Texans observe San Jacinto Day
April 21 is San Jacinto Day in Texas, commemorating the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto. On this date in 1836, General Sam Houston and the Texas Army defeated Santa Anna’s Mexican troops, winning independence for Texas in a battle that lasted only eighteen minutes. Though the battle was very short, the course was history was changed forever. San Jacinto Day was made a legal state holiday by the 14th Texas Legislature in 1874.
San Jacinto Day is also a day to honor all who fought for the independence of Texas. They were "Texians" — native citizens and immigrant citizens; speaking Spanish, English, German, and more — all with a common purpose of self-preservation and liberty. It was the Battle of San Jacinto that assured their success.
Many factors led to the battle. Four days after independence was declared on March 2, the Alamo fell. When the news reached Sam Houston, he quickly hurried to Gonzales to take command of the Texas troops. The Texan Army was outnumbered and no match for the well trained soldiers of Santa Anna's army. Marching eastward and away from the advancing enemy troops, they finally stopped at a site near the juncture of the San Jacinto River and Buffalo Bayou.
On the afternoon of Thursday, April 21, 1836, the Texas army of only 750 men advanced on Santa Anna and his army of 1,500 soldiers. To shouts of "Remember the Alamo" and "Remember Goliad" they attacked, and after just eighteen minutes, the battle for Texas was won. Texans were free and embarked on their path as a new nation, the Republic of Texas. For almost ten years, Texans remained an independent country until becoming the twenty-eighth state of the United States of America.
The significance of the battle led to not only the annexation of Texas, but also to the Mexican War, resulting in the U.S. acquisition of the additional states of New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming. Approximately one million square miles of territory, or almost one third of the present day U.S. nation, changed sovereignty because of the victory at San Jacinto.
Celebrations in honor of the San Jacinto have been held every year since the battle. The San Jacinto Monument, a memorial to honor all who fought for independence of Texas, stands at the site of the battle and is the tallest column monument in the world at 567 feet. Events are held annually at the San Jacinto Battleground State Park, which features a re-enactment of the battle and a festival highlighting Texas history. For more information about the park and activities, visit the website at www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/san-jacinto-battleground or phone (281) 479-2421.
Bosque River Chapter celebrated San Jacinto Day during their recent meeting.
San Jacinto Day is one of twelve Texas Honor Days designated by The Daughters of the Republic of Texas. The D.R.T. is the oldest women's patriotic organization in Texas and is dedicated to the preservation and education of Texas history. For more information on Texas Honor Days and the work of the D.R.T., please visit the website at www.drtinfo.org
Sources: Texas Honor Days, The Daughters of the Republic of Texas, website: drtinfo.org Texas State Historical Association, "Battle of San Jacinto," www.thaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qes04; Battle of San Jacinto, Sons of Dewitt Colony Texas, http://www.tamu.edu/faculty/ccbn/dewitt/batsanjacinto.htm; San Jacinto Museum of History, http://www.sanjacinto-museum.org; Morphis, J.M., History of Texas from its Discovery and Settlement, New York: United States Publishing Company, 1875; San Angelo Standard Times, "Out Yonder: San Jacinto battle's significance flies under radar of U.S. historians," by Ross McSwain, April 28, 2012; Texas Historical Commission, Texas Historic Sites Atlas, Marker #10692; Texas State Library and Archives, "The Battle of San Jacinto," www.tsl.state.tx.us/treasures/republic/sn-jacinto.html