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Texas Revolution Campaign Routes. Click here to view larger image.
Texas Revolution Campaign Routes

 
Texas Revolution Information
     
     
Articles of Agreement at San Jacinto
Above links from the Sons Of Dewitt Colony web site

The Texas revolution occurred as a result of a series of events that began long before the first shots fired in Gonzales on October 2, 1835, and finally ending at the battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836.

The actual battle of San Jacinto lasted less than twenty minutes, but it was in the making for six years. It had its prelude in the oppressive Mexican edict of April 6, 1830, prohibiting further emigration of Anglo-Americans from the United States to Texas; in the disturbance at Anahuac and in the battle of Velasco, in 1832; the proposed constitution in 1833 brought before the central Government, which eventually lead to the imprisonment of Stephen F. Austin the "Father of Texas" in Mexico City in 1834; President Santa Anna declaring the Constitution of 1824 void in 1834. Immediate preliminaries were the skirmish over a cannon at Gonzales; the on October 9, 1835, during the Goliad Campaign of 1835; the Battle of Conception; the "Grass Fight", and the siege and capture of San Antonio. . . all in late 1835 and early 1836. The Texas Declaration of Independence at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 2, 1836, officially signalized the revolution.

October 9, 1835: The capture of Presidio La Bahia on the night of October 9, 1835 was the first action against a Mexican military installation during the Texas Revolution. On that night Captain George Collingsworth and a group of about forty men were headed to capture Presidio La Bahia when they found Ben Milam in the brush between Victoria and Goliad. He had been in a prison in Mexico but had escaped and was traveling back toward the Brazos River settlements. He joined up with the group to capture Presidio La Bahia that night. The first Texan wounded in the Texas Revolution, against a Mexican military installation was Sam McCollough, A freed black man. He was wounded during the capture of Presidio La Bahia that night.

Carlos de la Garza gave asylum to the Mexican citizens of Goliad as they gradually abandoned their town during the occupation of La Bahía presidio by Philip Dimmitt and especially James W. Fannin; several of Fannin's men apparently got drunk and terrorized the town. Since Garza gave these people asylum, his ranch came under Texan suspicion as a nest of spies. Fannin sent at least two expeditions against it, one of which captured several residents of Carlos Rancho.

November 4, 1835: The battle of Lipantitlán occurred on the east bank of the Nueces River two miles up stream of San Patricio in today's San Patricio County, directly across from Fort Lipantitlán. A Texas force of around seventy men under Adjutant Ira J. Westover engaged a Mexican force of about ninety men under Capt. Nicolás Rodríguez. The Texans scored an important victory.

First Texas Declaration Of Independence:

On December 20, 1835 ninety two men gathered in the Our Lady of Loreto Chapel and signed the First Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico. At the time they flew the severed arm and bloody sword flag which is now called the Goliad flag. The statement that they were making with the flag was that they would rather
sever an arm than to continue

 
Captain Philip Dimitt 's Bloody Arm Flag.  Also Known As The Goliad Flag.
to live under the dictatorship of Santa Anna. Click HERE to read the First Texas Declaration of Independence.

February 23, 1836: The Mexican army under Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (President/Dictator of Mexico, and Commander of the Mexican Army) reaches San Antonio. The Texian (Texan) force retreats into the walled Alamo compound. There are accounts of local farmers forced to march with the troops as they entered San Antonio, to cast the illusion of more troops than there really was.

February 27, 1836: Battle of San Patricio. Texian forces under the command of Francis W. Johnson and James Grant are defeated in the battle of San Patricio.

March 2, 1836: The Texas Declaration of Independence is approved and signed by delegates meeting at Washington-on-the-Brazos.

March 2, 1836: The Battle of Agua Dulce Creek. General Urrea's men ambushed James Grant's men near a creek crossing at Agua Dulce; all except six were killed or captured. Grant was killed. Urrea remained camped somewhere in the vicinity of San Patricio until March 12, when he took some of the cattle, arms, and ammunition that Grant and Johnson had gathered.

March 6, 1836: The final attack upon the fortified Alamo began before dawn (around 3:00 or 4:00 a.m.). When the fighting ends (around 9:00 a.m.), all of its occupants other than women, children, and Travis' slave Joe, are dead. Losses to the attacking Mexican army are estimated to be at least 600 dead and wounded. There were so many wounded after the battle of the Alamo, that Santa Anna would later order that the captured Texian medical staff from Goliad be spared from his ordered Palm Sunday massacre and sent immediately to San Antonio.

There was a heavy loss of life and many wounded Mexican soldiers during the thirteen day siege of the Alamo. In the end, Santa Anna had to commit his best troops to finally overrun the Alamo. As it turned out, the siege of the Alamo was only one of many tactical mistakes that Santa Anna would make. He should have remembered lessons learned at the Battle of Medina, some
twenty-three years earlier under his old commandant, Joaquín de Arredondo.

At the conclusion of the battle of the Alamo, General Santa Anna makes what would become a fatal mistake. He divides his army to pursue the Texian army. The divided Mexican army now becomes smaller forces. Therefore, able to move faster and maneuver quicker than one large force. The downside, if any of the smaller Mexican forces met with the Texian Army, they may not be able to overwhelm and defeat the Texans in a decisive battle. The stage was now set for the beginning of the end of Santa Anna.

Santa Anna's Army:

Some of Santa Anna's field commanders and soldiers had served in Napoleon's army in France. The army's tactics and training was based on Napoleon's Army in France. This was one reason why Santa Anna became known and enjoyed the title of "The Napoleon Of The West". Other soldiers in Santa Anna's army had previously served in the United States army. Santa Anna truly had a professional army and the military discipline required to assure victory against any armed uprising. Santa Anna became his own worst enemy by not listening to his field commanders. He divided his army to the point that any one division may, or may not, be able to put up a decisive fight if they came face-to-face with the main force of the Texian army. Santa Anna knew his army was well disciplined and equipped. Therefore, any part of his army should be able to defeat any undisciplined, under equipped, or inexperienced army. It was his lack of respect and understanding of the Texians that would eventually prove fatal for his army and him at San Jacinto.

March 20, 1836: Following a battle near Coleto Creek, the Texian force of approximately 350 men led by James W. Fannin is captured and held captive inside the small church at Presidio La Bahia for seven days. There were so many men inside the chapel, that most were forced to stand. Some of the more severely wounded Texians (including Fannin) remained at the Coleto Creek battlefield for up to three days, before being moved to Presidio La Bahia. On the third or fourth day, the non-wounded men were moved outside the chapel and into the quadrangle, surrounded by a heavy guard.

General Urrea continued his advance to secure Guadalupe Victoria, from where he wrote Santa Anna recommending clemency for the Goliad prisoners. One week after Fannin's surrender, however, Santa Anna bypassed Urrea and ordered Colonel José Nicolás de la Portilla, the commander at Goliad, to carry out the congressional decree of December 30, 1835, that captured armed rebels must be executed as pirates.

March 27, 1836: On the order of General Santa Anna, Fannin and a force of almost 350 men are massacred near Presidio La Bahia, near Goliad.

Some Mexican army officers at Goliad did what they could to spare the lives of Fannin's men. Remember, these field officers were true professional soldiers and did not believe in some of Santa Anna's tactics, such as massacring unarmed men. The Mexican soldiers knew the risks they took would mean certain death. However, these individuals took the risk and saved some lives. The medical staff of the Texian army was spared and sent immediately to San Antonio to tend to the wounded of the Mexican soldiers after the battle of the Alamo. Other individuals such as Pacheta Alevesco must be mentioned, as she was known as "The Angel of Goliad". The Mexican lady whose merciful heart, unyielding courage, and almost unbelievable exertions induced Urrea's officers to evade, and partially disobey, Santa Anna's orders to shoot all prisoners, and to mitigate the rigors of the prisoners' lot. She is often referred to as the wife of Captain Telesforo Alavéz who was commander of Mexican Centralista forces in the Copano and Victoria region under Gen. José de Urrea's command until May 14 when the army retreated south to Matamoros after defeat at San Jacinto. She would later be abandoned by Captain Alavéz in Mexico City. She returned to the Rio Grande area to work on local ranches north of the river. Captain King, founder of the King Ranch, knew Colonel Alavez while he was still living and of the humanitarian actions of Señora Alavez. She died on the King Ranch and was buried in an unmarked grave. Captain and Mrs. King knew and respected her identity.

April 21, 1836: After retreating eastward for more than a month (this became known as the Runaway Scrape), the Texian Army defeats the larger Mexican force at the Battle of San Jacinto, capturing General Santa Anna and securing Texas' independence. The concluding military event of the Texas Revolution which took place on April 21, 1836. General Sam Houston, commanding a small force of Texans, routed a larger Mexican army led by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the president of Mexico. The decisive 18-minute battle secured independence for Texas and ultimately led to major westward expansion of the United States.


Texans like the story that General Houston caught the Mexican dictator "out of uniform" and dallying in his tent with the "Yellow Rose of Texas". Santa Anna's reputation as a womanizer highlights his military career. Be that as it may, had Santa Anna heeded his own advice to General Sesma, the tables might have been turned at San Jacinto.

Santa Anna was captured after the battle of San Jacinto and his life spared by General Sam Houston, even though many of the soldiers in the Texian army wanted to execute him. Santa Anna ordered his army out of Texas.

Santa Anna's Surrender Ratified: General Vicente Filisola, second in command of Mexican armies in Texas fled from San Jacinto. On April 21, 1836, Filisola's aim was to go back to Mexico with his army. After he passed through Goliad, he was overtaken at Mujerero Creek (about 10 miles southwest of Goliad) by Texian army couriers, Col. Ben Fort Smith and Capt. Henry Teal. Signing the ratification of peace at Mujerero, May 26, 1836, where Gen. Filisola, Gen. Eugene Tolsa, Col. Augusting Amat, Col. Smith, and Capt. Teal.

Just exactly where the border of Texas and Mexico was located was still in doubt. Mexico said the border was the Nueces River, while Texas said the border was the Rio Grande River. The area between the two rivers was known as the Nueces Strip and the Wild Horse Desert. It would take years and another war in 1846 - 1848 to resolve this issue. Santa Anna was eventually transported to Washington D.C., where he returned to Mexico by ship. When he arrived in Mexico, he denied that he agreed to anything with the Texians. He retired to his estates at Manga de Clavo for a time, then emerged to join the defense of Mexico against the French in December 1838 during the so-called "Pastry War" between France and Mexico. He lost a leg in battle and regained his popularity. He was acting president in 1839, helped overthrow the government of Anastasio Bustamante in 1841, and was dictator from 1841 to 1845. Excesses led to his overthrow and exile to Havana. Throughout his lifetime, Santa Anna would become President/Dictator of Mexico on five separate occasions.

A Republic Is Born:

After Texas gained independence, the first Congress of the Republic met at Columbia, and in December 1836, passed an act defining the boundaries of the Republic. With this act, the Republic of Texas claimed 216,000,000 acres (about 350,000 square miles) of un-appropriated land - much of which was actually part of Mexico. The western boundary of the claim followed the Rio Grande to its source and due north to the 42nd parallel, so that it included eastern New Mexico and parts of Colorado and Wyoming. Although neither Spain nor Mexico had considered any land below the Nueces River as part of Texas, the Republic claimed its southern boundary extended to the Rio Grande.

On December 22, 1836, the Congress of the Republic passed an act establishing a general land office under the direction of a land commissioner who was to take charge of all land records. In June 1837, the Congress passed an act consolidating previous land legislation. It called for the General Land Office to open on October 1. All vacant land was the property of the Republic, and all land titles, surveys and documents were now public property and were to be given to the Land Commissioner.

The Republic of Texas had neither money nor population enough to defend itself against the Mexicans and the Indians. When the government was organized in 1836, it had only $55.68 in the treasury. Land was the only resource Texas had, and it was used to reward soldiers, to promote settlement and to finance the operation of the government. As a side note; The original chest that held all the money of the Republic of Texas is on display in the Long Barracks portion of the Alamo.

In 1837, donation grants of 640 acres were issued to soldiers (or their heirs) who had fought at the Alamo, Goliad, San Jacinto or the Siege of Bexar, or who had guarded the baggage train at Harrisburg. Men who participated in more than one of these engagements were entitled to only one allotment of 640 acres. Recipients of the donations were prohibited from selling the land (a provision which was later repealed).

There was great debate over whether the prohibition on citizenship meant that Blacks could not own land. In 1831, Greenbury Logan, a free Black man from Missouri, received a Mexican land grant under Stephen F. Austin for a third of an acre in Brazoria County. Logan served with James Fannin at the siege of Bexar during the Texas Revolution. In 1837, he petitioned Congress for land as a reward for service. Congress approved his request and he obtained a donation certificate for 640 acres and a bounty warrant for 320 acres. This set a precedent for giving donation land to other Blacks. William and Abner Ashworth, who had contributed money and supplies to the army, were given bounty land; and the widow of Peter Allen, a musician in Fannin's troops who had been taken prisoner and executed at Goliad, was given donation land in Bexar County. However, many other Blacks who petitioned Congress either were not heard or their petitions were rejected.

During its 10 years as a republic, Texas distributed approximately 41,570,733 acres of land. By contrast, Spain and Mexico together had issued land titles to about 26,280,000 acres.

Because it had no money, the government depended on land to finance its operations, so land records were a significant part of the government. The land commissioner, who was responsible for keeping the records and managing the distribution of the public domain, occupied an important position.

Austin became the capital of Texas in 1839. After Sam Houston was again elected president in 1841, he attempted several times to have the government returned to Houston, his namesake city and the previous capital. When the Mexican army invaded and captured San Antonio in 1842, he saw an opportunity to achieve his goal. Enacting presidential emergency powers, he ordered the government and archives temporarily moved to the town of Washington-on-the-Brazos. Residents of Austin, protective of their city, were outraged; they feared that the president's final destination for the government was Houston.

In October 1842, the government moved to Washington-on-the-Brazos. In December, President Houston, stating that "the destruction of the national archives would entail immediate injury upon the whole people of Texas," sent a company of Texas Rangers to Austin to secretly remove the archives from the Land Office. These archives were primarily land records, but also included maps, treaties and congressional papers. During the night, the Rangers, under direction of Thomas Ward, loaded the archives onto three wagons. Angelina Eberly, a woman who ran a nearby boarding house, noticed the activity and hurried outside to shoot off a cannon kept for ceremonial purposes.

Hearing the cannon, residents of Austin swarmed into the streets. Ward later wrote that "much excitement prevailed here. A howitzer loaded with grape was discharged at my residence. After I heard the cry of 'blow the old house to pieces,' eight shots perforated the building."

The Rangers quickly drove the wagons out of town, with a vigilante committee in pursuit. The vigilantes overtook the Rangers the next day at Kenney's Fort in Williamson County. Because President Houston had ordered them to avoid bloodshed, the Rangers surrendered the archives, which were returned to Austin. However, it was two years before the residents returned the records to the General Land Office.

Commissioner Ward closed the General Land Office for a year because the land records were essential to the Land Office and the land grant system. Without them, it was impossible to determine if land was vacant and available to be granted. And to survive, the government of the Republic had to be able to grant land-land supplied revenue to pay the Republic's debts, financed its operations and attracted the population vital to the Republic's survival.

Statehood:

In 1844, Texas submitted a treaty of annexation to the United States Congress. Under its terms, Texas would have given 175,000,000 acres of public land to the United States government and the United States would have assumed Texas's debts of $10,000,000. The United States Congress rejected the treaty on grounds that Texas public domain was not worth $10,000,000. When Texas was annexed to the United States in 1845 by a joint resolution of Congress, Texas retained both its debts and its public land. Texas was the only state, other than the original 13 colonies, to enter the Union with control over its public land. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican War in 1848, confirmed Texas' southern boundary at the Rio Grande. The western boundary remained unclear until The Compromise of 1850 ceded Texas' claim to 67,000,000 acres of land in what is now New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma to the United States in exchange for $10,000,000 in federal bonds. This enabled Texas to pay its debts and retain 98,000,000 acres of public land.

As they say; "...and the rest is history."

 
 
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