Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Invading Texas

The author with Travis and Crockett
San Antonio, TX

In an excerpt from the Texas chapter of America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil ( we discussed the Texas Revolution of 1836...

Invading Texas 2017

"By 1821...New Spain was overthrown with the Mexican Revolution. Texas would be governed, for a while, by Mexico City rather than Madrid, although it remained a desolate land with few settlers. The Mexicans launched a campaign to bring more people to Texas by offering generous land grants. The only catch was that new settlers had to convert to Catholicism and that slavery was illegal. This brought many Americans, mostly from the Southern states, to Texas. Stephen Austin of Virginia was an American impresario in the Texas territory who actually changed his first name to Estaban.

In 1826, the short-lived Fredonian Rebellion, led by Haden Edwards, briefly declared an independent state in Texas before it was crushed by Mexican forces.

Mexican attempts to control further Anglo immigration into Texas created tensions that would lead to violence. Already in 1832, Texas insurgents rose against the Mexican authorities, and more was to come.

The wide-open spaces of Texas seemed to promise almost unlimited opportunity for those adventuresome souls who dared to make the trek to the western frontier. Texas drew an assortment of adventurers.

Jim Bowie
1796 - 1836

There was, for example, Jim Bowie, a forger and land swindler from Kentucky who was wanted in several US states. He had also invented the Bowie knife.

Texas also attracted William Travis, an Alabama schoolteacher who abandoned his pregnant wife and child to make his way to Texas. The Alamo would be the twenty-six-year-old’s first command.

Davy Crockett
1786 - 1836
Texas drew David Crockett, a legendary frontiersman from Tennessee. He was elected to Congress in 1826, but lost his reelection bid in 1834. Crockett responded to his defeat with: “I told the people of my district that I would serve them as faithfully as I had done; but if not, they might go to hell, and I would go to Texas.”

Texas was also a magnet for Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón, who is better known to us simply as Santa Anna. In 1836, he was the president and dictator of Mexico. He also styled himself the “Napoleon of the West.” With Texas beginning to stir into open rebellion, Santa Anna led what would prove to be one of the most fateful invasions of Texas and, indeed, American territory.

By 1836, the Anglo population of Texas outnumbered the Mexicans by more than three to one. On March 2, 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico. General Sam Houston was selected to lead the military forces of the newly created Republic of Texas.

But as Texas declared its independence, General Santa Anna and an army of over 3,000 men were laying siege to the Alamo.
William Travis
1809 - 1836

On February 28, 1836, William Travis wrote this famous letter from the Alamo:

To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World— Fellow citizens & compatriots—
I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna — I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man — The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken — I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls — I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch — The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country —
Victory or Death.

On March 6, the presidio was stormed, and all 187 defenders, including Travis, Bowie, and Crockett, were slain. “Remember the Alamo” would become the rallying cry of the new Texas Republic.

Even worse atrocities, though, would soon follow the fall of the Alamo.

Mexican forces won the Battle of Coleto Creek on March 19–20, 1836. Colonel James Fannin was compelled to surrender his force of about three hundred Texans. The Mexican Congress had ordered captured rebels to be treated as pirates. On March 27, over 340 Texans were summarily executed in what became known as the Goliad massacre.

Sam Houston
1793 - 1863

In 1836, Sam Houston was a hard-drinking politician with limited military experience. He had failed to come to the relief of William Travis and the defenders of the Alamo. He was powerless to prevent the Goliad Massacre. But he would succeed spectacularly at San Jacinto.
San Jacinto Monument
La Porte, TX
Sam Houston was opposed by Santa Anna, and Santa Anna’s forces outnumbered the Texans by about 1,300 to 900. Santa Anna, however, had violated two of the cardinal rules of military strategy: he had divided his forces, and he had camped his army with its back to a swampy river.  Finally, Santa Anna had neglected to post pickets around the Mexican encampment, and that allowed the Texans to launch a surprise attack. On April 21, 1836, Sam Houston decisively defeated Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto, which was near the town of La Porte. The battle lasted only eighteen minutes and resulted in the deaths of 630 and the capture of 730 Mexican troops, along with Santa Anna himself. Only nine Texans were killed in the engagement. Santa Anna would be ransomed back to Mexico in exchange for the independence of Texas."

With Jim Hooper in front of The Alamo
San Antonio, TX
For much more on Texas and all the other states please pick up a copy of America Invaded (

Signed copies of America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil can now be found

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