“Remember the Alamo!” “Remember Goliad!” These were the cries that rallied a weary and all but broken Texas army that ultimately defeated the Mexican forces led by General Antonio López de Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto. Despite having declared independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836, the Texas army still had a long way to go to be truly independent from Mexico. In the midst of a retreat from Gonzales, General Sam Houston turned his men toward Harrisburg and Lynch’s Ferry. Encamping among the trees along the bayou, the Texas army occupied a strategic piece of land that enabled them to watch the movements of Santa Anna and his men.
On the morning of April 21, 1836, General Houston overruled the desire of his officers to wait for Santa Anna to attack first and opted to let his men make the first move. In the afternoon, while the Mexican Army rested, the Texas army advanced using the terrain surrounding Buffalo Bayou and the San Jacinto River as their natural cover. Taking advantage of Santa Anna’s failure to post sentries nearby, the Texas army was able to defeat the Mexican army in a battle that lasted a mere 18 minutes. The victory not only cemented the young Republic’s independence from Mexico, but it also opened up more of the West, furthering the idea of “manifest destiny.”
The Monument commemorating the Battle of San Jacinto has become an iconic symbol of those who fought bravely for Texas independence. Recognizing the strength and determination of all those who fought for independence, former Harris County Attorney Mike Driscoll selected an image of the Monument for the seal of the Harris County Attorney’s Office as a reminder of what can be accomplished when individuals work together toward a common goal.
If you would like more information about the Battle of San Jacinto or other interesting facts and tidbits about Texas, visit the Harris County Law Library and have a look at the Texas Almanac. It's a great read!