Battle of San Jacinto

Background of the battle

Before 1835, Texas was a part of Mexico. But until 1832, Mexico didn’t have a lot of control over Texas and people in Texas were relatively free of Mexican control. Also, a large population of settlers from the newly-born USA had traveled to the west and settled in Mexico.

From 1832 onwards, the Mexico government started trying to establish more control over Texas. The Texans didn’t like it and finally launched a rebellion in 1835. They declared their independence but in 1835, but in 1836, a large Mexican army arrived and the Battle of the Alamo took place. In this battle, the Mexican army killed 200 Texans guarding the fort of Alamo. The battle of San Jacinto took place a month later.

Why did the battle take place?

Texans didn’t want to be ruled by Mexico. Most of the Texans were white settlers from USA and they identified more with America than with Mexico. At the time, Texans had not planned of joining USA and simply wanted to be free of Mexico. The Mexican government under General Santa Anna didn’t like them and decided that it will force Texas to be a part of Mexico.

It was for these reasons that the Battle of San Jacinto took place. At one side, Texans fought to keep their freedom and to avenge the death of 200 Texans at the Battle of the Alamo. At the other side, Mexicans fought to retake Texas and make it a part of Mexico.

When and where did the battle take place?

The battle of San Jacinto took place in the Harris County of Texas. It took place on April 21, 1836.

Who were the leaders on both sides?

The Mexican army was led by General Santa Anna who had previously won at the Battle of the Alamo. Santa Anna initially had only 700 men but later 540 more Mexican soldiers arrived and he had a total of 1200 soldiers when the battle began.

The Texan army, on the other hand, had 900 men. Many in the Texan army were volunteers from the United States of America who came to fight and avenge the deaths at the Battle of the Alamo. Sam Houston Led the American Army army, and commanders Such as Ed Burleson Sidney Sherman, Henry Millard and Mirabeau B. Lamar were well prepared and Battle Ready.

The Fighting

Both armies established their camp opposite each other near San Jacinto. Initially, small skirmishes occurred between soldiers from both sides with no decisive result. On April 21, 1836, the 540-man reinforcements joined the Mexican army. These men were tired, so after realizing that the Texans had no plan to attack that day, the Mexican soldiers decided to rest.

However, they were mistaken. Texan soldiers crept through the tall grass near the Mexican camp and started firing around 5 p.m. The Mexicans were completely taken by surprise and soon they were routed. Most of the Mexican soldiers fled while many were killed by the Texans as revenge for the deaths at Alamo. The Mexican commander, General Santa Anna, was arrested. In total, nearly 650 Mexicans were killed while 300 were taken as prisoners. On the Texan side, 11 Texans were killed and 30 were wounded.

Result

The battle was a decisive victory for the Texans. After the battle, the Mexican army retreated from Texas while General Santa Anna was forced to sign a favorable agreement with the Texans.

Eighteen Minutes: The Battle of San Jacinto and the Texas Independence Campaign Paperback – November 10, 2003

Learn More about the Battle of San Jacinto at Wikipedia