The Battle of San Jacinto & San Jacinto Battleground, Texas
The Battle of San Jacinto & San Jacinto Battleground, Texas
The Battle of San Jacinto, Texas
The battle fought on this ground in 1836 gave Texas
its independence from Mexico and cleared the way
for it to eventually become part of the United States.
Battle of San Jacinto, Texas
The San Jacinto Monument is the
tallest stone column memorial in
the world. It is15 feet taller than the
Washington Monument.
San Jacinto Battleground
The 1800 foot long reflecting pool
leads across the San Jacinto
Battleground State Historic Site to
the huge monument.
BATTLE OF SAN JACINTO
LaPorte, Texas
San Jacinto Battleground S.H.S.
Copyright 2011 & 2015 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Updated: April 21, 2015
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Battle of San Jacinto, Texas
The structure in the distance is
actually a ship. The battle took
place at the confluence of the San
Jacinto River and Buffalo Bayou
(now the Houston Ship Channel).
San Jacinto, one of the most significant
battles in American history, was fought on
April 21, 1836, on the outskirts of what is now
Houston, Texas.

The site of the battle that changed the course
of history is now preserved at San Jacinto
Battleground State Historic Site. A monument
topped by the Lone Star of Texas rises 570
feet above the battlefield, higher than any
other stone column memorial in the world.

It was here, after six weeks of disaster and
retreat, that Sam Houston turned his army on
the forces of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
The Mexican army was destroyed and Texas
became a Republic.

The events leading up to the Battle of San
Jacinto are better known to many than is the
battle itself.
This map may be useful in
following the following narrative.

The chain of events actually began on April 6,
1830, when Mexico issued an edict halting
any further emigration from the United States
into Texas. The future state was then part of
Mexico but its population of Anglo-Americans
was surging due to the availability of good
land there.

The leaders of the Texas colonies objected
to this edict and initially tried to negotiate its
repeal. Stephen F. Austin, however, was
jailed and the order remained in place. Anger
grew until the settlers in Texas - both Anglo
and Tejano - rose in armed rebellion against
the government in Mexico City.

The fighting began in Gonzales in 1835 and
by the end of that year Texian forces had
taken the key frontier posts of San Antonio
and Goliad. Lt. Col. William B. Travis was
placed in command of the Alamo, a fortified
former mission in San Antonio, while Col.
James W. Fannin occupied the defenses at
Goliad with a larger force.

Mexico, however, did not overlook this
rebellion in Texas. The country's president,
General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna,
marched an army across the desert. He was
determined to stamp out revolution and
exterminate the "land pirates" of Texas, as he
called them.

The Alamo fell in March of 1836 and Santa
Anna put its garrison to the sword. At Goliad,
even though he and his men surrendered
after a brief fight, Col. Fannin's command
also was slaughtered.

News of these massacres created both
terror and outrage in the Texas settlements.
Men flooded to the banner of the Texian army,
while women, children and the elderly took
what possessions they could and fled ahead
of Santa Anna's advancing army.

In this crisis, the newly declared Republic of
Texas appointed former U.S. Army officer and
Governor of Tennessee Sam Houston as
commanding general of its army.

Knowing that he could not hope to oppose
Santa Anna with any hope of victory, Houston
withdrew his growing army from Gonzales,
falling back ahead of the oncoming Mexican
force. Texans today remember this strategic
retreat as the "Runaway Scrape."

Houston's army continued to grow as it
retreated up the Texas coastal plain ahead of
Santa Anna. The soldiers protected civilians
as they fled the oncoming destruction being
wrought by the Mexican army. Santa Anna,
meanwhile, divided his force into multiple
columns in order to do more damage to the
settlements and as part of a strategy to trap
Houston's retreating army.

The month-long "Runaway Scrape" came to
an end on April 17, 1836, when Houston
ended his retreat and turned to meet an
approaching column of Mexican troops. The
opposing force was headed by Santa Anna
himself.

Over the next three days, reinforced by more
volunteers and two small cannon donated by
the people of Cincinnati, Ohio, the Army of
Texas maneuvered into position near the
confluence of the San Jacinto River and
Buffalo Bayou. The site had been carefully
selected by Houston and was almost entirely
surrounded by water. Neither side would be
able to retreat.

Believing he had the Texians cornered, Santa
Anna marched his force into the trap laid for
him by Houston. A brief cavalry skirmish took
place on the afternoon of April 20th and their
was some cannon fire, but nightfall found the
two armies glaring at each other across a
stretch of open ground.

Santa Anna believed Houston would attack at
daylight before more Mexican reinforcements
could come up. Anticipating such a move, he
kept his men up and ready to fight all night.
But daybreak came and the Texian troops
remained in their camp across the prairie.
At 9 a.m. another 540 or so Mexican troops
reached the battlefield, bringing Santa Anna's
total strength to 1,265 men. Houston's army
numbered around 910 men. Determined
now to fight it out, the Texas general sent
mounted men to burn Vince's Bridge, cutting
off the battlefield and ending any possibility of
additional reinforcement for Santa Anna's
army.

As the day progressed and no attack came,
Santa Anna became convinced that Houston
was trapped and would await his own attack.
He gave his men rest and preparedness
evaporated in the Mexican camp. It was at
this precise moment that Houston decided to
attack.

Forming a line of battle in the trees that
sheltered their camps, the Texians advanced
in four columns, with the cavalry off to their
right. Their two cannon, now dubbed the
"Twin Sisters," advanced with them, straight
across the open prairie at the Mexican camp.

The Battle of San Jacinto did not take long.
Advancing to within almost point blank range,
the Twin Sisters where wheeled into position
and opened fire on the Mexican camp, which
was protected by a barricade of saddles and
supplies. Houston's infantry then gave its
immortal cheer - "Remember the Alamo!" -
and charged. The cavalry swept in from the
right.

Santa Anna's army panicked. There were
pockets of resistance, but the Texas troops
surged up and over the Mexican lines,
slaughtering their enemies where they stood.

Mexican soldiers flooded from the battlefield,
in desperate retreat, but there was nowhere
for them to go. Some were driven into the
water where they were shot down or drowned
while others went down fighting. The Alamo
and Goliad were avenged.

The total Mexican loss in the battle was
reported as 630 killed, 208 wounded and
730 captured. The Texan loss was 9 killed
and 30 wounded.

Santa Anna was captured after the battle and
presented to Houston, who had been
wounded in the ankle. In order to spare his
own life, he agreed to order the columns of
his army to withdraw back to Mexico. Texas
had won its independence on the field of San
Jacinto.

San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
is located at 3523 Battleground Road in
LaPorte, Texas (just east of Houston). The
park is open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 6
p.m.

Recent archaeological work on the battlefield
by
Moore Archeological Consulting has
revealed much about the nature of the battle
and has even pinpointed the
surrender site
of the last organized group of Mexican troops.

The magnificent 570 foot high monument on
the battlefield is 15 feet taller than the
Washington Monument and features a
museum and observation deck.  The fee to
go up to the observation deck is $4.50 for
adults, $3 for children and $3.50 for seniors.
The battleship
U.S.S. Texas is also at the site.

Visit these links for more information:

San Jacinto Battleground S.H.S.

San Jacinto Museum

Sons of DeWitt Colony Battle Page

San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy

Archaeology at San Jacinto Battleground
Battlefield Archaeology
The team  from Moore Archeological
Consulting have revealed much
about how the Battle of San Jacinto
was fought. Their ground-breaking
work has redefined interpretation of
the historic battle.
Battleship USS Texas
The historic warship served in both
World War I and World War II. She is
now berthed at San Jacinto
Battleground.
Photos by Moore Archeological Consulting, Inc.
Battles that Changed History