and prepare the region for speedy Annexation to this country, as a new make-weight in Mr. Calhoun
's scheme of a perpetual balance of power betwen the Free
and the Slave States
had scarcely reached Nacogdoches
, near the eastern boundary of Texas
, when he was elected therefrom a delegate to a Convention called to frame a Constitution for that country as a distinct State, which met April 1, 1833, and did its predestined work.
proclaimed her entire independence of Mexico
, March 2, 1836.
War, of course, ensued — in fact, was already beginning — and Houston
soon succeeded Austin
in the command of the insurgent forces.
On the 10th, Houston
repaired to the camp at Gonzales
, where 374 poorly-armed, ill-supplied men, were mustered to dispute the force, 5,000 strong, with which Santa Anna
had already crossed the Rio Grande
and advanced to the frontier fort, known as the Alamo
, held by Col. Travis
, with 185 men, who were captured and all put to death.
, of course, retreated, hoping to be joined by Col. Fannin
, who held Goliad
with 500 men, and several pieces of artillery, whereas Houston
had not one.
, while on his way to join Houston
, was intercepted and surrounded by a strong Mexican
detachment under Urrea
, by whom, after two days fighting, he was captured (March 20), and all his survivors, 357 men, treacherously shot in cold blood.
, of course, continued his retreat, pursued by Santa Anna
, but having too little to carry to be easily overtaken.
He received some slight reinforcements on his march, and at the San Jacinto
, April 10, met two guns (six-pounders), sent him from Cincinnati
— his first.
, still eagerly pressing on, had burned Harrisburg
, the Texan
capital, and crossed the San Jacinto
with the advance of his army, the main body being detained on the other side by a freshet.
perceived his opportunity, and embraced it. Facing suddenly about, he attacked the Mexican
vanguard with great fury, firing several rounds of grape and canister at short range, then rushing to the attack with clubbed muskets (having no bayonets), and yells of “Remember the Alamo
were utterly routed and dispersed — the return of 630 killed
to 208 wounded
, proving that very little mercy was shown by the Texans
, who nevertheless took 730 prisoners (about their own number), who were probably picked up after the battle, as their General was, in the trees and bushes among which they had sought safety in concealment.
's life was barely saved by Houston
, who was among the twenty-five wounded, who, with eight killed, formed the sum total of Texan loss in the fight.
made a treaty with his prisoner, in obedience to which the main body of the Mexicans retreated and abandoned the country, as they doubtless would, at any rate, have done.
This treaty further stipulated for the independence of Texas
; but no one could have seriously supposed that such a stipulation, wrested from a prisoner of war in imminent and well-grounded fear of massacre, would bind his country, even had he, when free, had power to make such a treaty.
The victory, not the treaty, was the true