Texans: “blazing, fighting mad”
In 1833 Santa Anna became President of Mexico. An elitist, he feared and thought little of the common man. Ignoring Mexico’s constitution, he dissolved congress, ordered the civil militia disarmed, and established his own dictatorship.
The Americans who had legally settled in Texas, a Mexican state, were not happy about this, to say the least.
Texas and many other Mexican states openly rebelled. Santa Anna then ordered that all foreigners caught under arms on Mexican soil would be treated as pirates and shot.
Foreigners made up the great majority of the Texas Army.
We all know what happened next at the Alamo, but weeks later a massacre occurred that turned Texan resolve into steel.
In March 1836, 400 Texans were near Goliad when a Mexican army of 1400 caught up with them. The Texans fought, but the situation seemed hopeless, so they surrendered.
Mexican General Urrea treated the prisoners well, and urged Santa Anna to show leniency “after a hotly contested engagement”. But Santa Anna would have none of it, and sent an aide to enforce a brutal order: Execute the nearly 350 prisoners, including the wounded.
Santa Anna made a bad mistake. The staunch Texans were furious!
About three weeks later, Sam Houston’s army was set to charge across the San Jacinto plain. At four o’clock in the afternoon, while the Mexican camp slept, the Texan army opened fire with two six-pound cannons. The entire Texan line surged forward shouting “Remember the Alamo!” “Remember Goliad!”
The Texans were so “blazing, fighting mad” General Houston, commander of the Texan army, did not want the Tejanos, Mexicans who sided with the Texans, to fight fearing the Texans would not distinguish between friend and foe during the battle. But the Tejanos wanted to fight and went into battle wearing cardboard signs in their hats to show that they were on the Texan side
The fighting was intense. In the eighteen minutes of battle, the fighting became so fast and furious that all the Mexican soldiers could do was drop on their knees and shout their surrender.
Santa Anna had disappeared during the battle. General Houston ordered a thorough search of the area. A Texan fighter caught a Mexican dressed as a common soldier trying to escape. When the Mexican was brought back to camp the other Mexican prisoners shouted, “El Presidente!” to reveal Santa Anna’s identity.