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Forum LockedTexas War ( 1835 - 1845 )

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    Posted: 12-May-2005 at 15:52

Battle of the Alamo

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Comanches and distance had defeated Spanish and subsequently Mexican attempts to colonize New Spain north of Rio Bravo/Grande. There remained only the town of San Antonio de Bexar, and settlements at Goliad (connecting San Antonio to the coast) and at Nacogdoches (near the Louisiana border.) So in 1821 the authorities opened the province of Texas to foreign settlement, especially the settlement effort led by Stephen F. Austin. The settlers were given tax and customs abatements -- and extended no government services, including defense. And so they governed themselves, and came to outnumber the Mexican population of Texas five to one (20,000 to 5,000.) When, after 15 years, the central Mexican government tried to reassert control, trouble was entirely foreseeable.

Other factors aggravated the situation:

Many Mexicans also suspected that the settlers represented a covert U.S. effort to seize Texas. (They had taken note of the cases of Florida and Louisiana Territory, where Anglo territory expanded at the expense of Latin holdings. In Florida, Spain had ceded control to the U.S. after an American general occupied it during "hot pursuit" of Indians across the border. That general was Andrew Jackson. He was now president of the United States.)
Mutual ethnic prejudice in the two populations was undeniable. (But, as usual, the ones with the most contact produced the least friction. But assuming there was enough friction, someone had to decide to exploit it before a war could start.)
Many of the American settlers ("Texians" they were called) were Southerners who believed in and practiced slavery. (They noticed that the Mexican government had out-lawed slavery in Texas, where it continued under other guises, but left in legal in the rest of Mexico, where it was not practiced.)
The settlers gravitated toward the black-land regions of eastern Texas, mostly in the an area immediately west of what is now Houston, to the town of Gonzales, about 65 miles east of San Antonio. That meant they had failed to form the desired buffer between Comancheria (Comanche territory in central and northwest Texas) and the Mexicans.
So in 1830 Mexico called a halt to immigration, leading to unrest that culminated in 1832 with the taking of a Mexican fort on Galveston Bay by the Texans. Parallel, unconnected, political turmoil throughout Mexico led to the withdrawal of most Mexican garrisons in Texas.
The political unrest ended with the ascension of Santa Anna, who abrogated the Mexican Constitution of 1824 (based on a federal government of sovereign states), dissolved local legislatures, and imposed central control. (The Texans discovered that their political conventions were acts of treason.) Reactions included uprisings in central Mexico, unrest in Saltillo -- and a rebellion in Texas.

May 1835 -- Santa Anna's national Mexican army attacks the rebelling state and city of Zacatecas, whose militia is larger and better equipped than the Mexican national army. Also, Zacatecas is served by professional officers who defected from Santa Anna. Some of these turn out to be double agents, and resistance collapses as soon as Santa Anna attacks. The city is subjected to two days of looting, arson and rape. About 2,500 people die. Santa Anna denounces foreign instigators, and Americans and Englishmen are killed when found, their wives chased naked through the streets. (Or so it was reported.) Santa Anna orders that foreigners found among the rebel forces be summarily shot, but his subordinates demur. (This would change.) Texans would start warning of "pollution of our women" and see Mexican agents behind every domestic problem.

October 2, 1835 -- Skirmish at Gonzales, Texas, when a Mexican garrison from San Antonio came to take away the cannon the town had previously been issued for defense against Indians. There is a brief confrontation. The Mexican force withdraws back to San Antonio.

October 24, 1835 -- Various Texan militias that have coalesced around San Antonio begin laying siege to the Mexican garrison there.

November 1835 -- The Texas governing council authorizes a navy and acquires four ships. Their successful depredations lead Santa Anna to dismiss the idea of suppressing Texas via a blockade and/or naval campaign. (Also, he did not have the cash to lease the necessary transport vessels.) In the resulting land campaign he could not depend on supplies via sea and would have to live off the countryside.

November 26, 1835 -- Foragers from the Mexican garrison at San Antonio are destroyed in the "Grass Fight."

December 4, 1835 -- The Texan besiegers, reduced by men returning to their farms and families, decide to retreat. But then Col. Ben Milam objects, and gets himself made head of an attack by acclamation. He has about 350 men available.

December 5, 1835 -- The attack on San Antonio begins at 3 a.m. Incoherent street fighting drags on. Milam is killed on the third day and buried where he fell. The site is now a city park.

December 10, 1835 -- San Antonio's Mexican garrison of 1,105 (many of them recent conscripts of negative value) surrenders and evacuates. A Texan garrison of about 104 men take over the Alamo.

January 3, 1836 -- The Texan government authorizes a raid on Matamoros, Mexico, but sets up no clear chain of command for the Texan armed forces and eventually names four different commanders for the expedition, including Sam Houston. About 500 men gather at San Patricio (near modern Corpus Christi) for the raid. About that many more gather at Goliad under Col. James Fannin, a West Point drop-out. Many of them are American adventurers rather than Texans, the latter having gone home for spring planting.

January 10, 1836 -- Complaints that the Alamo had been stripped of cannons and supplies for the Matamoros expedition causes squabbling to break out in the Texan ruling council.

January 17, 1836 -- Houston sends Jim Bowie with about 20 men to the Alamo to inspect it, assuming he will recommend evacuation. Elsewhere, the Texan ruling council dissolves for lack of a quorum.

January 20, 1836 -- Travis arrives at the Alamo with the 30 men he has recruited for the Texan "regular army." (Other sources place this event on February 3.) Unable to assert himself with the groups gathered for the Matamoros raid, Houston leaves for eastern Texas. The bulk of the Matamoros volunteers drift away. Meanwhile, apparently unknown to the Texans, Santa Anna arrives in Saltillo. His available force in Northern Mexico is about 6,000-- equivalent to the adult male population of Texas.

February 8, 1836 -- Former Tennessee congressman David "Davy" Crockett arrives at the Alamo with a dozen men.

February 11, 1836 -- Col. James Neill, official commander of the Alamo, leaves for a "family emergency." (He ended up in Houston's army, where he was wounded in action.) He leaves young Travis in command. The garrison, however, holds an election and selects Bowie. The two agree to be co-commanders.

February 13, 1836 -- Travis sends a complaint to the government about Bowie's drunkenness -- and demands more reinforcements, having decided that defending the place was important.

February 15, 1836 -- Santa Anna arrives at the Rio Grande near present-day Eagle Pass. His intention: Every Texan rebel would be executed or exiled, the other settlers would be sent to the interior and replaced with Mexican settlers, and immigration would be stopped forever. Every foreigner under arms would be treated as a pirate (i.e., a common enemy of humanity to be suppressed without regard to jurisdiction.) Ethnic cleansing had begun.

February 16, 1836 -- Fannin at Goliad gets the first of several appeals for aid from Travis at the Alamo. Fannin refuses.

February 17, 1836 -- A smaller Mexican column leaves Matamoros to follow the coast north.

February 23, 1836 -- Vanguard of the Mexican army arrives at San Antonio and the siege of the Alamo begins. Bowie, sick, cedes command of the Alamo to Travis. Santa Anna makes his no-prisoners announcement. With the arrival of the rest of the Mexican force, the defenders are out-numbered 10 to one, but are the only thing standing in the way of the destruction of the Texas. They have taken into the fort 30 cattle and a large supply of grain. They had a random assortment of nearly two dozen cannon, but a shortage of technical skill and equipment makes them of limited use. (They apparently had a supply of Mexican powder captured in the Alamo after the siege of Bexar, considered unfit for rifles but suitable for use in the cannons.) The Mexicans, meanwhile, do not attempt a full "investment," and individuals and small groups are able to come and go after dark. Additionally, when shooting is not actually under way, both sides ignore the comings and goings of the locals, and Tejano defender Capt. Juan Seguin apparently had his meals delivered.

February 24, 1836 -- Travis sends out his famous appeal.

February 25, 1836 -- After fighting off a Mexican probe, Travis sends off an appeal addressed to Sam Houston, carried by Capt. Juan Sequin.

February 27, 1836 - The Mexican coastal column sweeps into San Patricio, killing most of the hangers-on left over from the Matamoros expedition -- estimates range from three dozen to 150. Travis sends out another appeal to Fannin, carried by James Butler Bonham, a fellow South Carolina lawyer from Travis' home county.

March 1, 1836 -- Responding to Travis' appeal, 32 Texans from Gonzales arrive at the Alamo. They will leave behind 20 widows. At Washington-on-the-Brazos, 150 miles east of San Antonio, the Texans convene a convention to form a new government.

March 2, 1836 -- Further remnants -- maybe 25 men -- of the Matamoros expedition are over-run by the Mexican coastal column at Agua Dulce. The new Texas government declares independence from Mexico.

March 3, 1836 -- Sam Houston is declared commander-in-chief of the Texas armed forces, with a clearly defined chain of command. At the Alamo, Bonham returns to report the negative results of his mission, having ignored the pleas of another rider not to return to certain death. Travis later sends out a courier with another appeal for aid, plus some private mail. The enemy, he reports, are firing cannon from less than 300 yards. Inside the fort, Travis supposedly draws a line in the sand and asks that every defender willing to stay to the end to cross it. All but one do so. (Others insist this must have happened on the first day of the siege, or the last day, or that it could never have happened.)

March 4, 1836 -- Fannin finally decides to move toward the Alamo. Four miles down the road his wagons start breaking down. The force turns back. Santa Anna learns immediately of the sortie and dispatches a battalion. It returns in time for the storming. That night an unnamed woman leaves the Alamo and is brought before Santa Anna, telling him the defenses are about to collapse. She urges him to attack immediately.

March 5, 1836 -- Santa Anna over-rules subordinates who want to wait several more days for the siege artillery to arrive, and sets the attack for the next day. Travis sent out one last courier -- 16-year-old James Allen -- with another appeal to Fannin.

Sunday, March 6, 1836 -- On the thirteenth day of the siege (it was a Leap Year) the Alamo is stormed before dawn, in darkness. The Mexicans are unable to get over the walls until the third attempt. The noise and spectacle amazes even Santa Anna. Over the walls, it's a melee with room to room fighting. Fighting goes on for anything from one to five hours -- no two sources agree. The size of the attack force was probably 1,400. Mexican losses are not known with accuracy. The garrison of the Alamo is destroyed, although some individuals do survive. About a half dozen wounded prisoners were brought before Santa Anna, who had them killed on the spot. These probably did not include Davy Crockett. Subsequently, Santa Anna expresses a desire to leave the army and return to waiting business in Mexico City, but his subordinates talk him out of it -- army morale is bad enough already.

March 11, 1836 -- Houston reaches Gonzales and finds 374 men have spontaneously gathered there. News of the Alamo's fate arrives. Houston sends orders to Fannin to join Houston's force, but if Fannin receives it he shows no urgency in acting on it. Houston then burns the town and retreats.

March 13 and 14, 1836 -- Fannin sends about 150 men to nearby Refugio to assist in the evacuation of settlers in the face of the Mexican coastal column. They are scattered by the arrival of the Mexican force.

March 17, 1836 -- Houston reaches the Colorado River with his force, now at about 500 men and boys.

March 18, 1836 - The coastal column skirmishes with Fannin's force at Goliad. Fannin decides to evacuate.

March 19, 1836 -- Fannin moves his force out of Goliad, and is soon surrounded and pinned down in the open.

March 20, 1836 -- Fannin surrenders "at discretion" (i.e., unconditionally) although he apparently has the impression he and his men will be simply expelled from Mexico. They are marched back to Goliad. Except for the force Houston is gathering, the Texan army has been destroyed.

March 27, 1836 -- In response to orders from Santa Anna, Fannin's men are marched out of Goliad and shot. About 390 are killed, and another 27 escape to spread the news.

March 28, 1836 -- Houston is now camped on the Brazos River, with about 1,400 followers -- the most he will have. Men soon begin to leave to assist their fleeing families. Meanwhile, the Mexican army advanced from San Antonio and begins burning Texan settlements. Cut off from logistical support from Mexico by the Texas Navy, they have to live off the land and move in five small columns. Rains turn the roads into mud.

April 1836 -- Texas is convulsed with the "Runaway Scrape" as essentially the entire Texan population abandons their land and flees across the soggy landscape toward Louisiana (i.e., the U.S. border.) The commander of the U.S. border force apparently looks the other way in the case of solders deciding to cross over and join the fighting, but otherwise produces no direct aid.

April 10, 1836 -- About 5,000 refugees are reported gathered at the ferry crossing of San Jacinto Bayou at the northern extremity of Galveston Bay. (The state still operates a ferry there.)

April 18, 1836 -- Deaf Smith, a scout for Houston, captures a Mexican courier whose papers show the planned movements of the Mexican columns. The courier was using captured Texan saddlebags monogrammed "W. B. Travis."

April 20, 1836 -- Houston lets his force be "trapped" by Santa Anna's column, near the San Jacinto ferry crossing. There is a brief skirmish, and then the Texan force returns to its camp, grumbling at Houston. Santa Anna keeps his men under arms all night, assuming a night attack was coming. Nothing happens.

April 21, 1836 -- Santa Anna's force of about 1,200 is over-run in broad daylight by a sudden attack on its camp by Houston's entire Texan force, then numbering 918. With the Texan camp only about a mile way over open terrain, Santa Anna had apparently posted no sentinels before retiring for a siesta and letting his tired troops do the same. The Texans lost nine dead and 30 wounded. Houston, who led from the front, lost two horses and was shot in the foot. Santa Anna, captured the next day in the bushes, agreed to recognize Texas independence and ordered all Mexican forces to evacuate Texas.

Thereafter -- Texas become an independent republic. At the end of 1845 Texas was annexed by the U.S., at its request. The annexation led to war with Mexico, and the expansion of the continental U.S. to nearly its present borders. Political stresses resulting from the expansion of slave-owner territory with the addition of Texas led to the U.S. Civil War, which resulted in the consolidation of the U.S. as an industrial nation-state.
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Army of the Republic of Mexico
Present in Bexar, March 6, 1836
Unit Strength Employment 3/6 Arrival Notes
Cavalry Regiment Dolores 290 security 2/23 veterans of the Zacatecas Campaign
Battalion Permanente Matamoros 272 assault 2/23 veterans of the Zacatecas Campaign
Battalion Permanente Jimenez 274 assault 2/23 Later used against Fannin
Battalion Activo San Luis 452 assault 2/23 veterans of the Zacatecas Campaign, Later used against Fannin
Battalion Permanente Allende 300? reserve 2/23 veterans of the Zacatecas Campaign
Zapadores unit 185 assault 3/3 combat engineers, veterans of the Zacatecas Campaign
Battalion Permanente Aldama 393 reserve 3/3 --
Battalion Activo Toluca 324 assault 3/3 veterans of the Zacatecas Campaign, suffered heavily in the assault
Artillery 100? not used 2/23+ --

Available = about 2500 troops, not counting artillery, headquarters, service personnel, and camp followers.

Assault Force = 1507. Mexican sources place the total at 1,400, probably by leaving out the "ineffectives" of each unit. At least one of the reserve batallions was also committed before the fighting ended.

Following March 6, a further five infantry battalions and two cavalry regiments arrived, totalling about 2400 more.

Source: Material on file at the Daughters of the Republic of Texas library, The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas.

The Mexican Army then consisted of 10 permanent infantry battalions and three cavalry regiments, named after heroes or battles of the Mexican War of Independence 1810-21. Personnel were long-service professionals, volunteers serving for eight years and draftees serving for ten. Part of the army had been used the previous May to supress a republican uprising in the Mexican state of Zacatecas.

Infantry units that appeared in the field were of two types: permanente (regular) and activo (militia), and had eight companies of 80 men each. (On paper that is. As with most armies at the time, they were half-strength by the time they reached the front, thanks to disease, straggling, desertion, and recruiting irregularities.) The companies were:
Six line companies, armed with the obsolete (in service since 1722) .75-caliber British "Brown Bess" smoothbore musket, useless beyond about 100 yards.
One rifle or skirmisher company armed with the less obsolete British Baker .61-calibre rifle, effective to about 250 yards.
One "grenadier" company of picked men to serve as assault troops, reserves, etc., also armed with the Brown Bess, and possibly grenades.
Also on foot would be the zapadores (combat engineers, sappers) and the artillery.
Uniforms included a dark blue tailcoat with red trim, and light blue (gray?) pants.

There were four different organizations in the cavalry: permanente (regular), activo (militia), auxilleries (local auxiliaries) and presidal (garrison troop, dragoons.) The cavalry was variously armed with swords, lances, and short-barreled escopetas (carbines.) Incidentally, cavalry units in all armies were smaller then infantry units, since per-man they took up more road space and more front, consumed far more supplies, and cost the government more money. Therefore, the cavalry regiments were comparable to the infantry battalions.

Comparison of Arms:
Neither side had an automatic advantage. Consider:

Many of the Texans had small-bore hunting rifles generally effective to 400 yards. The rest were armed no better than the Mexicans, with a random assortment of personal arms. The shorter-range Mexican arms (bought as Napoleonic War surplus from the British in about 1827) could be reloaded much faster. (Anyway, how often, at ground level, can you see more than 100 yards in any random direction?)
The Texans had high-quality gunpowder manufactured with scientific methods by a company called DuPont. Mexican powder resembled (perhaps was) homemade flashpowder, but on the other hand they did not depend on imported supplies.
Aside from rifles, the Texans had Bowie knives, dueling pistols, shotguns, and multi-barrel "pepper-box" pistols that were more impressive in theory than in practice. The British/Mexican arms could mount a bayonet, which many at the time still considered (for perfectly good reasons, by the way) the decisive weapon.
Personnel in the Texan forces were militiamen and volunteers governed mostly by whim, barely aware there was supposed to be a chain of command. The Mexican Army was a genuine, functional army, although in this campaign Santa Anna had cut many "frills" (like a medical service) for financial reasons. Its officers were professionals, often European mercenaries. Enlisted men, however, were often peasants roped in by press gangs.
The Texan government was barely functional. Support, logistical or otherwise, was not reliable. The Mexican army was beyond support range of its government. "Camp followers" would have increased the headcount involved in the Mexican Army's presence by about 50 percent.
The Texans had as many as 21 artillery tubes inside the Alamo. The Texans could not possibly have manned them all with a standard crew of six trained men each. Probably they did not even get around to mounting them all. The available Mexican artillery was manned by professionals.
Overhanging every engagement was the threat of Mexican horsemen, a threat the Texans had difficulty answering.

(Keep in mind that the artillery on hand might have outwardly resembled that used in the American Civil War of 1861-65, but was actually of a previous technical generation. Designs appearing after 1850 were lighter and more powerful, being designed on scientific principals.
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The Organization of the Mexican Army
A Conversation With William DePalo, Jr.
The University of New Mexico

The Mexican army of 1846 rostered 18,882 permanent troops (permanentes) organized into 12 infantry regiments (of two battalions each), eight regiments and one separate squadron of cavalry, three brigades of artillery, one dragoon brigade and one battalion of sappers. Supplementing the permanentes were 10,495 active militiamen (activos) apportioned into nine infantry and six cavalry regiments. Commanded by permanent army officers, the militia was supposed to be activated only in times of emergency; in reality, however, most units were retained on active duty indefinitely. Posted along the northern periphery, presidial companies (presidiales) reported 1,174 additional troops. Poorly trained and inadequately outfitted, these frontier units were too far removed to affect the correlation of forces in the main theaters of war.

These standing formations were allocated among five territorially delineated military divisions and five commandancies-general. A general staff was in place to coordinate the concentration of brigade and division-size units to practice the linear tactics necessary for conventional battlefield success. The regional dispersal of forces, however, impeded centralized military authority and abetted localism. Proposals to regroup scattered permanent army formations into single garrison divisions where units could train routinely under the supervision of experienced officers were not realized before the outbreak of hostilities with the United States.

This regional force distribution scheme compelled the war ministry to confront foreign aggression with extemporaneous armies assembled from the most readily available formations. Generally, the ranks of these hastily assembled composite armies were filled with conscripts impressed into service via the detested levy (leva). Prone to desertion, mutiny and larceny, such draftees were difficult to train and discipline, but fought reasonably well when led resolutely. The repetitive creation of improvised armies kept Mexican units from acquiring the cohesion and esprit necessary to persevere under trying circumstances. On battlefields where small unit leadership and individual initiative were keys to success, such melded organizations were decidedly disadvantaged.

The lone exception to such improvisation was Division General Mariano Arista's 5,200-man Army of the North. Created in the wake of the loss of Texas to guard the extended Río Grande frontier, it was Mexico's most experienced military formation and the one that engaged General Zachary Taylor's Army of Occupation in all four of the northern campaign's major battles. Redeployed to the Valley of Mexico in July 1847, under the command of Division General Gabriel Valencia, the Army of the North bore the brunt of the action at Padierna and, thereafter, ceased to exist as an effective fighting force.

General Winfield Scott's impending advance into the Mexican heartland prompted the war ministry to activate the Army of the East in March 1847. Commanded by General President Antonio López de Santa Anna, this 11,000-man force was an amalgamation of units posted in central Mexico, fragments from the Army of the North and remnants of the defeated Veracruz garrison. Following its disintegration at Cerro Gordo, the Army of the East was reconstituted under the command of Brigade General Manuel María Lombardini with the survivors of that battle and selected national guard (guardia nacional) battalions. Comprised of both middle and lower class residents of the valley, these national guard troopers had a vested interest in preserving their homes and fought tenaciously to defend the capital's perimeter strongpoints.

Responsibility for interdicting Scott's communications with Puebla and guarding the line from Acapulco to Mexico City was entrusted to the 3,000-man Army of the South. Commanded by the obdurate southern cacique Juan Álvarez, this predominately cavalry formation influenced the war only minimally, until Molino del Rey, when Álvarez' unwillingness to commit his cavalry likely affected the outcome of that engagement. A 3,800-man contingent under the nominal leadership of Division General Nicolás Bravo rounded out the valley campaign's force structure. Designated the Army of the Center, this ad hoc organization was initially positioned to protect the Mexicalzingo-San Antonio line. Thereafter, elements of the Army of the Center participated in the Churubusco bridgehead fight and the defense of Chapultepec.

Lacking established government depots, Mexican soldiers routinely procured supplies from nearby communities or foraged off the land. Since local purchases were habitually compensated with unredeemable drafts on the treasury, troops often went hungry. The army's systemic logistical deficiencies were recompensed, in part, by soldiers' wives and girlfriends (soldaderas) who invariably accompanied each campaign. By performing essential sewing, cooking, maintenance and foraging duties, and ministering to the sick and wounded of both armies, soldaderas made a significant contribution to the Mexican war effort.

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IN 1839 a series of federalist revolts of considerable proportions broke out in different sections of Mexico and for two years the centralist regime was in almost constant danger. General Urrea, who had directed the massacre of the Texans under Johnson and Grant in 1836, was one of the outstanding leaders of this movement, and for a time he was very successful. Gomez Farias, who had been vice-president during the early part of Santa Anna’s administration, returned from exile and also took a hand in the effort to restore the constitution of 1824. In Coahuila and the adjoining territory General Canales headed a movement, which culminated in a declaration of independence and the establishment of the "republic of the Rio Grande." Yucatan and Tabasco, two states bordering on the gulf, at the extreme southern end of Mexico, also set up for themselves as the republic of Yucatan. Bustamante found himself continually menaced from some quarter or another, and his authority became only nominal in many sections of the country. Santa Anna, using his new popularity with a calculating discretion, managed to inject himself into the situation from time to time in such a way as to attach glory to his own name without increasing the prestige of Bustamante. By these tactics he finally succeeded in creating a widespread demand for his return to power, and in accordance with a plan, known as the Bases of Tacubaya, he was declared provisional president of the republic on October 9, 1841.

The "Republic of the Rio Grande," though shortlived, was viewed with favor in Texas. General Canales made overtures to Lamar looking to an alliance, but the latter’s vision of the great nation of the future did not extend south of the Rio Grande, and he declined to have anything to do with the new "republic." Many Texans, however, on their own responsibility, enlisted as volunteers in the service of the "republic of the Rio Grande," and participated in several battles in Coahuila before the project finally collapsed.

But Lamar took a different attitude toward the Republic of Yucatan, which had a considerable coast line to defend. The vessels for the new Texas navy were delivered in 1839, and when the government of Yucatan proposed to Lamar a plan of naval cooperation he consented to the arrangement. The Yucatan government agreed to supply the money for the support of the Texas navy if it would enlist in a war upon Mexican vessels and provide adequate protection to Yucatan’s coast. As this would relieve the Texas treasury of a considerable burden, apparently without diverting the navy from its main business, Lamar regarded it as a favorable arrangement for Texas. It did not turn out to be so favorable for Texas in the long run, but for a period the Texas navy was practically transferred to the service of Yucatan. In passing, it should be said that the republic of Yucatan maintained its independence for three years, after which it peacefully acknowledged the authority of the central government of Mexico again.

Lamar declined to form an alliance with the "republic of the Rio Grande" for the reason that he was not particularly interested in extending the influence of Texas south of that river. But he was very much interested in extending, not only the influence, but the actual jurisdiction of the Texan government in another direction. The boundaries of the Republic of Texas, as understood by the Texan government, were set forth in an act of congress, approved by President Houston on December 19, 1836. This act provided that from and after its passage "the civil and political jurisdiction of this republic be and is hereby declared to extend to the following boundaries, to-wit: beginning at the mouth of the Sabine river, and running west along the Gulf of Mexico three leagues from land, to the mouth of the Rio Grande, thence up the principal stream of said river to its source, thence due north to the forty-second degree of north latitude, thence along the boundary line as defined in the treaty between the United States and Spain, to the beginning." The act also authorized the President to "open a negotiation with the government of the United States of America, as soon as in his opinion the public interest requires it, to ascertain and define the boundary line as agreed upon in said treaty." No difficulty had been experienced in negotiating a treaty of limits with the United States, but, because of the continuance of a state of war with Mexico, there had been no agreement with respect to the rest of the boundaries. The boundaries, as set forth in the act, included a line running from the mouth of the Rio Grande "up the principal stream of said river to its source," and this constituted an assertion of jurisdiction over territory which had never been within the province of Texas during the Spanish regime, and much of which had never even been part of the state of Texas and Coahuila. Lamar proposed that this doubtful territory should be brought under the actual jurisdiction of the Texan government.

The town of Santa Fe, the principal settlement in New Mexico, was on the east bank of the Rio Grande, and consequently within the limits of the Republic of Texas, as defined in the act quoted above. During Houston’s administration no attempt was made to enforce the jurisdiction thus declared, for there really was no legal basis for this boundary, other than the claim of the Texans, and it was generally recognized that the line was subject to modification through negotiation with Mexico, whenever formal peace should be agreed upon. When Lamar became president, however, he took the position that the government of the Republic of Texas should adopt measures to extend its authority to the upper waters of the Rio Grande, which would include Santa Fe. In his annual message in 1839 he urged upon congress the importance of some action in the matter. This was in keeping with Lamar’s "ambitious nationalism" and his dream of "an empire extending from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific." Bills were subsequently introduced in both houses of congress, appropriating money to defray the expenses of an expedition to establish Texan authority over the territory, but in both cases the proposal was decisively defeated. In spite of such legislative disapproval of the project, however, Lamar persisted in the belief that it should be undertaken.

On April 14, 1840, Lamar addressed a letter to "the citizens of Santa Fe," calling their attention to the fact that Texas had entered the family of nations, that the new republic had been recognized by the United States and France, and that its commerce was extending "with a power and celerity seldom equalled in the history of nations." He tendered to them a full participation in these blessings, and expressed the hope that he should be able to send commissioners to visit them in September to explain more minutely the condition of the country, the seaboard, and the correlative interests "which so emphatically recommend, and ought perpetually to cement, the perfect union and identity of Santa Fe and Texas."

This letter was inspired by information Lamar had received to the effect that the people of Santa Fe and adjoining settlements in New Mexico were restless under the rule of the governor of the territory. That dignitary, one Manuel Armijo, was a local despot, who had been the sole executive, legislative and judicial authority of the place for a number of years. Under the federal constitution of the Mexican republic, New Mexico had been classed as a "territory," and in theory was subject directly to the authority of the national government. But, due to its remoteness from the capital, Armijo was the absolute ruler of New Mexico, and the chief beneficiary of the profitable trade which Santa Fe had carried on with St. Louis ever since the latter place had passed from Spanish to American jurisdiction in 1804. The evident purpose of Lamar’s communication was to plant in the minds of the people of Santa Fe the idea that should they choose to throw off the yoke of their petty tyrant, they would be afforded support by the Republic of Texas. However, Lamar received no reply to his letter and, due to legislative opposition, he did not send the promised commission in September.

But the project of sending an expedition to Santa Fe continued to occupy Lamar’s mind in the face of the disapproval of many of the most influential men in Texas. It took such hold of his imagination that he finally came to the decision to undertake it without congressional authority. Nor was it the mere wish to extend the jurisdiction of the government that impelled him to this course. The trade with Santa Fe, of which St. Louis enjoyed a practical monopoly, was considerable and very profitable, and if it could be diverted to Texas great economic benefits would be gained. It was true that the region between the settled portions of Texas and Santa Fe was an unknown wilderness to the Texans, but Lamar believed that a practicable route, over which ultimately a military road might be built, could be found, and that in time this might become a great highway of commerce which would bind to the Texan government all the territory which it traversed. In the spring of 1841, therefore, he began forming plans to send an expedition to Santa Fe.

Lamar’s plan was to send a government commission, consisting of three members, whose duty it would be to invite the people of Santa Fe to place themselves under the protection of the Texan flag. A military escort would accompany the commission and a delegation of merchants and traders would be invited to go along for the purpose of establishing commercial relations with the people of the town. When his plans were complete in outline, Lamar announced the appointment of William G. Cooke, R. F. Brenham and Jose Antonio Navarro as commissioners, and issued an invitation to merchants to join the expedition. He then named Gen. Hugh McLeod to command the military escort, which should consist of two hundred and seventy men, and provided that merchants and others intending to accompany the expedition should rendezvous at Austin.

In the papers of Anson Jones there is a letter from A. C. Hyde, written from Austin on May 27, 1841, which gives an idea of how Lamar’s action in sending out this expedition was regarded by some of his contemporaries. "’Everything here," wrote Hyde to Jones, "is alive with the Santa Fe expedition, which will probably start about the 10th, and cost the government about a half million. Things are getting on worse than ever in the departments, they paying no attention to the acts of congress. . . . They have sent to New Orleans for another half million of the notes, which are to be given out before the next congress meets, in addition to what may be collected." Jones inscribed the following endorsement on this letter: "The Santa Fe expedition was not only unauthorized by congress, but, in effect, positively inhibited. I voted against it on all occasions, and the project received but few votes. The appropriations for its expenses were made without the authority of law, and by the despotic exercise of executive power, which no monarch would have dared venture upon in these times. This administration will be described by the poet in two lines, as ‘a chase of silly hopes and fears begun in folly, closed in tears."’

Whether the couplet quoted by Jones justly characterizes Lamar’s administration or not, it certainly describes the Santa Fe expedition very aptly. It was indeed "begun in folly" and "closed in tears." In two comprehensive paragraphs, Rives sums up the folly of its conception and inauguration. "President Lamar and his friends," he says, "believed that if a strong party of Texans showed themselves in New Mexico the inhabitants would gladly revolt and put themselves under the protection of the Texan government. They did not, however, reflect that grumbling at a governor of their own race and language was a very different thing from welcoming alien rulers, and that the people of New Mexico might possibly be familiar with the fable of King Log and King Stork. Under these impressions, therefore, the Texan government committed the same blunder that the Spaniards had committed in sending their absurdly inadequate expedition to Mexico in 1829, and again exemplified the truth of the military maxim that no expedition should be sent into a foreign country, no matter how dissatisfied the inhabitants may be with their own government, which is not fully adequate, of itself, to the object proposed."

"Not only was the expedition inadequate in size," he continues, "but it turned out also to be inadequately equipped for the hardships of the journey. The fact was that nobody knew anything about the country to be traversed. Apart from the latitude and longitude of Santa Fe, they had no notion of where they were going. A Mexican who accompanied them had been a trapper on the headwaters of the Red river, and had been in New Mexico, but he was utterly lost long before he reached the Mexican settlements."

Armed with an official proclamation, in which President Lamar invited the inhabitants of Santa Fe and the vicinity to cover themselves with the protection of the Texan flag, the expedition left Brushy Creek, about fifteen miles above Austin, on June 21, 1841. Besides the commissioners and the military escort, it included about fifty others, chiefly merchants and traders, and was accompanied by George W. Kendall of the New Orleans Picayune, who afterwards wrote an exhaustive account of the expedition. For about six weeks the journey was pleasant enough, for its course lay through country which afforded a plentiful supply of game for food, and in which there was an abundance of water and grass for the horses and cattle. But after that they entered country of a very different character. It was mountainous and arid, and when the last of the cattle was slaughtered and provisions ran short, the party began to encounter difficulties. To obtain food in a wilderness for a company of more than three hundred men would have been no small task under the best conditions. But in a country where there was neither vegetation nor game, and where even water was extremely scarce, it was practically impossible. Realizing that starvation would soon be an impending danger if provisions were not obtained, the commissioners decided to send three men ahead to announce the approach of the expedition and to return with food. Accordingly, the three chosen—Howland, Baker and Rosenberry, by name—set out for San Miguel, which was believed to be the nearest settlement, and the rest of the party continued their weary march, losing their way at times and being compelled to retrace their steps, and subsisting on such food as could be found in the barren country through which they passed. They were reduced to the necessity of eating snails and lizards, and to make matters worse, many of them were compelled to proceed on foot, their horses having been lost in a stampede. Kendall says that "every tortoise and snake, every living and creeping thing" was snatched up and devoured by the men "with a rapacity that nothing but the direst hunger could induce." Three weeks of such conditions brought the unhappy pilgrims to the verge of starvation and, no word having been received from Howland, Baker and Rosenberry, it was decided that the best mounted men should push on ahead, while the rest established camp and remained in the wilderness until relief could be sent.

Col. William G. Cooke, one of the three commissioners, took command of the advance party, and he set out with about ninety men. After experiencing much hardship this party finally reached a sheep ranch on Rio Gallinas, and here they feasted on mutton, the first wholesome food they had eaten for weeks. From this place Capt. William P. Lewis, who spoke Spanish, and four others were sent on toward San Miguel, bearing a letter to the alcalde announcing the approach of the expedition and declaring its friendly character.

Meantime, Howland, Baker and Rosenberry arrived at the Mexican settlements early in September. They were promptly placed under arrest, in spite of their protestations that the mission was a peaceful one, which claim they supported by displaying copies of President Lamar’s proclamation, printed in the Spanish language. Armijo set about immediately to alarm the people by circulating the report that the Texans were coming to conquer the country, and that they would kill them all and burn their homes. A condition of general excitement was created and soon the whole population was ready to join in repelling the "invaders." Howland escaped from his captors with the intention of making his way back to the main party to warn them of the situation, but he was recaptured and shot.

Captain Lewis and his four companions spent the night of September 14 in the little village of Anton Chico. On their way thither they had learned of the arrest of Howland, Baker and Rosenberry, and of the general excitement of the people, and during the night information was brought to them by persons in the village that they also would be arrested the next day and shot. Next morning, however, they resumed their journey toward San Miguel, but were soon met by a force of Mexican soldiers, who compelled them to dismount and took them into custody. The Mexicans then turned around and started with their prisoners toward Santa Fe. The prisoners were bound together with ropes and were required to walk, surrounded by their captors. After passing through San Miguel and proceeding all day in the direction of Santa Fe, the company encountered Governor Armijo himself and a force of about six hundred men on their way to meet the Texas expedition. Armijo questioned the prisoners, and finding that Captain Lewis understood Spanish, he ordered him to accompany his force as interpreter.

By this time Colonel Cooke and his party had arrived at Anton Chico, where it was decided to await the return of Captain Lewis. When Lewis did return he was accompanied by Armijo and the force of Mexican soldiers. It would have been useless for Colonel Cooke, with only eighty-five men, to have attempted resistance in the face of such great odds. The Mexicans outnumbered his little company by more than seven to one. However, it is a fact that should be recorded that Lewis had made terms with Armijo by the time the governor came upon Cooke’s company, and he represented that Armijo and the people were friendly and thus induced Cooke to surrender. It may be that the governor deceived Lewis, though this is contradicted by the warm terms in which Armijo afterwards commended Lewis’s services in an official report to the Mexican government. But whether he was a traitor or merely an unsuspecting tool, Lewis assured Cooke that if the Texans would give up their arms they would be permitted to remain at Santa Fe for several days for the purpose of trading, after which their arms would be returned to them. Cooke surrendered, but discovered immediately that he had been made the victim of treachery. He and his whole company were taken to Santa Fe as prisoners. A few days later the two hundred men who had been left in camp, most of whom were now weakened and ill from want of food, dragged their way to the Mexican settlements. They were promptly made prisoners by a superior force of Mexicans. Thus the entire expedition was captured by Armijo without the necessity of firing a single shot.

In the official report of the affair to the Mexican government, however, it was represented that two great victories had been gained over the Texans, and the announcement of these "glorious triumphs" was made the occasion of universal public rejoicing at the national capital. The news was received on the eve of Santa Anna’s election as provisional president, and his partisans among the newspapers capitalized it by making it appear that in some way it magnified the glory of their idol. It was decided that the prisoners should be sent to Mexico City and placed at the disposition of the national government. On October 17, 1841, therefore, the unhappy Texans were started from San Miguel on the long journey to Mexico City on foot.

From the moment of their surrender the prisoners were treated with great cruelty by Armijo’s soldiers, and the march from San Miguel to the border of New Mexico at El Paso was one of almost constant torture. Many of the men were ill from privation in the wilderness and some found it extremely difficult to keep going. The commander of their guard had no sympathy for such men, and those who faltered in the march were brutally treated and in many instances they were shot down in their tracks and their bodies left by the wayside. During the three weeks consumed by the journey to El Paso, the prisoners were in constant fear for their lives. But at the border they were turned over to troops of the national government and thenceforth they were treated more humanely. However, the journey was a long and arduous one. To add to their other miseries smallpox broke out among the prisoners and a number of them died from this disease. A rather amusing aspect of the journey was the fact that it soon became evident to the prisoners that they were on exhibition. They were paraded through the principal streets of every city and town between El Paso and Mexico City, the object being to display before the gaping crowds this evidence of the great power of Santa Anna’s government. American prisoners constituted a spectacle worth going miles to behold, and the very most was made of the opportunity which the moving of the captives to Mexico City afforded. For three months this march was kept up, and finally the survivors of the expedition which had left Texas in high spirits eight months before arrived at the Mexican capital early in February. There they were thrown into prison.

Members of the party who claimed citizenship of other countries appealed to their respective diplomatic representatives for aid, and through the efforts of the foreign ministers at the Mexican capital these were released in the course of a few months. The affair created great indignation in the United States, and the newspapers printed vivid accounts of the sufferings of the prisoners. There were demands that the government take prompt steps in their interest, and as a result Waddy Thompson of South Carolina was sent to Mexico to procure their release. The Mexican government reluctantly released those who could claim the protection of the United States or of European governments, but the rest were kept confined in military prisons for four months. At the end of that time, Santa Anna decided to utilize the prisoners in treating his countrymen to another display. So on June 16, 1842, in celebration of the feast day of Santa Anna’s patron saint, most of the Texans were released. Jose Antonio Navarro, one of the commissioners, was kept in prison at the capital until December, 1844, the object being to make an example of him, inasmuch as he was of Mexican blood, a native of San Antonio. He was then moved to Vera Cruz, from which place he escaped and returned to Texas early in 1845.

President Lamar’s administration came to an end while the Santa Fe prisoners were being marched to Mexico City. Vice-President Burnet, who had served as president during a few months in the winter of 1840-1841, while Lamar was absent in the United States for medical treatment, was a candidate to succeed his chief, but he had to bear the onus of Lamar’s alleged extravagance and his opponent was the popular "hero of San Jacinto," Sam Houston. There was now as great a demand for retrenchment as there had been for protection of the frontier at the beginning of Lamar’s administration, and Burnet was decisively defeated by Houston. Houston was inaugurated in December, 1841, and immediately he announced a complete reversal of the policies of Lamar. He declared that three-fourths of the money consumed in Indian wars during Lamar’s administration could have been saved by following a policy of conciliation with respect to the Indians, and advised the establishment of peace with them as soon as possible. How successful this policy proved has already been recounted. Houston advocated extreme economy in the administration of the government, a reduction of the number of officers and the adoption of a pay-as-you-go policy. And while admitting that it would be futile to renew efforts to establish formal peace with Mexico, he recommended that no aggressive attitude should be assumed and that steps be taken to establish trade with the Mexicans on the border.

Houston, however, was destined to reap where Lamar had sown. The aggressive attitude displayed by the sending of an armed expedition to Santa Fe seemed to the Mexican leaders to call for retaliation by Mexico. Accordingly plans were started for an expedition into Texas. On January 9, 1842, Gen. Mariano Arista issued an address to the inhabitants of "the department of Texas" from Monterey, announcing that he would shortly undertake an invasion of the "department." He promised amnesty and protection for all who would refrain from taking up arms to oppose the invading army, and pointed out that the struggle for independence was hopeless. While Mexico held out "the olive branch of peace with one hand," he said, "she would direct with the other the sword of justice against the obstinate."

The copies of this address and the news of the fate of the Santa Fe prisoners reached Texas about the same time. There was great grief among the relatives of the Texans who had gone on the expedition, and general excitement prevailed. Congress was in session, and the opinion was expressed on all sides that "something should be done." The "something" which congress decided upon supplies one of the most striking instances in history of a futile "blowing off of steam" by a legislative body. For it immediately passed an act extending the boundaries of the Republic of Texas to include the two Californias, the whole of the states of Chihuahua and Sonora and the territory of New Mexico, and parts of Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Durango and Sinaloa. The futility of the action may be judged from the circumstance that the territory thus "annexed" contained a population of nearly two million people, whereas Texas had not yet attained one hundred thousand! Houston, of course, vetoed the bill. He pointed out that the act could serve no purpose but to make Texas a laughing-stock among the nations, and that even if it were possible to undertake such an invasion of Mexican territory as the act, if regarded seriously, must contemplate, it would be very injurious to the interests of Texas abroad. But congress was determined to "do something," so it passed the bill over the president’s veto. That, of course, was the last heard of it, for the establishing of such boundaries as the act set forth was unthinkable.

But the Mexican threat of an invasion of Texas was not quite so idle a boast as the action of the Texas congress. On March 3, 1842, a small company of Mexicans appeared suddenly at Goliad and occupied the town, and two days later a force of five hundred, under command of General Vasquez, captured San Antonio without meeting resistance. At the same time another detachment occupied Refugio. It looked as if a formidable invasion was under way, and great excitement prevailed throughout Texas. "The war, after great preparation on the part of the enemy, is upon us," wrote Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, to a friend, "without the slightest effort having been made by us. Our people are, however, turning out well and hastening westward, for the purpose of concentrating to meet the enemy. and notwithstanding every advantage has been given, we rely upon the energy and courage of our people to achieve most brilliant results." The people were indeed hastening westward. In a few days, more than three thousand men were under arms and moving from all sections of Texas in the direction of San Antonio. President Houston, after issuing a proclamation calling out the militia, wrote to the Texan consul at New Orleans to accept volunteers in the United States, provided they were equipped with arms and supplies. But the enemy had other plans of warfare. Santa Anna evidently had no intention of conducting a campaign on the soil of Texas. Vasquez, acting under orders, held San Antonio for only two days and then retired from the town as suddenly as he had advanced. Within a week all the Mexican detachments had quitted Texas and withdrawn to the south of the Rio Grande. The "invasion" proved to be merely a raid. But the country was aroused and by March 15 there were about three thousand Texans gathered at San Antonio. The general sentiment among them was in favor of a counter-march into Mexico, but the Texan government was in no condition to sustain such a campaign. Houston dispatched Gen. Alexander Somervell to take command of the volunteers, with instructions that in no circumstances should an invasion of Mexico be attempted. He declared that it would require four months of preparation to insure the success of such an expedition and fixed July 20 as the earliest date for starting such a move. He then issued a call for a special session of congress to meet at Houston on July 27. President Houston had seized upon the first opportunity to discredit Austin as a proper site for the capital and, shortly after the receipt of Arista’s address threatening an invasion, had moved the seat of government to Houston again. This action was opposed by the people of Austin, and they organized an armed force and prevented the transfer of the archives from that place. This incident came to be known as the "archive war."

Somervell reached San Antonio on March 17 and found the men there clamoring for invasion. Moreover, they refused to accept Somervell as their commander and insisted upon their right to elect one of their own. They chose Gen. Edward Burleson as leader, but in the face of President Houston’s opposition to an immediate invasion, Burleson could do nothing but disband the men. In doing so, however, he took occasion to criticize Houston severely for his stand. There was some partisan politics mixed up in this incident, and Somervell reported to the secretary of state that the next presidency was involved in it. "I have no doubt political intrigue has been at work," he wrote, "with the view to block out the next President. It is a rough concern, and no glory that can be won in the field can ever polish it. I think there is a move for the Vice-Presidency also. The hobby on which they ride is ‘invasion of Mexico’ to give peace and happiness to poor suffering Texas, and thereby achieve immortal glory for themselves."

Meantime, the Texas minister at Washington also wrote the secretary of state, informing him that the report of a contemplated invasion of Mexico was injuring Texas in the United States. "President Houston, I perceive," he wrote, "has issued his proclamation convening congress. . . . War or no war, I suppose, is the question. We can get men, but no money, for invasion. Our friends think the measure impolitic. The excitement is doing us great injury here. Men with property will not emigrate to Texas. They know Mexico to be utterly powerless, and dread the result of the excitement. They think us partaking too much of the revolutionary character of the Mexicans." Considering that the United States had just emerged from a controversy with Mexico over the Santa Fe prisoners, the feeling reported by the Texan minister is not difficult to understand.

When congress met Houston submitted a message recommending war. While he expressed the belief that Mexico could never reconquer Texas, he said he had become convinced a counter-invasion was advisable in order to implant in the Mexicans a desire for peace. Congress voted for a declaration of war and appropriated ten million acres of land to prosecute it, but Houston took the position that an invasion could not be adequately organized and supported by this means, and vetoed the measure. So the war scare came to an end for the time being.

The Mexicans, however, were evidently watching the course of events in Texas and governing their actions accordingly, for no sooner had congress adjourned than preparations were set under way for another raid. On September 11, 1842, while the district court was in session at San Antonio, Gen. Adrian Woll and a force of infantry, cavalry and artillery, about fourteen hundred strong, appeared before the town and demanded its surrender. The small body of Texan troops stationed there refused to comply with this demand and, reinforced by men in attendance at the court session, made a show of resistance. The struggle was hopeless, however, and fifty-three Texans, including the presiding judge, Anderson Hutchison, and all the attorneys present, were made prisoners. Again the country was aroused and a march of volunteers to the relief of San Antonio was begun. On March 18 a force of Texans, about two hundred strong, which had reached Salado creek, on the outskirts of San Antonio, enticed Woll and part of his men into an ambush. The Texans, who were commanded by Col. Matthew Caldwell, were more than a match for the superior force of Mexicans, and the latter suffered a loss of nearly one hundred killed and wounded. However, a small band of volunteers, under Capt. Nicholas Dawson, which was en route to reinforce Colonel Caldwell, was surrounded by a force of four hundred Mexicans at a point about two miles away from the scene of battle, and slaughtered. Keeping out of rifle range, the Mexicans poured artillery fire into the ranks of the Texans, heedless of their efforts to surrender. Of a total of fifty-three men, forty-one were killed, ten were taken prisoners, and two escaped. Woll then retired into San Antonio, but two days later he evacuated the place and began a retreat to the Rio Grande, taking all the Texan prisoners with him. He was closely pursued by Caldwell, but he reached the Mexican side of the border without further difficulty.

The "invasion" had again proved to be only a raid. But this time the demand for retaliation in the form of an invasion of Mexico was so pronounced that Houston could not ignore it. He issued a call for volunteers to rendezvous at San Antonio for this purpose, and again he ordered General Somervell to take command. Somervell complied with the president’s orders without enthusiasm. He proceeded to San Antonio, where he found about twelve hundred men. They were poorly organized, being divided into several camps, and were without proper equipment or supplies for an expedition. Somervell was reluctant to begin an invasion of Mexico with such a force and in such circumstances, and he procrastinated for more than a month before making a move to carry out Houston’s orders. Meantime about five hundred of the volunteers had left for home, and when the march for the border was begun on November 18 Somervell had only seven hundred and fifty men under his command. At Laredo two hundred of these decided to go no further, and left the expedition. With the remainder Somervell marched along the Rio Grande on the Texas side until he came to a point opposite the town of Guerrero. Then he crossed the river to the Mexican side, but, having become convinced by this time that the enterprise was futile, he decided to abandon it. Accordingly he recrossed the river and, on December 19, 1842, issued an order to the men to return to Gonzales and disband. Six captains and their companies, consisting of about two hundred and sixty men, refused to obey this order and, after electing Col. W. S. Fisher to command them, marched against the Mexican town of Mier. Somervell and the others returned home.

Mier was defended by a force of fifteen hundred Mexican troops, under command of Gen. Pedro Ampudia, but the Texans, remembering the defeat of General Cos at San Antonio by a small force of Texans under Johnson and Milam, were not daunted by the great disparity of numbers. They decided to adopt the same tactics which had been employed on that occasion. On Christmas night, 1842, they entered the town and took possession of a number of outlying houses. Their plan was to work through the walls from house to house, in the same way that Johnson had done at San Antonio. But the odds were too great. On the afternoon of December 26 the Texans surrendered to Ampudia after having been given written assurance that they would be treated with due consideration as prisoners of war. Two hundred and twenty-six men were taken into custody and, as in the case of the Santa Fe prisoners, were started on a march to Mexico City. Thus within twelve months after the Santa Fe affair, Texas found itself faced with another of similar character.

The Mier prisoners, however, did not propose to go supinely to the Mexican capital. On the contrary, they decided to watch their opportunity to escape and return to Texas. After traveling under guard for six weeks, therefore, on the morning of February 11, 1843, at a point about one hundred miles south of Saltillo, they suddenly overpowered their guards, seized the Mexican cavalry horses and rode furiously in the direction of the Texas border. In order to evade pursuit, however, they left the main road and soon lost their way in the mountains. Here the experience of the Santa Fe expedition was repeated. The Texans were entirely without supplies and food was not to be found in that barren, mountainous country. Even water was scarce and in a few day they were frantic from hunger and thirst. Several died of starvation, and when the others were overtaken by Mexican troops they surrendered gladly.

In punishment for their attempt to escape it was decreed that one in every ten of their number should be executed. The number of the prisoners had now been reduced to one hundred and seventy, for in addition to those who had died a few had escaped and subsequently made their way back to Texas. The order required, therefore, that seventeen of the remaining prisoners should be selected by lot and executed. Accordingly, a jar containing one hundred and seventy beans, seventeen of which were black and the rest white, was brought forward, and each of the prisoners was blindfolded and directed to draw a bean from it. A black bean was a sentence of death. The operation was carried out, and the seventeen Texans who drew black beans were lined up immediately and shot. During the Mexican war, Gen. Walter P. Lane and a scouting party made a special trip to the Hacienda del Salado, where this barbarous order was carried out, and exhumed the bones of these unfortunate men. They were then sent to La Grange, Texas, where they were interred on Monument Hill with military honors.

After the execution of their companions the rest of the Mier prisoners were sent to the Mexican capital. By Santa Anna’s orders they were imprisoned in the castle Perote, where most of them remained until September, 1844, when they were released in connection with the celebration of the anniversary of Mexican independence. A few had died in the meantime, and a number of others, led by Thomas Jefferson Green, had escaped and returned to Texas.

Thus ended the last attempt of Texas to send an expedition into Mexico. The only other hostile move made during the existence of the republic was the sending of a force of one hundred and eighty men, under Col. Jacob Snively, to intercept a party of Mexican traders returning to Santa Fe from Missouri. This occurred in the spring of 1843. It failed of result for the reason that the Mexican party was guarded by two hundred United States cavalry under command of Capt. Philip S. Cooke. Cooke disarmed the Texans, leaving them only ten guns to protect themselves from the Indians on their return journey to Texas. The American government subsequently paid the Texas government for the confiscated arms.

The policy of Texas thenceforth was in line with Houston’s original one--that of letting the Mexicans alone. Houston had been diverted from this policy only by the public clamor caused by the raids of 1842, and, as has been seen, never really made any serious attempt to invade Mexico. The general outlines of this policy may be summed up in the words of Anson Jones, who, as Houston’s secretary of state, drew up recommendations covering this and other questions and submitted them to a cabinet meeting on December 22, 1841.

"The civil expenses of the Government," wrote Jones, "can easily be estimated, and those for the defence of the country approximated.

"Our policy, as it regards Mexico, should be to act strictly on the defensive. So soon as she finds we are willing to let her alone, she will let us alone.

"The navy should be put in ordinary; and no troops kept in commission, except a few rangers on the frontiers.

"The Indians should be conciliated by every means in our power. It is much cheaper and more humane to purchase their friendship than to fight them. A small sum will be sufficient for the former; the latter would require millions.

"By a steady, uniform, firm, undeviating adherence to this policy for two or three years, Texas may and will recover from her present utter prostration. It is the stern law of necessity which requires it, and she must yield to it or perish! She cannot afford to raise another crop of ‘heroes.’"

This policy was bearing fruit before Houston’s second administration came to an end. Texas was learning to live within her means and there was no further increase of the public debt. Moreover, as shall be seen, she was making progress toward commanding the respect of other nations, including that of the United States.
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Frequently Asked Questions about The Alamo.

How big was the attacking force?
Santa Anna had his units march two days apart, presumably to let the grass grow and the water holes replenish after each unit passed. (Comanches also disrupted the march.) So the entire force had not arrived in time for the assault. The best estimate for the force on-hand March 6, 1836, is about 2,500 soldiers, of whom about 1,400 were used in the assault. Sources mention that reserves had to be committed, so some of the remaining troops were probably also used.

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What were the casualties?

The Alamo garrison was destroyed. The alcalde of San Antonio reported cremating 182 bodies. (Others report about 250.) Additionally, the body of a local Tejano was claimed by his family and given Christian burial. One other Tejano defender may have talked his way out of being killed by claiming to have been a prisoner in the fort. Travis's slave Joe survived. Several other men, wounded or unwounded, passed through other parts of Texas in coming weeks with "sole survivor" tales of having been in the Alamo, and then dropped from history.

Santa Anna's report of killing 600 Texans can be dismissed. Santa Anna may have been basing his report not on any body count but on an intercepted letter that detailed the reinforcements that might be diverted to the Alamo. The numbers reportedly added up to about 600.

As for Mexican casualties, Santa Anna reported losing 70 dead, and other sources place the dead as high as 600, or more. While observers are likely to dismiss Santa Anna's Mexican casualty figures, the grossly higher figures also present problems:

The killed to wounded ratio in organized military operations, where retreat is possible, is usually about one to three. (With modern medicine and helicopter evacuations, the U.S. Army had it down to one to six in Vietnam.) With the available medicine being often of negative value, many of the wounded might later die, but that's another issue.
Historically, the likelihood of pressing home an attack falls off dramatically -- in fact, units fall apart -- as casualties for the attacking force exceed about 30 percent.
As stated above, the attack force probably did not exceed 1,400.
So if you allow 600 dead, you have to allow another 1,800 wounded, giving about 100+ percent casualties for the Mexican assault force, and you have to assume that Santa Anna was leading lemmings.
If you allow 70 dead, then you have to allow another 210 wounded, for total casualties that exceeded the Texan loss by 50 percent, and amounted to 20 percent of the attack force. (Santa Anna actually did report 300 wounded, hiking his losses to 26 percent.)

Meanwhile, Santa Anna had every reason to lie, and his report was made hastily. Also, the Mexican army does indeed seem to have been seriously damaged. So other reports that place the casualties at about 200 dead and 400 wounded have been easier to accept. This would have amounted to 43 percent casualties -- which Santa Anna's professional officers would have rightly viewed as catastrophic.

The scale of casualties indicates that had there been no Mexican reserves, or had the fort been reinforced significantly, the assault may well have been repulsed.   

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Wasn't Davy Crockett captured?

Within days a report was circulating in Texas that a half-dozen defenders had survived the initial assault, and were brought before Santa Anna -- who curtly had them killed on the spot. One of these was Davy Crockett. Several Mexican eyewitnesses gave a version of the event. That one version that names Crockett is not creditable. Aside from that, consider:

No one was checking IDs.
The Mexicans did not know Crockett from Adam.
They did know Crockett from reputation, and perhaps were willing to assume that anyone who appeared well-dressed and distinguished was Crockett.
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Weren't the defenders nearly over-run by the unexpected advance of the Mexican army into San Antonio?

The Mexicans had attempted a quick thrust the previous night, but had gone astray in the darkness. That morning, the defenders' scouts made contact with the Mexican army when it was about eight miles away, and so had half a day's notice to get into the fort. They had received reports of a Mexican advance for the previous week but discounted them. They did not expect an advance until the spring grass came, in mid March. They did not know that the "curly mesquite grass" of the western dry lands matures earlier.

What was left of the Matamoros expedition on the coast was indeed caught by surprise and summarily dispatched.   

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Why didn't the Texans retreat?

Due to their inferiority in cavalry, it would have been suicidal to venture into the open once the Mexican Army had arrived. Mexican cavalry would have caught up with them and pinned them down until the infantry arrived. And then they'd be surrounded again by overwhelming numbers, without the walls, artillery and store rooms of the fort.

Also, they presumably thought they were accomplishing something by holding out where they were. If that involved danger, so be it.

But Travis was not self-destructive. If he received enough reinforcements and supplies, as he requested, there was hope for successful, sustained resistance. The logistical situation meant that the Mexican army would eventually (after eating up the resources of San Antonio de Bexar) have to advance or retreat. Presumably, he assumed that successful resistance at the Alamo would eventually trigger a Mexican retreat.   

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Didn't they stick around because they knew that shipments of silver from Bowie's silver mine in San Saba was buried in the well in the center of the compound?

And how much silver would it take to get you to commit suicide? Seriously, archeologists have recently searched for that well, with no luck. And while Bowie did once lead an armed excursion to the supposed site of the mines at an abandoned mission, it is not certain he got there, recovered any silver, or brought any back. Actually, he seems to have spent the time fighting for his life against Comanches, then a popular pastime in Texas.

The friars did operate such a mine -- and then they closed it, indicating it was played out and that passing tourists would have little opportunity to enrich themselves.

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How reliable is the list of names?

Good question. No final garrison roster survives. There were early, partial rosters, expense accounts, and recollections of other Texas Army survivors. Many of the names stem from Texas veterans land claims filed by survivors. People were fast and loose in the spelling of their own names, and fathers and sons are easy to get confused, and people went by nicknames or initials.

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Did they really wear coon-skin hats?

That, and any other head covering they could find, stylish, uncouth, or whatever. This was before sunscreen was invented.

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Other sources give slightly different dates for some events. Why?
Because no one really knows what dates are accurate. Correspondence by participants connected with the domain of paperwork -- Houston, Santa Anna, and some others -- can be assumed to have been dated accurately, but on the frontier calendars were rare, and rarely consulted. Even when dates were available, terms like "yesterday" were used loosely.   

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Does not the John Wayne movie about the Alamo indicate that Bowie's family died of cholera during the siege, rather than two and a half years earlier?

It's wrong. Also up in the air is the question of whether he had any children with Ursula. Some reports say there were children, but there was no paper trail.

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You keep implying that the Texans feared the Mexican cavalry. Why is that?
Being dirt farmers from wooded country, the Texans lacked the tradition of horsemanship possessed by the Mexicans, and respected Mexican abilities. That also meant they could not match the Mexican cavalry forces. (The available Texan mounted force, the Texas Rangers, remained on guard against the Comanches during the period and did not participate in the revolution.)

Lack of a mounted force was no trivial matter. In the wooded country that most Texans came from (Tennessee, Kentucky, etc.) their single-shot muzzle-loading rifles had been effective in combat. There, fighting involved darting from tree to tree, on foot. Cavalry was used for scouting, to mop up after a victory, or to prevent the enemy from mopping up after a defeat.

On the open prairie, however, their rifles turned out to be an encumbrance. Your first shot had better be effective, because the foe could charge in and settle matters before you could reload. In the open, these riflemen rightly feared Mexican lancers and Comanches, who might not be carrying firearms at all. But once the Texans reached cover -- woods, buildings, or broken terrain -- the balance was restored. (Incidentally, due to subsequent overgrazing, the Central Texas terrain has more cover now than it did then.)

The balance tipped permanently in the Texan's favor in the decade after the revolution, when the Texas Rangers became the first military force to adopt the Colt revolver.

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What do you mean, "logistics?"
Logistics is the task of moving and supplying troops -- the mechanics of military operations. While books often treat military events as if they were huge chess matches between generals on beautiful, detailed maps, in reality events were often dictated by the logistical situation on the ground. Many moves that later looked like strategic flourishes were literally just searches for greener pastures. Consider:

You eat about two pounds of food a day.
A horse, when worked, will eat about 50 pounds of wet fodder (i.e., grass) or half that much dry fodder (oats, corn, hay) per day. (When idle, it might eat a third that amount.)
Counting the cavalry, the supply wagons, the officer's mounts, the couriers, the artillery, etc., an army might have two horses for every three men.
A horse-drawn wagon would use six horses or mules to pull one ton 20 miles in a day. If you are going short distances, of if there is plenty of grass, the animals can just graze. If grass is out of season, or if 20,000 animals are using that same road (as happened in the U.S. Civil War) then you'll have to bring along your own fodder. That means you won't get more than 260 miles (13 days) from your base. (Your six animals will eat up your one-ton payload at a rate of 150 pounds a day, emptying the wagon in 13.32 days.) Since you would want to make round trips (especially when supplying an army) you could not go farther than six days, or 120 miles. Since you want to do more than feed your cart horses, you would probably not end up going more then three days out. (There are people who actually believe wars traditionally began in the Spring because of some association between sunlight and aggression. Now you know the real reason: without Spring grass, armies were nearly immobile.)
Civilians used the same transportation technology and their agriculture was geared to support it. A town was expected to be able to supply an army equal to its population for two weeks, before local supplies began running out. The army would then starve (horses first) or move on. Naturally, they liked to move on, to greener fields, or to some place by a seaport or barge canal (which cured all supply headaches.)

Hence, in lightly populated country, the only hope was to keep moving, and trust the populace would have at least enough food to feed your force while you marched through. If that did not work, you could break the force into small columns that could move even faster. But if you encountered the enemy, things would have to be settled quickly, since then there would be two armies living off the land.

In the situation at hand:

Texas was lightly populated.
And huge.
The Mexican army had set up supply "magazines" along the line of the approach march. These had been carried off by the Commanches.
The Texans were mostly afoot. The Mexicans had a lot of horses.
The Texas navy prevented Mexican seaborn supply efforts.
It was early in the season, and it had been cold.
So it is plain that the Mexican army was in a precarious logistical situation. After leaving San Antonio (where they stayed just long enough to exhaust its supplies) the only way to carry out operations was to break into smaller columns and move fast. The former it did. The latter proved impossible, due to Spring rains, sabotaged river ferries, and the presence of Houston's army. Fleeing in panic, the Texans burned their towns and left behind a logistical desert. Urrea, commanding the coastal column, evidently took stops not to trigger panic, and so his force remaining in good shape. Santa Anna burned what remained standing, and was apparently having problems even before San Jacinto.
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What was the military importance of the Alamo?
It didn't have any. That's right, none. Its significance was symbolic and psychological.

Santa Anna could have suppressed the rebellion without sending a single unit to San Antonio de Bexar. Having sent the army there, he could have ignored the fort and moved on, leaving a militia battalion to watch it. The defenders were simply not strong enough, outside their fort, to threaten his army. Nor could they threaten his "line of communications" back to Mexico since, basically, he didn't have any. Had it not looked bad politically, he could have pretended the garrison wasn't there. But, of course, Santa Anna's goals were political, not military, and his actions did not always contain military logic.

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What was Santa Anna's strategy?
He sought to polish his image as savior of Mexico. Demonizing the Texans as threats to the Mexican way of life and then eradicating them looked like the ticket. (The names of other dictators who have used a similar approach may immediately spring to mind.) Rushing his army directly to San Antonio was a symbolic act, since that town was the farthest outpost of the Mexican culture he was supposed to be protecting. He was also reliving his youth -- he had served there in 1813 putting down a local rebellion that was abetted by some American freebooters. His first impulse was probably to retrace the steps he had taken then. Also, his brother-in-law had been driven out of San Antonio in December by the rebel Texans, an event he considered shameful. Being a dictator, no one was going to point out that his move was pointless, since the rebellion was farther east, near the coast.

Arriving in Bexar, he found the Alamo held by the rebels, and decided that crushing it would cause the "sensation" he was after -- terror among the Texans, presumably. His main fear seemed to be that Travis would surrender before an attack could be mounted.   

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Wasn't Travis about to surrender when Santa Anna attacked?
That story comes from several Mexican officers bent on showing up Santa Anna as a fool, wrecking his army in an unnecessary attack, as bloodthirsty with his own men as he was toward the enemy. They said the mysterious woman who came to Santa Anna actually asked for terms on behalf of Travis, saying that food and ammunition was nearly gone. But Travis's reports showed that he had food for a couple of weeks more, and the results of the assault indicate that his ammunition was a long way from exhausted. Joe, Travis's slave and one of the two defenders known to have survived, was interviewed two weeks later by Texas government officials, and made no mention of a surrender initiative.

But keep in mind that Travis would have been wise to keep open some line of communication with the enemy. The Texans had allowed the Mexican forces to evacuate San Antonio a few months earlier under a cease-fire agreement, an agreement inspired by several days of street fighting. (Such arrangements had become the traditional way of ending sieges in European wars.) So it would have been reasonable to expect that, after some serious fighting took place, Santa Anna would be similarly inspired to back off from his no-prisoners posturing and begin negotiating. Reasonable, but wrong.

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What did the defense of the Alamo accomplish?
In military terms, little except the weakening of the Mexican army. It did not delay the Mexicans while the Texans organized further forces -- at the time, the only other Texan force was with Fannin. Houston's force did not start forming until after the Alamo fell. Since Santa Anna was still bringing his army up, the siege may not even have extended the time the Mexican army spent in San Antonio.

Psychologically, it was devastating, galvanizing the Texans, demonstrating that their lives were on the line -- that the time had come to take a stand. And it showed future generations how one does so, when necessary.

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Wasn't the Mexican defeat at San Jacinto caused by U.S. intervention?
No. But things could have worked out that way.

The U.S. Army had two infantry regiments (about 2,000 soldiers) in Fort Jessup, in Louisiana east of Nacogdoches, to watch the situation. The commander on the spot had broad instructions in which you could see hints that a rerun of Gen. (now president) Andrew Jackson's 1818 incursion into Florida in hot pursuit of Indians would not be unwelcome. (That incursion led Spain to cede Florida to the U.S.) He had plans for calling up militia from several states (that could get to him in a few days via the Red River) for a total concentration of 8,000 men. (The two regiments and the Texan army would have been enough to defeat any one Mexican column, or stalemate a concentrated Mexican army until it had to retreat for lack of supplies. The full 8,000-man concentration would have been enough to sweep Santa Anna out of Texas.)

He scouted extensively for signs of an Indian uprising, but they actually seem to have gone into hiding. So he canceled the militia call-up. San Jacinto happened before he made new plans.

Meanwhile, it appears he let private soldiers desert to join the Texan cause as long as they promised not to be captured in uniform by the Mexicans.

There is no evidence Houston was aware of these details. His constant retreat eastward could mean he planned to fall back to Nacogdoches, where he could link up with the U.S. Army. However:

If there was collusion, it must have been based on telepathy. No documentation has surfaced.

And even at San Jacinto, Houston was still 120 miles south of Nacogdoches, and Nacogdoches to the border was about another 50 miles. Given the primitive travel conditions, coordination with the U.S. Army over that distance would not have been possible, and the deserters would barely have had time to reach him before the fighting ended. The following summer a U.S. Army scout reported about 200 deserters hanging out in Nacogdoches, still in uniform, which implies they did not exert themselves to get into the fighting.

By taking his army to San Jacinto, Houston had turned away from the road leading to Nacogdoches. Elements of the Mexican Army were closer to Fort Jessup than Houston was.
So, a desire to nullify the Mexican cavalry by moving into the Piney Woods of East Texas would appear to satisfactorily explain Houston's moves. Facing five to one odds, perhaps he was just hoping to reach the Sabine River with his force intact. From there he could fight with a safe retreat path. And if he could lure Santa Anna into making a border incursion and triggering intervention, so much the better.   
There were elements in the U.S. that wanted Texas to be added to the union as slave territory, and intervention against a bloody foreign tyrant to keep him from slaughtering expatriate Americans was a plausible vehicle for that aspiration. So judging by actions rather than words, it is Santa Anna who was doing the bidding of the expansionists. Had he pushed his scattered under-supplied army to the border while continuing his bloody excesses, he might not only have triggered intervention, but would have fallen easy prey to it. But had he moderated his behavior from the beginning, Texas might still be part of Mexico.

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What documentation supports the story concerning the "distraction" of Santa Anna at San Jacinto by the voluptuous mulatto Emily Morgan?
None. But hey...

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How long did the assault last?
From one to five hours -- sources disagree, probably because it was dark and if they had watches they were not synchronized. Time tends to crawl when you're in mortal danger.

For whatever reason, this question keeps coming up. A careful reconstruction of events shows that the Mexicans did not get over the walls until the third attempt. That means they had to reorganize twice under fire. And then at least a third time after gaining the walls, to crush the strong points inside the compound. Each of these events could easily take an hour -- or happen in moments, depending on discipline and luck.

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Didn't one of the Tejano defenders of the Alamo have a brother in Santa Anna's army?
Yes and no. One of several brothers of defender Gregorio Esparza was Francisco Esparza. The latter gave a sworn deposition in 1857 in support a veteran's land grant for the heirs of Gregorio Esparza.

The deposition says that his brother, Gregorio, volunteered for the Texan army in October 1835 and "entered Bexar between the morning of the 5th and the 10th of December 1835 with the American forces..." In other words, he was with the Texan Army during the Siege of Bexar.

Francisco, meanwhile, was in the Presidal Company of Bexar (the local defense unit of the Mexican Army.) Commanded by General Cos, they were part of the force defending San Antonio de Bexar against the Texan siege. Under the terms of Cos' capitulation to the Texans, Francisco was allowed to return to his home, in San Antonio, which he did.

So there was indeed a "brother versus brother" element to the Siege of Bexar.

Gregorio remained in the Alamo garrison. When Santa Anna arrived Fransicso remained at his home. He and other local soldiers were told to hold themselves in readiness for a call-up, but none came. (Nor, apparently, did Francisco volunteer.) After the storming Francisco went to General Cos, who was now back in town, and got permission to recover Gregorio's body, finding it in one of the rooms of the Alamo, shot in the chest and stabbed in the side.

When the Mexican army moved on into the interior, Francisco stayed home. The land grant was approved in 1860.

Meanwhile, during the storming of the Alamo, Juana Navarro Alsbury told of being rescued by her former brother-in-law, who was reportedly a sergeant in the Mexican Army.

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Was the Alamo also serving as a hospital?
A couple of Mexican sources mention that the bodies of about 250 defenders were found in the Alamo. And Susana Dickinson said more than once that there was a hospital in the fort housing about 75 sick and wounded men left over from the siege of Bexar. With the 184 known defenders, that gives about 250. While absent on leave, Col. James Neill, the original commander of the fort, spent government money on medicine to bring back to the fort. But Travis's reports and appeals never explicitly mention these men. And other Mexican sources give the usual death toll of 183.


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SonoftheUSA View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SonoftheUSA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-May-2005 at 23:42

wow i read for about 10 min. and then decided to scroll down.....that's a lot of typing.  How long did that take.


US patriot from the great state of Mississippi
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jalisco Lancer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-May-2005 at 10:55

I added some of my notes. Others are quotes and the sources appeared listed for reference.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blake79 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Jul-2005 at 10:41

Hey I found the post very interresting. Being a fan of Davy Crockett, I must say that as far as his service at the Alamo it was very remarkable.

weather he went down swinging his empty riffle or was later exicuted is a matter of debate, but i will say that the mere fact that he and the other 180 men were there is an example of bravery unsurpassed in history.


All Rise!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ironheart Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Jul-2005 at 19:24
Whew!  Long winded fella!
Pax Ottomanica
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jalisco Lancer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Aug-2005 at 12:52

Military Engagements Of The Texas Revolution

Date Battle Name Victor
May 11, 1835 Battle of Zacatecas   Centralist
October 2, 1835 Battle of Gonzales Insurgent
October 9, 1835 Capture of Goliad Insurgent
Oct. 23- Dec. 4, 1835 Siege of Béxar Insurgent
October 28, 1835 Battle of Concepción Insurgent
November 4 & 5, 1835 Capture of Lipantitlan Insurgent
November 15, 1835 Battle of Tampico Centralist
November 26, 1835 Grass Fight Insurgent
Dec. 5-Dec. 9, 1835 Battle of Béxar Insurgent
December 14, 1835 Survivors of the Mexía Expedition Executed
Feb. 23-March 6 Siege and Battle of the Alamo Centralist
February 27 San Patricio Centralist
March 2, 1836 Agua Dulce Creek Centralist
March 12-15, 1836 Battle of Refugio Centralist
March 19-20, 1836 Battle of Coleto Creek Centralist
March 27, 1836 Fannin's Command Massacred by Centralist Troops
April 20, 1836 Skirmish near San Jacinto Draw
April 21, 1836 Battle of San Jacinto Insurgent

Name: Battle of Gonzales
Date: October 2, 1835
Government: Lieutenant Francisco de Castañeda and 100 members of the Presidial Company of Alamo de Parras
Insurgents: John Henry Moore and approximately 140 colonists
Scenario: Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos, who would soon be arriving in Texas with reinforcement to help reestablish Centralist control, had ordered Col. Domingo de Ugartechea to arrest several rebel ringleaders as well sieze weapons that could be used by their supporters. Colonists at Gonzales resisted the government's attempt to take back a small cannon issued to them for protection against Indian raids. They flew a homemade flag with the words "Come and Take It" painted on it. Government troops withdrew after being fired upon by the colonists.
Gov. Losses: Reportedly 1 Mexican soldier killed
Insurg. Losses: None
Outcome: The colonists retained the cannon.
Significance: Although really only a small skirmish, the engagement encouraged the insurgents to expand the revolt.
References: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/GG/ qeg3.html
http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/CC/ fca84.html
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Name: Capture of Goliad
Date: October 9, 1835
Government: Capt. Manuel Sabriego and approximately 75 Centralist soldiers and ranchers
Insurgents: George M. Collinsworth and approximately 120 colonists
Scenario: La Bahía, an old Spanish fort, occupied by a Centralist garrison, controlled access to the ports along the coast. On the night of October 9, insurgents assaulted and captured the fort and most of its garrison.
Gov. Losses: 3 Mexican soldiers killed, 7 wounded, and 21 prisoners
Insurg. Losses: Several wounded but none killed
Outcome: The insurgents captured the Centralist presidio and a large supply of weapons, ammunition, and other military supplies.
Significance: Although about 20 Mexican soldiers escaped to spread the warning to other Centralist posts, the capture of a Bahía placed the insurgents in control of one of the most strategic locations in Texas.
Reference: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/GG/ qdg1.html
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Name: Siege of Béxar
Date: Oct. 23- Dec. 4, 1835
Mex. Army: Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos and 650 Centralist troops
Insurgents: Stephen F. Austin/Edward Burleson and 400-600 colonists
Scenario: Encouraged by their success at the Battle of Gonzales, the insurgents elected Austin commander of "The Army of the People" and advanced on San Antonio de Béxar. The Centralist garrison, commanded by Cos, controlled the town as well as the fortified mission known as the
Alamo. Several engagements took place (see Battle of Concepción
and the Grass Fight) but the insurgents lacked agreement over
assaulting the town. Insurgent numbers changed daily as they debated whether not to attack. In mid-November, Austin (who had been
appointed by the provisional government to go to the United States to
obtain aid) left and was replaced by Burleson as commander.
Outcome: The siege used up most of Cos' supplies, leaving his army without food for men or animals.
Significance: Cos, by being bottled up in San Antonio, was unable to reestablish government control in the eastern settlements.
Reference: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/BB/ qeb1.html
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Name: Battle of Concepción
Date: October 28, 1835
Government: Col. Domingo de Ugartechea and 275 Centralist soldiers
Insurgents: James Bowie, James W. Fannin, and 90 colonists
Scenario: Austin had sent a small force, commanded by Bowie and Fannin, to
secure the old mission known as Concepción. The insurgents camped in the woods along a bend in the San Antonio River. Cos sent a force to drive the insurgents away, which encountered Bowie and Fannin early on the morning of October 28. Hidden in the woods, the insurgents caught the soldados in the open and inflicted heavy casualties on them. Austin arrived with reinforcements too late to deliver a decisive blow.
Gov. Losses: 14 killed and 39 wounded
Insurg. Losses: 1 killed and 1 wounded
Outcome: The Centralists retired to their fortifications in San Antonio.
Significance: The Centralists were unable to break the siege.
Reference: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/CC/ qec2.html
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Name: Capture of Lipantitlan
Date: November 4, 1835
Government: Capt. Nicolas Rodríguez and approximately 90 Centralist soldiers
Insurgents: Capt. Ira J. Westover A Texas and approximately 70 colonists
Scenario: Following the capture of La Bahía, Westover was sent to seize the garrison at Lipantitlan. His force captured the fort on November 3
but was forced to abandon it the following day when the Centralists
received reinforcements.
Gov. Losses: 28 killed
Insurg. Losses: 1 wounded
Outcome: The insurgents gained a military victory but nothing of lasting value.
Significance: The Centralists had been aided by Irish colonists, indicating that the
revolt lacked support in the area between Goliad and Matamoros.
Reference: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/LL/ qfl3.html
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Name: Battle of Tampico
Date: November 15, 1835
Government: Gregorio Gómez and the Centralist garrison
Insurgents: Gen. José Antonio Mexía and 150 American volunteers
Scenario: Several of Santa Anna's political opponents fled to New Orleans
where they planned to resist the Centralist government. In October
1835, an expedition was raised in New Orleans for the purpose of
supporting Federalist opposition thought to be present in the
Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The expedition arrived at Tampico
and attempted to capture the important port city. Federalist
supporters had already been crushed by the Centralists and the
attack failed. Mexía re-embarked his men and sailed for Texas.
Gov. Losses: unknown
Insurg. Losses: 31 prisoners, 3 of whom died of wounds and 28 were later executed
Outcome: The expedition failed to stir Federalist support for a revolt against the
Centralist government.
Significance: The failure of the expedition prevented the formation of a united
front through which several Mexican states would fight Santa Anna
together. Mexía's defeat convinced many Anglos that Mexico's
Federalists would be no help, thereby causing hard feeling to arise
between these potential allies. Furthermore, the Mexican
government declared that the expedition had been carried out by
"pirates," executing the men Mexía left behind. This policy of "no
quarter" was extended to the Texas situation in the pronouncement
of the Tornel Decree.
Reference: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/TT/ qyt1.html
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Name: Grass Fight
Date: November 26, 1835
Government: Approximately 100 Centralist cavalry and pack train
Insurgents: James Bowie and approximately 100 colonists
Scenario: The insurgents believed that a column discovered by scouts approaching San Antonio from the west was Col. Domingo de Ugartechea with reinforcements for Cos. Burleson sent Bowie to intercept the column. The two forces met near Alazan Creek. The Centralist troops were forced to abandon their pack train.
Gov. Losses: 3 killed and 14 wounded
Insurg. Losses: 4 wounded
Outcome: The insurgents, who believed that the packs contained a Mexian
payroll for Cos' garrison, found that they instead contained hay for
his livestock.
Significance: The interception of the hay added to Cos' growing problem of dwindling supplies.
Reference: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/GG/ qfg1.html
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Name: Battle of Béxar
Date: Dec. 5 - Dec. 9, 1835
Government: Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos and 1250 Centralist soliders and presidials
Insurgents: Gen. Edward Burleson and 700 Texans and American volunteers
Scenario: The insurgent force under Burleson was undecided over what course to pursue. The fact that winter was near convinced many that the siege should be lifted and the army retire east until spring. The recent arrival of two companies of American volunteers (New Orleans Greys) bolstered the faction that called for an immediate assault on the town. On December 4, Benjamin R. Milam stepped forward and asked for volunteers who were willing to attack Cos. His call forced Burleson to take action when more than 300 men lined up beside Milam. The commanding general organized the attackers into two columns, one led by Milam and the other led by Francis W. Johnson. Burleson organized the other insurgents into a reserve that agreed to support the attack from outside town. James C. Neill commanded an insurgent artillery battery that fired on Centralist forces stationed at the Alamo. On the morning of December 5, the two insurgent columns entered the town from the north using two separate streets that led to the central plaza. The ensuing battle lasted for five days, with fierce fighting taking place from house to house. On December 7, Milam was killed and was replaced by Robert C. Morris. On December 8, Col. Domingo de Ugartechea returned to assist Cos, bringing 650 reinforcements. These men were of little use to Cos as most of them were untrained recruits whose arrival doubled the demand on his already inadequate food supply. On December 9, insurgent gains around the central plaza and the defection of several companies of presidial troops convinced Cos to end the battle and open talks for the surrender of the town. The capitulation was formalized on December 10 in a brief meeting where both commanders signed the surrender document.
Gov. Losses: approximately 100 killed, wounded or missing
Insurg. Losses: approximately 5 or 6 killed and 25 to 30 wounded
Outcome: Cos was forced to capitulate and pledge that neither he nor his troops would have any further role in the government's effort to suppress the effort to restore the Federal Constitution of 1824. Furthermore, the insurgents allowed Cos and his army to leave Texas.
Significance: The insurgent victory not only gained for them the important political center of San Antonio and its public property, it effectively cleared Texas of all Centralist troops.

http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/BB/ qeb1.html

Alwyn Barr, Texas in Revolt (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990), 57-58.

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Name: Siege and Battle of the Alamo
Date: Feb. 23 - March 6, 1836
Government: Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna and 2,500 Centralist troops
Insurgents: Lieut. Col. Wm. B. Travis and 200-250 colonists and American volunteers
Scenario: Santa Anna entered San Antonio de Béxar on February 23, 1836, causing the insurgent forces to withdraw inside a fortified mission just east of the town known as the Alamo. At that point the insurgents, who reportedly numbered around 150 colonists and American volunteers, faced approximately 1,600 Centralists troops. Included in this number was Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos and his command who had returned to Béxar in violation of their terms of parole. The insurgents began the siege under "co-commanders" William B. Travis and James Bowie but illness forced Bowie to his sickbed. Letters calling for help were repeatedly sent out of the fort by Travis. Responding to his appeal, a company of 32 men from the town of Gonzales arrived on March 1 to reinforce the garrison.
Santa Anna also received reinforcement March 3 when approximately 1000 more Centralists troops arrived. Santa Anna used the days leading up to the final assault to encircle the Alamo, thereby cutting off reinforcements to the insurgents as well as making a breakout attempt more difficult. He ordered a predawn assault on the Alamo for the morning of March 6. The fighting lasted approximately 90 minutes and ended with the fort being carried by Centralist forces.
Gov. Losses: Estimates vary but possibly as many as 600 killed or wounded
Insurg. Losses: All combatants 200-250 were killed
Outcome: With the fall of the Alamo on March 6, Santa Anna reestablished Centralist control of the political center of San Antonio de Béxar. By putting all known insurgent combatants to the sword, he was enforcing his government's decree declaring that there would be "no quarter" for men he and his supporters considered "land pirates." He meant the battle to be not just a military victory but warning to all to cease their resistance to the Centralist government.
Significance: One of the most common misconceptions surrounding the battle is that by their stubborn defense that the men of the Alamo were able to buy Sam Houston time to build his army. This is untrue as Houston did not begin to build his army until after the Alamo's fall. It can be said, however, that Santa Anna's concentration on San Antonio de Béxar prevented the general from making an advance directly into the Anglo settlements. Furthermore, by putting the garrison to the sword, Santa Anna provided the insurgents with a powerful rallying cry.
Reference: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/AA/ qea2.html
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Name: Battle of San Patricio
Date: February 27
Government: Gen. José de Urrea and 400 Centralist troops
Insurgents: Francis W. Johnson and 34 members of the Matamoros Expedition
Scenario: Members of the Matamoros Expedition under James Grant and Francis W. Johnson had fanned out across the area south of Goliad in search of horses and supplies. The scattered detachments, operating in an region of Centralist support, were at risk of being defeated in detail once government forces returned. José de Urrea, an aggressive general, had been placed in charge of a column tasked with regaining control of the Goliad region. Early on the morning of February 27, he arrived unexpectedly at San Patricio and his men defeated and captured members of Johnson's command quartered in and around the town. Johnson and a few of his men escaped to warn Col. James W. Fannin at Goliad of the disaster.
Gov. Losses: light to none
Insurg. Losses: 8 killed and 13 prisoners
Outcome: The Matamoros Expedition, which was already stalled, was dealt a deathblow.
Significance: Urrea's victory at San Patricio signaled the arrival of a serious Centralist threat to the insurgent forces in the Goliad area.
Reference: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/SS/ qfs3.html
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Name: Battle of Agua Dulce Creek
Date: March 2, 1836
Government: Gen. José de Urrea and 400 Centralist troops
Insurgents: Dr. James Grant and 26 members of the Matamoros Expedition
Scenario: Members of the Matamoros Expedition under Dr. James Grant had been scouring the countryside south of Goliad searching for horses. On March 2, Centralists troops under José de Urrea surprised and killed Grant and most of his men. A few escaped and fled to Goliad.
Gov. Losses: light to none
Insurg. Losses: 14 killed and 6 prisoners
Outcome: By eliminating both detachments commanded by Johnson and Grant, Urrea effectively smashed the Matamoros Expedition.
Significance: Following on the heels of Johnson's defeat and the plight of the Alamo, news of Grant's defeat and death caused near panic and confusion to break out among the garrison at Goliad.
Reference: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/AA/ qfa1.html
                  http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/SS/ qfs3.html
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Name: Battle of Refugio
Date: March 12-15, 1836
Government: Gen. José Urrea and 1500 Centralist soldiers, presidials, and ranchers
Insurgents: Amon B. King and 28 American volunteers Lt. Col. William Ward and approximately 120 American volunteers
Scenario: Fannin and his men had improved the fortifications at the old presidio
La Bahía and renamed it Fort Defiance. News of the fate of Johnson's and Grant's men created confusion rather than stirring the volunteers gather at Goliad into action. To make matters worse, Fannin learned that some colonists who supported the revolt were in danger from Urrea's advance. On March 10, he sent Amon B. King and a small force with wagons to collect the families and escort them back to Goliad. King found that the Centralist force in the area was greater than imagined and asked Fannin to send help while he took refuge in the old mission at Refugio. Fannin dispatched William Ward, commander of the Georgia Battalion, to assist King. The arrival of Ward at Refugio initiated a conflict over command
between the two insurgent officers. The squabbling caused the insurgents to break into several smaller detachments, each which was subsequently defeated and its survivors captured by Urrea's troops.
Gov. Losses: light to none
Insurg. Losses: The majority of insurgents were killed in the series of skirmishes that occurred following King's and Ward's rift or captured and later executed.
Outcome: The insurgents in the Goliad region suffered another serious blow.
Significance: Fannin had received orders from Gen. Houston while King and Ward were away that directed him to evacuated Goliad and retire to Victoria as soon as possible. Reluctant to leaving before these detachments returned, Fannin failed to leave Goliad ahead of Urrea's advance.
Reference: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/RR/ qer1.html
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Name: Battle of Coleto Creek
Date: March 19-20, 1836
Government: Gen. José de Urrea and 440 Centralist troops
Insurgents: Col. James W. Fannin and approximately 300 American volunteers
Scenario: On March 18, 1836, Fannin finally resolved to comply with Houston's order to evacuate Goliad and he and his men prepared to leave. The appearance of the vanguard of Urrea's forces, however, drew their attention as a light skirmish took place outside the fort. Fannin and his men left Fort Defiance on March 19 and marched in the direction of Victoria. Against the advise of his officers, Fannin ordered his command to halt and rest on the open prairie just several hundred yards short of the safety offered by the woods along Coleto Creek. Gen. Urrea and his men, who had been following close behind, were able to reach the creek and thereby keep Fannin from gaining the valuable cover. Upon seeing Urrea, Fannin formed his command into a square and prepared for battle. Urrea, whose main column had not yet arrived, fought a holding action throughout the afternoon intended to keep the insurgents from leaving the field of battle. Surrounded and with casualties mounting, Fannin and his men hastily dug breastworks and fought from behind supply wagons.That night, the trapped men debated whether or not to try to break out. The majority, however, voted to stay and fight instead of abandoning their wounded comrades who would have had to be left behind. On the morning of March 20, Urrea received reinforcements with several cannon. Fannin called for a truce while a message was relayed to Urrea asking under what terms he and his men could surrender. Urrea replied that he could not guarantee their safety but would try to intercede on their behalf. The insurgents took this as a pledge to treat them as prisoners of war and they laid down their arms, were taken captive, and were marched back to La Bahía.
Gov. Losses: light
Insurg. Losses: 10 killed, numerous wounded, and the command captured
Outcome: Fannin's defeat and capture deprived the insurgents of its largest organized force at the very time when it was needed the most. It also was the prelude to the March 27 execution of Fannin's command known as the Goliad Massacre.
Significance: Urrea's string of victories, which culminated at Coleto Creek, placed the Goliad area under Centralist control and set up for a drive deep into the Anglo settlements.
Reference: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/CC/ qec1.html
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Name: Goliad Massacre
Date: March 27, 1836
Government: Col. José Nicolas de la Portilla and the Centralist garrison at La Bahía
Insurgents: Col. James W. Fannin and approximately 400 American volunteers
Scenario: After receiving a direct order from Santa Anna to enforce the Tornel Decree, Portilla divided the men of Fannin's command into three groups and marched them out of La Bahía, telling them that they were going to the coast where they would be freed. Instead of being released, however, guards escorting the prisoners halted them shortly after leaving the fort and began to shoot down the unarmed men. A handful of prisoners escaped the carnage by fleeing to the safety of the nearby San Antonio River. Fannin and others who had been wounded at the Battle of Coleto Creek and were unable to march out with the rest of the command were killed inside the presidio. Insurgents who had been befriended by Mexican officers or who had useful skills (doctors, carpenters, blacksmiths) were pulled aside and spared. Approximately 80 volunteers were spared
because they had been captured unarmed and were saved by a technicality in the Tornel Decree.
Gov. Losses: None
Insurg. Losses: 342 killed
Outcome: Fannin's command was virtually eliminated.
Significance: The execution of Fannin's command spread terror and further convinced the insurgents that its was truly a struggle that would end in "Victory or Death!"
Reference: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/GG/ qeg2.html
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Name: Runaway Scrape
Date: March 13-April 19, 1836
Government: Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna
Insurgents: Gen. Sam Houston
Scenario: Fresh from the Convention at Washinton-on-the-Brazos, Houston arrived at Gonzales on March 11 to arrange relief for the Alamo garrison. He found more than 300 men already gathered there, ready to march to San Antonio. That same day, however, word reached Goliad that Santa Anna had already stormed and captured the Alamo and killed its garrison. Believing his force too small to confront the inevitable Centralist advance, Houston decided on a course of action that proved to be unpopular--he would retreat. His retreat exposed the settlements to Centralist columns who followed in his wake, spreading panic as families abandoned their homes and fled to escape Santa Anna's wrath. On March 11, Houston ordered Fannin to evacuate Goliad and withdraw to Victoria. On March 13, Houston burned Gonzales and marched eastward, panic raced
through the settlements as families abandoned their homes and fled to
escape the Centralist advance.On March 17, Houston crossed the
Colorado River; officials abandoned Washington-on-the-Brazos.
On March 20, Houston camped near Columbia. March 28, Houston
passed through San Felipe de Austin. March 30, Houston camped at
Groce's Plantation on the Brazos River. April 11, Santa Anna crossed
the Brazos River near Fort Bend in pursuit of ad interim government. April 15, Santa Anna passed through Harrisburg and burned the town. April 17, Houston marched toward Harrisburg. April 18, Houston camped at White Oak Bayou and learned Santa Anna was near. On April 19, Santa Anna arrived at Morgan's Point; Houston crossed Buffalo Bayou
Outcome: Although Houston's supporters claimed his retreat was a strategic masterpiece, exposing the settlements to the Centralist advance caused untold hardship of the civilian population.
Significance: Houston's retreat caused Santa Anna to overextend his forces as he tried to catch the insurgent army and its leaders.
Reference: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/RR/ pfr1.html
http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/SS/ qes4.html


Name: Skirmish near San Jacinto
Date: April 20, 1836
Government: Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna and 700 Centralist troops
Insurgents: Col. Sidney Sherman and a wing of the Texan Army
Scenario: After weeks of avoiding a fight with Centralist forces, Houston's men found themselves camped in the same area as Santa Anna. One of Houston's officers, Col. Sidney Sherman asked the general to allow him to demonstrate against the enemy. Houston consented but warned him not to bring on a general battle. In the skirmish that followed Thomas Rusk, the secretary of war for the recently formed Republic of Texas, narrowly missed death or capture at the hands of the Centralist cavalry only through the bravery of Mirabeau B. Lamar, who rode forward and snatched him from their path. Neither side fully committed their entire force, thereby, preventing the skirmish from becoming a full scale battle.
Gov. Losses: unreported
Insurg. Losses: 1 killed and 1 wounded
Outcome: Lamar was promoted from private to commander of the Texas cavalry with the rank of colonel for his courageous act.
Significance: Santa Anna sent word for reinforcements to join him as soon as possible.
Reference: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/SS/ qes4.html
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Name: Battle of San Jacinto
Date: April 21, 1836
Government: Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna and 1240 Centralist troops
Insurgents: Gen. San Houston and approximately 1000 Republic of Texas troops
Scenario: The reinforcements Santa Anna had sent for (Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos and 540 men) arrived after making a forced march through the night. Upon learning of their arrival, Houston ordered Vince's Bridge destroyed, cutting off the only possible escape from the horseshoe bend occupied by both his and Santa Anna's armies. Santa Anna allowed Cos' column to rest from their previous night's march. Late in the afternoon, Houston formed his army and attacked the Centralists camp. Santa Anna's men were caught unaware.
Within twenty minutes of launching the attack, Houston's men had driven the Centralists from a stack of equipment that had formed a breastwork and were in pursuit of the fleeing soldiers. The anger over Mexico's "no quarter" policy poured out as the cries "Remember the Alamo!" and "Remember Goliad!" rang out. Hundreds of Centralist soldiers were killed by Texans who refused
to take them prisoner due to the outrage created by the enforcement of the Tornel Decree. On the following day (April 22), Santa Anna, who had fled during the attack, was captured and turned over to Houston. The two generals agreed on an armistice until more official arrangements could be worked out.
Gov. Losses: 630 killed and 730 prisoners
Insurg. Losses: 9 killed and 30 wounded
Outcome: The vanguard of the Centralist army had been smashed.
Significance: Although there were still at least 4,000 Centralist troops operating in Texas, Santa Anna's defeat and capture coupled with onset of spring rains dealt the Centralists a blow that effectively ended their campaign to reestablish their control over Texas. The failure of the campaign made the existence of the Republic of Texas a reality.
Reference: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/SS/ qes4.html
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Naval War between Mexico and Texas

Texian ships Stephen F. Austin, Water Witch and Red River blockade and fire on a Mexican garrison at Anahuac (near Houston) in support of volunteers who free William B. Travis and two other radicals from a Mexican prison. Brazoria, a two-gun merchant ship, also supports volunteers attacking Fort Velasco (at present-day Freeport).


June 3: A mob of New Orleans volunteers under General Thomas Jefferson Green arrives at Velasco aboard the steamship and seizes Santa Anna from the warship Invincible as he was about to depart for Mexico in conformity with the Treaties of Velasco.

June 3: Texas Rangers under the command of Major Isaac Burton lure the Mexican supply ship Watchman into Copano Bay (near Refugio) and capture it.

June 6: Flagship Independence sails from Velasco to New Orleans with diplomats to negotiate U.S. recognition of the Republic of Texas.

June 18: Using the captured Mexican ship Watchman as bait, Major Burton's ranger company captures the Mexican supply ships Commanche and Fanny Butler.

June 28: Captain John M. Allen (later mayor of Galveston) is granted a letter of marque and reprisal for the schooner Terrible, which mounts one long six-pounder pivot gun.
The Terrible would go on to capture the Mexican merchant ship Matilda and would be taken in to Pensacola by the U.S.S. Boston on piracy charges, which were ultimately thrown out on a technicality. (A young lieutenant aboard the Boston would eventually become commander of the Texas Navy and its greatest hero.)


June 8: Privateer Thomas Toby sent into port a captured Mexican brig, and took off in pursuit of two other Mexican ships (it would not capture these vessels).

June 10: Warships Invincible and Brutus leave for a two month cruise along the Mexican coast, raiding and burning coastal towns and capturing Mexican merchant vessels. They are ordered out by Secretary of the Navy S. Rhodes Fisher, who joins the expedition, in retaliation for the capture of the flagship Independence and the merchant vessel Julius Caesar.


June 10: President Sam Houston orders former U.S. Navy midshipman (and Mexican Navy officer) John G. Tod to the United States to look into matters affecting Texas naval interests.

June 14: U.S. Senate approves a treaty satisfying U.S. claims for the seizure of the merchant vessel Pocket by the Invincible in April 1836.


June 15: Santa Anna asks the Mexican Congress for extraordinary powers to prosecute the war in Texas.

June 27: Schooner San Jacinto arrives in Galveston from its builder in Baltimore, becoming the first warship of the "second" Texas Navy.


June 2: Captain John C. Clark, a veteran of the Bolivar Wars of Independence, is commissioned in the Texas Navy as commander of the Archer and will eventually command the sloop Washington.

June 3: Commander Tod returns to Galveston from Baltimore and becomes commander of the Galveston Navy Yard.

June 27: The mightiest fleet Texas ever fielded - consisting of the 18-gun sloop-of-war Austin, the 8-gun steamer Zavala, and the 6-gun schooners San Jacinto, San Bernard and San Antonio - leave Galveston for a cruise along the Mexican coast. They are under orders to support a diplomatic mission to Mexico and abstain from offensive operations unless attacked. Two other brigs, Wharton and Archer, remain behind to guard Galveston, although Commodore Edwin Moore orders Captain George Wheelwright to prepare the Wharton to join the fleet at sea.

June 16: French frigate Sabine gives the San Bernard official word of Mexico's rejection of President Lamar's latest effort to negotiate a peace treaty with Mexico. As a result, Texas envoy Judge Webb recommended that Lamar enter into an alliance with the rebellious Mexican state of Yucatán, which sets the stage for the Texas Navy's operations in Yucatán.


June 1: American schooner Mary Elizabeth is captured by the Texas sloop-of-war Washington. The Washington was commanded by Captain John C. Clark, who led the Galveston seacoast guards, commanded the brigs Archer and Wharton in ordinary, and ran
the Galveston Navy Yard for a short time under President Lamar.
The prize was declared illegal and ordered released.

June 6: Brig Wharton under Captain J.T.K. Lothrop arrives at New Orleans to join the Austin in a blockade of the Mexican coast ordered by President Houston. Neither ship would sail until next year due to lack of funding.


June 1: Word reaches Commodore Moore's fleet at Campeche that President Houston has declared his navy to be "pirates and murderers," and has called upon "the Naval Powers of Christendom" to seize his fleet and return them to Texas for trial.

June 26: In consequence of their defeats at Campeche Bay by the Austin and Wharton, Mexican naval forces leave the Yucatán coast permanently, eliminating the threat to Texas' ally.

June 28: Texas Navy leaves Campeche for Galveston.


June 28: Texas Congress adopted resolutions declaring Commodore Moore's court-martial findings as "final," permitting him to resume command of the Texas Navy, and giving the thanks of the Republic for his heroic work in defeating the Mexican Navy. These resolutions were vetoed by President Houston's successor, Dr. Anson Jones.


Texas Navy is transferred to the United States Navy by Lt. William A. Tennison, the last active commissioned officer of the Texas Navy. A salute was fired from the Austin's gun, the Texas naval ensign was run down and that of the United States was run up in its place. The Texas Navy at this time consisted of the Austin, Wharton, SanBernard and Archer. A survey of the ships would find only the Austin seaworthy (the Wharton was sunk in 12 feet of water), and the other three vessels were sold for scrap.
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