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San Jacinto—The Background

The Crowd at San Jacinto

Dateline: San Jacinto—April 21, 2007
The crowd is chanting, “Remember the Alamo, Remember Goliad” as the reenactors prepare for battle. I can tell they’re getting into the spirit of the day, standing on the famous battleground where Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna.

The 171st anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto is well attended, and spirits are high, knowing the outcome of the day. The excitement is building as the gathered crowd anticipates the 15th reenactment of the battle.

The Background

Dateline: Goliad, Texas—October 1, 1835
General Martin Perfecto de Cos enters Goliad with 30 honor guards, 400 troops, and a unit of local rancheros. The residents previously have been disarmed and are held as prisoners. Cos leaves a detachment of men to guard the captives and marches on to San Antonio.

Come and Take It

Dateline: Gonzales, Texas—October 2, 1835
Lt. Francisco de Castanedo arrives in Gonzales to retrieve a six-pound Spanish cannon in the possession of the colonists. When he gets there, the Texians attack the Mexican troops, then Castanedo speaks with Texian John Henry Moore and is challenged with, “There is it—Come and take it.” Because Castanedo is under orders not to start a war, he withdraws.

Dateline: Washington-on-the-Brazos—March 2, 1836
The Texas delegates declare sovereignty by signing the Texas Declaration of Independence. Sam Houston is named Commander-in-Chief. Now the oppression of General Santa Anna must be thrown off. This means war.

Dateline: San Antonio, Texas—March 6, 1836
The Spanish mission known as The Alamo, falls after twelve days of siege by General Santa Anna. The Texians, under the command of Lt. Colonel William B. Travis and Colonel James Bowie are all killed. More than two hundred men in all. Remember the Alamo!

Dateline: Goliad, Texas—March 27, 1836
General Santa Anna arriving in Goliad, orders the execution of Colonel Fannin and the 344 surrendered Texians. Twenty-eight prisoners escape and spread the news of the slaughter of unarmed men. This massacre at Goliad outrages Houston and his men. They must stop Santa Anna. Remember Goliad!

Back to the Present

Many events take place leading up to the Battle of San Jacinto, and these are but a few. The Battle of the Alamo and the Goliad Massacre have a profound affect on the men of both sides. The Texians are ready to fight and ready to engage the Mexican army, but Houston is cautious because of troop numbers. He will need a strategic advantage. They cannot lose another battle.

Dateline: White Oak Bayou—April 18, 1836
Santa Anna is camped near San Jacinto, and Houston marches his men there to engage and make a stand.

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