Today is the 185th anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto. It was a revolutionary battle in every respect, with many lessons. Two brave Texian soliders died. More than 700 Mexicans did as well.
With cries of “Remember the Alamo” and “Remember Goliad” the Texians were frenzied in their desire for both freedom and revenge. A sad element was the slaughter of hundreds of fleeing Mexicans, because the Mexicans had slaughtered all the defenders of the Alamo in cold blood.
They had also summarily executed almost all of the defenders of Goliad who had surrendered, were weaponless, and defenseless. Although the Texian Army’s revenge was not the best course of action, it’s a good reminder that the slaughter of more than 600 Texians at the Alamo and Goliad had deadly consequences.
One thing that makes Texas and America special is that we don’t treat defenseless noncombatants as cannon fodder. The Mexican Army at least were combatants on the field of battle with weapons, unlike Colonel Fannin’s unlucky 400 men at Goliad. We need to always defend and protect the magnanimous treatment of prisoners of war, a unique element of American exceptional uniqueness, at all costs.
Additionally, until the battle of San Jacinto Sam Houston was treated as a coward who was running away from the Mexican Army. On the contrary, Houston’s retreat toward the Louisiana border was a masterful strategy, with the Mexican Army divided and inviting American involvement so near to the Louisiana border.
San Houston is arguably the most legendary Texan of all time, but in the moment he was deemed an unpopular “coward”. His story is a great example of how rushing to judgment can be a terrible mistake, and how patience is a virtue.
Today, we salute the brave men of the Texian Army under Houston’s brilliant leadership who won our freedom and independence, and we should always remember San Jacinto.