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
an arm than to continue
to live under the dictatorship of Santa Anna. Click HERE
to read the First Texas Declaration
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
earlier under his old commandant, Joaquín
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
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.
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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."