April, 1836: Battle of San Jacinto Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

When news of the Alamo massacre reached Sam Houston in Gonzales (March 11), he retreated east, followed by many terrified settlers in a move known as the Runaway Scrape. He eluded the pursuing Mexicans for more than a month, then established a strong defensive position at the inner confluence of the San Jacinto River and Buffalo Bayou (April 20). Antonio López de Santa Anna camped about fifteen hundred yards downstream. The next morning, Houston ordered Erastus “Deaf” Smith to destroy Vince’s Bridge, thus blocking the only escape route for both armies and preventing further Mexican reinforcements.

When news of the Alamo massacre reached Sam Houston in Gonzales (March 11), he retreated east, followed by many terrified settlers in a move known as the Runaway Scrape. He eluded the pursuing Mexicans for more than a month, then established a strong defensive position at the inner confluence of the San Jacinto River and Buffalo Bayou (April 20). Antonio López de Santa Anna camped about fifteen hundred yards downstream. The next morning, Houston ordered Erastus “Deaf” Smith to destroy Vince’s Bridge, thus blocking the only escape route for both armies and preventing further Mexican reinforcements.

About noon, Houston determined a course of action. At 3:30 p.m., his men sneaked across no-man’s-land in a wide skirmish line as the Mexicans were enjoying their siesta, then suddenly attacked, yelling “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad! Remember La Bahia!” The battle lasted about twenty minutes. Texan losses were 9 killed and 30 wounded, against 630 Mexicans killed, 208 wounded, and 730 taken prisoner. Santa Anna, disguised as a corporal, was captured the next day. Texas won its independence from Mexico, the Alamo became a legend, and Houston became a hero.

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