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The Battle of San Jacinto

The Battle of San Jacinto lasted less than twenty minutes, but it sealed the fate of three republics. Mexico never regained its lost territory, in spite of occasional attempts during the 1840s. The United States annexed the Republic of Texas in 1845 and got western Mexican land after the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo ended the Mexican War in 1848.

The Texan army had been retreating since it learned of the fall of the Alamo. When soldiers heard about the massacre at Goliad, some of them abandoned the army, preferring to help their families escape from the advancing Mexican army. Sam Houston spent a few weeks training the recruits into a disciplined army, then continued his march.

On April 16, Houston learned that Santa Anna had isolated his army. Houston went after him. When General Martin Perfecto de Cos crossed over Vince's Bridge with reinforcements, Houston ordered Erastus "Deaf" Smith to destroy the bridge. This move prevented the Mexican troops from growing, and prevented the Mexican and Texan armies from retreating.

About 3:30 in the afternoon, the Mexican army took a siesta. Houston arranged his troops in a line with the "Twin Sisters" cannon. Shielded by trees and a rise in the ground, the Texans were able to advance secretly. With the cries "Remember the Alamo" and "Remember Goliad," they swooped down on the Mexican army.

Of the Mexicans soldiers, 630 were killed, while Texans lost only 9. General Houston was seriously injured.

The next day, Santa Anna was captured. As part of his surrender agreement, the president/general ordered the Mexican troops remaining in Texas to retreat south of the Rio Grande.

The Treaties of Velasco were signed by the Texan president and Santa Anna. They confirmed the Mexican retreat and declared an end to the war. Neither the Texas nor Mexican governments accepted the treaties. A state of war between the countries existed throughout most of the decade of the Republic of Texas.


Source: The Battle of San Jacinto
© 2020 Texas State Library and Archives Commission

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