San Jacinto Battleground Museum and State Historical Site
This state historical site and museum preserves and interprets the history of the Battle of San Jacinto. The decisive and final battle of the Texas Revolution occurred at this location on April 21st,1836. The battle concluded with the surrender of Mexican forces and allowed political leaders of Texas to declare independence from Mexico and establish the Republic of Texas. The Texans were commanded by General Sam Houston and the Mexican army was commanded by the President of Mexico, Antonio López de Santa Anna. This was the shortest battle in U.S. history, only lasting for about 18 minutes. It was also one of the most lopsided victories in history: 600 Mexican soldiers were killed versus nine Texians. The site is now a state historic site, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a National Historic Landmark. The site also features the San Jacinto Museum of History.
Backstory and Context
The battle occurred not long after the Battle of the Alamo (late February-early March) which resulted in a total victory for the Mexicans. The Texians, who were severely outnumbered, fought valiantly to almost the last man. Several men apparently surrendered but they were executed. The news of the battle spread quickly and volunteers poured into Texas to avenge the battle. During the Battle of Jacinto men cried out the now famous saying: “Remember the Alamo!”
Before the battle, Santa Anna thought he had had the advantage over General Houston, and decided to let his army rest for the next couple days. On the Morning of April 21st, reinforcements arrived to strengthen his army to 900 men. Later in the day the Texas Army located the Mexican army. Houston decided to make a surprise late afternoon attack. Perhaps too overconfident, Santa Anna did not post any lookouts in positions where he would have been able to spot the approaching Houston army.
As the attack commenced, tree cover helped keep Houston's army unseen. The surprise was also aided by the fact that the Mexican soldiers were taking their afternoon siesta. Upon arriving at Santa Anna’s army, the Texians yelled charged the Mexican Army. The attack was a total surprise despite occurring in broad daylight.
As the Mexicans retreated they were shot as they ran away across the river. In a sense the battle was just like the Battle of the Alamo, as Mexican soldiers were being killed mercilessly. Sam Houston tried to hold his men back but many did not listen to him and the onslaught continued.
The aftermath of the battle was clear. The Mexican Army and Santa Anna, who was captured the next day, were forced to surrender. Mexico now had to recognize Texas as an independent country. However, it wasn’t until 1848 and the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo that Mexico gave Texas its full independence. The new nation quickly petitioned to join the United States through annexation.
"The Battle of San Jacinto." Sons of Dewitt Colony Texas. December 12, 2014. http://www.tamu.edu/faculty/ccbn/dewitt/batsanjacinto.htm.