Texas Revolution
Overview
 
The Texas Revolution or Texas War of Independence was an armed conflict between Mexico
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...

 and settlers in the 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...

 portion of the Mexican state 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...

. The war lasted from October 2, 1835 to April 21, 1836. However, a war at sea between Mexico and Texas would continue into the 1840s.

Animosity between the Mexican government and the settlers in Texas, including many settlers of Mexican ancestry, began with the Siete Leyes
Siete Leyes
The Siete Leyes were a series of constitutional instruments that fundamentally altered the organizational structure of the young first Mexican republic...

 of 1835, when Mexican President
President of Mexico
The President of the United Mexican States is the head of state and government of Mexico. Under the Constitution, the president is also the Supreme Commander of the Mexican armed forces...

 and 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...

 abolished the federal Constitution of 1824 and proclaimed the more centralizing
Centralized government
A centralized or centralised government is one in which power or legal authority is exerted or coordinated by a de facto political executive to which federal states, local authorities, and smaller units are considered subject...

 1835 constitution
1835 Constitution of Mexico
Mexico's so-called 1835 Constitution was not a formal, fully fledged constitution, but two documents that amended the 1824 Constitution in a way that substantially changed the character of Mexican government: the Siete Leyes of 1835 and the 1836 Constitution Laws.Delegates met in San Felipe to...

 in its place.
Encyclopedia
The Texas Revolution or Texas War of Independence was an armed conflict between Mexico
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...

 and settlers in the 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...

 portion of the Mexican state 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...

. The war lasted from October 2, 1835 to April 21, 1836. However, a war at sea between Mexico and Texas would continue into the 1840s.

Animosity between the Mexican government and the settlers in Texas, including many settlers of Mexican ancestry, began with the Siete Leyes
Siete Leyes
The Siete Leyes were a series of constitutional instruments that fundamentally altered the organizational structure of the young first Mexican republic...

 of 1835, when Mexican President
President of Mexico
The President of the United Mexican States is the head of state and government of Mexico. Under the Constitution, the president is also the Supreme Commander of the Mexican armed forces...

 and 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...

 abolished the federal Constitution of 1824 and proclaimed the more centralizing
Centralized government
A centralized or centralised government is one in which power or legal authority is exerted or coordinated by a de facto political executive to which federal states, local authorities, and smaller units are considered subject...

 1835 constitution
1835 Constitution of Mexico
Mexico's so-called 1835 Constitution was not a formal, fully fledged constitution, but two documents that amended the 1824 Constitution in a way that substantially changed the character of Mexican government: the Siete Leyes of 1835 and the 1836 Constitution Laws.Delegates met in San Felipe to...

 in its place. The new laws were unpopular throughout Mexico, leading to secession movements and violence in several Mexican states.

War began in Texas on October 2, 1835, with the Battle of Gonzales
Battle of Gonzales
The Battle of Gonzales was the first military engagement of the Texas Revolution. It was fought near Gonzales, Texas, on October 2, 1835, between rebellious Texian settlers and a detachment of Mexican army troops....

. Early 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...

 successes at La Bahia
Goliad, Texas
Goliad is a city in Goliad County, Texas, United States. It had a population of 1975 at the 2000 census. Founded on the San Antonio River, it is the county seat of Goliad County. It is part of the Victoria, Texas Metropolitan Statistical Area. Goliad is located on U.S. Highway 59, named also for...

 and San Antonio were soon met with crushing defeat at the same locations a few months later. The war ended at the Battle of San Jacinto
Battle of 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 Texian Army engaged and defeated General Antonio López de Santa Anna's Mexican forces in a fight that lasted just eighteen...

 where 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...

 led the Texan Army to victory over a portion of the Mexican Army
Military history of Mexico
The military history of Mexico consists of several millennia of armed conflicts within what is now that nation's territory and includes activities of the Mexican military in peacekeeping and combat related affairs worldwide. Wars between prehispanic peoples marked the beginning of Mexico's...

 under 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...

, who was captured shortly after the battle. The conclusion of the war resulted in the creation of 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...

 in 1836.

Background

The Mexican War for Independence (1810–1821) severed control that Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 had exercised on its North American territories, and the new country of Mexico
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...

 was formed from much of the individual territory that had comprised New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

. On October 4, 1824, Mexico adopted a new constitution
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...

 which defined the country as a federal republic with nineteen states and four territories. The former province of Spanish Texas
Spanish Texas
Spanish Texas was one of the interior provinces of New Spain from 1690 until 1821. Although Spain claimed ownership of the territory, which comprised part of modern-day Texas, including the land north of the Medina and Nueces Rivers, the Spanish did not attempt to colonize the area until after...

 became part of a newly created state, 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...

, whose capital was at Saltillo
Saltillo
Saltillo is the capital city of the northeastern Mexican state of Coahuila and the municipal seat of the municipality of the same name. The city is located about 400 km south of the U.S. state of Texas, and 90 km west of Monterrey, Nuevo León....

, hundreds of miles from the former Texas capital, San Antonio de Bexar (now San Antonio, Texas).

The new country emerged from the war essentially bankrupt. With little money for the military, Mexico encouraged settlers to create their own militias for protection against hostile Indian tribes. Tejas was very sparsely populated . In the early 1820s, approximately 3500 people lived in Tejas, mostly congregated at San Antonio and La Bahia. Edmondson (2000), p. 75. and in the hope that an influx of settlers could control the Indian raids, the government liberalized immigration policies for the region. The first group of colonists, known as the Old Three Hundred
Old Three Hundred
The Old Three Hundred is a term used to describe the 297 grantees, made up of families and some partnerships of unmarried men, who purchased 307 parcels of land from Stephen Fuller Austin and established a colony near present day Brenham in Washington County, Texas.Moses Austin was the original...

, had arrived in 1822 to settle an empresarial
Empresario
An empresario was a person who, in the early years of the settlement of Texas, had been granted the right to settle on Mexican land in exchange for recruiting and taking responsibility for new settlers. The word is Spanish for entrepreneur.- Background :...

 grant that had been given to Stephen F. Austin
Stephen F. Austin
Stephen Fuller Austin was born in Virginia and raised in southeastern Missouri. He was known as the Father of Texas, led the second, but first legal and ultimately successful colonization of the region by bringing 300 families from the United States. The capital of Texas, Austin in Travis County,...

. Of the 24 empresarios, only one settled citizens from within the Mexican interior; most of the remaining settlers came from the United States.

The Mexican-born settlers in Texas were soon vastly outnumbered by people born in the United States. To address this situation, President Anastasio Bustamante
Anastasio Bustamante
Anastasio Bustamante y Oseguera was president of Mexico three times, from 1830 to 1832, from 1837 to 1839 and from 1839 to 1841. He was a Conservative. He first came to power by leading a coup against president Vicente Guerrero...

 implemented several measures on April 6, 1830. Chief among these was a prohibition against further immigration to Tejas from the United States, although American citizens would be allowed to settle in other parts of Mexico. Furthermore, the property tax law, intended to exempt immigrants from paying taxes for ten years, was rescinded, and tariffs were increased on goods shipped from the United States. Bustamante also ordered all Tejas settlers to comply with the federal prohibition against slavery or face military intervention. These measures did not have the intended effect. Settlers simply circumvented or ignored the laws. By 1834, it was estimated that over 30,000 Anglos lived in Coahuila y Tejas, compared to only 7,800 Mexican-born citizens. By 1836, there were approximately 5,000 slaves in Texas.
Texians were becoming increasingly disillusioned with the Mexican government. Many of the Mexican soldiers garrison
Garrison
Garrison is the collective term for a body of troops stationed in a particular location, originally to guard it, but now often simply using it as a home base....

ed in Tejas were convicted criminals who were given the choice of prison or serving in the army in Tejas. Many Texians were also unhappy with the location of their state capital, which moved periodically between Saltillo
Saltillo
Saltillo is the capital city of the northeastern Mexican state of Coahuila and the municipal seat of the municipality of the same name. The city is located about 400 km south of the U.S. state of Texas, and 90 km west of Monterrey, Nuevo León....

 and Monclova
Monclova
On the other hand, temperatures during late spring and summer can have bouts of extreme heat, with evenings above 40°C for many consecutive days. In recent decades the hottest records have climbed as high as 43°C on July 13, 2005 and 45°C on May 4, 1984. However nighttime low temperatures are...

, both of which were in southern Coahuila
Coahuila
Coahuila, formally Coahuila de Zaragoza , officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Coahuila de Zaragoza is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico...

, some 500 miles (804.7 km) away; they wanted Tejas to be a separate state from Coahuila (but not independent from Mexico) and to have its own capital.

Some American immigrants and Mexican citizens were accustomed to the rights they had in the U.S. that they did not have in Mexico. For example, Mexico did not protect Freedom of Religion
Freedom of religion
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any...

, instead requiring colonists to pledge their acceptance of Roman Catholicism; Mexican Law also required a tithe
Diezmo
The diezmo was a compulsory ecclesiastical tithe collected in Spain and its empire from the Middle Ages until the reign of Isabella II in the mid-19th century.-History:...

 paid to the Catholic Church. Since nearly all the American immigrants were Protestant and many reviled Catholicism, they found such demands to be highly offensive. In the Mexican interior, violence began to erupt between those who supported federalism
Federalism
Federalism is a political concept in which a group of members are bound together by covenant with a governing representative head. The term "federalism" is also used to describe a system of the government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and...

 and those who wanted a centralized government
Centralized government
A centralized or centralised government is one in which power or legal authority is exerted or coordinated by a de facto political executive to which federal states, local authorities, and smaller units are considered subject...

.

Economic origin of conflict

Cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

 was in high demand throughout Europe and so a lucrative export throughout the southern United States
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

. Much of the land being opened up to Anglos in Mexican Texas was well suited for cotton, but raising cotton was a labor intensive endeavorer at the time, profitable only by use of slave labor. Many of the American immigrants from the southern American states had a investment in slaves and ignored the Mexican laws against slavery. The Mexican government had invited immigrants to Mexican Texas with the understanding that they would produce food crops, insisting upon production of corn, grain and beef. Former American settlers found such micromanagement
Micromanagement
In business management, micromanagement is a management style where a manager closely observes or controls the work of her or his subordinates or employees...

 of the land use to be opposed to their economic interests in slavery. They tended to ignore their contracts. If these were enforced, Texas slave-owners stood to lose a large investment in slave labor. While the vast majority of Anglo settlers did not own slaves, the few who did held considerable economic, political and social influence. Consequently, Mexico's prohibition of slavery was essentially unenforced.

Other Issues

The other interest of the Texians was representation of their interests in the government. They believed a closer location for the capital would help to stem corruption
Political corruption
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by...

 and facilitate other matters of government. 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...

s continued to lobby to overturn the laws of 1830. In April 1833, settlers called a convention
Convention of 1833
The Convention of 1833 , a political gathering of settlers in Mexican Texas, was a successor to the Convention of 1832, whose requests had not been addressed by the Mexican government...

 to discuss proposed changes in immigration, judicial, and other political policies. The delegates also advocated separate statehood for Tejas and elected Austin to carry a proposed state constitution to Mexico City. The new Mexican President, Antonio Lopez 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...

, approved many of the proposals, but refused to agree to separate statehood; Austin was jailed when he wrote a letter advocating that Texians act unilaterally on statehood.

In 1834, because of perceived troubles within the Mexican government, Santa Anna went through a process of dissolving state legislatures, disarming state militias, and abolishing the Constitution of 1824. He also imprisoned some cotton plantation owners who refused to raise their assigned crops, which were intended to be redistributed within Mexico instead of being exported.

Mexican preparation

In early 1835, as the Mexican government transitioned from a federalist
Federalism
Federalism is a political concept in which a group of members are bound together by covenant with a governing representative head. The term "federalism" is also used to describe a system of the government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and...

 model to centralism
Centralized government
A centralized or centralised government is one in which power or legal authority is exerted or coordinated by a de facto political executive to which federal states, local authorities, and smaller units are considered subject...

, wary Texians began forming Committees of Correspondence and Safety. A central committee in San Felipe de Austin
San Felipe, Texas
San Felipe, also known as San Felipe de Austin, is a town in Austin County, Texas, United States. The town was the social, economic, and political center of the early Stephen F. Austin colony. The population was 868 at the 2000 census.-History:...

 coordinated their activities. The Texians staged a minor revolt against customs duties in June; these Anahuac Disturbances
Anahuac Disturbances
The Anahuac Disturbances were uprisings of settlers in and around Anahuac, Texas in 1832 and 1835 which helped to precipitate the Texas Revolution. This eventually led to the territory's secession from Mexico and the founding of the Republic of Texas...

 prompted Mexican President 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...

 to send additional troops to Texas. In July, Colonel Nicolas Condelle led 200 men to reinforce Presidio La Bahía
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...

.

The following month, a contingent of soldiers arrived in Béxar with Colonel Domingo de Ugartechea. Fearing that stronger measures were needed to quell the unrest, Santa Anna ordered his brother-in-law, 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...

 to "repress with strong arm all those who, forgetting their duties to the nation which has adopted them as her children, are pushing forward with a desire to live at their own option without subjection to the laws". Cos landed at the port of Copano
Copano, Texas
Copano, Texas or El Copano is a ghost town on the northwestern shore of Copano Bay in Refugio County. It is located north of present day Bayside, on Copano Point. The port, which holds the distinction as the first in South Texas, was founded in the early 18th century by the Spanish, and named for...

 on September 20 with approximately 500 soldiers.

Austin was released in July, having never been formally charged with sedition, and was in Texas by August. Austin saw little choice but revolution. A consultation was scheduled for October to discuss possible formal plans to revolt, and Austin sanctioned it.

Texian Army offensive

Before the consultation could happen, however, in accordance with Santa Anna’s nationwide call to disarm state militias, Colonel Domingo Ugartechea
Domingo Ugartechea
Domingo de Ugartechea was a 19th century Mexican Army officer for the Republic of Mexico.-Early years:He served for Joaquín de Arredondo in 1813...

, who was stationed in San Antonio, ordered the Texians to return a cannon given to them by Mexico that was stationed in Gonzales. The Texians refused. Ugartechea sent Lieutenant Francisco Castañeda and 100 dragoon
Dragoon
The word dragoon originally meant mounted infantry, who were trained in horse riding as well as infantry fighting skills. However, usage altered over time and during the 18th century, dragoons evolved into conventional light cavalry units and personnel...

s to retrieve it. When he arrived at the rain-swollen banks of the Guadalupe River
Guadalupe River (Texas)
The Guadalupe River runs from Kerr County, Texas to San Antonio Bay on the Gulf of Mexico. The river is a popular destination for rafters and canoers. Larger cities along the river include New Braunfels, Kerrville, Seguin, Gonzales, Cuero, and Victoria...

 near Gonzales, there were just eighteen Texians to oppose him. Unable to cross, Castañeda established a camp, and the Texians buried the cannon and called for volunteers. The Texians stalled for several days until reinforcements arrived. 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...

 attacked early on October 2, 1835. The Battle of Gonzales
Battle of Gonzales
The Battle of Gonzales was the first military engagement of the Texas Revolution. It was fought near Gonzales, Texas, on October 2, 1835, between rebellious Texian settlers and a detachment of Mexican army troops....

 ended with a Mexican withdrawal. Two Mexican soldiers were killed, and one Texian was injured when he fell off his horse during the skirmish. Over the next several days, The Texian Army continued to gather at Gonzales.

After learning 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...

 victory, Cos made haste for Béxar. He left with the bulk of his soldiers on October 5, but because he was unable to find adequate transportation, most of his supplies remained at La Bahía. Unaware of Cos's departure, on October 6 Texians in Matagorda decided to march on the Mexican garrison at Presidio La Bahía
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...

 in Goliad. They intended to kidnap Cos and, if possible, steal the estimated $50,000 that was rumored to accompany him. On October 10, the Texians stormed the presidio, and the Mexican garrison surrendered after a 30-minute battle. One Texian was wounded, and estimates of Mexican casualties range from one to three soldiers killed and from three to seven wounded. Approximately 20 soldiers escaped. They warned the garrisons at Copano and Refugio
Refugio, Texas
Refugio is a town in Refugio County, Texas, United States. The population was 2,941 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Refugio County. Although the town's name is derived from Spanish, a vast majority of the town's residents pronounce it re-fury-oh. The Spanish pronunciation is...

 of the advancing Texians; those garrisons abandoned their posts and joined the soldiers at Fort Lipantitlán, near San Patricio.

The Texians confiscated over $10,000 in food, blankets, clothing, and other provisions. For the next three months, the provisions were parceled out among companies in the Texian Army. Over the next several days, The Texian Army continued to gather at La Bahia. Austin ordered that 100 men remain at Goliad, under the command of Captain Philip Dimmitt
Philip Dimmitt
Philip Dimmitt was an officer in the Texian Army during the Texas Revolution. Born in Kentucky, Dimmitt moved to Texas in 1823 and soon operated a series of trading posts. After learning that Mexican General Martín Perfecto de Cos was en route to Texas to quell the unrest, Dimmitt proposed that...

, while the rest should join the Texian Army in marching on Cos's troops in Béxar. Within days of his appointment, Dimmitt began advocating for an attack on Fort Lipantitlán. Dimmitt believed that Texian control of Fort Lipantitlán would "secure the frontier, provide a vital station for defense, create instability among the centralists, and encourage Mexican federalists". The Mexican soldiers at Fort Lipantitlán intimidated the settlers in San Patricio, leaving them afraid to openly support the federalists who defied Mexican president 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...

.

On October 31, Dimmitt sent a group of men under Adjutant Ira Westover to take the fort. They arrived at Fort Lipantitlán late on November 3 and took the undermanned fort without firing a shot. The next day, the Texians dismantled the fort. As they prepared to return to Goliad, the remainder of the Mexican garrison, who had been out on patrol, approached. The Battle of Lipantitlán
Battle of Lipantitlán
The Battle of Lipantitlán, also known as the Battle of Nueces Crossing, was fought along the Nueces River on November 4, 1835 between the Mexican Army and Texian insurgents, as part of the Texas Revolution...

 lasted only 30 minutes, and resulted in the retreat of the Mexican soldiers. Their departure left only one remaining group of Mexican soldiers in Texas, those under Cos at Béxar. The Texian Army controlled the Gulf Coast, so all communication with the Mexican interior would now be transferred overland. The long journey left Cos unable to quickly request or receive reinforcements or supplies.

Siege of Bexar

While Dimmitt supervised the Texian Army forces along the Gulf Coast, Stephen F. Austin
Stephen F. Austin
Stephen Fuller Austin was born in Virginia and raised in southeastern Missouri. He was known as the Father of Texas, led the second, but first legal and ultimately successful colonization of the region by bringing 300 families from the United States. The capital of Texas, Austin in Travis County,...

 worked to organize the men gathered in Gonzales into a cohesive army. On October 13, Austin led the newly formed 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...

 toward Bexar to engage Cos and his troops. One week later, the men reached Salado Creek
Salado Creek
Salado Creek is a waterway in San Antonio that runs from Northern Bexar County for about to the San Antonio River near Buena Vista.-Watershed:...

 and initiated a siege of Bexar
Siege of Bexar
The Siege of Béxar was an early campaign of the Texas Revolution in which a volunteer Texan army successfully defeated Mexican forces at San Antonio de Béxar . Texians had become disillusioned with the Mexican government as President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna's tenure became increasingly...

. The Texians gradually moved their camp nearer Bexar, and on October 27 had made camp at Mission San Francisco de la Espada
Mission San Francisco de la Espada
Mission San Francisco de la Espada was a Roman Catholic mission established by Spain near San Antonio de Bexar in northern New Spain in 1731 to convert local Native Americans to Christianity and solidify Spanish territorial claims in the New World against encroachment from France...

. That afternoon Austin sent James Bowie and James Fannin
James Fannin
James Walker Fannin, Jr. was a 19th-century U.S. military figure on the Texas Army and leader during the Texas Revolution of 1835–36...

 with a contingent of men to find a closer campsite. The men realized that Mission Concepción
Mission Concepcion
Mission Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña was established in 1716 as Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de los Hainais in East Texas. The mission was moved in 1731 to San Antonio...

 was a good defensive spot. Rather than return immediately to Austin, as their orders specified, Bowie and Fannin instead sent a courier to bring Austin directions to Concepción. The next day, an angry Austin issued a statement threatening officers who chose not to follow orders with court-martial
Court-martial
A court-martial is a military court. A court-martial is empowered to determine the guilt of members of the armed forces subject to military law, and, if the defendant is found guilty, to decide upon punishment.Most militaries maintain a court-martial system to try cases in which a breach of...

.

Cos had learned that the Texian Army was temporarily divided and sent Ugartechea and troops to engage Bowie and Fannin's men. The ensuing Battle of Concepción
Battle of Concepcion
The Battle of Concepción was fought on October 28, 1835 between Mexican troops under Colonel Domingo Ugartechea and Texian insurgents led by James Bowie and James Fannin. The 30-minute engagement, which historian J.R...

, which historian J.R. Edmondson describes as "the first major engagement of the Texas Revolution", was the last offensive against the Texian Army that Cos would order. Although historian Alwyn Barr
Alwyn Barr
Chester Alwyn Barr is an American historian who specializes in African American studies, the American South, the American Civil War, and Reconstruction. He is a professor emeritus and former history department chairman at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.-Works:Barr received his Ph.D...

 of Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University, often referred to as Texas Tech or TTU, is a public research university in Lubbock, Texas, United States. Established on February 10, 1923, and originally known as Texas Technological College, it is the leading institution of the Texas Tech University System and has the...

 believes that the battle "should have taught ... lessons on Mexican courage and the value of a good defensive position", historian Stephen Hardin believes that "the relative ease of the victory at Concepción instilled in the Texians a reliance on their long rifles and a contempt for their enemies".

The Texian Army volunteers had little or no experience as professional soldiers, and by early November many had begun to miss their homes. As the weather turned colder and rations grew smaller, many soldiers became sick, and groups of men began to leave, most without permission. On November 18, however, a group of volunteers from the United States, known as the New Orleans Greys
New Orleans Greys
The New Orleans Greys, the Greys named for the color of their uniforms, were a Military volunteer unit of two militia companies formed in the city of that name for service in the Texas War of Independence. Their name came from the grey military fatigues they wore...

, joined the Texian Army. Unlike the majority of the Texian volunteers, the Greys looked like soldiers, with uniforms, well-maintained rifles, adequate ammunition, and some semblance of discipline. The Greys, as well as several companies of Texians who had arrived recently, were eager to face the Mexican Army directly. The Texian volunteers, however, were becoming discouraged with the siege. Within days Austin resigned his command to become a commissioner to the United States; Texian Army elected 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....

 as their new commander.

On November 26, Burleson received word that a Mexican pack train
Packhorse
.A packhorse or pack horse refers generally to an equid such as a horse, mule, donkey or pony used for carrying goods on their backs, usually carried in sidebags or panniers. Typically packhorses are used to cross difficult terrain, where the absence of roads prevents the use of wheeled vehicles. ...

 of mules and horses, accompanied by 50–100 Mexican soldiers, was within 5 miles (8 km) of Bexar. After a near mutiny, Burleson sent Bowie and William H. Jack with cavalry and infantry to intercept the supplies. In the subsequent skirmish, the Mexican forces were forced to retreat to San Antonio, leaving their cargo behind. To the disappointment of the Texians, the saddlebags contained only fodder for the horses; for this reason the battle was later known as the Grass Fight
Grass Fight
The Grass Fight was a small battle during the Texas Revolution, fought between the Mexican Army and the Texian Army. The battle took place on November 26, 1835, just south of San Antonio de Béxar in Mexican Texas...

.

Although the victory briefly uplifted the Texian troops, morale continued to fall as the weather turned colder and the men grew bored. Burleson proposed that the army lift the siege and retreat to Goliad until spring. His war council was ambivalent until Colonel Ben Milam stood up and yelled, "Who will go with old Ben Milam into San Antonio?" Several hundred soldiers, including the New Orleans Greys, agreed to participate in the attack, which commenced on December 5. Milam and Colonel Frank W. Johnson
Frank W. Johnson
Francis White "Frank" Johnson was a co-commander of the Texian Army from December 1835 through February 1836, during the Texas Revolution. Johnson arrived in Texas in 1826 and worked as a surveyor for several empresarios, including Stephen F. Austin. One of his first activities was to plot the...

 led two columns of men into the city, and for the next few days they fought their way from house to house towards the fortified plazas where the Mexican soldiers waited. Milam was killed by a sharpshooter on December 7.

On December 9, Cos and the bulk of his men withdrew into the Alamo Mission on the outskirts of Bexar. Cos presented a plan for a counterattack; cavalry officers believed that they would be surrounded by Texians and refused their orders. Possibly 175–soldiers from four of the cavalry companies left the mission and rode south. Sanchez Navarro said the troops were not deserting but misunderstood their orders and were withdrawing all the way to the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
The Rio Grande is a river that flows from southwestern Colorado in the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way it forms part of the Mexico – United States border. Its length varies as its course changes...

. The following morning, Cos called Sanchez Navarro to the Alamo and gave him orders to "go save those brave men. ... Approach the enemy and obtain the best terms possible". On December 11, the Texians officially accepted Cos's surrender.

Under the terms of the surrender, Cos and his men would leave Texas and no longer fight against the Constitution of 1824. With his departure, there was no longer an organized garrison of Mexican troops in Texas, and many of the Texians believed that the war was over. Johnson described the battle as "the period put to our present war". Burleson resigned his leadership of the army on December 15 and returned to his home. Many of the men did likewise, and Johnson assumed command of the 400 soldiers who remained. Soon after, a new contingent of Texians and volunteers from the United States arrived with more heavy artillery. According to Barr, the large number of American volunteers "contributed to the Mexican view that Texian opposition stemmed from outside influences".

Within several weeks of the Mexican surrender, Johnson and Dr. James Grant
James Grant (Texas)
James Grant was a 19th century Texas politician, physician and military participant in the Texas Revolution.-Early life:James Grant was born on July 28, 1793, in Killearnan Parish, Ross-shire, Scotland. In 1823, he traveled to northern Mexico, ending up in Texas. He became interested in real...

 enticed 300 of the Texians to join them in preparing to invade Mexico, leaving 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:...

 to oversee the remaining 100 Texian Army soldiers garrisoned at the Alamo. Although the Matamoros Expedition
Matamoros Expedition
The Matamoros Expedition was a planned 1836 invasion of the Mexican port town of Matamoros by rebellious Texians. As the Mexican government transitioned from federalism to a centralized government in 1835, many federalists offered armed opposition. In Mexican Texas, settlers launched a full...

, as it came to be known, was but one of many schemes to bring the war to Mexico, nothing came of it. On November 6, 1835, the Tampico Expedition
Tampico Expedition
The "Battle of Tampico" was fought November 15, 1835, in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Gregorio Gómez and the Mexican Centralist garrison engaged Gen. José Antonio Mejía and 150 American volunteers.-Background:...

 under José Antonio Mexía
José Antonio Mexía
José Antonio Mexía was an 18th-century Mexican politician. He claimed to have been born in Xalapa, Veracruz, but contradicting contemporary reports say he was a native of Cuba....

 left New Orleans, intending to capture the town from the Centralists. The expedition failed. These independent missions drained the Texian movement of supplies and men.

Provisional government

In November 1835 at San Felipe de Austin, the Consultation (Texas) scheduled for the month before finally got underway after enough delegates from the colonies arrived to signify a quorum. After bitter debate, they finally created a provisional government that was not to be separate from Mexico but only to oppose the Centralists. They elected Henry Smith
Henry Smith (Texas Governor)
Henry Smith was first American-born Governor of the Mexican territory of Texas and briefly presided over the revolution there.-Early life:...

 as governor, and 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...

 was appointed commander-in-chief of the regular Army of Texas. There was no regular army yet; Austin’s army was all volunteers, so Houston would have to build one. Members of the regular army would be paid in land. The provisional government commissioned privateers and established a postal system. A merchant was sent to the U.S. to borrow $100,000. They ordered hundreds of copies of various military textbooks. They gave Austin the option to step down as commander of the Texian Army in Béxar and go to the U.S. as a commissioner. On November 24, 1835, Austin stepped down as general. Elections were held, and 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....

 became Austin’s successor.

Army of Operations

As early as October 27, Santa Anna had been making plans to quell the unrest in Texas. He stepped down from his duties as president to lead what he dubbed the Army of Operations in Texas, which would relieve Cos and put an end to the Texian revolt. Santa Anna and his soldiers believed that the Texians would be quickly cowed. The Mexican Secretary of War, José María Tornel
José María Tornel
José María de Tornel y Mendívil was a 19th century Mexican army general and politician who greatly influenced the career of President Antonio López de Santa Anna.- Birth :...

, wrote: "The superiority of the Mexican soldier over the mountaineers of Kentucky and the hunters of Missouri is well known. Veterans seasoned by 20 years of wars can't be intimidated by the presence of an army ignorant of the art of war, incapable of discipline, and renowned for insubordination."

The units comprising the Army of Operations were generally operating at under full strength, and many of the men were raw recruits. A majority of the troops had been conscripted or were convicts who agreed to serve in the military instead of jail. The Mexican officers knew that the Brown Bess
Brown Bess
Brown Bess is a nickname of uncertain origin for the British Army's Land Pattern Musket and its derivatives. This musket was used in the era of the expansion of the British Empire and acquired symbolic importance at least as significant as its physical importance. It was in use for over a hundred...

 muskets they carried lacked the range of the Texian weapons, but Santa Anna was convinced that his superior planning would nonetheless result in an easy victory. As part of his preparations, Santa Anna orchestrated a warning to the American citizens who were flocking to Texas. At his behest, the Mexican Congress passed a resolution stating:






In this time period, captured pirates were executed immediately. The resolution thus gave the Mexican Army permission to take no prisoners in the war against the Texians. Santa Anna also sent a strongly worded letter to 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...

, the United States president, warning that any Americans found fighting the Mexican government would be treated as pirates. The letter was not widely distributed, and it is unlikely that most of the American recruits serving in the Texian Army were aware of that there would be no prisoners of war.

By December 1835 6,019 soldiers had gathered at San Luis Potosi
San Luis Potosí
San Luis Potosí officially Estado Libre y Soberano de San Luis Potosí is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 58 municipalities and its capital city is San Luis Potosí....

 to march into Texas. Several of Santa Anna's officers argued that the Army of Operations should advance along the coast, so that they would be able to receive additional supplies via sea. Instead, Santa Anna ordered the army inland to Bexar, the political center of Texas and the site of Cos's defeat; Santa Anna wanted to restore the reputation of his family after his brother-in-law's embarrassing surrender. The long march would also provide an opportunity to train the new recruits. In late December, the army began the march north.

Progress was slow. There were not enough mules to transport all of the supplies, and many of the teamster
Teamster
A teamster, in modern American English, is a truck driver. The trade union named after them is the International Brotherhood of Teamsters , one of the largest unions in the United States....

s, all civilians, quit when their pay was delayed. The large number of 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...

–women and children who followed the army–reduced the already scarce supplies. The soldiers were soon reduced to partial rations. After reaching Saltillo, the army halted for two weeks so that Santa Anna could recover from an illness. Officers took advantage of the break to train the men. Many of the new recruits did not know how to use the sights of their guns, and many refused to fire from the shoulder because of the large recoil. The march into Texas resumed on January 26, and the army crossed the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
The Rio Grande is a river that flows from southwestern Colorado in the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way it forms part of the Mexico – United States border. Its length varies as its course changes...

 on February 12.

Temperatures in Texas reached record lows, and by February 13 an estimated 15–16 in (38.1–40.6 cm) of snow had fallen. A large number of the new recruits were from the tropical climate of the Yucatán
Yucatán
Yucatán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Yucatán is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 106 municipalities and its capital city is Mérida....

, and some of them died of hypothermia. Others contracted dysentery. Soldiers who fell behind were sometimes killed by Comanche
Comanche
The Comanche are a Native American ethnic group whose historic range consisted of present-day eastern New Mexico, southern Colorado, northeastern Arizona, southern Kansas, all of Oklahoma, and most of northwest Texas. Historically, the Comanches were hunter-gatherers, with a typical Plains Indian...

 raiding parties. Nevertheless, the army continued to march toward Bexar. As they progressed, settlers in their path in South Texas
South Texas
South Texas is a region of the U.S. state of Texas that lies roughly south of and including San Antonio. The southern and western boundary is the Rio Grande River, and to the east it is the Gulf of Mexico. The population of this region is about 3.7 million. The southern portion of this region is...

 evacuated northward. The Mexican army ransacked and occasionally burned the vacant homes.

Goliad campaign

General José Urrea marched into Texas from Matamoros
Matamoros, Tamaulipas
Matamoros, officially known as Heroica Matamoros, is a city in the northeastern part of Tamaulipas, in the country of Mexico. It is located on the southern bank of the Rio Grande, directly across the border from Brownsville, Texas, in the United States. Matamoros is the second largest and second...

, making his way north following the coast of Texas, thus preventing any foreign aid by sea and opening up an opportunity for the Mexican Navy
Mexican Navy
The Mexican Navy is the naval branch of the Mexican military responsible for conducting naval operations. Its stated mission is "to use the naval force of the federation for the exterior defense, and to help with internal order". The Navy consists of about 56,000 men and women plus reserves, over...

 to land much needed provisions. After surprising Colonel Frank Johnson and his troops at the Battle of San Patricio
Battle of San Patricio
The Battle of San Patricio was a 19th century battle fought on February 27, 1836, between the Republic of Mexico and the rebelling Mexican state of Texas.-Background:...

, Urrea's forces defeated a small Texian force at the Battle of Agua Dulce
Battle of Agua Dulce
The Battle of Agua Dulce Creek occurred approximately south of San Patricio on March 2, 1836 between the Republic of Mexico and the rebellious Mexican state of Texas as part of the Texas Revolution. In February 1836, Mexican General Jose Urrea led a contingent of troops along the Texas coast,...

 on March 2, 1836. Urrea then led his troops toward Goliad, where Colonel James Fannin
James Fannin
James Walker Fannin, Jr. was a 19th-century U.S. military figure on the Texas Army and leader during the Texas Revolution of 1835–36...

 commanded 450 of the only Texian Army troops outside the Alamo. Fannin then divided his force, by sending out 148 Texians with Amon B. King and William Ward
William Ward (Texas)
William Ward , was a Macon, Georgia native, who answered the appeal from Texas, during the Texas Revolution. He recruited men from Georgia and led the Georgia Battalion.-Georgia native:William Ward and Dr...

 to Refugio. The Texians were again to be defeated at the Battle of Refugio
Battle of Refugio
The Battle of Refugio was fought from March 12–March 15, 1836, near Refugio, Texas. Mexican General José Urrea and 1,500 Centralista soldiers fought against Amon Butler King and his 28 American volunteers and Lieutenant Colonel William Ward and his approximately 120 Americans...

. Fannin would sent couriers to find King and Ward, but they too were captured, which ultimately provided Urrea with precious details of Fannin's plans.

Fannin was ordered by General Sam Houston on March 11, 1836, to abandon Goliad and retreat to Victoria, but delayed his retreat until March 19. His force of about 300 men were caught on the open prairie at a slight depression near Coleto Creek and repulsed three charges at a heavy cost in Mexican casualties, during this Battle of Coleto
Battle of Coleto
The Battle of Coleto, also known as the Battle of Coleto Creek, the Battle of the Prairie, and the Batalla del encinal del Perdido, was fought on March 19 and 20, 1836, during the Goliad campaign of the Texas Revolution...

. Overnight, Urrea's forces surrounded the Texians, brought up cannon and reinforcements, and induced Fannin's surrender under terms the next day, March 20. About 342 of the Texian troops captured during the Goliad Campaign were executed a week later on Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday is a Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four Canonical Gospels. ....

, March 27, 1836, under Santa Anna's direct orders, widely 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:...

.

According to Harbert Davenport, "The impact of the Goliad Massacre was crucial. Until this episode Santa Anna's reputation had been that of a cunning and crafty man, rather than a cruel one...together with the fall of the Alamo, branded both Santa Anna and the Mexican people with a reputation for cruelty and aroused the fury of the people of Texas, the United States, and even Great Britain and France, thus considerably promoting the success of the Texas Revolution."

Alamo

The Mexican Army arrived in San Antonio on February 23. The Texian garrison was completely unprepared for the arrival of the Mexican army and had to quickly gather food from the town to supply the Alamo. By late afternoon Bexar was occupied by about 1500 Mexican troops, who quickly raised a blood-red flag signifying no quarter
No quarter
A victor gives no quarter when the victor shows no clemency or mercy and refuses to spare the life in return for the surrender at discretion of a vanquished opponent....

. For the next thirteen days, the Mexican army besieged the Alamo
Siege of the Alamo
The siege of the Alamo describes the first twelve days of the Battle of the Alamo. On February 23, Mexican troops under General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna entered San Antonio de Bexar, Texas and surrounded the Alamo Mission...

. Although there were several small skirmishes that provided the defenders with much needed optimism, they had little real impact. In the early hours of March 6, the Mexican army attacked the fort in what became known as 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...

. Almost all of the Texian defenders, estimated at 182–257 men, were killed, including James Bowie, Davy Crockett
Davy Crockett
David "Davy" Crockett was a celebrated 19th century American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier and politician. He is commonly referred to in popular culture by the epithet "King of the Wild Frontier". He represented Tennessee in the U.S...

 and William B. Travis
William B. Travis
William Barret Travis was a 19th-century American lawyer and soldier. At the age of 26, he was a lieutenant colonel in the Texas Army...

.Brigido Guerrero convinced the Mexican army he had been imprisoned by the Texians. Joe, the slave of Alamo commander William B. Travis
William B. Travis
William Barret Travis was a 19th-century American lawyer and soldier. At the age of 26, he was a lieutenant colonel in the Texas Army...

, was spared because he was a slave. Some historians also believe that Henry Warnell escaped during the battle, although he may have been a courier who left before the battle began. He died several months after the battle of wounds incurred during his escape. See Edmondson (2000), pp. 372, 407.
Most Alamo historians agree that 400–600 Mexicans were killed or wounded. This would represent about one-third of the Mexican soldiers involved in the final assault, which Todish remarks is "a tremendous casualty rate by any standards".

From Bexar, Santa Anna divided his army and sent three flying column
Flying column
A flying column is a small, independent, military land unit capable of rapid mobility and usually composed of all arms. It is often an ad hoc unit, formed during the course of operations....

s across Texas. General Jose 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...

 was to advance eastward on the Texans from the south, Santa Anna and General Joaquin Ramirez y Sesma
Joaquín Ramírez y Sesma
Joaquín Ramírez y Sesma was a 19th-century general for the Republic of Mexico.Sesma commanded the brigade sent in advance of the main body of Antonio López de Santa Anna's main body of troops that were heading to put down the rebellion in the Mexican state of Texas. His orders were to relieve Gen...

 pushing from the center, and General Antonio Gaona supplied to march north of the Texans to Nacogdoches and then turn to block further retreat toward Louisiana. The objective was to force a decisive battle over 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...

, now 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...

.

Meeting of two armies

Texian retreat: "The Runaway Scrape"

The term “Runaway Scrape” is used to refer to two aspects of the Revolution upon word spreading of the fall of the Alamo. Both and either may be intended depending upon context. In the first context the term refers to the military retreat of the Texan forces under Houston. In the second, the reference is to the civilian flight toward Louisiana.

Houston immediately understood that his small army was not prepared to fight Santa Anna out in the open. The Mexican cavalry, experienced and feared, was something the Texians could not easily defeat. Seeing that his only choice was to keep the army together enough to be able to fight on favorable grounds, Houston ordered a retreat towards the U.S. border, and many settlers also fled
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....

 in the same direction. There is speculation that one of the possible scenarios Houston envisioned was to actually lead his Texian army into Louisiana (U.S. territory), whereupon an invading Mexican army could be attacked not only by the retreating Texian army but also by American forces summoned from garrisons in New Orleans. That Sam Houston was an old friend of then U.S. president 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...

, and possibly had some communication during this crucial period, and Stephen F. Austin was in New Orleans during this time, lend a measure of credence to such speculation. On its way toward Louisiana, the Texian army implemented a scorched earth
Scorched earth
A scorched earth policy is a military strategy or operational method which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area...

 policy, denying much-needed food for the Mexican army. Soon, the rains made the roads impassable, and the cold season made the list of casualties grow in both armies.

Santa Anna's army, always on the heels of Houston, gave unrelenting chase. The town of Gonzales could not be defended by the Revolutionaries, so it was put to the torch. The same fate awaited Austin's colony of San Felipe. Despair grew among the ranks of Houston's men, and much animosity was aimed towards him. All that impeded Santa Anna's advance were the swollen rivers, which gave Houston a chance to rest and drill his army.

Preceding the Texas Army's eastward movement away from the Mexican Army, was the civilian exodus toward the safety of Louisiana. At Mina
Bastrop
Bastrop may refer to a place in the United States:* Bastrop, Louisiana* Bastrop County, Texas** Bastrop, Texas...

, for example, the Texas Ranger unit was divided so that half would protect the civilian evacuation and the remainder would serve as the rear guard and scouts ("spies" they were called) during the military retreat.

During the period of the Runaway Scrape, Gaona's army was re-directed from its original orders (to proceed to Nacogdoches via the San Antonio Road in a flanking maneuver) to, instead, turn southeast and join the main forces of Cos and Sesma at San Felipe. Santa Anna was not aware that Houston and his army were, from March 30 through April 12, camped in the woods along the Brazos only fifteen miles above the main Mexican forces who were camped at San Felipe from April 7 through April 9. Gaona’s Division did not arrive at San Felipe until April 17, having marched past the already deserted Texan camp.

The Texians remained undiscovered for nearly two weeks, allowing the number of volunteers to increase and training them in military discipline. Early on, Houston commandeered the Steamboat Yellowstone
Yellowstone (steamboat)
The steamboat Yellowstone was a side wheeler steamboat built in Louisville, Kentucky, for the American Fur Company for service on the Missouri River. By design, the Yellowstone was the first powered boat to reach above Council Bluff, Iowa, on the Missouri River achieving, on her maiden voyage,...

 so as to facilitate their safe and orderly crossing of the Brazos River when the troops were prepared or should they be discovered. The Mexican Army had no knowledge as to where the main body of Texans was during early April while the Texans knew the location of the three Mexican forces. It was not until Santa Anna arrived in Harrisburg and interrogated civilians there, that he learned Houston had been camped so near his own forces on the Brazos.
After crossing the Brazos, the Texan Army marched due east as Houston received reports from his scouts to the rear. This adds perspective to the speculation that Houston intended to flee into US territory. It was an option, but not Houston's preferred option—he was looking for, and found, a weakness in Santa Anna's tactics. That weakness came in the form of Santa Anna’s rapid pursuit intending to capture the provisional Texan government. Leaving the main body of the Mexican Army behind at the San Bernard River, Santa Anna assembled a smaller unit of his best troops and hurried off toward New Washington on Trinity Bay just below San Jacinto. It was at this time in which Houston turned toward Harrisburg to the southeast at the famed "fork in the road."

It was at that fork in the road at which the Runaway Scrape had ended in military terms, while the civilians continued to flee. From that moment, Houston was no longer in retreat, but rather leading the Army to find a place to confront Santa Anna on Texas soil.

Santa Anna defeated

Events moved at a quick pace after Santa Anna decided to divide his own flying column and race quickly towards Galveston, where members of the Provisional Government had fled. Santa Anna hoped to capture the Revolutionary leaders, and put an end to the war, which had proven costly and prolonged. Santa Anna, as dictator of Mexico, felt the need to return to Mexico City as soon as possible. Houston was informed of Santa Anna's unexpected move. Numbering about 700, Santa Anna's column marched east from Harrisburg, Texas. Without Houston's consent, and tired of running away, the Texian army of 900 moved to meet the enemy. Houston could do nothing but follow. Accounts of Houston's thinking during these moves is subject to speculation as Houston held no councils of war.
On April 20, both armies met at the San Jacinto River. Separating them was a large sloping ground with tall grass, which the Texians used as cover. Santa Anna, elated at finally having the Texas Army in front of him, waited for reinforcements, which were led by General Cos. On that same day, a skirmish was fought between the enemies, mostly cavalry, but nothing came of it.

To the dismay of the Texians, Cos arrived sooner than expected with 540 more troops, swelling Santa Anna's army to over 1,200 men. Angered by the loss of opportunity and by Houston's indecisiveness, the Texian Army decided to make an attack. About 3:30 in the afternoon on April 21, after burning 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...

, the Texians surged forward, catching the Mexican army by surprise. Hours before the attack, Santa Anna had ordered his men to stand down, noting that the Texians would not attack his superior force. Also, his army had been stretched to the limit of endurance by the ongoing forced marches. His force was overwhelmed by Texians pushing into the Mexican camp. An 18-minute-long battle ensued, but soon the defenses crumbled and a massacre ensued.

Santa Anna's entire force of men were killed or captured by Sam Houston's heavily outnumbered army of Texians; only nine Texians died. This decisive battle resulted in Texas's independence from Mexico.

Santa Anna was found in a swamp wearing the uniform of a common soldier and captured. He was brought before Houston, who had been wounded in the ankle. Santa Anna agreed to end the campaign. General Vicente Filisola
Vicente Filisola
Vicente Filisola was a Spanish military figure, Mexican military and political figure in the 19th century.-Life and career:...

, noting the state of his tired and hungry army, marched a force of 4,273 back to Mexico, but not without protests from Urrea. Santa Anna was forced to sign two treaties, a public treaty and a private stating the exchange of prisoners and to never fight the Texians again. Only Santa Anna had been defeated, not the Army of Operations, and Urrea felt that the campaign should continue, but Filisola disagreed.

Aftermath

With 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...

 a prisoner, his captors forced him to sign 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 ....

 on May 14. The treaty recognized Texas's independence and guaranteed Santa Anna's life. The initial plan was to send him back to Mexico to help smooth relations between the two states. His departure was delayed by a mob who wanted him dead. Santa Anna, declaring himself as the only person who could bring about peace, was sent 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....

, by the Texas government to meet President Jackson in order to guarantee independence of the new republic. But unknown to Santa Anna, the Mexican government deposed him in absentia; thus, he no longer had any authority to represent Mexico. The Treaty of Velasco was never ratified in Mexico, from the end of the revolution to roughly the beginning of the Mexican-American War, the Texas navy was tasked with forcing the Mexican Government to accept Texas independence. Although fighting between the Mexican and Texian armies ceased, battles on water and on the coast were still unfolding. Some of the notable naval conflicts were the Battle of Brazos River
Battle of Brazos River
The Battle of the Brazos River was an engagement fought in the Brazos River on April 17, 1837, between the Mexican Navy and the Texas Navy.-Background:...

, the Battle of Galveston Harbor and the Naval Battle of Campeche
Naval Battle of Campeche
The Naval Battle of Campeche took place on April 30, 1843 and May 16, 1843. The battle featured the most advanced warships of its day, including the Mexican steamer Guadalupe and the equally formidable Moctezuma which engaged a squadron of vessels from the Republic of Yucatan and the Republic of...

.
Santa Anna re-emerged as a hero during the Pastry War
Pastry War
The Pastry War was an invasion of Mexico by French forces in 1838.-Background:The war arose from the widespread civil disorder that plagued the early years of the Mexican republic. In 1828, President Manuel Gómez Pedraza ejected Lorenzo de Zavala from the office of governor of the state of México...

 in 1838. He was re-elected President, and soon after, he ordered expeditions led by Ráfael Vásquez
Ráfael Vásquez (Mexican general)
Ráfael Vásquez was a 19th-Century General in the Mexican Army during the Mexican rebellion against the centralist style rule of government.-Early life:...

 and General Adrian Woll
Adrián Woll
Adrián Woll was a French soldier of fortune and mercenary who served as a general in the army of Mexico during the Texas Revolution and the Mexican-American War.-Biography:...

 into Texas, occupying San Antonio, but briefly. There were small clashes between the two countries for several years afterward.
The war between Texas and Mexico did not truly come to an end until the Mexican-American War of 1846.

Sam Houston's victory at San Jacinto would earn him the presidency of Republic of Texas. He later became a U.S. senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 and governor of Texas
Governor of Texas
The governor of Texas is the head of the executive branch of Texas's government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Texas Legislature, and to convene the legislature...

. Stephen F. Austin, after a lost bid for Texas's presidency in 1836, was appointed Secretary of State but died shortly thereafter. Sam Houston eulogized Austin as the "Father of Texas".

See also

  • History of Texas
    History of Texas
    European conquistadors first arrived in the region now known as Texas in 1519, finding the region populated by various Native American tribes...

  • 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....

  • Republic of Texas – United States Relations

Further reading

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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