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Sam Houston's Battle Report - Battle of San Jacinto
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San Jacinto Battle Report, Sam Houston:
Head Quarters of the Army
San Jacinto 25th April 1836
To his
D. G. Burnett
President of the Republic of Texas
I regret extremely that my situation since the Battle of the 21st has been such as to prevent my rendering you my official report of the same previous to this time.
I have the honor to inform you that on the evening of the 18th Inst after a forced march of fifty-five miles, which was affected in two days and a half, the Army arrived opposite Harrisburg; that Evening a Courier of the Enemy was taken, from which I learned that General Santa Anna, with one Division of his choice Troops, had marched in the direction of Lynchs ferry, on the San Jacinto, burning Harrisburg as they passed down.
The Army was ordered to be in readiness to march early on the next morning. The main body [of our Army] affected a passing over Buffalo Bayou below Harrisburg on the morning of the 19th, having left the Baggage, sick and a sufficient Camp Guard in the rear. We continued the march throughout the night, making but one halt in the prairie for a short time, and without refreshment.
At day light we resumed the line of march, and in a short distance our Scouts encountered those of the Enemy, and we received information that Genl. Santa Anna was at New Washington and would that day take up his line of march for Anahuac, crossing at Lynchs.
The Texian Army halted within half a mile of the ferry in some timber, and were engaged in slaughtering beeves when the Army of Genl. Santa Anna was discovered to be approaching in Battle Array, having been encamped at Cloppers Point eight miles below.
Disposition was immediately made of our forces, and preparation for his reception. He took a position with his Infantry and Artillery in the centre, occupying an island of timber his Cavalry covering the left flank. The artillery then opened upon our encampment, consisting of one Double fortified medium brass twelve Pounder. The Infantry in column advanced with the design of charging our lines, but were repulsed by a discharge of Grape and Cannister from our artillery, consisting of two six pounders. The Enemy had occupied a piece of timber within rifle shot of the left wing of our Army, from which an occasional interchange of small arms took place between the troops, until the Enemy withdrew to a position on the bank of the San Jacinto, about three quarters of a mile of our encampment, and commenced a fortification. A short time before Sunset our mounted men, about Eighty five in number, under the special command of Col. Sherman marched out for the purpose of reconnoitering the Enemy Whilst advancing they received a volley from the left of the Enemy infantry, and after a sharp rencontre with their Cavalry, in which ours acted extremely well, and performed some feats of daring chivalry they retired in good order, having had two men wounded severely, and serveral horses killed; in the mean time the Infantry under the Command of Lieut. Cold. Mallard, and Cold. Burleson Regiment with the Artillery had marched out for the purpose of covering the retreat of the Cavalry if neccessary; all then fell back to our encampment in good order about Sunset, and remained without any ostensible action until the 21st at 1/2 past three o'clock taking the first refreshments which they had enjoyed for two days. The Enemy in the mean time having extended the right flank of their Infantry so as to occupy the extreme point of a skirt of timber on the bank of the San Jacinto and securing their left by a fortification about five feet high constructed of packs and baggage, leaving an opening in the centre of the breastwork in which their artillery was placed, their Cavalry upon their left wing. About 9 o'clock on the morning of the 21st the Enemy were reinforced by 500 choice troops under the command of Genl. Cos, increasing their effective force to upwards of 1500 men, while our aggregate force for the field numbered 783. At past 3 o'clock in the Evening, I ordered the officers of the Texian Army to parade their respective commands, having in the mean time ordered the Bridge, on the only road communicating with the Brazos, distant 8 miles from our encampment to be destroyed, thus cutting off all possibility of escape. Our troops paraded with alacrity and spirit, and were anxious for the contest. Their conscious disparity in numbers, only seemed to increase their enthusiasm and confidence, and heightened their anxiety for the Conflict
Our situation afforded me an opportunity of making the arrangement preparatory to the attack, without exposing our designs to the Enemy. The First Regt. commanded by Col. Burleson, was assigned the Centre. The 2d Regt. under the command of Col. Sherman formed the left wing of the Army. The Artillery under the special command of Cold. George W. Hockley, Inspector General, was placed on the right of the first Regiment, and four Companies of Infantry under the Command of Lieut. Col. Henry Mallard, sustained the Artillery upon the right, and our Cavalry sixty-one in number, commanded by Col. Mirabeau B. Lamar (whose gallant and daring conduct on the previous day had attracted the admiration of his Comrades, and called him to that station) placed on our extreme right completed our line. Our Cavalry was first dispatched to the front of the Enemys left for the purpose of attracting their notice, whilst an extensive island of timber afforded us an opportunity of concentrating our forces and displaying from that point agreeably to the previous design of the troops. Every Evolution was performed with alacrity, the whole advancing rapidly in line and through an open prairie, without any protection whatever for our men; the Artillery advanced and took station within two hundred yards of the Enemys breastwork, and commenced an effective fire with Grape and Cannister. Cold. Sherman with his Regiment having commenced the action upon our left wing, the whole line at the centre and on the right advancing in double quick time, rung the War Cry "Remember the Alamo" received the Enemys fire & advancing within point blank shot before a piece was discharged from our lines.
Our line advanced without a halt until they were in possession of the woodland and the Enemys breastwork. The right wing of Burleson's and the left of Millards taking possession of the breastwork; our Artillery having gallantly charged up within 70 yards of the Enemy's Cannon, when it was taken by our troops. The conflict lasted about 18 minutes from the time of close action until we were in posession of the Enemys encampment, taking one piece of cannon, loaded, 4 Stand of Colors, all their camp Equipage, stores and Baggage. Our cavalry had charged and routed that of the Enemy upon the right, and given pursuit to the fugitives, which did not cease until they arrived at the Bridge which I have mentioned before. Capt. Karnes always amongst the foremost in danger, commanding the pursuers. The conflict in the Breastwork lasted but a few moments, many of the troops encountered hand to hand and not having the advantage of Bayonets on our side, our Riflemen used their pieces as war clubs, breaking many of them off at the Breach. The Route commenced at past 4 o'clock and the pursuit of the Main Army continued until twilight. A Guard was then left in charge of the Enemys encampment and our army returned with our killed and wounded.
In the Battle our loss was 2 killed and 23 wounded, six of which proved mortal. The Enemys loss was 630 killed among which was one General Officer, 4 Cols., 2 Lieut. Cols., 5 Captains, 12 Lieutenants, Wounded 208 of which were 5 Colonels, 3 Lieut. Cols., 2 second Lieut. Cols, 7 Captains, 1 Cadet. Prisoners 730.
President Genl. Santa Anna, General Cos. 4 Colonels aids to Genl. Santa Anna and the Colonel of the Gurerero Battalion, are included in the number. Genl. Santa Anna was not taken until the 22d, and Genl. Cos on yesterday, few having escaped. About 600 muskets, 300 sabres, and 200 pistols have been collected since the Battle. several hundred mules and horses were taken and near twelve thousand dollars in specie.
For several days previous to the action our troops were engaged in forced marches, exposed to excessive rains and the additional inconvenience of extremely bad roads, illy supplied with Rations and clothing, yet amid every difficulty they bore up with cheerfulness and fortitude, and performed their marches with spirit and alacrity. there was no murmuring. Previous to, and during the action, my staff evinced every disposition to be useful, and were actively engaged in their duties, in the Conflict. I am assured that they demeaned themselves in such manner as proved them worthy members of the Army of San Jacinto. Col. T. J. Rusk, Secy of War, was on the field; for weeks his services had been highly beneficial to the Army, in Battle he was on the left wing, when Col. Shermans Command first encountered and drew the Enemy; he bore himself gallantly and continued his efforts and activity, remaining with the Pursuers until resistance ceased. I have the honor of transmitting herewith a list of all the officers and men who were engaged in the action; which I respectfully request may be published as an act of justice to the individuals.
For the Commanding General to attempt discrimination as to the conduct of those who commanded in the action, or those who were commanded would be impossible. Our success in the action was conclusive proof of their daring intrepidity and courage; every officer and man proved himself Worthy of the cause in which he battled, while the triumph received a luster from the humanity which characterised their conduct after victory, and richly entitles them to the admiration and gratitude of their General. nor should we with-hold the tribute of our grateful thanks, from that Being who rules the destinies of nations, and has in the time of greatest need enabled us to arrest a powerful invader, whilst devastating our Country.
I have the honor
to be with high
Your Obt Servt
Sam Houston
Comr. in Chief

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