Texas Revolution, as well as the commander of General Sam Houston's "Spy Squad" at the Battle of San Jacinto....

. Colonel Henry Millard
Henry Millard
Henry Millard was an American businessman, military officer, and public servant. He founded the city of Beaumont, Texas, in 1835 and fought in the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836 during the Texas Revolution.- Early life :...

'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
Mirabeau B. Lamar
Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar was a Texas politician, diplomat and soldier who was a leading Texas political figure during the Texas Republic era. He was the second President of the Republic of Texas, after David G. Burnet and Sam Houston.-Early years:Lamar grew up at Fairfield, his father's...

 planned to circle into the Mexicans' left flank.

The Texan militia 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. Manuel Flores
Manuel N. Flores
Manuel Flores served as a volunteer in the Texas army in 1835-1838. Fighting and commanding, he would rise through the ranks to reach Sergeant status during the fight for Texas independence and would be commissioned a Captain during the Republic Years.-Family History- Early Years:Manuel Flores...

 is credited for taking the lead in the charge against Santa Anna's army. José Maria Rodriquez states in his book, Memoirs of Early Texas, that during the charge, the Texans fired and fell to the ground expecting a volley from the Mexican camp, but Manuel Flores remained standing and challenged the Texican Army to "get up" and advance, for "the Mexican's are running"! Thomas Rusk also galloped up to the men shouting "Don't stop...give 'em hell!"

The Texans achieved complete surprise. A bold attack in broad daylight, its success can be attributed in good part to Santa Anna's relaxed vigilance due to the superior number of forces he now possessed. Santa Anna's army primarily consisted of professional soldiers, but they were trained to fight in ranks, exchanging volleys with their opponents. The Mexicans were ill-prepared and unarmed at the time of the sudden attack. Most were asleep with their soldaderas
Soldaderas
Soldaderas were female soldiers who went into combat alongside men during the Mexican Revolution, which initially broke out in opposition to the conservative Díaz regime...

 (i.e., wives and female soldiers), worn out from building fortifications. Some were out gathering wood, and the cavalrymen were riding bareback fetching water. Not all were unaware, Colonel Delgado was concerned with the laxness and General Manuel Fernández Castrillón
Manuel Fernández Castrillón
Manuel Fernández Castrillón was a major general in the Mexican army of the 19th century. He was a close friend of General and Mexican President Antonio López de Santa Anna.-Early life:Manuel Fernández Castrillón was born in Cuba...

, who at the Alamo had tried to save a small band of Texian defenders, desperately tried to mount an organized resistance, but was soon shot down and killed. His panicked troops fled, and Santa Anna's defensive line quickly collapsed.

Hundreds of the demoralized and confused Mexican soldiers were routed, with many being driven into the marshes along the river to drown. The Texans chased after the fleeing enemy, Deaf Smith
Deaf Smith
Erastus "Deaf" Smith was an American frontiersman noted for his part in the Texas Revolution and the army of the Republic of Texas. He fought at the Grass Fight and the Battle of San Jacinto. After the war, Deaf Smith led a company of Texas Rangers.-Biography:Smith was born in Dutchess County, New...

 shouting "take prisoners like the Meskins do!", in reference to the burning of bodies after the Alamo and the mass murder
Goliad massacre
The Goliad Massacre was an execution of Republic of Texas soldiers and their commander, James Fannin, by Mexico, reluctantly carried out by General Jose de Urrea.-Background:...

 of Texans at Goliad. Some of the Mexican cavalry plunged into the flooded stream by Vince's bridge but they were shot as they struggled in the water. Houston tried to restrain his men but was ignored. Gen. Juan Almonte
Juan Almonte
Juan Nepomuceno Almonte was a 19th century Mexican official, soldier and diplomat. He was a veteran of the Battle of the Alamo during the Texas Revolution...

, 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. From the moment of the first charge the battle was a slaughter, "frightful to behold", with most of the Texan casualties coming in the first minutes of battle from the first Mexican volley.

During the short but furious fighting, Houston was shot in the left ankle, two of his horses were shot from under him, and Santa Anna escaped. The combat itself lasted 18 minutes but the slaughter of the Mexicans continued for "another hour or so". The Texan militia had won a stunning victory, killing about 700 Mexican soldiers, wounding 208, and taking 730 prisoners while suffering 9 killed and 30 wounded.

Aftermath

During the battle, Santa Anna disappeared and a search party consisting of James A. Sylvester, Washington H. Secrest, Sion R. Bostick
Sion Record Bostick
Sion Record Bostick was a soldier for the Texas Army during the Texas Revolution, and later fought for the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War...

, and a Mr. Cole was sent out the next morning. However, Santa Anna shed his ornate uniform to elude discovery. It was not until he was saluted as "El Presidente" that suspicion was narrowed. Unfortunately for Santa Anna, it was well known that he wore silk underwear. So, when it was discovered that this same person who had been saluted was also wearing silk underwear, the Texans knew they had captured Santa Anna. 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, 1836, Santa Anna signed the Treaties of Velasco
Treaties of Velasco
The Treaties of Velasco were two documents signed at Velasco, Texas, on May 14, 1836, between Antonio López de Santa Anna of Mexico and the Republic of Texas, in the aftermath of the Battle of San Jacinto ....

, 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. There were 2 treaties, a private treaty and a public treaty. In the private treaty, Santa Anna pledged to try to persuade Mexico to acknowledge Texas' independence, in return for an escort back to Mexico. However, the safe passage never materialized; Santa Anna was held for six months as a prisoner of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 (during which time his government disowned him and any agreement he might enter into) and finally taken to Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

  There he met with President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...

, before finally returning in disgrace to Mexico in early 1837. By then, however, Texas independence was a fait accompli
Fait Accompli
Fait accompli is a French phrase which means literally "an accomplished deed". It is commonly used to describe an action which is completed before those affected by it are in a position to query or reverse it...

, although Mexico did not officially recognize it until the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is the peace treaty, largely dictated by the United States to the interim government of a militarily occupied Mexico City, that ended the Mexican-American War on February 2, 1848...

 ended the Mexican-American War in 1848.

Legend

It was well known that when on campaign, Santa Anna would send aides to round up the prettiest women for his pleasure. According to legend, he was "entertaining" a mulatto woman named Emily Morgan
Emily D. West
Emily D. West , also known as Emily Morgan, is a folk heroine whose legendary activities during the Texas Revolution have come to be identified with the song "The Yellow Rose of Texas".-Biography:...

 at the time of opening salvo. A song titled "The Yellow Rose of Texas
The Yellow Rose of Texas
"The Yellow Rose of Texas" is a traditional folk song. The original love song has become associated with the legend of how an indentured servant named Emily Morgan "helped win the battle of San Jacinto, the decisive battle in the Texas Revolution."...

" was later written about Emily Morgan's role in the battle. No primary source evidence corroborates this story, however, and it is now dismissed by historians.

Memorialization

Today, the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site commemorates the battle and includes the San Jacinto Monument
San Jacinto Monument
The San Jacinto Monument is a high column located on the Houston Ship Channel in unincorporated Harris County, Texas near the city of La Porte. The monument is topped with a 220-ton star that commemorates the site of the Battle of San Jacinto, the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution...

, the world's tallest memorial column, at 570 feet (173.7 m). The park is located in Deer Park
Deer Park, Texas
Deer Park is a city in the U.S. state of Texas within the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area. The city is located in Harris County and is situated in Southeast Texas. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of Deer Park was 32,010....

, about 25 miles (40 km) east of downtown Houston
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

. The monument contains an inscription, part of which reads:
Both the Texas Navy
Texas Navy
The Texas Navy was the official navy of the Republic of Texas. Two Texas Navies were naval fighting forces. There is a “Third and Honorary” Texas Navy, in which officers are commissioned by the Governor of Texas as Admirals, Commanders and Lieutenants....

 and the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 commissioned ships named after the Battle of San Jacinto: the Texan schooner San Jacinto
Texan schooner San Jacinto
The Texan schooner San Jacinto was a two-masted schooner of the Second Texas Navy from 1839-1840. She was the sister ship of the San Antonio and the San Bernard. In 1840, San Jacinto was part of the Texas Navy flotilla led by Commodore Edwin Ward Moore which was dispatched to assist Yucatecan...

 and the USS San Jacinto
USS San Jacinto
Three ships of the United States Navy have been named USS San Jacinto, after the Texas battle of San Jacinto in 1836, and the navy considered acquiring a fourth ship of the name:...

.

An annual San Jacinto Day
San Jacinto Day
San Jacinto Day is the celebration of the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. It was the final battle of the Texas Revolution where Texas won its independencefrom Mexico....

 festival and battle reenactment is held in the month of April at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site.

The annual Fiesta celebration in San Antonio with three large parades, banquets, and numerous other events, celebrates the victory of San Jacinto and Texas independence.

Alfonso Steele
Alfonso Steele
Alfonso Steele was the last remaining survivor of the Battle of San Jacinto during the Texas Revolution.-Life:...

, to whom a roadside park is dedicated in Limestone County
Limestone County, Texas
Limestone County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of 2000, the population was 22,051. Its county seat is Groesbeck.-Geography:According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of , of which is land and is water....

, is generally credited as being the last remaining Texan survivor of the battle.

In September 2001, Park Road 1836, connecting Battleground Road (formerly Texas State Highway 134) to the San Jacinto Monument Grounds
San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
The San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site includes the location of the Battle of San Jacinto, and the USS Texas. It is located off the Houston Ship Channel in LaPorte, Texas. The site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960....

 near Houston, was renamed in Juan Seguin's honor and Interstate 610
Interstate 610 (Texas)
Interstate 610 is a freeway that forms a forty-two-mile loop around the downtown sector of city of Houston, Texas. Interstate 610, colloquially known as "The Loop", "Loop 610", "The 610 Loop", or just "610", traditionally marks the border between the inner city of Houston and its surrounding areas...

/Texas State Highway 225
Texas State Highway 225
State Highway 225, or SH 225, is an east–west freeway in the Houston area between the Interstate 610 Loop in Houston and State Highway 146 in La Porte. It is identified as the La Porte Freeway over its entire length except for Pasadena where it is called the Pasadena Freeway...

 interchange in southeast Houston was named the "Juan N. Seguin Memorial Interchange."

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

See also

  • List of Texas Revolution battles
  • Timeline of the Texas Revolution
    Timeline of the Texas Revolution
    This is a timeline of the Texas Revolution, spanning the time from the earliest independence movements of the area of Texas, over the declaration of independence from Spain, up to the secession of the Republic of Texas from Mexico....



External links

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