San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site Walking Tour Interpretive Trail Guide
This 2.5-mile hiking tour of the San Jacinto Battleground was developed to see the battleground with a minimum of back tracking and incorporates a visit to the San Jacinto Monument for a look at historical materials that will enhance your understanding of the events leading to Texas' independence from Mexico in 1836. We will see and comment on sites in the sequence in which they are encountered geographically, rather than in the sequence of their chronological significance.
Introduction at stone marker 5; SIDNEY SHERMAN'S CAMP:
- Causes for Independence: In February 1831, Land Commissioner Francisco Madero issued land titles to some of the people who had come to settle in Texas, which was then part of Mexico. Having been given legal ownership of the land, the settlers established the Town of Liberty, about 30 miles northeast of this site. Although Commissioner Madero was an agent of the Mexican government, the local Mexican military authority, Colonel John Davis Bradburn, invalidated the land titles, abolished the Town of Liberty, and reallocated the land. Colonel Bradburn further aggravated local citizens by using their workers to build fortifications without compensation and permitting his troops to steal and commit other crimes without punishing them. In November 1831 a Mexican government tax collector, named George Fisher, levied taxes on vessels using the Brazos River, a major route for regional trade. This meant that a representative from each ship or barge had to ride over 60 miles from the Brazos to Anahuac, pay Fisher the tax, and ride back to the Brazos. In December 1831, two captains avoided this onerous inconvenience by getting underway without paying the tax, prompting Mexican soldiers to fire on their vessels. Only intervention by Stephen F. Austin, a landowner and respected leader among the settlers, prevented this from escalating to a major incident. In May 1832, Patrick C. Jack and his attorney, William B. Travis, were jailed by Mexican authorities in Anahuac for protesting abuses of power, like those by Colonel Bradburn and Tax Collector George Fisher. They were held until June 1832. Confrontations ensued between Texans and Mexican soldiers at Velasco in June and Nacogdoches in August. In January 1834, Austin was arrested and held until July 1835. In November 1835 Texans abandoned any hope of reform in the Mexican government and formed a provisional government of their own.
- Fighting Begins: The first shot of Texas's fight for independence from Mexico was fired by Texans defending a small cannon at Gonzales from seizure by Mexican troops on October 2, 1835. Texans defeated Mexican troops at La Bahia (now Goliad) on October 9, at Concepcion on October 28, and at San Antonio on December 10, and captured the Alamo on December 25. Texans declared their independence at Washington on the Brazos on March 2, 1836. Then fortunes shifted. 42 year old Mexican President, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, leading three armies totaling roughly 5,500 men, moved north to quell the revolt. Texans, under Dr. James Grant, were killed at Agua Dulce on March 2. Texans, under Travis, were annihilated at the Alamo on March 6. Texans, under Sam Houston, abandoned Gonzales on March 11 and moved eastward, away from the Mexicans. Texans, under William Ward, were defeated at Refugio on March 14. Texans under Amon B. King were executed near Refugio on March 16. Mexicans took on Victoria March 21. Texans, under James Walker Fannin, who had defended Goliad until surrendering to Mexican troops, were executed on March 27.
- Why San Jacinto? Houston, a native of Virginia, U.S. Army veteran, friend of President Jackson, and former Governor of Tennessee, was a 43-year-old Major General in charge of the Texas Army in 1836. Houston discovered, from documents captured with a Mexican courier, that General Santa Anna planned to move from Harrisburg, a town that no longer exists about 11 miles west of the site, to New Washington, part of present day La Porte. The Mexican General was pursuing interim Texas President David G. Burnet, a native of Newark, New Jersey, and other members of the new Texan Government, who narrowly escaped him on April 19. Houston anticipated General Santa Anna's next move would be to cross the San Jacinto River, where it joins Buffalo Bayou, on Nathaniel Lynch's Ferry. This ferry crossing roughly corresponds to the site of the present Lynchburg Ferry. Houston reasoned that since the General only had about 700 to 1,000 men with him, instead of his entire army, Houston's army of less than 800 Texans faced acceptable odds.
- Approach to San Jacinto and Encampment: On April 20, a detachment of Texas cavalry reconnoitering the route to Lynch's Ferry captured a flatboat full of provisions, staged for use by Santa Anna's men near the ferry landing. The Texas Army arrived near this spot about 11:00 AM on April 20. They had marched through mud all night from Harrisburg, which the Mexicans had burned. The last part of their route approximated coming north to enter the site on the present Highway 134. The morning of April 20 was cold and gray. Stone Marker 5 indicates were Sidney Sherman's 2nd Volunteer Regiment camped. Sherman was born in Massachusetts and was a 31-year-old Lieutenant Colonel in 1836. Sherman's men were at the northern end of a campground that extended south for about 500 yards along the wooded banks of the Buffalo Bayou. Here the Texans had water, cover and concealment among the trees, captured Mexican provisions, and, soon after their arrival, cattle foraged from the widow Peggy McCormick's ranch on which the camp was located. Recognizing the Texans might have to retreat if attacked in force, Houston had barges and rafts his men found along the shore moored near the camp so they could be used for escape across Buffalo Bayou, which was then about 250 yards wide. There were very few tents in the Texans' camp, possibly only one for General Houston. After the events of April 20, the Texans slept on the muddy ground in blanket rolls around 20 or 30 campfires.
- Initial Engagement and Mexican Withdrawal: A second detachment of Houston's cavalry had been sent to New Washington to reconnoiter Santa Anna's movements. This detachment found the Mexicans had burned the town and were advancing toward Lynch's Ferry. The Mexican Army arrived at site Marker 11 (see map) about noon. Santa Anna had his only artillery piece, a 12 pounder called "The Golden Standard", open fire on the Texans from high ground to the south (right from your perspective) of the mid-point of the present day reflecting pool. He also sent a company of infantry to fire on the Texans from a position near the northwest corner (near left corner from your perspective) of the present day reflecting pool. The "Twin Sisters", the Texans' two 6-pounder cannon, loaded with grape shot (small cannon balls that functioned like shotgun pellets) and broken horseshoes, drove the Mexican infantry back, but not before Colonel J.C. Neal, the officer in charge of the Texas artillery, was wounded. When the Mexican Army withdrew, it made camp about 3/4 of a mile east-southeast of the Texans' camp, beyond the present day monument. Keep in mind when locations are described relative to the reflecting pool, the monument, the Battleship TEXAS, and paved roads that none of these structures were here in 1836.
- Hike to the Sundial: The bronze circles forming a sphere with an arrow in it to the south.
TEXAN CAMP AND INITIAL TEXAN FIRE AT THE SUNDIAL
- Texan Leaders and Units: You will recall we were standing near stone Marker 5, marking the campsite of Sherman's 2nd Texas Volunteer Regiment. Stone Marker 2, toward the channel, northwest of the Globe Sundial, marks the site where Edward Burleson's 1st Texas Volunteer Regiment camped. Edward Burleson was born in North Carolina and was a 43-year-old Colonel in 1836. Stone Marker 1, northeast of the Globe Sundial, indicates where the Texan's artillery, under George Washington Hockley, camped. Hockley was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He met Sam Houston while working in the War Department in Washington, DC and was named Chief of Staff of the Texas Army when Houston became its Commander in Chief. 34-year-old Hockley was placed in charge of Texas's two cannon, the "Twin Sister's", after Colonel Neal was wounded on April 20. The 2 field guns had been donated by the City of Cincinnati, Ohio. They were allegedly named after two young ladies on the steamboat that transported the guns down the Mississippi River in crates marked "hollow ware." Houston received the cannons only 2 weeks before the battle and the Texans were so short of powder that they did not test fire the weapons before they saw action. The small cannons near stone Marker 1 don't resemble the original "Twin Sisters", which were probably cast with several raised rings around their barrels and flared muzzles and mounted on wagon wheeled carriages with twin, parallel trails surmounted by ammunition boxes. Houston's headquarters was near Hockley's camp. Stone Marker 3, south of the Globe Sundial, indicates where Henry Millard's Regiment of Texas Regulars camped. Unlike volunteers who generally wore civilian attire and were armed with a variety of weapons, regulars were recruited by the Texas government and issued uniforms and model 1816 Harper's Ferry smoothbore flintlock muskets with bayonets. Henry Millard was born in Mississippi and was a 29-year-old Lieutenant Colonel during the battle. He later laid out a town he called Beaumont, Texas. The men of the Texas Army came from all over the United States and Europe. The Texas Army included about 15 or 20 "Tejanos," Texans on Mexican decent, who opposed Mexican governmental abuses. The were led by 30 year old Juan N. Seguin, descendent of an influential San Antonio family that had aided Austin's effort to bring in settlers from the U.S. Colonel Travis had sent Seguin from the Alamo to Goliad in search of reinforcements, but there were none to be had, and by the time Sequin returned, the Alamo had fallen. Jose Antonio Menchaca served as the "Tejanos" Spanish to English interpreter. Less than 200 of the men in the Texas Army owned land in Texas. Many of the others hoped to be paid in land for their military service.
- Hike to the Surrender Site: Go back toward the sundial, then west to the road along the Houston Ship Channel. Follow the road to your left. On your right you will see a gray stone marker behind a tree with an inscription indicating this was the site of General Santa Anna's surrender.
- We will now look at a site significant for events on April 22nd, the day after the battle, before we see some of the sites associated with the battle on April 21st, 1836.
- Santa Anna's Surrender: After the battle, General Santa Anna was among the few Mexican soldiers who avoided death or capture. Houston sent scouts to round up the fleeing Mexicans. He realized that if Santa Anna managed to escape he might lead the 3,000 to 4,000 Mexican troops still west of the Brazos River against the Texans. Before noon, Texans under Sergeant James Sylvester, captured a man wearing a Mexican private's uniform near the site of Vince's Bridge, just north of present day Pasadena. When this man was brought, under guard, past some of the 700 other Mexican prisoners, the Mexicans saluted and referred to the private as "El Presidente!", revealing the new prisoner to be General Santa Anna. General Houston had been stuck in the ankle by a Mexican musket ball and was unable to walk. He was lying beneath a live oak tree near this site when General Santa Anna was brought before him. Santa Anna agreed to cease hostilities and order his remaining troops to withdraw from Texas.
- Significance of the Battle: Although there was continued strife between the Republic of Texas and Mexico, and the U.S. and Mexico went to war from 1846 to 1848 following Texas's admission as a state in 1845, the victory at San Jacinto ultimately led to the inclusion of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, and Utah, as well as parts of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming in the U.S. This equates to nearly 1,000,000 square miles or roughly 1/3 of the nation's landmass.
- Hike to Marker 4; Lamar's Camp: Continue south along the road, taking the left fork towards Route 134, on your right you will see stone Marker 4, Lamar's Camp, stop off the road near the marker. Stop and read the following.
LAMAR'S CAMP AND CAVALRY ACTION ON APRIL 20
- Lamar's Camp: Stone Marker 4 indicates the approximate location of Lamar's Camp on the right flank of the Texas Army. Mirabeau B. Lamar, was native of Georgia and a former Georgia State Senator. He was a 38 years old at the time of the battle. There were approximately 60 men in the Texas Cavalry during the battle. These cavalrymen were probably armed with pistols and sabers. A few may have had rifles or carbines. Virtually all the guns fired at San Jacinto were flintlocks as percussion cap arms did not come into general use until about 1840.
- Initial Cavalry Action and Lamar's Promotion to Command: On the afternoon of April 20, Santa Anna sent his cavalry to cover the withdrawal of the "Golden Standard" toward his camp. Responding to repeated requests by Sherman to let him try to capture the Mexican cannon, shortly before sundown Houston finally let Sherman lead a cavalry detail to reconnoiter the Mexicans. A skirmish ensued between the cavalry units. The Mexicans used standard cavalry tactics in a disciplined manner. The Texans were disorganized and suffered their first mortal casualty, Olwyns J. Trask. Another man was wounded and several horses were killed. The Texans fell back in disarray. Private Lamar, heroically rescued several Texans, including Secretary of War, Thomas J. Rusk and 19-year-old Walter Paye Lane, who had lost their mounts. Lamer's heroism resulted in a salute from the Mexicans, a promotion to Colonel, and command of the Texas Cavalry. The site of the cavalry skirmish on April 20 is indicated by Marker 20 on the map.
- Hike to Marker 8; Advance Under General Rusk: Continue along the road toward Highway 134, but take the left fork towards the flagpole before you get to Highway 134. On your right you will see Marker 8. Stop and read the following.
APRIL 21, 1836
- Mexican Reinforcements: About 9:00 AM, about 540 additional Mexican troops arrived at the Mexican camp. When Houston learned of their arrival, he sent Erastus "Deaf" Smith and 6 other men to destroy Vince's Bridge, about 8 miles to the west, north of present day Pasadena, to delay additional Mexican reinforcements. After destroying the bridge, Smith returned to the Texan's camp. Smith was a native of New York and was a 49-year-old Company Commander in 1836. He was deaf as a result of an illness he suffered many years before the battle.
- Council of War: About noon Houston called his officers together for a council of war. Although nothing definite was resolved, Houston knew that his men were disgruntled by the long retreat and lack of vengeance for Santa Anna's slaughter of Texans at places like the Alamo and Goliad.
- Topographical Factors: In 1836, the battleground was the north pasture of the widow Peggy McCormick's ranch. The land was 10 to12 feet higher then. It has subsided because underground water has been pumped out, causing marshes along the San Jacinto River to sink out of sight. The vegetation then was a mixture of marsh grass in low lying areas and tall prairie grass on higher terrain with clumps of live oaks in areas like the Texas and Mexican Army camps. About 100 years after the battle the area around the monument was heightened with earthen fill and the site of the reflecting pool was excavated during construction of the two structures. At the time of the battle, as we mentioned earlier, the 570 ft tall monument, the 1,800 ft by 200 ft reflecting pool, the levee north of the reflecting pool, site buildings, paved roads, electrical wires, and nearby industrial facilities didn't exist. However, bluff along the San Jacinto River and the north-south ridge on which the monument was built, did exist and, along with vegetation and a lack of Mexican scouts or pickets, helped the Texans to remain unobserved as they approached the Mexican camp.
- Hike to Marker 9; Millard's Infantry Advance and Marker 10; Hockley's Artillery Advance: Move to the south, back to the park road, then across Highway 134, being sure to avoid traffic. You will encounter Marker 9 on the first right curve in the park road. After observing this marker, move to your left, towards the reflecting pool, and proceed down the Marker 10, Hockley's Advance, on the near (south) side of the reflecting pool, toward the near (west) end. Stop at Marker 10 and read the following.
ADVANCE TOWARD THE MEXICAN CAMP
- Texan's Order of Battle: Look across to the far side of the reflecting pool. About half way along its length you will see another stone marker. This is Marker 7, showing the route of Burleson's Advance as part of the Texans' center with Hockley's artillery and Millard's regulars. Still farther away, over the edge of the bluff, Sherman's men advanced toward the Mexican camp, unseen even by the rest of the Texan's. Marker 6, indicating their advance, is north of the monument. Off to the right, Lamar's cavalry advanced over the same ground where they had skirmished the day before. We will retrace the route of the Texans' center, with a slight detour to see exhibits in the monument.
- Hike to the San Jacinto Monument: Proceed toward the monument, keeping the reflecting pool on your left. You may notice headstones on the ridge to your right. These mark the graves of people who lived in the area well after the battle, and have nothing to do with the events of 1836. The relatively high, level ground southwest of the monument is about 100 yards short of the point where the Texans were detected by the Mexicans, roughly 200 to 300 yards away. Before entering the monument, direct attention down the road to your right. Near the intersection inside the stone site gates is Marker 11, the Mexican position on April 20, and a short way down the road to the right is Marker 12, site of the cavalry skirmish on April 20. Refer to the map. The flags on the 6 poles at the eastern end of the reflecting pool are the flags that have flown over Texas. They represent Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America, and the U.S. Enter the monument.
VISIT TO THE MONUMENT
- Visit to the Ground Floor Museum of History in the Monument (free admission)
- See "Texas Forever" This multi-media presentation on the battle will animate many of the events discussed on the hike. (fee for admission)
- Ride the Elevator to the Observation Deck (fee for admission)
- Facilities: Restroom and water fountain available
- Hike to Marker 15; Mexican Camp: You may either consult the map and continue your earlier line of advance over grassland toward Marker 15 or circle the monument counter-clockwise and follow the northern park road toward Marker 15. When you reach Marker 15, read the following.
THE MEXICAN PERSPECTIVE
- The Mexican Camp, Marker 15: The Mexican Army's numerous tents, pitched in formation, covered high ground with marshes to the north and east. The army included both professional soldiers, organized into companies from Guadalajara, Toluca, Aldama, Guerrero, and Matamoros, and conscripts from along the army's route. The soldiers were generally well equipped, well disciplined, and orderly. Their uniforms were patterned after those of Napoleon's French Army, blue and red with white leather accoutrements and white and gold trim. A few wore a white cotton fatigue uniform. They were armed with English .75 caliber "Brown Bess" flintlock muskets fitted with bayonets and effective out to about 50 yards. This musket had been common since the 1760's and was widely used in the American Revolution. Some infantrymen as well as cavalrymen had sabers, but only the cavalrymen would have carried pistols. General Santa Anna condoned the confiscation of food and the burning of towns along his route through Texas, consequently, he and his solders were well fed. When Santa Anna encamped on the night of April 20 he realized the Texans had almost the same number of men as he had under his immediate command since most of his army trailed behind him. He had sent for reinforcements, but must have been concerned that the Texans might overrun his position before the reinforcements arrived. Santa Anna ordered a breastworks, improvised from his army's baggage, erected around the camp so his men would have some cover, posted sentries, and ordered his troops to rest in battle formation with their weapons at hand. Santa Anna expected the Texans to attack at dawn. They did not. Instead, Santa Anna's brother-in-law, General Martin Perfecto de Cos arrived with approximately 540 troops at about 9:00 AM. Although the reinforcements weren't the capable veterans Santa Anna had requested, they gave the Mexican Army a nearly 2:1 numerical advantage over the Texans. The newly arrived troops camped near here on the northern or right flank of the Mexican camp and slept after their march. Santa Anna probably thought that since the Texan's had not attacked early in the morning they would not attack at all after the odds shifted against them with the arrival of the reinforcements. Mexican units stacked their arms, played cards, cooked, ate, and relaxed, not bothering to keep sentries posted.
- Hike to Marker 16; Santa Anna's Camp: Hike south down the left hand road from the main road, on your left, you will encounter Marker 16. Read the following.
SANTA ANNA'S CAMP
- Santa Anna's Camp: Santa Anna spent the early afternoon of April 21 in his tent. According to his own account of the battle, he was sleeping, however, folklore indicates he wasn't alone. Although no specific documentation of her presence has been found, legend has it that Emily Morgan, a slave from the plantation of James Morgan at Morgan's Point, near New Washington, which the Mexican Army had burned, was occupying the Mexican General's attention. Although Santa Anna's officers criticized his actions at San Jacinto, none apparently wrote of Emily Morgan, who became known as "The Yellow Rose of Texas." However, one of the Texas veterans wrote, "Our victory was aided by Santa Anna's voluptuousness." This curious choice of words has been interpreted by some as a reference to Emily Morgan. Whether Santa Anna was sleeping or otherwise occupied is immaterial since he had little time to react when the Mexicans realized the Texans were upon them.
- Hike to Marker 14; Mexican Cannon: Hike west to the grove of trees where you will find Marker 14. Read the following
- The Texans' Charge: According to the Texas Army veteran who laid out the sites for the 20 stone markers that indicate key battle locations in 1894, this was the center of the Mexican Army's line and the location of their only artillery piece, the "Golden Standard." The Texan's central forces struck from just to the left of the monument. The Texas cavalry struck from our left as we face the monument and Sherman's troops came in from the marsh to the northwest.
- Cavalry Diversion on the Texans' Right Flank: According to Houston's plan, Lamar's cavalry was to advance over open ground toward the Mexican cavalry posted near Marker 13 on the Mexican's left flank. Houston's intent was to have the cavalry divert the Mexican's attention to give his infantry time to close in undetected.
- Sherman Initiates Contact on the Mexican's Right Flank: You will recall the Mexican reinforcements that arrived about 9:00 AM. camped on the Mexican right, near Marker 15, and went to sleep. Colonel Sherman's volunteers had advanced out of sight below the bluff at the edge of the marsh. When they emerged they were so close that the sleepy Mexicans had little or no time to unstack their muskets and form a defense. General Cos' camp was overrun and some of its routed occupants fled toward the Mexican center, spreading disorganization and panic.
- The Center: At about 4:30 in the afternoon, the center of the Texas Army line, including Millard's regulars, Hockley's artillery, and, Burleson's volunteers, led by Houston, came up over the ridge just to the left of the monument and advanced to within 200 or 300 yards of the Mexican lines before Santa Anna's men noticed them. According to Houston's account, the "Twin Sisters" took station about 200 yards from the Mexican breastwork and "commenced an effective fire with grape and canister", subsequently advancing the cannons until they were about 70 yards from the "Golden Standard", firing until the Mexican cannon, loaded but unfired for a third round, was captured by the Texas infantry. Houston's narrative continues, "Colonel Sherman, with his regiment, having commenced the action on our left wing, the whole line at the center and on the right advancing in double quick time, raised the war cry, "Remember the Alamo!", received the enemy's fire, and advanced within point blank shot, before a piece was discharged from our lines." According to some, a few Texan's played "Will You Come to the Bower?", a popular song of the day, on fifes and a drum. Once the action commenced, the Texans fired individually, paused to reload, and fired again as they advanced, until the fighting was hand-to-hand along the Mexican breastworks. Houston was mounted and directed his men despite having two horses shot from beneath him. The musket ball that struck his second horse passed through Houston's right ankle. Marker 19, at the end of the road opposite Marker 14 for the Mexican cannon supposedly marks the spot where Houston was hit. Marker 19 is probably not the right location since it is about 90 yards away from the Mexican lines; beyond the effective musket range. Disregarding his wound, Houston mounted again and resumed his direction of the Texas Army. The Mexican breastworks were breached by Burleson's volunteers and Millard's regulars.
- The Mexican Army's Defense: The Mexican Army had been trained to form ranks and fire on command, so that one rank could fire while another reloaded, thus keeping up a series of volleys. Some of the Mexican troops in the center managed to fall in ranks, but there was little time to react when the enemy appeared so suddenly and came on so fast. The "Golden Standard" only had time to get off 2 rounds.
- The Mexican Left Collapses: On the Mexican's left flank, in the vicinity of Marker 13, Colonel Lamar's cavalry surprised the Mexican cavalry and routed them, scattering unmounted horses through the camp and adding to the panic and confusion. Most of the fighting was over in about 18 minutes.
- Santa Anna Flees: As the Texans threatened to penetrate the breastworks, General Santa Anna emerged from his tent, and, according to his subordinates, wrung his hands but didn't give orders to mount an effective defense. He mounted a nearby horse and fled toward the road to the Brazos River. If he hadn't been captured the next day he might have reached the remainder of his army and numerically overwhelmed the Texans.
- Hike to Marker 17; Almonte's Capture: Consult the map. You may elect to look at Markers 13 and 19, then return to the main road and head east to Marker 17 or hike overland toward Marker 17. As you proceed, point out that Mexican soldiers fleeing east and north would be headed for water or marsh. When you reach Marker 17, read the following.
THE MEXICANS FLEE
Slaughter in the Marsh: In the face of the Texans' onslaught, many Mexican soldiers dropped their weapons and fled. Although subsidence has inundated much of the former marsh, the terrain to the north and west of the Mexican camp in 1836 was a boggy. Mexican soldiers trying to get to away were mired down. The Texans, seeking vengeance for the Texans killed by the Mexican Army at places like the Alamo and Goliad, shot, clubbed, and stabbed the Mexican soldiers, ignoring their cries for mercy, "Me no Alamo! Me no Goliad!" Houston and other officers and men tried in vain to stop the slaughter. In addition to his humanitarian motives, Houston knew he must regroup his men and organize the Texas Army in case Santa Anna returned with reinforcements.
The End: Near this marker, Colonel Juan Almonte, Santa Anna's aide, rallied a group of Mexican soldiers for a last stand. Despite their courage, the Mexicans were soon overwhelmed. After about 90 minutes of carnage, just before sunset, Houston regained control of the Texans. About 700 Mexicans soldiers were captured, about 200 were wounded, and about 630 were killed.
Aftermath for the Mexicans: Many of the Mexican prisoners eventually returned to Mexico, but some stayed and became Texas citizens. The bodies of the Mexican soldiers remained where they fell through the summer despite the Widow McCormick's pleas that the Republic of Texas clear her ranch of the corpses. Local ranchers finally buried the Mexican dead in a common grave, the location of which is unknown. As we learned earlier on our hike, Santa Anna was captured the day after the battle and forced to order the remainder of his army to return to Mexico. After his meeting with Houston, Santa Anna was taken to Velasco where he signed a treaty with the Republic of Texas. He eventually returned to Mexico via Washington, DC and New Orleans, where he boarded a ship and went back to Mexico. He remained a powerful figure in Mexico, finally dying in 1876 at the age of 82.
Aftermath for the Texans: Nine Texans had been killed. A makeshift hospital was set up across Buffalo Bayou from where the Texans had camped at Lorenzo de Zavala's plantation. When the Houston Ship Channel drowned de Zavala's plantation many years after the battle, the de Zavala family graveyard was moved to a location just east of the sundial marking the Texan's camp. Houston turned command of the Texas Army over to Rusk on May 5 and sailed to New Orleans via Galveston for medical treatment. He returned to Texas in August and was elected President of the Republic, being inaugurated at Columbia in October. Houston died in 1863 at age 70.
Thanks to the anonymous authors from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Sam Houston Council of the Boy Scouts of America (for which a merit badge was awarded), and the San Jacinto Museum of History Association staff for information used in the preparation of this walking tour.