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Logan Library

Reacting to the Past: Texas: The Battle



By 1835, Antonio López de Santa Anna had established himself as a dictator in Mexico. Among Anglo-American colonists and Tejanos alike, the call for Texas independence grew louder. On March 2, 1836, a delegation at Washington-on-the-Brazos adopted the Texas Declaration of Independence, and thus was born the Republic of Texas.

Santa Anna had brought his army to Texas to put down the rebellion, and events followed in quick succession. At the time the Declaration was issued, many Texans were fleeing their homes eastward ahead of Santa Anna's army, in what became known as the Runaway Scrape. The Alamo fell to Santa Anna on March 6, and over 300 unarmed Texan prisoners were massacred at Goliad on March 27. Sam Houston's revolutionary army was also retreating eastward as Santa Anna drove for the coast to capture Texas seaports. On April 21, the Texan army took a stand in the bayou country near present-day Houston at a site called San Jacinto. They attacked Santa Anna's army while it was sleeping, and, in a battle lasting only 18 minutes, routed the Mexican army and captured Santa Anna.

Many Texans favored immediate annexation by the United States. However, the proposals went nowhere, because of the risk of continued war with Mexico and Texas' shaky financial status. Even after San Jacinto, Mexico refused to recognize Texas's independence and continued to raid the Texas border. The new government had neither money nor credit, and no governmental structures were in place. Rebuffed by the United States, Texans went about the business of slowly forming a stable government and nation. Despite many difficulties and continued fighting both with Mexico and with Indian tribes, the Texas frontier continued to attract thousands of settlers each year.

In 1841, Santa Anna again became president of Mexico and renewed hostilities with Texas. By this time, sympathy for the Texan cause had grown in the United States, and in 1845, annexation was at last approved. Hostilities with Mexico and the Indians reached a settlement, and Texas was admitted as a state on December 29, 1845. The Republic of Texas, after nine years, eleven months, and seventeen days, was no more.


The defenders of the Alamo used a variety of weapons, mostly just what they had at their disposal at the time. Click on the picture of the rifle to see a more detailed description of the weapons some of the men used. 
Here is a glossery of terms provided by the same website. 
  • Belduque - Large Spanish or Mexican knife.
  • Blunderbuss - A short musket with a flared or belled muzzle and large bore.
  • Bowie knife - Large knife made famous by James Bowie.
  • Brown Bess - Large caliber English made musket.
  • Caplock - Another name for percussion weapon.
  • Carbine - A shortened version of rifle or musket favored by cavalry.
  • Dickert, Jacob - Noted late 18th and early 19th century Pennsylvania gunsmith. One of his guns is on display in the Long Barracks museum at the Alamo.
  • Flintlock - Type of lock or ignition system for gun utilizing a piece of flint to throw spark to fire gun.
  • Fowlers - Smoothbore single barreled shotgun peculiar to America.
  • Fusil de Chasse - Large caliber French-made musket.
  • Harper’s Ferry Pistol- United States arsenal made weapon.
  • Horse pistol - Large caliber pistols usually carried on horseback.
  • Miguelet - Early flintlock type lock.
  • Musket - Gun with no rifling, a smoothbore.
  • Percussion - Newer type of ignition system using a small cap with Fulminate of Mercury to fire gun.
  • Smoothbore - General term covering all weapons not having rifling.
  • Spanish Pistola - Any number of Spanish made pistols.
  • Stand of Arms - Musket, bayonet, belt w/ammunition pouches and scabbard and a tool kit for servicing gun.
  • Swivel gun - A small cannon mounted on swivel. Normally a naval gun for sweeping deck of enemy ships.
  • Tulle - Town in France where Fusil de Chasse was made. Another term for the Fusil de Chasse.