We got to thinking about Houston which is one of the biggest cities in one of the biggest states. As most people know it was named after Sam Houston, but who was this character. To find out we drove to the far east side of Houston, to the San Jacinto Battleground State Historical Park. The main attraction was quite a familiar sight, an obelisk at the end of a long reflection pool. Rising 570 feet in the air, it is 15 feet taller then the Washington monument. Topped with a 220 ton, 34 ft high Lone Star, the total weight is in excess of 70 million lbs. The slight rise where the monument stands, separated the hastily trained Texas freedom fighters from General Antonio Santa Anna and his 1000 man advanced detachment of Mexican regular infantry. The inside of the monument's base is separated into 4 parts. Museum, art gallery, theater and gift shop. From the movie, "Texas Forever", we learned of a Texas as it was under Spanish rule, then under the rule of a free Mexico, and finally under the hand of the dictator Antonio Santa Anna. In 1836 Texas found itself without representation in the Mexican government, and as such, formed a determination to create an independent country. Santa Anna's response was to march north into Texas with a well trained 6,000 man army. His first contact with the rebellious Texans was at the small mission called the Alamo in San Antonio. Here he set a terrible precedence, even horrifying his own troops when he executed all prisoners, including the wounded, to the last man. Santa Anna then began a long slow chase after Sam Houston and his army. Santa Anna began breaking up his army, sending them in different directions. At Goliad, the Mexicans engaged some 400 Texans who after a short skirmish, surrendered. Again, much to the horror of his officers who had accepted the surrender, Santa Anna ordered the survivors taken outside the city and shot. Of the 400 prisoners, only 50 escaped the execution. Sam Houston, after hearing of the executions, avoided engagement with Santa Anna, resisting the strongest of arguments from his supporters, to attack at once, Houston continued trekking east in front of the Mexicans. Discouragement was causing a high rate of desertion and had reduced his army to just under 1,000 men. Santa Anna, impatient to end the rebellion, elected to march on Lynchburg near the coast, in hopes of capturing the newly formed Texas government. When his main regiments slowed down, he lead an advance column of about 1,000 men. On the night of January 20th, 1836, the two generals found themselves camped about a mile apart along the San Jacinto River. After a short skirmish, the combatants separated with Santa Anna setting up camp just over the rise in the hill, about a mile from the river.
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