1835- Texas Independence
Until 1819 Americans were not permitted to settle in Texas. After the signing of the Adams Onis treaty in which the United States recognized the southern boundary of the Louisiana territory as the Texas border, mexican officials decided to encourage American immigration to Texas. At the time Texas was largely unsettled, with the Mexicans incapable of controlling the Indian tribes that roamed most of Texas. The Americans settlers became an effective barrier to the Indians. In 1821 Mexico gained its independence.
Soon after Mexico?s independence Stephen Austin made a dangerous trip to Mexico city to confirm the agreement made by his father for colonization for part of Texas. American were granted the right to colonize Texas. There only requirements were to be Catholic and swear allegiance to Mexico. By 1830 almost 20,000 Americans had settled in Texas. Mexico during this period continued to be in turmoil. Santa Ana led an uprising against General Anastasio Bustamante, this was the last in a long series of rebellion. The Americans forces in Texas supported Bustamante and defeated all his forces in Texas.
Santa Ana ruled in the same despotic ways of his predecessor and his rule was not accepted in Texas. He decided to solidify that rule by sending in forces led by his brother-in law General Cos. Committees of public safety were formed throughout Texas. Austin who had been confined in Mexico City for two years returned to Texas and stated that war is our only recourse. Texans rallied around Austin, and Texans forces set off to meet Cos?s forces. On September 20th 1835 the first battle took place at Gonzales. There 200 Mexican cavalryman were met by 168 Texans. The Mexican fled back to San Antonio.
Texan forces moved toward San Antonio and the main force of Mexicans. On October 9th Goliad was captured . Near San Antonio Jim Bowi with an advanced forced of 92 mens and routed a force of 300 Mexicans. When the army arrived at San Antonio Austins forces had reached 1,100. Austin however refused to attack. When he was relieved of command to be sent to the US to garner support, General Sam Houston took over overall command of Texan forces while Colonel Edward Burleson became the commander of the forces arrayed before San Antonio. Burleson refused to attack. On December 4th after Burelson first announced and then called off the attack, Colonel Ben Milam walked in front of the ranks and announced ? Who?ll go with old ben Milam into San Antonio. Ignoring Burleson the Texans marched the next morning on San Antonio. Cos had set up his cannons with an excellent field of fire. The Texans however moved forward by burrowing through the houses until they were close enough to attack Cos?s artillery. In four days of fighting the Mexicans lost between three and four hundred men to American losses of 2 killed and 26 wounded. One of those killed was Milam.
Cos was forced to surrender his army of 1105.
Houston realized however, that the war was not won and that Santa Ana was no doubt on the way with reinforcements. His honor was at stake. Much of Houston's army deserted him to begin an attack on Mexico against his Houston orders. Houston headed North to form a new army, and on his way heard the Santa Ana had crossed the Rio grande with an army of 8,000. Houston ordered Colonel bowie to San Antonio where the abandoned mission called the Alamo was being guarded by Colonel Joeseph Neill. Houston ordered Bowie to blow up the Alamo after removing any usable cannons. Neill left the Alamo as ordered but Bowie together with William Travis remained to hold the fort.
On February 24th Santa Ana and his complete army arrived at the Alamo and began his siege. It began with the Mexicans running up a blood-red flag signalling no quarter. The Americans had 183 men in the fort, not enough to even man all the ramparts. For eleven days the siege continued. Each time the Mexicans attacked they suffered heavy casualties. However it became clear that the Texan ammunition would soon be exhausted. Twice messengers were sent out requesting help, but it was clear that no help was possible. On March 5th Santa Ana prepared for his final assault. Legend has it that Travis paraded his forces on the parade ground and offered them the choice of attempting to escape or dying in the defense of Alamo. He is said to have drawn a line in the sand and asked all those who wished to fight to step across the line. All save for one man Moese Rose crossed the line including Bowie who was dying from a wound.
At 4 Am on the morning of the 6th Mexican bugles sounded and heavy columns of Mexican troops attacked. The Texans managed to repulse two attacks, but on the third assault the overwhelming number of Mexicans managed to overcome the defenses. Three women and one Black slave were the only survivors. The day after the Alamo Dr Grant who had led a force of 70 men into Mexico was killed with all but two of his men.
Houston began organizing forces to oppose Santa Ana. He ordered James Fanin who had four hundred men at Goliad to join him at Gonzales. Fanin did not obey immediately. First he sent two smaller groups on a mission in which they were all killed by forces commanded by Jose Ferra. Ferra then caught up with Fanin?s main force at Coleto Creek on March 18th After a fight Fanin surrendered with a promise that his mens lives would be spared. When Santa Ana arrived he overrided the agreement and ordered all the men killed. On Palm Sunday March 27th all 330 prisoners were taken out and killed.
Houston meanwhile followed a strategy of falling back forcing Santa Ana to divide his forces as he went. Houston?s men were not use to withdrawing, but the General managed by the power of his personality to get his men to follow. After weeks of withdrawing Houston?s men captured two Mexican dispatch riders giving him the location Santa Ana- one days ride from Houston?s forces. The Texans then set off.
On April 21st Houston held a counsel of war. All but two of his officers voted to await an attack, but Houston ordered an attack at 4?oclock in the afternoon, assuming correctly that many of the Mexican troops would be resting.
At 4? o?clock the battle of San Jactinto commenced with Texan forces marching off to the cheers of Remember the Alamo. The Texan forces achieved tactical surprise, and routed the Mexicans. 652 Mexican were killed, 208 wounded. At total of 708 prisoners were rounded up. Less then 200 Mexican escaped. Santa Ana was one who initially escaped, but was soon captured by Texan forces. Houston was under pressure to hang him for the atrocities he committed, but he knew that an alive Santa Ana was worth more then a dead one. Santa Ana signed a peace treaty which gave total independence to Texas.