Texas Revolution

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Texas Revolution
SantaAnnaSurrender.jpg
"Surrender of Santa Anna" by William Henry Huddle shows the Mexican president and general surrendering to a wounded Sam Houston, Battle of San Jacinto
Date October 2, 1835 – April 21, 1836
(6 months, 2 weeks and 5 days)
Location Texas
Result Treaties of Velasco and the creation of the Republic of Texas
Territorial
changes
De facto Texas independence from Mexico, which led to the Mexican Cession
Belligerents
Republic of Texas Mexico Mexico
Commanders and leaders
Sam Houston (WIA)
James Fannin 
Frank W. Johnson
Edward Burleson
Stephen F. Austin
Antonio López de Santa Anna (POW)
Vicente Filisola
Martín Perfecto de Cos (POW)
Strength
c. 2,000 c. 6,500
Casualties and losses
c. 860 to all causes c. 2,500 to all causes

The Texas Revolution (October 2, 1835 – April 21, 1836) began when colonists in the Mexican province of Texas rebelled against the increasingly centralist Mexican government. Despite a decade of political and cultural clashes between the Mexican government and the increasingly large population of American settlers in Texas, when hostilities erupted, Texians disagreed on whether the ultimate goal was independence or a return to the Mexican Constitution of 1824. As delegates debated the war's motives at the Consultation, Texians, joined by a flood of volunteers from the United States, systematically defeated the small garrisons of Mexican soldiers; by mid-December 1835 there were no remaining Mexican troops in Texas.

The Consultation declined to declare independence and installed an interim government, whose infighting led to political paralysis and a dearth of effective governance in Texas. An ill-conceived proposal to invade Matamoros siphoned much-needed volunteers and provisions from the fledgling Texas army. A second political convention in 1836 declared independence and appointed new leadership for the new Republic of Texas.

Determined to avenge Mexico's honor, President Antonio López de Santa Anna vowed to personally retake Texas. His Army of Operations entered Texas in mid-February 1836 and found the Texians completely unprepared. Mexican General José de Urrea led a contingent of troops on the Goliad campaign up the Texas coast, defeating all Texian troops in his path and executing most of those who surrendered. Santa Anna led a larger force to San Antonio de Béxar, where his troops defeated the Texian garrison at the Alamo, killing almost all of the defenders.

For the next month, a newly created Texian army under the command of Sam Houston steadily retreated towards the border with Louisiana; terrified civilians fled with the army, in a melee known as the Runaway Scrape. Becoming complacent and underestimating the strength of his foes, Santa Anna further subdivided his troops. On April 21, Houston's army staged a surprise assault on Santa Anna and his small vanguard force at the battle of San Jacinto. The Mexican troops were quickly routed, and vengeful Texians executed many who tried to surrender. Santa Anna was taken prisoner; in exchange for his life, he ordered the Mexican army to retreat south of the Rio Grande. Mexico refused to recognize the Republic of Texas, and intermittent conflicts between the two nations continued into the 1840s. The annexation of Texas by the United States in 1845 directly led to the Mexican–American War.

Background

Main article: Mexican Texas

After a failed attempt by France to colonize Texas in the late seventeenth century, Spain developed a plan to settle the region.[1] On its southern edge, along the Medina and Nueces Rivers, Spanish Texas was bordered by the province of Coahuila.[2] On the east, Texas bordered Louisiana.[3] Following the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, the United States also claimed Texas, insisting the southern border of the region was the Rio Grande.[4] Although the United States officially renounced that claim as part of the Transcontinental Treaty of 1819,[Note 1] many Americans continued to believe that Texas should belong to their nation,[5] and over the next decade the United States made several offers to purchase the region.[6]

Following the Mexican War of Independence, Texas became part of Mexico. Under the Constitution of 1824, which defined the country as a federal republic, the provinces of Texas and Coahuila were combined to become the state Coahuila y Tejas.[7][8] Texas was granted only a single seat in the state legislature, which met hundreds of miles away.[9][10] After months of grumbling by Tejanos outraged at the loss of their political autonomy, state officials agreed to make Texas a department of the new state, with a de facto capital in San Antonio de Béxar.[9]

Texas was very sparsely populated, with fewer than 3,500 residents,[Note 2] and only about 200 soldiers,[11][12] which made it extremely vulnerable to attacks by native tribes and by American filibusters.[13] In the hopes that an influx of settlers could control the Indian raids, the bankrupt government liberalized immigration policies for the region. Under the General Colonization Law people from the United States could, for the first time, legally settle in Texas.[14] Tejanos, residents of Mexican descent, were soon vastly outnumbered by Anglos.[Note 3][15] Most of the immigrants came from the southern United States and brought with them significant prejudices against other races, attitudes often applied to the Tejanos. Although Mexico's official religion was Roman Catholicism, the majority of the immigrants were Protestants who distrusted Catholics.[16]

A map of Mexico, 1835–1846, showing administrative divisions. The red areas show regions where separatist movements were active.

Mexican authorities became increasingly concerned about the stability of the region.[6] The colonies teetered at the brink of revolt in 1829, after Mexico abolished slavery.[17] In response, President Anastasio Bustamante implemented the Laws of April 6, 1830, which, among other things, prohibited further immigration to Texas from the United States, increased taxes, and reiterated the ban on slavery.[18] Settlers simply circumvented or ignored the laws. By 1834, an estimated 30,000 Anglos lived in Coahuila y Tejas,[19] compared to only 7,800 Tejanos.[20]

In 1832, Antonio López de Santa Anna led a revolt to overthrow Bustamante.[21][22] Texians used the rebellion as an excuse to take up arms. By mid-August, all troops had been expelled from east Texas.[23] Buoyed by their success, Texians held two political conventions to persuade Mexican authorities to weaken the Laws of April 6, 1830.[24] The Mexican government attempted to address some of the concerns, repealing part of the Laws of April 6, 1830 in November 1833 and granting the colonists further concessions.[25] Among these was increased representation in the state legislature; Texas would now contain three political divisions: the Department of Béxar, the Department of Nacogdoches, and the Department of the Brazos.[26] Stephen F. Austin, who had brought the first American settlers to Texas, wrote to a friend that "Every evil complained of has been remedied."[27] Mexican authorities were quietly watchful, concerned that the colonists were maneuvering towards secession.[28][29]

Under Santa Anna, the Mexican government transitioned to a centralized government. In 1835, the 1824 Constitution was overturned, state legislatures dismissed, and militias disbanded.[30][31] Federalists throughout Mexico were appalled. Citizens in the states of Oaxaca and Zacatecas took up arms.[30] After Santa Anna's troops subdued the rebellion in Zacatecas in May, he gave his troops two days to pillage the city; over 2,000 noncombatants were killed.[32] The governor of Coahuila y Tejas, Agustín Viesca, refused to dissolve the legislature, instead ordering that the session reconvene in Béxar, further from the influence of the Mexican army.[33] Although Juan Seguin raised a militia company to assist the governor, the Béxar ayuntamiento (city council) ordered him not to interfere,[34] and Viesca was arrested before he reached Texas.[35]

Public opinion in Texas was divided.[36] Editorials in the United States began advocating complete independence for Texas.[37] After several men staged a minor revolt against customs duties in Anahuac in June,[38] local leaders began calling for a Consultation to determine whether a majority of settlers favored independence, a return to federalism, or the status quo. Although some leaders worried that Mexican officials would see this type of gathering as a step toward revolution, by the end of August most communities had agreed to send delegates to the Consultation, scheduled for October 15.[39] As more Mexican troops began to arrive in Texas, ostensibly to find and arrest the leaders of the Anahuac Disturbances, local municipalities formed Committees of Correspondence and Safety and unofficial militias.[40]

As early as April 1835, military commanders in Texas began requesting reinforcements, fearing the citizens would revolt.[41] Mexico was ill-prepared for a large civil war. The federal treasury was nearly empty.[42] However, continued unrest in Texas posed a significant danger to the power of Santa Anna and of Mexico. If the people of Coahuila also took up arms, Mexico faced losing a large portion of its territory. Without the northeastern province to act as a buffer, it was likely that United States influence would spread, and the Mexican territories of New Mexico and Alta California would be at risk of future American encroachment. Santa Anna had no wish to tangle with the United States, and he knew that the unrest needed to be subdued before the United States could be convinced to become involved.[43] In early September, Santa Anna ordered his brother-in-law, General Martín Perfecto de Cos to lead 500 soldiers to Texas to quell any potential rebellion.[44] Cos and his men landed at the port of Copano on September 20.[45] Austin called on all municipalities to raise militias to defend themselves.[46]

Texian offensive: October–December 1835

Gonzales

Main article: Battle of Gonzales

The citizens of Gonzales had received a small cannon from the military chief in Béxar after a Comanche raid had destroyed the town.[47] After a Mexican soldier bludgeoned a Gonzales resident on September 10, 1835, Mexican authorities felt it unwise to leave the settlers with a weapon.[48] Colonel Domingo de Ugartechea, commander of all Mexican troops in Texas, sent a small detachment of troops to retrieve the cannon.[32] Many of the settlers believed Mexican authorities were manufacturing an excuse to attack the town and eliminate the militia.[49] The soldiers were escorted from town without the cannon,[32] and messengers from Gonzales informed the other Anglo colonies of the situation and requested volunteers to protect the cannon.[45]

Texians flew the Come and take it flag during the Battle of Gonzales

Determined to force compliance, Ugartechea sent Lieutenant Francisco de Castañeda and 100 dragoons to retrieve the cannon, but gave them orders to avoid force if possible.[32][45] The soldiers arrived at the rain-swollen banks of the Guadalupe River across from Gonzales on September 29 to find that Texians had removed all of the boats. Unable to cross, Castañeda established a camp and attempted to negotiate the return of the cannon.[50] The Texians stalled for several days to give reinforcements time to arrive.[51] By the afternoon of October 1, over 140 Texians had gathered in Gonzales.[52]

The Texians attacked Castañeda's force in the early hours of October 2, 1835. After a brief skirmish, Castañeda requested a meeting with Texian leader John Henry Moore. Moore explained that the Texians no longer recognized the centralist government of Santa Anna. Castañeda revealed that he shared their federalist leanings, but that he was honor-bound to follow orders. As Moore returned to camp, the Texians raised a homemade white banner with an image of the cannon painted in black in the center, over the words "Come and Take It". Realizing that he was outnumbered and outgunned, Castañeda led his troops back to Béxar.[53] In this first battle of the revolution, two Mexican soldiers were killed, and one Texian was injured when he fell off his horse.[51] Although the event was, as characterized by historian William C. Davis, "an inconsequential skirmish in which one side did not try to fight", Texians soon declared it a victory over Mexican troops.[51] News of the skirmish spread throughout the United States, encouraging many adventurers to come to Texas to join the fight.[54]

By October 4, over 300 Texians had gathered in Gonzales, with numbers increasing daily.[55] Austin arrived on October 10 and dubbed the group the Army of the People.[55] The following day the Texian troops unanimously elected Austin, who had no official military experience, to lead them.[56][57] From the beginning, the volunteer army proved to have little discipline. Austin's first official order was to remind his men that they were expected to obey their commanding officers.[56] Buoyed by their victory, the Texians were determined to drive the Mexican army out of Texas, and they began preparing to march to Béxar.[48]

Gulf Coast campaign

Meanwhile, after leaving a small number of soldiers at Copano and at Refugio, Cos and the bulk of his troops reached Presidio La Bahía in Goliad on October 2. After learning that Texian troops had attacked Castañeda at Gonzales, Cos made haste for Béxar.[58] Unaware of Cos's departure, on October 6, Texians in Matagorda marched on La Bahía to kidnap Cos and steal the estimated $50,000 that was rumored to accompany him.[59] On October 10, approximately 125 Texan troops, including 30 Tejanos, stormed the presidio. The Mexican garrison surrendered after a 30-minute battle.[60] One Texian was wounded,[61] and estimates of Mexican casualties range from one to three soldiers killed and from three to seven wounded.[58][62]

Austin ordered that 100 men remain at Goliad, under the command of Captain Philip Dimmitt, while the rest should join the Texian Army in marching on Béxar.[58] On October 31, Dimmitt sent a group of men under Adjutant Ira Westover to take the Fort Lipantitlán, near San Patricio.[63] Late on November 3, the Texians arrived at Fort Lipantitlán and took the undermanned fort without firing a shot.[64] The next day, the Texians dismantled the fort. As they prepared to return to Goliad, the remainder of the Mexican garrison, who had been out on patrol, approached.[65] The Mexican troops were accompanied by 15–20 loyal centralists from San Patricio, including all members of the ayuntamiento.[66] After a 30-minute skirmish, the Mexican soldiers and the Texian centralists retreated.[67] Their departure left only one remaining group of Mexican soldiers in Texas, those under Cos at Béxar.[68] The Texian Army controlled the Gulf Coast, so all communication with the Mexican interior would now be transferred overland. The long journey left Cos unable to quickly request or receive reinforcements or supplies.[65][69]

On their return to Goliad, Westover's group encountered Governor Viesca. After being freed by sympathetic soldiers, Viesca had immediately traveled to Texas to recreate the state government. Dimmitt welcomed Viesca but refused to recognize his authority as governor. This caused an uproar in the garrison; many supported the governor, while others believed that Texas should be an independent country and should therefore not recognize the Mexican governor. Dimmitt declared martial law and soon alienated most of the local residents.[70] Over the next few months, the area between Goliad and Refugio descended into civil war. Goliad native Carlos de la Garza organized local centralists into guerilla warfare against the Texian troops.[71] According to historian Paul Lack, the Texian "antiguerilla tactics did too little to crush out opposition but quite enough to sway the uncommitted toward the centralists."[72]

Siege of Béxar

Main article: Siege of Béxar

While Dimmitt supervised the Texian forces along the Gulf Coast, Austin led his men toward Béxar to engage Cos and his troops.[73] Confident that they would quickly rout the Mexican troops, many Consultation delegates chose to join the military. Unable to reach a quorum, the Consultation was postponed until November 1.[74] On October 16, the Texians paused 25 miles (40 km) from Béxar. Austin sent a messenger to Cos giving the requirements the Texians would need to lay down their arms and "avoid the sad consequences of the Civil War which unfortunately threatens Texas".[75] Cos replied that Mexico would not "yield to the dictates of foreigners".[76]

Cos informed his men that "The veil which has concealed the perfidious designs of the colonists is at length withdrawn. These ungrateful men have revolted against our government, and assumed the right to live as they like, without any subjection to the laws of the republic."[76] The approximately 650 Mexican troops quickly built barricades throughout the town.[48][77] Within days the Texian Army, about 450 strong, initiated a siege of Béxar,[77] and gradually moved their camp nearer Béxar.[78] On October 27, Austin sent James Bowie and James Fannin and their men to scout for a closer campsite and return by nightfall. After determining that Mission Concepción was a good defensive spot, Bowie and Fannin established a camp and sent a courier to instruct Austin to join them. The next day, an angry Austin issued a statement threatening officers who chose not to follow orders with court-martial.[79]

On learning that the Teixan Army was temporarily divided, Ugartechea led troops to engage Bowie and Fannin's men.[80] The Mexican cavalry was unable to fight effectively in the wooded, riverbottom terrain, and the weapons of the Mexican infantry had a much lower range than that of the Texians.[81] After three Mexican infantry attacks were repulsed, Ugartechea called for a retreat.[82] One Texian soldier had died, and between 14 and 76 Mexican soldiers were killed.[83] Historian J.R. Edmondson described the battle as "the first major engagement of the Texas Revolution".[84] Although historian Alwyn Barr noted that the battle "should have taught ... lessons on Mexican courage and the value of a good defensive position",[85] historian Stephen Hardin believes that "the relative ease of the victory at Concepción instilled in the Texians a reliance on their long rifles and a contempt for their enemies".[86]

The Texian Army volunteers had little or no experience as professional soldiers, and by early November many had begun to miss their homes. As the weather turned colder and rations grew smaller, groups of men began to leave, most without permission.[87] On November 18, however, a group of volunteers from the United States, known as the New Orleans Greys, joined the Texan Army.[88][89] Unlike the majority of the Texian volunteers, the Greys looked like soldiers, with uniforms, well-maintained rifles, adequate ammunition, and some semblance of discipline.[89] Several days later, Austin resigned his command to become a commissioner to the United States; soldiers elected Edward Burleson as their new commander.[90]

On November 26, Burleson received word that a Mexican pack train of mules and horses, accompanied by 50–100 Mexican soldiers, was within 5 miles (8.0 km) of Béxar.[91][92] After a near mutiny, Burleson sent Bowie and William H. Jack with cavalry and infantry to intercept the supplies.[92][93] In the subsequent skirmish, the Mexican forces were forced to retreat to Béxar, leaving their cargo behind. To the disappointment of the Texians, the saddlebags contained only fodder for the horses; for this reason the battle was later known as the Grass Fight.[94] Although the victory briefly uplifted the Texian troops, morale continued to fall as the weather turned colder and the men grew bored.[84] After several proposals to take Béxar by force were voted down by the Texian troops,[95] on December 4 Burleson proposed that the army lift the siege and retreat to Goliad until spring. In a last effort to avoid a retreat, Colonel Ben Milam personally recruited units to participate in an attack. The following morning, Milam and Colonel Frank W. Johnson led several hundred Texians into the city. Over the next four days, Texians fought their way from house to house towards the fortified plazas near the center of town.[Note 4][96]

Cos received 650 Mexican reinforcements on December 8,[97] but to his dismay the bulk of them were raw recruits, including many convicts still in chains.[98] Instead of being helpful, the reinforcements were mainly a drain on the dwindling food supplies.[97] Seeing few other options, on December 9, Cos and the bulk of his men withdrew into the Alamo Mission on the outskirts of Béxar. Cos presented a plan for a counterattack; cavalry officers believed that they would be surrounded by Texians and refused their orders.[99] Possibly 175 soldiers from four of the cavalry companies left the mission and rode south; Mexican officers later claimed the men misunderstood their orders and were not deserting.[98] The following morning, Cos surrendered.[100]

On December 11, the Texians voted to accept Cos's surrender.[101] Under the terms of the surrender, Cos and his men would leave Texas and no longer fight against the Constitution of 1824.[102] With his departure, there was no longer an organized garrison of Mexican troops in Texas,[103] and many of the Texians believed that the war was over.[104] Burleson resigned his leadership of the army on December 15 and returned to his home. Many of the men did likewise, and Johnson assumed command of the 400 soldiers who remained.[102][105]

According to Barr, the large number of American volunteers in Béxar "contributed to the Mexican view that Texan opposition stemmed from outside influences".[106] In reality, of the 1,300 men who volunteered to fight for the Texian Army in October and November 1835, only 150–200 arrived from the United States after October 2.[Note 5] The rest were residents of Texas with an average immigration date of 1830.[Note 6] Volunteers came from every municipality, including those that were partially occupied by Mexican forces.[107] However, as residents returned to their homes following Cos's surrender, the Texian army composition changed dramatically. Of the volunteers serving from January through March 1836, 78% had arrived from the United States after October 2, 1835.[108]

Regrouping: December 1835 – February 1836

Texas Consultation and the Matamoros Expedition

The Consultation finally convened on November 3 in San Felipe. Only 58 of the 98 elected delegates attended; the rest remained with the army or at home to defend their families.[109] After days of bitter debate, the delegates voted to create a provisional government based on the principles of the Constitution of 1824. Although they did not declare independence, the delegates insisted they would not rejoin Mexico until federalism had been reinstated.[110] The new government would consist of a governor and a General Council, with one representative from each municipality, who would share powers. Under the assumption that these two branches would cooperate, there was no system of checks and balances.[111][112]

On November 13, delegates voted to create a regular army and named Sam Houston its commander-in-chief.[113] Soldiers would enlist in the regular army for a two-year period, and, in an effort to attract volunteers from the United States,[114] would be paid in land.[115] This provision was significant, as all public land was owned by the state or the federal government, indicating that the delegates expected Texas to eventually declare independence.[114] Houston was given no authority over the volunteer army led by Austin, as this group had predated the Consultation.[113] Houston was also appointed to the Select Committee on Indian Affairs, as he had much experience negotiating with the Indians. Three men, including Austin, were asked to go to the United States to gather money, volunteers, and supplies.[112] The delegates elected Henry Smith as governor.[116] On November 14, the Consultation adjourned, leaving Smith and the Council in charge.[117]

The new Texas government had no funds, so the military was granted the authority to impress supplies. This policy soon resulted in an almost universal hatred of the Council, as food and supplies became scarce, especially in the areas around Goliad and Béxar, where Texian troops were stationed.[118] Few of the volunteers agreed to join Houston's regular army.[119] The Telegraph and Texas Register noted that "some are not willing, under the present government, to do any duty...That our government is bad, all acknowledge, and no one will deny."[120]

Leaders in Texas continued to debate whether the army was fighting for independence or a return to federalism.[119] On December 22, Texian soldiers stationed at La Bahía issued the Goliad Declaration of Independence.[121] Unwilling to decide the matter themselves, the Council called for another election, for delegates to the Convention of 1836. The Council specifically noted that all free white males could vote, as well as Mexicans who did not support centralism.[122] Smith tried to veto the latter requirement, as he believed even Tejanos with federalist leanings should be denied suffrage.[123]

Leading federalists in Mexico, including former governor Viesca, Lorenzo de Zavala, and José Antonio Mexía, were advocating a plan to attack centralist troops in Matamoros.[124] Although Smith disdained the plan, the Council members were enamored with the idea of a Matamoros Expedition. They hoped it would inspire other federalist states to revolt and keep the bored Texian troops from deserting the army. Most importantly, it would move the war zone outside of Texas.[125] The Council officially approved the plan on December 25, and on December 30 Johnson and his aide Dr. James Grant took the bulk of the army and almost all of the supplies to Goliad to prepare for the expedition.[105]

Petty bickering between Smith and the Council members increased dramatically, and on January 9, 1836, Smith dismissed the Council unless they agreed to revoke their approval of the Matamoros Expedition.[126][127] Two days later the Council voted to impeach Smith and named James W. Robinson the Acting Governor.[128] It was unclear whether either side actually had the authority to dismiss the other.[129] By this point, Texas was essentially in anarchy.[130]

Under orders from Smith, Houston attempted to disband Johnson's army. His speech to the men gave many of the volunteers grave doubts about the feasibility of their mission. Most left, either returning to Goliad to be under Fannin's command or going home. Approximately 70 volunteers remained with Grant and Johnson.[131] With his own authority in question following Smith's impeachment, Houston washed his hands of the army and journeyed to Nacogdoches to negotiate a treaty with Cherokee leaders. Houston vowed that Texas would recognize Cherokee claims to land in East Texas as long as the Indians refrained from attacking settlements or assisting the Mexican army.[132]

The Council had neglected to provide specific instructions on how to structure the February vote for convention delegates, leaving it up to each municipality to determine how to balance the desires of the established residents against those of the volunteers newly arrived from the United States.[133] In Béxar, Neill negotiated a compromise with the local Tejanos; the soldiers would elect two representatives, and citizens could elect four more.[134] In Nacogdoches, the election judge turned back a company of 40 volunteers from Kentucky who had arrived that week. The soldiers drew their weapons; Colonel Sidney Sherman announced that he "had come to Texas to fight for it and had as soon commence in the town of Nacogdoches as elsewhere".[134] Eventually, the troops were allowed to vote.[134] With rumors that Santa Anna was preparing a large army to advance into Texas, rhetoric degenerated into framing the conflict as a race war between Anglos defending their property against, in the words of David G. Burnet, a "mongrel race of degenerate Spaniards and Indians more depraved than they".[135]

Mexican Army of Operations

News of the armed uprising at Gonzales reached Santa Anna on October 23.[43] Aside from the ruling elite and members of the army, few in Mexico knew or cared about the revolt. Those with knowledge of the events blamed the Anglos for their unwillingness to conform to the laws and culture of their new country. Anglo immigrants had forced a war on Mexico, and Mexican honor insisted that the usurpers be defeated.[136] Within days, Santa Anna ordered General Joaquín Ramírez y Sesma to move his 1,500 troops from Zacatecas to Saltillo to prepare to reinforce Cos in Béxar.[43] Santa Anna stepped down from his duties as president to personally lead troops to further relieve Cos and put an end to the Texian revolt. Santa Anna and his soldiers believed that the Texians would be quickly cowed.[137] The Mexican Secretary of War, José María Tornel, wrote: "The superiority of the Mexican soldier over the mountaineers of Kentucky and the hunters of Missouri is well known. Veterans seasoned by 20 years of wars can't be intimidated by the presence of an army ignorant of the art of war, incapable of discipline, and renowned for insubordination."[137]

At this time, there were only 2,500 soldiers in the Mexican interior, including the 1,500 troops that Ramírez y Sesma was marching towards Texas. This was not enough to both crush a rebellion and provide security—from attacks by both Indians and federalists—throughout the rest of the country.[138] With funds loaned by the Roman Catholic Church specifically to finance the war in Texas,[139] Santa Anna began to assemble a new army, which he dubbed the Army of Operations in Texas. A majority of the troops had been conscripted or were convicts who chose to serve in the military instead of jail.[140] The Mexican officers knew that the Brown Bess muskets they carried lacked the range of the Texian weapons, but Santa Anna was convinced that his superior planning would nonetheless result in an easy victory. Corruption was rampant, and supplies were not plentiful. From almost the beginning, rations were short, and there were no medical supplies or doctors. Despite it being winter, few troops were issued heavy coats or blankets.[141][142]

On December 7, Santa Anna wrote to Ramírez y Sesma that "Foreigners who wage war against the Mexican Nation have violated all laws and do not deserve any consideration, and for that reason, no quarter will be given them as the troops are to be notified at the proper time. [These foreigners] have audaciously declared a war of extermination to the Mexicans, and should be treated in the same manner".[139] Three weeks later, at his behest, the Mexican Congress passed a resolution declaring that any foreigner fighting against Mexican troops "will be deemed pirates and dealt with as such, being citizens of no nation presently at war with the Republic and fighting under no recognized flag."[143] In this time period, captured pirates were executed immediately. The resolution thus gave the Mexican Army permission to take no prisoners in the war against the Texians.[143] Santa Anna also sent a strongly worded letter to Andrew Jackson, the United States president and a close personal friend of Sam Houston, warning that any Americans found fighting the Mexican government would be treated as pirates.[144] The letter was not widely distributed, and it is unlikely that most of the American recruits serving in the Texian Army were aware that there would be no prisoners of war.[145]

By December 1835, 6,019 soldiers had gathered at San Luis Potosi to march into Texas.[146] Progress was slow. There were not enough mules to transport all of the supplies, and many of the teamsters, all civilians, quit when their pay was delayed. The large number of soldaderas—women and children who followed the army—reduced the already scarce supplies.[147] After reaching Saltillo, the army halted for two weeks so that Santa Anna could recover from an illness. Officers took advantage of the break to train the inexperienced men.[148] Here, Santa Anna recalled Ramírez y Sesma's brigade, which had been joined by Cos and his retreating soldiers.[149] Santa Anna disregarded Cos's promise not to take up arms in Texas as meaningless because it had been given to rebels.[150]

From Saltillo, the army had three choices: advance along the coast on the Atascocita Road from Matamoros to Goliad, or march on Béxar from the south, along the Laredo road, or from the west, along the Camino Real.[151] Santa Anna ordered General José de Urrea to lead 550 troops along the Atascocita Road to Goliad.[150][152] Although several of Santa Anna's officers argued that the entire army should advance along the coast, where supplies could be gained via sea,[146] Santa Anna instead focused on Béxar, the political center of Texas and the site of Cos's defeat.[146] His brother-in-law's surrender was seen as a blow to the honor of his family and to Mexico; Santa Anna was determined to restore both.[139][146] Santa Anna may also have thought Béxar would be easier to defeat, as his spies had informed him that the bulk of the Texian army was along the coast, preparing for the Matamoros Expedition.[153] The long march would also provide an opportunity to train the new recruits.[147] Santa Anna led the bulk of his men up the Camino Real to approach Béxar from the west, confounding the Texians, who had expected any advancing troops to approach from the south.[154] On February 17, they crossed the Nueces River, officially entering Texas.[153]

Temperatures reached record lows, and by February 13 an estimated 15–16 inches (38–41 cm) of snow had fallen. A large number of the new recruits were from the tropical climate of the Yucatán, and some of them died of hypothermia. Others contracted dysentery. Soldiers who fell behind were sometimes killed by Comanche raiding parties.[155] Nevertheless, the army continued to march toward Béxar. As they progressed, settlers in their path in South Texas evacuated northward. The Mexican army ransacked and occasionally burned the vacant homes.[156]

Santa Anna's offensive: February–March 1836

Local centralist sympathizer Carlos de la Garza organized a network of spies. With their help, throughout February and March the Mexican army received timely intelligence on Texian troop locations, strengths, and plans.[157]

Alamo

Main article: Battle of the Alamo

Fewer than 100 Texian soldiers remained in Béxar, under the command of Colonel James C. Neill. The Texian garrison, stationed at the Alamo Mission, was woefully undermanned and underprovisioned; Neill estimated that they were likely to be unable to withstand a siege lasting longer than four days.[105][158] Unable to spare the number of men necessary to mount a successful defense of the sprawling facility,[159] in January Houston sent Bowie with 30 men to remove the artillery from the Alamo and destroy the complex.[160][Note 7] In a letter to Governor Smith, Bowie argued that "the salvation of Texas depends in great measure on keeping Béxar out of the hands of the enemy. It serves as the frontier picquet guard, and if it were in the possession of Santa Anna, there is no stronghold from which to repel him in his march towards the Sabine."[160][Note 8] The letter to Smith ended, "Colonel Neill and myself have come to the solemn resolution that we will rather die in these ditches than give it up to the enemy."[160] Few reinforcements were authorized; cavalry officer William B. Travis arrived in Béxar with 30 men on February 3 and five days later, a small group of volunteers arrived, including the famous frontiersman and former U.S. Congressman Davy Crockett.[161] On February 11, Neill left to recruit additional reinforcements and gather supplies.[162] In his absence, Travis and Bowie would share command.[150]

When scouts brought word February 23 that the Mexican advance guard was in sight, the unprepared Texians gathered what food they could find in town and fell back to the Alamo.[152] By late afternoon, Béxar was occupied by about 1,500 Mexican troops, who quickly raised a blood-red flag signifying no quarter.[163] For the next 13 days, the Mexican army besieged the Alamo. Several small skirmishes gave defenders much needed optimism, but had little real impact.[164][165] Bowie fell ill on February 24, leaving Travis in sole command of the Texian forces.[166] The same day, Travis sent messengers with a letter To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World, begging for reinforcements and vowing "victory or death"; this letter was reprinted throughout the United States and much of Europe.[164] Texian and American volunteers began to gather in Gonzales to rendezvous with Fannin and join the defenders at the Alamo.[167] After days of indecision, on February 26 Fannin prepared to march his 300 troops to the Alamo; they turned back the next day, having traveled less than 1 mile (1.6 km).[168] Fewer than 100 Texian reinforcements reached the fort.[169]

Approximately 1,000 Mexican reinforcements arrived on March 3.[170] The following day a local woman, likely Bowie's relative Juana Navarro Alsbury, was rebuffed when she attempted to negotiate a surrender for the Alamo defenders.[171] This visit increased Santa Anna's impatience, and he scheduled an assault for early on March 6.[172] Many of his officers were against the plan; they preferred to wait until the artillery had further damaged the Alamo's walls and the defenders were forced to surrender.[173] Santa Anna was convinced that a decisive victory would improve morale and sound a strong message to those still agitating in the interior and elsewhere in Texas.[174]

In the early hours of March 6, the Mexican army attacked the fort.[175] Troops from Béxar were excused from the front lines, so that they would not be forced to fight their own families.[172] In the initial moments of the assault Mexican troops were at a disadvantage. Although their column formation allowed only the front rows of soldiers to fire safely, inexperienced recruits in the back also discharged their weapons; many Mexican soldiers were unintentionally killed by their own comrades.[176] As Mexican soldiers swarmed over the walls, at least 80 Texians fled the Alamo and were cut down by Mexican cavalry.[177] Within an hour, almost all of the Texian defenders, estimated at 182–257 men, were killed.[Note 9] Between 4 and 7 Texians, possibly including Crockett, surrendered. Although General Manuel Fernández Castrillón attempted to intercede on their behalf, Santa Anna insisted that the prisoners be executed immediately.[178]

Most Alamo historians agree that 400–600 Mexicans were killed or wounded.[179][180] This would represent about one-third of the Mexican soldiers involved in the final assault, which historian Timothy Todish remarks is "a tremendous casualty rate by any standards".[179] The battle was militarily insignificant, but had an enormous political impact. Travis had succeeded in buying time for the Convention of 1836, scheduled for March 1, to meet. If Santa Anna had not paused in Béxar for two weeks, he would have reached San Felipe by March 2 and very likely would have captured the delegates or caused them to flee.[181]

The survivors, primarily women and children, were questioned by Santa Anna and then released.[179] Susanna Dickinson was sent with Travis's slave Joe to Gonzales, where she lived, to spread the news of the Texian defeat. Santa Anna assumed that knowledge of the disparity in troop numbers and the fate of the Texian soldiers at the Alamo would quell the resistance,[182] and that Texian soldiers would quickly leave the territory.[183]

Goliad campaign

Main article: Goliad Campaign
GoliadRefugioSanPatricio Texas2.JPG
Presidio La Bahía in Goliad, Texas

General José Urrea marched into Texas from Matamoros, making his way north following the coast of Texas, thus preventing any foreign aid by sea and opening up an opportunity for the Mexican Navy to land much needed provisions. After surprising Colonel Frank Johnson and his troops at the Battle of San Patricio, Urrea's forces defeated a small Texan force at the Battle of Agua Dulce on March 2, 1836. Urrea then led his troops toward Goliad, where Colonel James Fannin commanded 450 of the only Texian Army troops outside the Alamo.[184]

On March 10, Fannin had divided his force, by sending out 148 Texians with William C. Francis, Amon B. King and William Ward to the Refugio area. In Refugio, the Texians would fall into Urrea's path. The Texians repulsed several attacks and inflicted heavy casualties at the Battle of Refugio. Fannin sent couriers with word to rendezvous with him in Victoria and thus they broke off the attack. However, some couriers had been captured, which ultimately provided Urrea with precious details of Fannin's plans.[185]

Fannin was ordered by General Sam Houston on March 11, 1836, to abandon Goliad and retreat to Victoria, but delayed his retreat until March 19. His force of about 300 men were caught on the open prairie at a slight depression near Coleto Creek and repulsed three charges at a heavy cost in Mexican casualties, during the Battle of Coleto. Overnight, Urrea's forces surrounded the Texans, brought up cannon and reinforcements, and induced Fannin's surrender under terms the next day, March 20. About 342 of the Texian troops captured during the Goliad Campaign were executed a week later on Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836, under Santa Anna's direct orders, widely known as the Goliad Massacre.[185]

According to Harbert Davenport, "The impact of the Goliad Massacre was crucial. Until this episode Santa Anna's reputation had been that of a cunning and crafty man, rather than a cruel one...together with the fall of the Alamo, branded both Santa Anna and the Mexican people with a reputation for cruelty and aroused the fury of the people of Texas, the United States, and even Great Britain and France, thus considerably promoting the success of the Texas Revolution."[186]

Several weeks after the massacre, the Mexican Congress granted an official reprieve to any Texas prisoners who had incurred capital punishment.[187]

Texas Convention of 1836

The Convention of 1836 convened in Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 1 with 45 delegates, representing 21 municipalities.[188] Within an hour of the convention's opening, George C. Childress submitted a proposed Texas Declaration of Independence, which passed overwhelmingly on March 2.[135][189] On March 6, hours after the Alamo had fallen, Travis's final dispatch arrived. His distress was evident; delegate Robert Potter immediately moved that the convention be adjourned and all delegates rush to join the fight.[190] Houston convinced the delegates to remain, and then left to take charge of the army. With the backing of the Convention, Houston was now commander-in-chief of all forces in Texas, be they regular, volunteer, or militia.[177] His forces were small: an estimated 182 men as part of the Regular Army and an additional 520 volunteers. At least 160 of these men had perished at the Alamo.[191]

Over the next ten days, delegates prepared a constitution for the Republic of Texas. Parts of the document were copied verbatim from the United States Constitution; other articles were paraphrased. The new nation's government was structured similarly to that of the United States, with a bicameral legislature, a chief executive, and a supreme court.[192] In a sharp departure from its model, the new constitution expressly permitted impressment of goods and forced housing for soldiers. It also explicitly legalized slavery and recognized the people's right to revolt against government authority.[193] After adopting the constitution on March 17, delegates elected interim officers to govern the country and then adjourned. David G. Burnet, who had not been a delegate, was elected president. [194] The following day, the Burnet announced the government was leaving for Harrisburg.[195]

Retreat: March–May 1836

Texian retreat: The Runaway Scrape

Further information: Runaway Scrape

Santa Anna remained in Béxar for several days after the Alamo fell, waiting for the last of his troops to arrive from Mexico. On March 11, he sent one column of troops to join Urrea, with instructions to move to Brazoria once Fannin's men had been neutralized. A second set of 700 troops under General Antonio Gaona would advance along the Camino Real to Mina, and then on to Nacogdoches. Ramírez y Sesma would take an additional 700 men to San Felipe, with 600 more troops to follow him. The Mexican columns were thus moving northeast on roughly parallel paths, separated by 40–50 miles (64–80 km).[196]

The same day that Mexican troops departed Béxar, Houston arrived in Gonzales and informed the volunteers gathered there that Texas was now an independent republic.[197] Within hours, two men arrived from Béxar with news that the Alamo had fallen. To quell a potential panic, Houston promptly arrested them as spies spreading falsehoods.[198] The following day, Houston organized his 374 volunteers—some without weapons— into an infantry regiment commanded by Edward Burleson.[199]

At just after 11 p.m. on March 13, Susanna Dickinson and Joe arrived in Gonzales with news that the Alamo garrison had been defeated and the Mexican army was marching towards Texian settlements. A hastily convened council of war voted to evacuate the area and retreat. The evacuation commenced at midnight and happened so quickly that many Texian scouts were unaware the army had moved on. Everything that could not be carried was burned, and the army's only two cannon were thrown into the Guadalupe River.[200] When Ramírez y Sesma reached Gonzales the morning of March 14, he found the buildings still smoldering.[201]

Most citizens fled on foot, many carrying their small children. A cavalry company led by Seguin and Salvador Flores were assigned as rear guard to evacuate the more isolated ranches and protect the civilians from attacks by Mexican troops or Indians.[202] The further the army retreated, the more civilians joined the flight.[203] For both armies and the civilians, the pace was slow; torrential rains had flooded the rivers and turned the roads into mudpits.[204]

As news of the Alamo's fall spread, volunteer ranks swelled, reaching about 1400 men on March 19.[204] Houston learned of Fannin's defeat on March 20 and realized his army was the last hope for an independent Texas. Concerned that his ill-trained and ill-disciplined force would only be good for one battle and aware that his men could be easily outflanked by Urrea's forces, Houston continued to avoid engagement, to the immense displeasure of his troops.[205] By March 28, the Texian army had retreated 120 miles (190 km) across the Navidad andColorado Rivers.[206] Many troops deserted; those who remained grumbled that their commander was a coward.[205]

On March 31, Houston paused his men at Groce's Landing, roughly 15 miles (24 km) north of San Felipe.[Note 10] Two companies that refused to retreat further than San Felipe were assigned to guard the crossings on the Brazos River.[207] For the next two weeks, the Texians rested, recovered from illness, and, for the first time, began practicing military drills. While there, two cannon, known as the Twin Sisters, arrived from Cincinnati, Ohio.[208] Interim Secretary of War Thomas Rusk joined the camp, with orders from Burnet to replace Houston if he refused to fight. Houston quickly persuaded Rusk that his plans were sound.[208] Secretary of State Samuel P. Carson advised Houston to continue retreating all the way to the Sabine River, where more volunteers would likely flock from the United States and allow the army to counterattack.[209] Unhappy with everyone involved, Burnet wrote to Houston: "The enemy are laughing you to scorn. You must fight them. You must retreat no further. The country expects you to fight. The salvation of the country depends on your doing so."[208] Complaints within the camp became so strong that Houston posted notices that anyone attempting to usurp his position would be court-martialed and shot.[210]

Santa Anna and a smaller force had remained in Béxar. After receiving word that the acting president, Miguel Barragán, had died, Santa Anna seriously considered returning to Mexico City to solidify his position. Fear that Urrea's victories would position him as a political rival convinced Santa Anna to remain in Texas to personally oversee the final phase of the campaign.[211] He left on March 29 to join Ramírez y Sesma, leaving only a small force to hold Béxar.[212] At dawn on April 7, their combined force marched into San Felipe and captured a Texian soldier, who informed Santa Anna that the Texians planned to retreat further if the Mexican army crossed the Brazos River.[213] Unable to cross the Brazos due to the small company of Texians barricaded at the river crossing, on April 14 a frustrated Santa Anna led a force of about 700 troops to capture the interim Texas government.[214][215] Government officials fled mere hours before Mexican troops arrived in Harrisburg, and Santa Anna sent Colonel Juan Almonte with 50 cavalry to intercept them in New Washington. Almonte arrived just as Burnet shoved off in a rowboat, bound for Galveston Island. Although the boat was still within range of their weapons, Almonte ordered his men to hold their fire so as not to endanger Burnet's family.[216]

At this point, Santa Anna believed the rebellion was in its final death throes. The Texian government had been forced off the mainland, with no way to communicate with its army, which had shown no interest in fighting. He determined to block the Texian army's retreat and put a decisive end to the war.[216] Almonte's scouts incorrectly reported that Houston's army was going to Lynchburg Crossing, on Buffalo Bayou, in preparation for joining the government in Galveston, so Santa Anna ordered Harrisburg burned and pressed on towards Lynchburg.[216]

On April 12, Houston ordered his troops to march eastward.[214] On April 16, his army came to a crossroads; one road led north towards Nacogdoches, the other went to Harrisburg. Without orders from Houston and with no discussion amongst themselves, the troops in the lead took the road to Harrisburg. They arrived on April 18, not long after the Mexican army had left.[217] That same day, Deaf Smith and Henry Karnes captured a Mexican courier carrying intelligence on the locations and future plans of all of the Mexican troops in Texas. Realizing that Santa Anna had only a small force and was not far away, Houston gave a rousing speech to his men, exhorting them to "Remember the Alamo" and "Remember Goliad". His army then raced toward Lynchburg.[218] Out of concern that his men might not differentiate between Mexican soldiers and the Tejanos in Seguin's company, Houston originally ordered Seguin and his men to remain in Harrisburg to guard those who were too ill to travel quickly. After loud protests from Seguin and Antonio Manchaca, the order was rescinded, provided the Tejanos wear a piece of cardboard in their hats to identify them as Texian soldiers.[219]

San Jacinto

Main article: Battle of San Jacinto
Sam Houston during the Battle of San Jacinto

The area along Buffalo Bayou had many thick oak groves, separated by marshes. This type of terrain was familiar to the Texians and quite alien to the Mexican soldiers.[220] Houston's army, comprising 900 men, reached Lynch's Ferry mid-morning on April 20; Santa Anna's 700-man force arrived a few hours later. The Texians made camp in a wooded area along the bank of Buffalo Bayou; while the location provided good cover and helped hide their full strength, it also left the Texians no room for retreat.[221][222] Over the protests of several of his officers, Santa Anna chose to make camp in a vulnerable location, a plain near the San Jacinto River, bordered by woods on one side, marsh and lake on another.[220][223] The two camps were approximately 500 yards (460 m) apart, separated by a grassy area with a slight rise in the middle.[224] Colonel Pedro Delgado later wrote that "the camping ground of His Excellency's selection was in all respects, against military rules. Any youngster would have done better."[225]

Over the next several hours, two brief skirmishes occurred. The Texian cannon quickly stopped a charge by a small group of dragoons, which had been intended to draw out the Texians so Santa Anna could better judge their strength, and then forced the Mexican 12-pounder cannon named the Golden Standard, to withdraw.[220][226] Houston then granted Sidney Sherman permission for the Texian cavalry to reconnoiter, provided they not incite a major battle. Mexican dragoons countercharged. Rusk, on foot to reload his rifle, was almost captured by Mexican soldiers, but was rescued by newly arrived Texian volunteer Mirabeau B. Lamar.[226] Houston denied Sherman's request for infantry support, but individual infantry disregarded his orders and ran out to help. As the Texian cavalry fell back, Lamar remained behind to rescue another Texian who had been thrown from his horse; Mexican officers "reportedly applauded" his bravery.[227] Houston was irate that the infantry had disobeyed his orders and given Santa Anna a better estimate of their strength; the men were equally upset that Houston hadn't allowed a full battle.[228]

Throughout the night, Mexican troops worked to fortify their camp, creating breastworks out of everything they could find, including saddles and brush.[229] At 9 a.m. on April 21, Cos arrived with 540 reinforcements, bringing the Mexican force to 1,200 men, which outnumbered the Texians.[230] Cos's men were raw recruits rather than experienced soldiers, and they had marched steadily for more than 24 hours, with no rest and no food.[231] As the morning wore on with no Texian attack, Mexican officers lowered their guard. By afternoon, Santa Anna had given permission for Cos's men to sleep; his own tired troops also took advantage of the time to rest, eat, and bathe.[232]

Not long after the Mexican reinforcements arrived, Houston ordered Smith to destroy Vince's Bridge, 5 miles (8.0 km) away; although the lack of a bridge wouldn't completely stop a Mexican retreat, it would slow down any further Mexican reinforcements.[233] At 3:30, Houston called his soldiers together, and at 4 p.m. the Texians began creeping quietly through the tall grass, pulling the cannon behind them.[234] The Texian cannon fired at 4:30, beginning the battle of San Jacinto.[235] After a single volley, Texians broke ranks and swarmed over the Mexican breastworks to engage in hand-to-hand combat. Mexican soldiers were taken completely by surprise. Santa Anna, Castrillon, and Almonte yelled often conflicting orders, attempting to organize their men into some form of defense.[236] Within 18 minutes, Mexican soldiers abandoned any hope at defense and fled for their lives.[237] The killing lasted for hours.[238]

Many Mexican soldiers retreated through the marsh to Peggy Lake. Texian riflemen stationed themselves on the banks and shot at anything that moved. Some Texian officers, including Houston and Rusk, attempted to stop the slaughter, but they were unable to gain control of the men. Colonel John Austin Wharton pulled one Mexican officer onto his horse to protect him; another Texian shot the prisoner off the horse, saying this was revenge for the death of his son-in-law at the Alamo. Texians continued to chant "Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!" while frightened Mexican infantry yelled "Me no Alamo!" and begged for mercy to no avail.[239] In what historian Davis called "one of the most one-sided victories in history",[240] 650 Mexican soldiers were killed and 300 captured; an additional 700 escaped and were rounded up over the next two days.[241] Eleven Texians died, with 30 others wounded.[242]

Although Santa Anna's troops had been thoroughly vanquished, they did not represent the bulk of the Mexican army in Texas. An additional 4,000 troops remained in Texas, now under the commands of Urrea and General Vicente Filisola.[243] Texians had won the battle due to mistakes made by Santa Anna, and Houston was well aware that his troops would have little hope of repeating their victory against Urrea or Filisola.[244] As darkness fell, Texians led a large group of prisoners into camp. Houston initially mistook the group for Mexican reinforcements and shouted out that all was lost.[245]

Mexican retreat

Santa Anna had successfully escaped towards Vince's Bridge.[246] Finding the bridge destroyed, he hid in the marsh and was captured the following day.[241] He was brought before Houston, who had been shot in the ankle[Note 11] and badly wounded.[243] Texian soldiers gathered around, calling for the Mexican general's immediate execution. Bargaining for his life, Santa Anna suggested that he order the remaining Mexican troops to stay away.[247] In a letter to Filisola, who was now the senior Mexican official in Texas, Santa Anna wrote that "yesterday evening [we] had an unfortunate encounter" and ordered his troops to retreat to Béxar and await further instructions.[244]

Urrea urged Filisola to ignore the orders and continue the campaign. He was confident that he could successfully challenge the Texian troops. According to Hardin, "Santa Anna had presented Mexico with one military disaster; Filisola did not wish to risk another."[248] Spring rains rendered the roads almost impassable, with troops sinking to their knees in mud, and ruined the ammunition. Mexican troops were soon out of food, and troops began to fall ill from dysentery and other diseases.[249] Mexican supply lines had completely broken down, leaving no hope of further reinforcements or supplies.[250] Filisola later wrote that "Had the enemy met us under these cruel circumstances, on the only road that was left, no alternative remained but to die or surrender at discretion".[249]

For several weeks after San Jacinto, Santa Anna continued to negotiate with Houston, Rusk, and then Burnet.[251] Santa Anna suggested two treaties, a public version of promises made between the two countries, and a private version that included Santa Anna's personal agreements. The Treaties of Velasco required all Mexican troops to retreat south of the Rio Grande and that all private property—code for slaves—be respected and restored. Prisoners of war would be released unharmed, and Santa Anna would be given passage to Veracruz immediately. Santa Anna secretly promised to persuade the Mexican Congress to acknowledge the Republic of Texas and the Rio Grande as the border between the two countries.[252]

When Urrea began marching south in mid-May, many families from San Patricio who had supported the Mexican army went with him. When Texian troops arrived in early June, they found only 20 families remaining. The area around San Patricio and Refugio suffered a "noticeable depopulation" in the Republic of Texas years.[253] Although the treaty had specified that Urrea and Filisola would return any slaves their armies had sheltered, Urrea refused to comply. Many former slaves followed the army to Mexico, where they could be free.[254] By late May the Mexican troops had crossed the Nueces.[249] Filisola fully expected that the defeat was temporary and that after regrouping a second campaign would launch to retake Texas.[250]

Aftermath

The San Jacinto Monument is a memorial to the men who died during the Texas Revolution.

Texians feared that the Mexican army would return quickly.[255] So many American volunteers flocked to the Texian army in the months after the victory at San Jacinto that no one in the Texian government was able to maintain an accurate list of enlistments.[256] Out of caution, Béxar remained under martial law throughout 1836. Rusk ordered that all Tejanos in the area between the Guadalupe and Nueces Rivers to migrate either to east Texas or to Mexico.[255] Some residents were forcibly removed. New Anglo settlers moved in and used threats and legal maneuvering to take over the land once owned by Tejanos.[257][258] Over the next several years, hundreds of Tejano families resettled in Mexico.[258]

When Mexican authorities received word of Santa Anna's defeat at San Jacinto, flags across the country were lowered to half staff and draped in mourning.[259] According to historian Timothy J. Henderson, the loss of Texas "would become, in the minds of many Mexican leaders, a festering wound, an affront to the national honor that had to be avenged at any cost".[260] Denouncing any agreements signed by a prisoner, Mexican authorities refused to recognize the Republic of Texas.[258] Filisola was derided for leading the retreat and quickly replaced by Urrea. Within months, Urrea gathered 6,000 troops in Matamoros, poised to reconquer Texas. His army was instead redirected to address continued federalist rebellions in other regions.[261] Over the next eight years, authorities used the reconquering of Texas as an excuse for leveraging new taxes and making the army the budgetary priority of the impoverished nation. Military funding was consistently diverted to other rebellions, out of fear that those regions would ally with Texas and further fragment the country.[262] New Mexico, Sonora, and California revolted unsuccessfully; their stated goals were a change in government, not independence.[263][264] The northern Mexican states, the impetus for the Matamoros Expedition, briefly launched an independent Republic of the Rio Grande in 1839.[265] The same year, the Mexican Congress considered a law to declare it treasonous to speak positively of Texas.[266]

On June 1, Santa Anna was put aboard a ship to be sent home to Mexico. For the next two days, crowds of soldiers, many of whom had arrived that week from the United States, gathered to demand that Santa Anna be executed. Lamar, by now promoted to Secretary of War, gave a speech, insisting that "Mobs must not intimidate the government. We want no French Revolution in Texas!", but on June 4 soldiers seized Santa Anna and put him under military arrest.[267] According to Lack, "the shock of having its foreign policy overturned by popular rebellion had weakened the interim government irrevocably".[268] A group of soldiers staged an unsuccessful coup in mid-July.[269] In response, Burnet called for elections to ratify the Constitution and elect a new Congress,[270] the sixth set of leaders for Texas in a 12-month period.[271] Voters overwhelmingly elected Houston the first president, ratified the constitution drawn up by the Convention of 1836, and approved a resolution to request annexation to the United States.[272] Houston issued an executive order sending Santa Anna to Washington, D.C., where he was soon sent home.[273] During his absence, Santa Anna had been deposed. Upon his arrival, the Mexican press wasted no time in attacking him for his cruelty towards those executed at Goliad. In May 1837, Santa Anna requested an inquiry into the event.[274] The judge determined the inquiry was only for fact-finding and took no action; press attacks in both Mexico and the United States continued.[275] Santa Anna was disgraced until the following year, when he became a hero of the Pastry War.[276]

The first Texas Legislature declined to ratify the treaty Houston had signed with the Cherokee, ruling he had no authority to make any promises.[277] Although the Texian interim governments had vowed to eventually compensate citizens for goods that were impressed during the war efforts, for the most part livestock and horses were not returned.[278] Veterans were guaranteed land bounties; in 1879, surviving Texian veterans who served more than three months from October 1, 1835 through January 1, 1837 were guaranteed an additional 1,280 acres (520 ha) in public lands.[279] Over 1.3 million acres (559 thousand ha) of land were granted; some of this was in Greer County, which was later determined to be part of Oklahoma.[280]

The United States agreed to recognize the Republic of Texas in March 1837 but declined to annex the territory.[281] The fledgling republic now attempted to persuade European nations to agree to recognition.[282] After being convinced that Texas would make a fine trading partner, in late 1839 France recognized the Republic of Texas.[283] The following year, with the Republic of Texas neither annexed by the United States or reabsorbed into Mexico, Britain signed a treaty to recognize the nation and act as a mediator to help Texas gain recognition from Mexico.[284]

For years after San Jacinto, there were sporadic skirmishes between Mexican and Texian troops. In 1842, Mexican forces briefly occupied Goliad, Refugio, and Béxar.[285] In June 1843, leaders of the two nations declared an armistice.[286] The United States voted to annex Texas in March 1845.[287] Two months later, Mexico agreed to recognize the Republic of Texas as long as there was no annexation to the United States.[288] On July 4, 1845, Texans voted for annexation.[289] This prompted the Mexican-American War, which resulted in Mexico losing almost 55% of its territory to the United States and formally relinquishing its claim on Texas.[290]

Analysis

Although no new fighting techniques were introduced during the Texas Revolution,[291] casualty figures for the war were quite unusual for the time. Generally in nineteenth-century warfare, the number of wounded outnumbered those killed by a factor of two or three. In this conflict, approximately 1,000 Mexican and 700 Texian soldiers died, while the wounded numbered 500 Mexican and 100 Texian. The deviation from the norm was due solely to Santa Anna's decision to label Texian rebels as traitors and to the Texian desire for revenge.[292]

Only about 2,000 residents of Texas enrolled in the army, which comprised only about 5% of the population of the region. Lack noted that "for a people of such fabled militance, the Texans turned out for army duty in the period of crisis at a low rate of participation, and their equally fabled sensibilities on matters of individual liberty hampered the establishment of an effective military organization."[293] Although the United States remained officially neutral,[294] 40% of the men who enlisted in the Texian army from October 1 through April 21 arrived from the United States after hostilities began.[293] More than 200 of the volunteers were members of the United States Army; none were punished when they returned to their posts.[294] By early April, American General Edmund P. Gaines and 600 troops had marched to the Sabine River, under orders to prevent Indians - not American citizens - from reaching Mexico.[295][296] After getting inaccurate reports that several thousand Indians had joined the Mexican army to attack Nacogdoches, the American troops crossed into Texas; this would have provoked a war if they had encountered the Mexican army.[297] American individuals also provided supplies and money to the cause of Texian independence.[298]

Mexican authorities blamed the loss of Texas on United States intervention.[259] For the next decade, Mexican politicians frequently denounced the U.S.[299]

For several decades, official British policy was to maintain strong ties with Mexico in the hopes that the country could stop the United States from expanding further.[300] When the Texas Revolution erupted, Great Britain declined to involve themselves, officially expressing confidence that Mexico could handle its own affairs.[301] Historian Stuart Reid, however, posits that Grant had always been a British secret agent, and that his plan to take Matamoros, and thus tie Texas more tightly to Mexico, may have been an unofficial scheme to advance British interests in the region.[302]

Legacy

The revolution had shown the Mexican cavalry to be far superior to that of the Texians. In later years the Texian military, and in particular the Texas Rangers, heavily borrowed from Mexican cavalry tactics and supplies. Among other things, they adapted the Spanish saddle and spurs, the riata, and the bandana.[303]

Republic of Texas policies changed the status of many living in the region. The constitution forbade free blacks from living in Texas permanently. Individual slaves could only be freed only by Congressional order, and the newly emancipated person would then be forced to leave Texas.[304] Women also lost significant legal rights under the new constitution, which substituted English common law practices for the traditional Spanish law system. Under common law, the idea of community property was removed, and women no longer had the ability to act for themselves legally - to sign contracts, own property, or sue. Some of these rights were restored in 1845, when Texas added them to the new state constitution.[305]

Hardin notes that the Texas Revolution "left a legacy of valor that has inspired Texan soldiers on battlefields all over the world".[306]

The Texas Veterans Association, comprised solely of revolutionary veterans, was active from 1873 through 1901 and played a key role in convincing the legislature to create a monument to honor the San Jacinto veterans.[307] In the early 20th century the Texas Legislature purchased the Alamo Mission,[308] which is now an official state shrine.[309] In front of the church, in the center of Alamo Plaza, stands a cenotaph, designed by Pompeo Coppini, which commemorates the Texians and Tejanos who died during the battle.[310] More than 2.5 million people visit the Alamo every year.[311]

The Texas Revolution has been the subject of many books, plays, poetry, and films. Most English-language treatments revolve around the perspectives of the Anglos and are centered primarily on the battle of the Alamo.[312] From the first novel depicting events of the revolution, 1838's Mexico versus Texas, through the mid-twentieth century, most works contained pronounced themes of anticlericalism and racism, depicting the battle as a fight for freedom between good (Anglo Texian) and evil (Mexican).[313] In both English- and Spanish-language literature, the Alamo is often compared to the Battle of Thermopylae.[314] The 1950s Disney miniseries Davy Crockett, which was largely based on myth, created a worldwide craze for everything Alamo-related.[315] Within several years, John Wayne directed and starred in one of the best-known, and perhaps least historically accurate film versions, 1960's The Alamo. [316][Note 12] Notably, this version made the first attempt to leave behind racial stereotypes; it was still banned in Mexico.[317] In the late 1970s, works about the Alamo began to explore Tejano perspectives, which had been all but extinguished from even textbooks about the revolution, and to explore the revolution's links to slavery.[318]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Spain did not ratify the treaty until February 1821, in the hopes that the delay would stop the Americans from recognizing Mexico as an independent country. Weber (1992), p. 300.
  2. ^ This number excludes native tribes.
  3. ^ David Weber (1992), p. 166, states that in 1830, there were approximately 7,000 foreign-born residents and 3,000 Mexican-born residents. Todish et al (1998), p. 4, states that there were 16,000 Anglos and only 4,000 Mexican-born residents in Texas in 1830.
  4. ^ Milam was killed by a sharpshooter on December 7. Edmondson (2000), p. 243.
  5. ^ It is likely that the statistics on the Texian army size in both 1835 and 1836 underestimate the number of Tejanos who served in the army. American volunteers who returned to the US without claiming land are also under counted. Lack (1992), p. 113.
  6. ^ If those who arrived after the Battle of Gonzales are included, the average immigration date is 1832. Lack (1992), pp. 114–5.
  7. ^ Houston's orders to Bowie were vague, and historians disagree on their intent. An alternate interpretation is that Bowie's orders were to destroy only the barricades that the Mexican Army had erected around San Antonio de Béxar, and that he should then wait in the Alamo until Governor Henry Smith decided whether the mission should be demolished and the artillery removed. Smith never gave orders on this issue. (Edmondson (2000), p. 252.)
  8. ^ The Sabine River marked the eastern border of Mexican Texas.
  9. ^ Brigido Guerrero convinced the Mexican army he had been imprisoned by the Texians. Joe, the slave of Alamo commander William B. Travis, was spared because he was a slave. Some historians also believe that Henry Warnell hid during the battle, although he may have been a courier who left before the battle began. He died several months after the battle of wounds incurred during his escape. See Edmondson (2000), pp. 372, 407.
  10. ^ Groce's landing is located roughly 9 miles (14 km) northeast of modern-day Bellville. Moore (2004), p. 149.
  11. ^ Lamar thought Houston was deliberately shot by one of his own men. Moore (2004), p. 339.
  12. ^ Historians J. Frank Dobie and Lon Tinkle requested that they not be listed as historical advisers in the credits of The Alamo because of its disjunction from recognized history.(Todish et al., p. 188.)

Footnotes

  1. ^ Weber (1992), pp. 149–154.
  2. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 6.
  3. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 10.
  4. ^ Weber (1992), p. 291.
  5. ^ Weber (1992), pp. 299–300.
  6. ^ a b Lack (1992), p. 5.
  7. ^ Manchaca (2001), p. 161–2.
  8. ^ Vazquez (1997), p. 51.
  9. ^ a b Davis (2006), p. 63.
  10. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 72.
  11. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 75.
  12. ^ Weber (1992), p. 162.
  13. ^ Weber (1992), p. 161.
  14. ^ Manchaca (2001), p. 164.
  15. ^ Weber (1992), p. 166.
  16. ^ Davis (2006), pp. 60, 64.
  17. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 80.
  18. ^ Manchaca (2001), p. 200.
  19. ^ Manchaca (2001), p. 201.
  20. ^ Manchaca (2001), p. 172.
  21. ^ Davis (2006), p. 78.
  22. ^ Winders (2004), p. 20.
  23. ^ Davis (2006), p. 89.
  24. ^ Davis (2006), pp. 92, 95.
  25. ^ Davis (2006), pp. 110, 117.
  26. ^ Vazquez (1997), p. 69.
  27. ^ Davis (2006), p. 117.
  28. ^ Vazquez (1997), p. 67.
  29. ^ Davis (2006), p. 120.
  30. ^ a b Davis (2006), p. 121.
  31. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 6.
  32. ^ a b c d Hardin (1994), p. 7.
  33. ^ Davis (2006), p. 122.
  34. ^ Lack (1992), pp. 21–2.
  35. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 23.
  36. ^ Lack (1992), pp. 24–6.
  37. ^ Davis (2006), p. 131.
  38. ^ Lack (1992), p. 25.
  39. ^ Lack (1992), pp. 31–2.
  40. ^ Lack (1992), p. 31.
  41. ^ Lack (1992), p. 20.
  42. ^ Davis (2006), p. 198.
  43. ^ a b c Davis (2006), p. 199.
  44. ^ Roell (1994), p. 36.
  45. ^ a b c Davis (2006), p. 138.
  46. ^ Davis (2006), p. 133.
  47. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 74.
  48. ^ a b c Winders (2004), p. 54.
  49. ^ Davis (2006), p. 137.
  50. ^ Davis (2006), p. 139.
  51. ^ a b c Davis (2006), p. 142.
  52. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 10.
  53. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 12.
  54. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 13.
  55. ^ a b Davis (2006), p. 144.
  56. ^ a b Winders (2004), p. 55.
  57. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 26.
  58. ^ a b c Roell, Craig H., Goliad Campaign of 1835, Handbook of Texas, retrieved 2008-07-14 
  59. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 14.
  60. ^ Hardin (1994), pp. 15–7.
  61. ^ Scott (2000), p. 21.
  62. ^ Scott (2000), p. 20.
  63. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 42.
  64. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 44.
  65. ^ a b Davis (2006), p. 176.
  66. ^ Lack (1992), p. 157.
  67. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 46.
  68. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 53.
  69. ^ Hardin (1994), pp. 17, 19.
  70. ^ Lack (1992), pp. 190–1.
  71. ^ Lack (1993), pp. 162–163.
  72. ^ Lack (1992), p. 162.
  73. ^ Barr (1990), p. 6.
  74. ^ Lack (1992), p. 41.
  75. ^ Davis (2006), pp. 150–1.
  76. ^ a b Davis (2006), p. 151.
  77. ^ a b Davis (2006), p. 152.
  78. ^ Barr (1990), p. 19.
  79. ^ Barr (1990), p. 22.
  80. ^ Barr (1990), p. 23.
  81. ^ Barr (199), p. 26.
  82. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 33.
  83. ^ Barr (1990), p. 26. claims 14 Mexican soldiers died. Todish et al (1998), p. 23. estimated 60 Mexican casualties. Hardin (1994), p. 34. claims 76 Mexican soldiers died.
  84. ^ a b Edmondson (2000), p. 224.
  85. ^ Barr (1990), p. 60.
  86. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 35.
  87. ^ Barr (1990), p. 29.
  88. ^ Barr (1990),p. 35.
  89. ^ a b Hardin (1994), p. 60.
  90. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 62.
  91. ^ Barr (1990), p. 39.
  92. ^ a b Hardin (1994), p. 64.
  93. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 237.
  94. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 238.
  95. ^ Davis (2006), pp. 179, 181.
  96. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 243.
  97. ^ a b Winders (2004), p. 64.
  98. ^ a b Todish et al. (1998), p. 26.
  99. ^ Barr (1990), p. 55.
  100. ^ Barr (1990), p. 56.
  101. ^ Barr (1990), p. 57.
  102. ^ a b Barr (1990), p. 58.
  103. ^ Barr (1990), p. 64.
  104. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 91.
  105. ^ a b c Todish et al. (1998), p. 29.
  106. ^ Barr (1990), p. 63.
  107. ^ Lack (1992), pp. 114–5.
  108. ^ Lack (1992), pp. 122–3.
  109. ^ Lack (1992), pp. 43–4.
  110. ^ Lack (1992), p. 49.
  111. ^ Lack (1992), pp. 50–1.
  112. ^ a b Todish et al (1998), p. 24.
  113. ^ a b Lack (1992), p. 51.
  114. ^ a b Davis (2006), p. 167.
  115. ^ Todish et al (1998), p. 28.
  116. ^ Winders (2004), p. 72.
  117. ^ Lack (1992), p. 52.
  118. ^ Lack (1992), p. 54.
  119. ^ a b Lack (1992), p. 55.
  120. ^ Lack (1992), p. 74.
  121. ^ Lack (1992), p. 56.
  122. ^ Lack (1992), pp. 56–57.
  123. ^ Lack (1992), p. 77.
  124. ^ Todish et al (1998), p. 27.
  125. ^ Winders (2004), p. 78.
  126. ^ Lack (1992), pp. 59–60.
  127. ^ Winders (2004), p. 90.
  128. ^ Lack (1992), p. 60.
  129. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 109.
  130. ^ Lack (1992), p. 62.
  131. ^ Hardin (1994), pp. 109–11.
  132. ^ Scott (2000), p. 68.
  133. ^ Lack (1992), pp. 76–7.
  134. ^ a b c Lack (1992), p. 79.
  135. ^ a b Lack (1992), p. 86.
  136. ^ Davis (2006), p. 197.
  137. ^ a b Hardin (1994), p. 98.
  138. ^ Davis (2006), p. 200.
  139. ^ a b c Scott (2000), p. 70.
  140. ^ Todish et al. (1998), p. 20.
  141. ^ Scott (2000), p. 73.
  142. ^ Scott (2000), pp. 73–4.
  143. ^ a b Scott (2000), p. 71.
  144. ^ Scott (2000), p. 74.
  145. ^ Scott (2000), p. 75.
  146. ^ a b c d Hardin (1994), p. 102.
  147. ^ a b Hardin (1994), p. 103.
  148. ^ Todish et al (1998), p. 34.
  149. ^ Davis (2006), p. 211.
  150. ^ a b c Hardin (1994), p. 120.
  151. ^ Davis (2006), pp. 206, 2011.
  152. ^ a b Hardin (1994), p. 121.
  153. ^ a b Davis (2006), p. 212.
  154. ^ Todish et al. (1998), pp. 34–6.
  155. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 105.
  156. ^ Scott (2000), p. 77.
  157. ^ Scott (2000), p. 91.
  158. ^ Todish et al. (1998), p. 30.
  159. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 252.
  160. ^ a b c Todish et al. (1998), p. 31.
  161. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 117.
  162. ^ Todish et al. (1998), p. 32.
  163. ^ Todish et al. (1998), p. 40.
  164. ^ a b Todish et al. (1998), p. 42–3.
  165. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 325.
  166. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 128.
  167. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 133.
  168. ^ Scott (2000), pp. 91–101.
  169. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 340.
  170. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 349.
  171. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 355.
  172. ^ a b Todish et al. (1998), p. 49.
  173. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 136.
  174. ^ Davis (2006), p. 220.
  175. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 138.
  176. ^ Todish et al. (1998), p. 52.
  177. ^ a b Davis (2006), p. 223.
  178. ^ Hardin (1994), p. 148.
  179. ^ a b c Todish et al. (1998), p. 55.
  180. ^ Hardin (1961), p. 155.
  181. ^ Davis (2006), p. 229.
  182. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 378.
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  184. ^ Edmonson (2000), p. 333.
  185. ^ a b Edmonson (2000), p. 379.
  186. ^ Harbert Davenport,"Men of Goliad", Volume 43, Number 1, Southwestern Historical Quarterly Online (Accessed Tue October 31, 2006)
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  190. ^ Lack (1992), p. 88.
  191. ^ Davis (2006), p. 240.
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