Thesis: Battle of San Jacinto

Pages: 11 (3089 words)  ·  Style: Turabian  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Drama - World  ·  Buy This Paper

Battle of San Jacinto took place on April 21, 1836 at what is today known as the Harris County, Texas and is the predecessor of some of the world's most significant events and situations wherein lies its historical magnitude (Hardin, 1994). The Battle of San Jacinto was basically the final clash that decided the fate and result of the Texas Revolution.

The battle was fought between the Mexican Santa Anna Army led by General Antonio L. pez and the Texan army led by General Sam Houston. The ratio of casualties was very different between the two armies; the Texan army only reported a total of nine casualties while the Mexican reported the casualties and capture of hundreds of soldiers (Hardin, 1994).

The background to the battle of San Jacinto was ironical to its end result as it was the Santa Anna's Mexican Army that was in pursuit of the Texan Army led by General Houston. The Mexican Army was following the Texan General, being more than 700 in strength, after Houston's retreat, later called "The Runaway Scrape" at the battle of the Alamo (Hardin, 1994). This retreat also served as the root and cause of severe criticism of Houston's tactics from not only the government but also the citizens of Texas as well as the soldiers that were serving under Houston's command (Hardin, 1994).

The Santa Anna Mexican Army that included the Colonel Potter and Colonel Rusk reached Harrisburg on the 15th of April, 1836 (Hardin, 1994). Colonel Potter, however, had stayed back at Galveston instead of being part of the pursuit after General Houston and the attorney-general and secretary of the treasury were the cabinet members running government affairs at the time.

At this point there was no one apart from the secretary of war who knew the exact course of action or pursuit that would be taken up by the Mexican army. Colonel Rusk served as the advisor or counsel to the general and had reported the position of the Texan Army to the Mexican general on the 13 of April (Hardin, 1994). The Texan army was ready for battle and the soldiers were in the line of march by the time the Santa Anna Mexican army had reached Harrisburg.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on 15th April, one part of the Texan army under Major Martin was ordered to manage the distraught families who were being flown form the battle site to Robbins's ferry (Hardin, 1994). The other part of the army was sent Harrisburg as the main battle fleet.

The prairies, that served as part of the battlefield were drenched and had numerous quicksand sites which was discouraging for the already fatigued armies on both sides. However the determination and spirit of the generals rejuvenate the armies enough to go into battle with encouraging hopes (Hardin, 1994). The Mexican army was the one that marched through the wet prairies to reach Mrs. McCarely's, and Donoho's by the end of the day. At this time the Mexican army released a captive who informed General Houston that the Mexican General knew his geographic location and was planning a destructive line of attack against him (Hardin, 1994).

Indian Worries

One of the major concerns for General Houston at the time was the huge number of neutrals that resided at the east coast of San Jacinto. He feared that if the Mexican army somehow got in touch with these residents of the east coast then they would not only mange to obtain regular war provisions and direct the Indians on the lower Trinity but would also gain tactical and physical information on his own army (Hardin, 1994). There was at that time a considerable number of disaffected persons on the coast, east of the San Jacinto; and it was an important object with Houston not to allow the Mexicans to have communication with them, as they would thereby obtain supplies of provisions and gain information (Hardin, 1994).

One of Houston's tactics to avoid such an exchange he had employed the Messrs strategy. He made a deal with two Indian administrators, Hubert and Rankin, that they would be given control of the Cooshatties after they gave the Texans some physical war assistance in the form of ninety war soldiers (Hardin, 1994). Hence, before leaving for Harrisburg, General Houston asked his commander-in-chief, Captain Jacob H. Sheppard, to address the concerns of the east coast residents and to bring back with the ninety war soldiers promised by the Indian administrators in exchange for the control of the Cooshatties (Hardin, 1994).

Capture of the Mexican Courier

To avoid a similar result to the earlier battle of the Alamo, the Texan army marched from Donoho's to Harrisburg where they rested and gathered whatever information they could on the proceedings and strength of the Mexican army. Here they learned that the Mexican army was moving towards the bay (Hardin, 1994).

At this point in time general Houston directed his army, which consisted only of the cavalry-horses and an ammunition-wagon, towards the ferry. A large number of soldiers who were down with measles were left behind at Harrisburg. Even though the ferry was not completely restored and fixed, General Houston still ordered a cross-over across the river and made Colonel Rusk in charge of the entire proceedings. Thirty soldiers under Captain Wood were directed the cross the river first followed by Captain Sheppard and his men (Hardin, 1994). The Texans were the first to cross the 12 miles to reach the San Jacinto while the exact location of the Mexicans was unknown (Hardin, 1994).

Skirmish on April 20, 1836

It was on the 20th of April at the dawn of day when the Texans were awakened by a tap of the drum for the purpose of reveille that were forbidden and while they later resumed their march down the bayou (Hardin, 1994). During their breakfast which they finally took after proceeding about seven miles, the scouts revealed that they had pursued to those of the enemy, until they found his advance coming up the bay (Hardin, 1994).

Having reached the site first, the Texans had the advantage of picking the most advantageous spots for battle. The Texan army positioned itself behind the timber on an escalated level of field that was adjacent to the bayou (Hardin, 1994). This particular field was nearly a total of 500 yards and at its centre was made up of prairies.

The Texan army included a total of 200 soldiers under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Millard and the "Twin-Sisters" cavalry controlled by Colonel Neill. The former was positioned at the centre of the timber while the latter was positioned on the escalated level of the field (Hardin, 1994). The first regiment, made up of riflemen, was positioned on the right and left wings of the field under the command of Colonel Burleson and Colonel Sherman respectively. The cavalry occupied the centre and rear. All sides of the Texan army were sheltered either by timber or wet prairies (Hardin, 1994).

The Texans, while forming in line for battle were attacked by the Mexicans on the escalated level of the battlefield under Colonel Neill. However, after an hour of combat, no durable damage was done to the Texan cavalry due to the protection given by the timber (Williams; Barker). The reply from the Texans reaped similar result as the infantry, which was supported by escopetas, sent to the nearest woodland area attacked the Mexican camp in the woods but returned having done no real damage. It wasn't long before another line of attack was launched by the Mexicans (Williams; Barker).

This time a large part of the Mexican army quickly and stealthily marched from facing the cavalry to within a 150 yards range of the Texan cannon. However, they were spotted soon enough by the Texans who opened heavy fire on the Mexican forces and forced them to retreat to a far-off position (Williams; Barker).

The "Twin-Sisters" under Colonel Neill kept up the attack on the retreating forces and rejoiced at the sight of the damage that they were doing. The retreating Mexican army rested and regrouped near the bank of the San Jacinto River nearly three fourths of a mile from the Texan camp (Williams; Barker).

As evening came, Colonel Sherman requested that he could take a small portion of his en to explore the positions of the Mexican army. General Houston didn't agree at first but then after careful consideration allowed the request. The general did warn the colonel to only keep the process and exploratory one and keep at a safe distance away from the shooting ability of the enemy camp and to avoid any provocation of a clash. General Houston had ordered the cavalries under Colonel Millard and Colonel Burleson to march behind the reconnoiter infantry and assist them n a clash if one arose (Williams; Barker). The infantry started off on it reconnoiter mission but was indeed spotted and attacked by the Mexican troops. The clash was quick and intelligent and after… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Battle of San Jacinto.  (2008, August 20).  Retrieved August 20, 2019, from

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"Battle of San Jacinto."  August 20, 2008.  Accessed August 20, 2019.