Streetwise Professor

April 20, 2011

Say Ho!: Some Real Texas History

Filed under: History,Military — The Professor @ 9:44 pm

Tomorrow, 21 April, is San Jacinto Day, the 175th anniversary of the Texians’ defeat of Santa Ana’s Mexican army at a battlefield near Houston. The Texans were commanded by Sam Houston. They surprised the–literally–napping Mexicans and routed them. The aftermath of the battle was not pretty. Let’s just say that payback (for the Alamo and Goliad) was a bitch.

Sam Houston was a remarkable figure, especially to people with Jacksonian sympathies. Interestingly, Houston attempted to restrain, with little success, the revenge-minded Texans. Listen to Scott Miller sing about him:

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  1. While there was certainly a lot of anger due to losses suffered by teh Texians at Goliad and The Alamo, at San Jacinto the Texians were venting anger that had been building at least since The Battle of Medina in 1813, during the first fight for Texas’ independence. To this day, Medina stands as the bloodiest battle ever fought on Texas soil.

    Starting in 1810, Mexico had begun its fight for independence against French control of Mexico (Napoleon had taken control of Spain and installed his brother in place of Ferdinand VII, so Spanish forces in Mexico/Texas were acting to further French interests). In late 1810, former U.S. Army officer named Magee with a personal interest in Texas formed an alliance with a Mexican named Gutierrez de Lara and moved an armed force against the Spainards. The set off from from Louisiana and captured Nacogdoches and Trinity. They then set off toward Goliad. After a siege of Spanish forces that lasted from late 1812 through to the spring of 1813, the Spanish forces withdrew and moved toward San Antonio. Magee’s forces followed, routed the Spainards, took control of San Antonio and on April 6, 1813 the first Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Texas was signed. After a few more skirmishes, Magee and the Texians controlled almost all of Texas.

    Needless to say, all this did not sit well with the Spainards. In August 1813, they moved on Magee’s forces and, in The Battle of Medina, some 1,000 Texas were killed (at Goliad about 100 Texans were killed, At The Alamo somewhere around 250 were killed and at San Jacinto only 9 were killed). This re-established Spanish control of Texas but did not end the armed conflict in Mexico against Spanish rule. It was not until after 1821, after Mexico had finally won its independence from Spain, that the bones of the dead were finally removed from the field at Medina and properly buried. The slaughter at Medina and the fact that the dead were left to the vultures and coyotes for almost a decade was not forgotten. Hence, San Jacinto was a statement by the Texans that they were tired of being ruled over by the French, the Spanish, the Mexicans or anyone else. Obviously, Santa Ana got the point.

    Comment by Charles — April 21, 2011 @ 8:21 am

  2. Great comment, Charles–thanks a lot. Really enjoyed reading it, and learned quite a bit.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 21, 2011 @ 3:47 pm

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