San Jacinto Day
0 comment Thursday, August 21, 2014 |
Today is the anniversary of the historic victory at the Battle of San Jacinto, in Texas. In commemoration I will repeat one of my post from years past on the events of that day. The excerpts in it are from an account by a woman who tells her story.
The runaway scrape
by Mrs. Kate Scurry Terrell, from Wooten's Comprehensive History of Texas
Mrs. Terrell gives a very vivid and moving depiction of the events of April 21, 1836. At this time, the able-bodied men of the Texas colonies were away with Gen. Sam Houston's army, and the distressing news of the recent massacres at the Alamo and at Goliad was fresh in the minds of the colonists. The women and children were mostly left, along with the old men and boys. These families fled from the advancing Mexicans, and from the occasional Indian raids, abandoning their vulnerable settlements. The retreat of Houston's army, and the flight of the settler women and children, are referred to as 'The Runaway Scrape.
' The women of the colonies really showed their mettle during this trying and dangerous time, as recounted in Mrs. Terrell's story:
'On the women- -- brave wives and mothers of brave men fell the responsibility of protecting their families. Knowing the quality of Mexican mercy, they gathered their children and servants and started at once for the Brazos. Any kind of vehicle served for transportation; in carriages, wagons, ox-carts (sometimes with cows hitched to them), were piled the bedding and babies, the women driving, or following on foot or on horseback as they could. The panic was so great that frequently families would leave a meal on the table to join the rush, and the next one that came that way would snatch it as they raced
[...]Colonel Guy M. Bryan, in a paper on early days in Texas, says he can never forget the pitiful sight of the runaways when his family joined them at Cedar Bayou. On the road, as far as the eye could reach, east and west, a motley crowd of suffering and perplexed humanity struggled, uncomplaining, through the mud. Many women and children were walking, some barefooted and bareheaded.
[...]The stronger women became veritable Sisters of Mercy as they went about nursing, encouraging, and comforting the less fortunate. General Rusk pays a glowing tribute to these noble women. He said:
"The men of Texas deserved much credit, but more was due the women. Armed men facing a foe could not but be brave; but the women, with their little children around them, without means of defence or power to resist, faced danger and death with unflinching courage."
[...]On the 20th, a squad of soldiers riding into camp found a Sabbath stillness, the children asleep under the trees, the women in groups talking quietly or reading aloud, the old men dozing around the campfires. The 21st day to be remembered of all time was misty and cold, but strangely electric; the suspense was intense and the waiting agony, Suddenly, as the sun shone out, the booming of cannon came faintly across the prairie.
"God of battles, remember the helpless! Let thy strength be with us this day!" Towards sunset, a woman on the outskirts of the camp began to clap her hands and shout "Hallelujah! Hallelujah!" Those about her thought her mad, but, following her wild gestures, they saw one of the Hardins, of Liberty, riding for life towards the camp, his horse covered with foam, and he was waving his hat and shouting "San Jacinto! San Jacinto! The Mexicans are whipped and Santa Anna a prisoner." The scene that followed beggars description. People embraced, laughed and wept and prayed, all in one breath. As the moon rose over the vast flower-decked prairie, the soft southern wind carried peace to tired hearts and grateful slumber. As battles go, San Jacinto was but a skirmish; but with what mighty consequences! The lives and the liberty of a few hundred pioneers at stake and an empire won! Look to it, you Texans of today, with happy homes, mid fields of smiling plenty, that the blood of the Alamo, Goliad, and San Jacinto sealed forever "Texas, one and indivisible!"
The Texas State Library & Archives Commission website gives a straightforward account of the battle and the surrender of Santa Anna.
But please note this opening paragraph, and ponder on it in light of current events:
The Battle of San Jacinto lasted less than twenty minutes, but it sealed the fate of three republics. Mexico would never regain the lost territory, in spite of sporadic incursions during the 1840s. The United States would go on to acquire not only the Republic of Texas in 1845 but Mexican lands to the west after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican War in 1848.
Has the war ended, and can we say Mexico will never regain the lost territory?
"Look to it, you Texans of today", as Mrs. Terrell said, and unfortunately, it is not just Texans who are under siege now.''
I will add just one more postscript on the subject. Over the last weekend Rep. Ted Poe spoke at a commemorative re-enactment and celebration at the historic site. During the course of his remarks he felt compelled, it seems, to mention that 'people of all races' joined together to win the victory and Texas independence. It seems political correctness and ''diversity'' demands obeisance to the presence of Mexicans or 'others' at these historic events, and gives them equal billing and credit for any victories won. To me, this detracts from the real heroes of the day, and of Texas Independence, diminishing their stature and their accomplishments.
What an age we find ourselves in. I am afraid our forefathers who were there and who won the victory for us are ashamed of us.

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