For my research paper on 19th century American history, I chose the Texas revolution. The Texas Revolution was revolution of Texans against Mexico. Starting on October 2, 1835, lasting about six months and ending on April 21, 1836, the Texans won their freedom from Mexico.
So what led to the Texas Revolution? One of Mexico’s first constitutions was written in 1824, it weighed heavily in the favor of states rights, giving Texians freedom to rule themselves as they saw fit. However this constitution was eventually overturned in favor in another constitution that gave the federal government more power. Mexico had also combined Texas with Coahuila, and ignored all Texians requests to make Texas a separate state. And with Antonio López de Santa Anna leading Mexico, Texians couldn’t find a lasting way to solve their differences with the government. As Santa Anna would “flip-flop” between liberalism and conservatism to fit his needs. Texians were not given freedom of religion and were forced to convert to Catholicism. Texians kept slaves, which Mexico made illegal. And for Texians who produced export crops, it was far easier to sell their crops in the southern U.S.
By late 1835 tensions between Texians and Mexicans were high. So president Santa Anna issued a command to disarm Texians. In the town of Gonzales there was a cannon that was used by Texians to fend off Indian raids. So soldiers were sent to retrieve the cannon. However they were arrested by the people of Gonzales. Colonel Domingo Ugartechea, who had sent the soldiers, was commanded by Lieutenant Francisco de Castañeda to send 100 dragoons to retrieve the cannon. However they were told that the mayor was not available, and that they could not pass into Gonzales. Ugartechea was commanded to wait, and upon news that armed Texians were pouring into the town, he moved the camp and continued to wait. By the end of September there were 140 armed rebels ready to fight, they elected John Moore to lead them. On October 2, 1835, Texians crossed the river and attacked the Mexican camp, killing one Mexican. Castañeda immediately called for a cease-fire and asked Moore why he attacked them. Moore replied that they were fighting for the Mexican constitution of 1824, and for the cannon.
There were two major Mexican garrisons in Texas. The Alamo, in San Antonio de Béxar, and Presidio La Bahía near Goliad. Béxar being the political center of Texas, and Goliad being halfway between it and Texas’ main port, Copano. Due to the unrest in Texas president Santa Anna sent his brother-in-law, General Martín Perfecto de Cos to Copano on September 20, 1835. Without his knowing Texians by the name of James Fannin, Philip Dimmitt, and John Linn planned to capture him, either at Copano or Goliad. So when he arrived, they sent messengers to San Felipe de Austin, a central committee that coordinated the actions of the Rebels. They chose not to attack Goliad, yet. Soon attention shifted towards Gonzales. After learning of the victory at Gonzales, Cos left with haste towards the Alamo. From October 6-9 the Texians gathered troops and continued with their plan even though Cos already had left for the Alamo. The Texans learned from the local Tejanos that Colonel Juan López Sandoval, the commander of the fort only commanded 50 troops. So they attacked On October 10, 1835 and after 30 minutes of fighting, the Mexican troops surrendered.
Now there were only two Mexican garrisons in Texas. Fort Lipantitlán near San Patricio, and the Alamo, in San Antonio de Béxar. Fearing that Fort Lipantitlán could be used to retake Goliad he sent Captain Ira Westover there. Meanwhile the commander of Fort Lipantitlán, Nicolás Rodríguez was ordered to harrass the Texian troops at Goliad. Taking most of his men, he went on his expedition. However Westover’s men arrived in Sand Patricio while they were gone. And with the help of a local man by the name of James O’Riley, who convinced the garrison to surrender, they captured Fort Lipantitlán. One of Nicolás Rodríguez’s spies told him that Fort Lipantitlán had been captured right before making it to Goliad. So he turned around and headed back. Westover’s men, using canoes crossed Nueces River. However when only half of them had crossed Nicolás Rodríguez and his men spotted them. Hiding in bushes Westover’s men forced Nicolás Rodríguez and his men to retreat using rifles which could shoot further than the Mexican’s rifles could.
San Antonio de Béxar was a vital strategic point coveted by both sides of the conflict. When war broke out, the rebel army made Stephen F. Austin their leader. Austin marched on the city in hopes to quickly end the fighting. However he quickly figured out that the Mexicans outnumbered them, though they were well armed. So they camped outside of the city. Jim Bowie knew the city as a one time resident and still had friends there. Reaching out to his friends, through secret messages, they joined the army and proved vital to the cause. On October 27 Bowie and Fannin, disobeyed orders from Austin, taking ninety men and digging in on the grounds of the Concepción Mission outside town. On October 28, 1835, the Mexican’s seeing that they divided their numbers went on the offensive an attacked. The Texians were pinned against the river, with several companies of Mexican infantry advancing on them. The Mexicans had also brought their lethal weapon, a cannon loaded grapeshot. However they stayed low, and waited for the Mexicans to advance, at which point they shot them down with accuracy. Even shooting the cannoneers, the Texians fended off three waves, and with the fourth one the Mexicans had lost their hope.
After the Grass Fight, in which Jim Bowie led a small group of men to attack reinforcements, which turned out to be grass cutters delivering food for their horses. Many Texians were indecisive and most wanted to leave San Antonio to the Mexicans. However when a man named Ben Milam said “Boys! Who will go with old Ben Milam into Bexar?” many changed their minds. The attack began on December 5, 1835 with the Texians attacking in two columns, one led by Milam, and the other led by Frank Johnson. Mexicans who had joined the rebels led the way while Texian artillery bombarded the Alamo. By day the battle raged in the streets, by night the rebels held strategic houses. General Cos upon hearing that relief was on the way sent two hundred men to escort them. However no relief was there and all who were sent deserted. By the ninth Cos and other Mexican leaders were forced to retreat and surrender. Cos and his men were given one firearm apiece under the terms that he would never return.
At the end of 1835 the Mexicans had been driven out of Texas. Frank W. Johnson, the commander of the volunteer Texian army and James Grant gathered volunteers for the planned invasion of the port. After gathering enough horses, Johnson and 40 men lead the herd in late February. Once at San Patricio, some troops to a ranch 4 miles outside town to guard the horses while, the others garrisoned in three different locations. in the town. However unknown to them was a Mexican General named José de Urrea who was leading his group of soldiers from Matamoros into Texas. His goal, to neutralize all the Texian soldiers across the coast. After following the trail of Johnson’s horses, Mexican soldiers surprise attacked the Texians in the early hours of February 27. And after a fifteen minute battle, all Texians were killed or imprisoned but six. This battle marked the start of the Goliad campaign, the Mexican attempt to reclaim the Texas Gulf Coast. Several days later, James Grant’s location was revealed by informants, and on the morning of March 2, Urrea sent 150 soldiers to ambush the rebels. After a short battle, the main force of the Texians were defeated, however Grant and two other escaped. After a seven mile chase, Grant and eleven others were killed.
After San Antonio had been captured for a while many Texan leaders did not think that it was worth holding. So General Sam Houston ordered Jim Bowie to destroy San Antonio and retreat. However Bowie instead decided to stay and fortify the Alamo, feeling confident that they had enough firepower to hold it. In February Lt. Colonel William Travis arrived with 40 men. Also arriving at the Alamo was the legendary frontiersman, Davy Crockett and a handful of volunteers. Santa Anna and his massive army arrived on the twenty-third of February raising a red flag that meant that no quarter was to be given. Soon enough Travis busied himself asking for reinforcements, however only thirty-two brave men from Gonzales showed up. On March 6, 1836 the Mexicans attacked, while the Texan’s rifles proved devastating, the Mexicans eventually overwhelmed them. The battle lasted 90 minutes, Santa Anna lost 600 troops to the 200 rebellious Texans.
From March 12-15, Mexican General José Urrea, and 1,500 fought against Lieutenant Colonel William Ward, Amon B. King, and their handful of volunteers. As another battle in the Goliad campaign, the Mexicans won and splintered the Texan resistance. On March 19 1836, Fannin began his retreated from Goliad to join the rest of the army in Victoria under the command of Sam Houston. However later that day Mexican troops surrounded them. The Texans formed a square in the middle of the prairie and managed to hold of three separate Mexican charges. At night Mexican snipers killed and wounded more Texans and on March 20, they surrendered. Urrea tried to secure honorable terms for his Texan prisoners, but president Santa Anna received authorization to treat them as pirates. The Texan prisoners were all sentenced to death on March 27, and few managed to escape.
In the April of 1836, Santa Anna learned that Houston was moving east. Spliting his army into three, leading a third to go after Houston. Upon learning of this Houston knew it was time to face him. On April 20, the armies skirmished in a marshy area. Sidney Sherman demanded that Houston send a cavalry charge to attack the Mexicans. However when Houston though the plan foolish he rounded up 60 horsemen and went anyways. The attack failed, forcing the rest of the army to attack to allow them to escape. The following day, the Mexicans received reinforcements, 500 in number and rested. However later in the day, Houston’s army silently drew close and attacked. With as little mercy as Santa Anna had shown them at the Alamo, the Texans killed 630 troops, wounding 200 and capturing 750. Santa Anna was captured the following day after trying to escape dressed as a civilian. Keeping him alive, they forced him to sign documents recognizing the independence of Texas and to tell his generals to retreat.
As a result of the Texas Revolution, Texas gained independence from Mexico, eventually joining the U.S.
Today I basically went over the whole Texas Revolution. Including the:
- The Battle of Gonzales
- The Battle of Goliad
- The Battle of Lipantitlán
- The Battle of Concepción
- Grass Fight
- Siege of Bexar
- The Battle of San Patricio
- The Battle of Agua Dulce
- The Battle of the Alamo
- The Battle of Refugio
- The Battle of Coleto
- The Battle of San Jacinto
Many wars were fought for freedom, the Texas Revolution just being one of them. However what every war had in common was brave people willing to sacrifice their lives for the cause of freedom.
Minter, Christopher. “Causes of Texas Independence.” ThoughtCo. Thought & Expression Co, 04 October 2017. 06 October 2017
Minster, Christopher. “The Battle of Gonzales.” ThoughtCo. Thought & Expression Co, 19 July 2017. 06 October 2017.
“Battle of Goliad” Wikipedia.Wikimedia, 11 July 2017. Web. 06 October 2017.
“Battle of Lipantitlán” Wikipedia.Wikimedia, 2 October 2017. Web. 06 October 2017.
Minster, Christopher. “The Battle of Conceptión.” ThoughtCo. Thought & Expression Co, 07 March 2017. 06 October 2017.
Minster, Christopher. “The Siege of San Antonio.” ThoughtCo. Thought & Expression Co, 06 March 2017. 06 October 2017.
“Battle of San Patricio.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia, 02 October 2017. 06 October 2017.
“Battle of Agua Dulce.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia, 02 October 2017. 06 October 2017.
Minster, Christopher. The Battle of the Alamo.” ThoughtCo. Thought & Expression Co, 06 March 2017. Web. 06 October 2017.
“Battle of Refugio.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia, 02 October 2017. 06 October 2017.
“Battle of Coleto.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia, 02 October 2017. 06 October 2017.
Minster, Christopher. “The Battle of San Jacinto.” ThoughtCo. Thought & Expression Co, 31 March 2017. 06 October 2017.