In April, 1836, two armies converged at Peggy McCormick’s ranch on the banks of the San Jacinto River. In just 18 minutes, the Texian Army routed Santa Anna and the portion of the Mexican Army he commanded. Texas was free! Almost immediately, the area was revered as hallowed ground in the history of Texas. Visitors clamored to see the place where Sam Houston and the Texians claimed victory in what has been described as one of the most consequential battles in world history…the Battle of San Jacinto. Now a Texas State Historic Site, you can walk the ground Sam Houston walked and see the place where Texas independence was finally won. Come explore the Texas Revolution at the San Jacinto Battleground in this interview with Texas Historical Commission personnel in charge of preserving some of the most sacred ground in Texas.
Originally established in 1721 along the banks of the Guadalupe river, Presidio La Bahia was moved to its present location along the banks of the San Antonio river in 1749. Since then it has been a critical location for worship, trade, protection, battle and commerce. The presidio has been taken and re-taken as Texas has earned its reputation as one of the most contested places in North America. Perhaps it’s best known as James Fannin’s headquarters before his ill-fated attempt to reach Victoria, resulting in the Goliad massacre. The chapel has hosted church services since 1749, and still does today. Fort, community center, and even graveyard, there are few places in Texas as historic as Presidio La Bahia. Join me as I interview site manager Scott McMahon and explore the Texas revolution at Presidio La Bahia.
James Fannin fancied himself an accomplished military commander. But in March of 1836 he had trouble deciding where and when to move. He finally headed for Victoria but decided to stop and feed his animals. Fannin didn’t realize how close the Mexican army was but he soon found out. Surrounded, without supplies, desperate, Fannin surrendered to Mexican General Urrea. The battleground where Fannin surrendered was the third historic site acquired by the State of Texas, right after the Alamo and San Jacinto. Enjoy learning what you can see at this sacred site from site manager Bryan McAuley with the Texas Historic Commission.
The twin sisters were two cannons graciously manufactured and donated to the cause of Texas liberty from the people of Cincinnati. They served Texas well at the Battle of San Jacinto and played a key role in Texas independence. You can see these great guns of liberty at….wait minute…no you can’t. We’ve lost them. Where could they be? Theories abound, but evidence is thin. Some say they are buried by a bayou in Houston. Some say they are in the bayou. Some say they’re in Austin somewhere. Some think they were sold for scrap. Nobody knows. Listen to the latest episode of Wise About Texas and form your own opinion, and maybe start your own search for two of the most important artifacts in Texas history…the Twin Sisters.
Stephen F. Austin chose to set up the capitol of his colony on the banks of the Brazos River where the El Camino Real crossed the river. He envisioned a major metropolitan area as the center of immigrant activity in his colony. He named the town San Felipe. San Felipe de Austin became the second largest town in Texas before Sam Houston ordered it burned in advance of Santa Anna’s army in 1836. It was at San Felipe that land titles were issued, commerce thrived and politics was done. Today, it is a very interesting historic site at which you can get a feel for life in pre-revolution Texas. In this episode, learn more about the San Felipe State Historic Site with site manager Bryan McAuley.
184 years ago, the Texas Army was long on spirit, but short on guns. Artillery, that is. How would they take on Santa Anna without some “hollow ware?” Enter the good people of Cincinnati, Ohio. They formed a committee, the “Friends of Texas,” to support our war effort. They sent two cannons to Texas and they reached the Texas Army just in time. Used to great effect at the Battle of San Jacinto, the “twin sisters” disappeared from history. Where are they now? Theories abound but nobody has located them yet. In Part 1, hear the story of how the twin sisters came to be and the important role they played in winning the fight for freedom.
The account of the Texas revolution makes for glorious telling, retelling and reading. It seemed that every man, woman and child in early Texas just couldn’t wait to rebel against the tyrannical Mexican government and win another glorious war for independence. Didn’t they? Well, not exactly. Just like the 13 American colonies, Texas had its tories too. Learn more about “differences of opinion” in revolutionary Texas in the latest episode of Wise About Texas
The early 20th century brought chaos to the Texas/Mexico border. The Mexican revolution(s) created opportunities for raiders, bandits and criminals to run rampant. The law was hard to enforce and depredations hard to prevent. Germany fostered this chaos to distract the U.S. from the war in Europe. Soon, two documents were discovered that would focus U.S. attention on either quelling the chaos, or joining the war. Hear the story of the role Texas played in the U.S. entering World War I in the latest episode of Wise About Texas: Texas and the Great War, Part 1.
Dr. Lytle Adams had bats in his belfry. He had visited Carlsbad cavern right before Pearl Harbor was attacked. He came up with a great idea for weapon(s) of mass destruction hat would burn up the paper and wood cities of Japan. All he would need was a one ounce incendiary bomb, a breakaway bomb case, and millions of bats. So the Marines set up guards at several Texas caves containing millions of 3-inch winged warriors on their way to the Pacific. Testing sacrificed thousands of these brave flyers but the concept worked…until one worked better. Hear the wild story of the World War II Bat Bomb in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.
Texas Ranger. Two words that strike fear in the heart of the lawbreaker and hope in the heart of the law abiding. Since before there was a Texas, there were Rangers. How this elite force officially began is the subject of some controversy. There is no doubt that Stephen F. Austin realized the need to take the fight to the hostile Indians he encountered in his new colony. In this episode, you hear Austin’s own words describe his ideas to defend his new colony and his personal funding of a group of rangers. I also discuss the various rangers that are often considered the first and why such men were even necessary. I also cover the first battle between Texas Rangers and comanches, beginning a war that would last decades. Hear about the origins of the most famous law enforcement organization in history–the legendary Texas Rangers.
After the battle of San Jacinto, it wasn’t certain just how victorious the Texians were. Several Mexican generals commanded several thousand Mexican troops west of the battleground. Santa Anna indeed ordered them to leave Texas but if they could get resupplied, who knows what could happen? Enter Issac Burton and his horse marines! After failing out of West Point, Issac Burton commanded a company of Texas Rangers charged with patrolling the Texas coast near Refugio, looking for Mexican warships. It didn’t take long before he found one. Through a series of clever maneuvers, a few Texas Rangers managed to capture a total of three ships bound to supply the Mexican Army. Issac Burton’s Texas Rangers may very well have saved the Texas republic as they coined a new term that would be used by the U.S. military for over a century…the Horse Marines.
In 1777 Bernardo de Galvez became governor of Louisiana. As a Spaniard, he was cheering for a colonial victory in the revolution. He made sure supplies made it up the Mississippi to George Washington’s Continental Army. When the Spanish crown authorized Galvez to fight the British, he called on Texas! Galvez turned to Texas to feed his army and in doing so, invented the cattle drive! He was very successful against the British and was a tremendous asset to the liberation of the colonies and the birth of the United States. Hear about the important role of Texas in the American Revolution in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.
181 years ago this week, the Texian Army surprised the Mexican army and won the Battle of San Jacinto. The battle lasted a mere 18 minutes, but its effects changed the world. After the initial 18 minute rout, many of the Texans pursued the fleeing enemy into the bayous and swamps around San Jacinto while others took stock of what could be found in the Mexican camp.
From champagne, to silver, to fancy camp equipment, the Texians found a creative way to dispose of the spoils as well as improve the fiscal affairs of the hours-old Republic of Texas. But it wasn’t all celebration. A reckless youth set the prairie on fire and a lone guard almost changed world history with his bayonet!
Learn more about the immediate aftermath of the Battle of San Jacinto and hear about how the victors handled the spoils of war.
We all remember the Alamo, Goliad and San Jacinto but there were many more battles in the Texas revolution than are commonly discussed. A big issue at the time of the Texas revolution was whether to attack Matamoros, Mexico in hopes that federalist sympathizers would join forces with the Texians and achieve glorious victory over the centralists. The issue split the provisional government and almost dissolved into total chaos. Multiple individuals each thought they were in charge of the army. In the meantime, fighting began in various places between the center of the Texas colonies and Matamoros, usually with poor results. Two of those battles, San Patricio and Refugio are covered in this latest episode of Wise About Texas.
When discussing the Texas revolution, the battle of the Alamo, the Goliad massacre and the great victory at San Jacinto get most of the airtime. But there were several other military events in the time period leading up to Texas independence. One of these events was General Jose Mexia’s attack on the Mexican port city of Tampico. General Mexia thought he had organized federalist resistance to Santa Anna and that he would be welcomed to Tampico as a revolutionary leader. He ran into some bad luck and it didn’t quite work out as planned. Learn more about this incident in this episode of Wise About Texas.
Review the battle of San Jacinto. 18 minutes that changed the world.
After the fall of the Alamo and the massacre at Goliad, times in Texas were uncertain at best. General Sam Houston took the army on a retreat to the east. In this episode learn how the Texian army made it to San Jacinto and some of the side stories and important questions raised during that time. Follow the Texian army as it marches across Texas to its destiny at San Jacinto.
One of the darkest events in Texas history was the massacre of the Texians at Goliad. Learn stories of deceit, escape and even kindness in the midst of sorrow in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.
180 years ago, every Alamo defender lost his life. But not everyone who was in the Alamo died. Learn some stories of the folks who survived the battle and a little about the effect of the defeat on the government of the young Republic of Texas.
In December, 1835, the Mexican army surrendered the major city of Bexar to the rebellious Texans. Learn about the grass fight and the capture of the pots and pans! You’ll also learn about the pivotal role BBQ played in the cause of Texas independence!
Houston was the capital of Texas, but not for long. After the capital moved to the new town of Austin, President Sam Houston kept trying to move it again…leading to an armed conflict and a cannon fired on Congress Avenue! The only question is whether the war is really over…
Download this episode and hear the story of the first large battle of the Texas revolution. While the first shots of the Texas revolution were fired at Gonzales, the first larger battle, and the first Texan casualty, was fought near a mission south of present-day San Antonio. This episode takes you back 180 years to the battle of Concepcion.
Welcome to Wise About Texas, the podcast about Texas history and culture. This introductory episode tells you about the show, the host, and the goals of this podcast. Subscribe to the show and enrich your knowledge of the Texas history stories you know and learn some Texas history you don’t know!