Tag Archives: San Jacinto

Happy Texas Independence Day

It’s happy now. Wasn’t on this day in 1836. The Alamo was under siege by the Mexican thousands and the Texians, despite today’s issuance of their proclamation of Texas independence, were about as disorganized and fractious as you might expect a fledgling government and its ad hoc military to be.

Four days from now, with the fall of the Alamo, and not long afterward with the horrific massacre at Goliad, the prospect of hanging would fix all their minds remarkably on their country-making goals. The victory at San Jacinto would follow and Texas would be a newly independent Republic.

The Twin Sisters

For years I quite mistakenly thought the two squat little mortars that guarded either side of the main doors at the south side of the Texas Capitol were the famous Twin Sisters. The ones used to fire handfulls of musket balls, broken glass and busted horseshoes at the Mexican soldados in the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836. Whatever they were (and I think they were removed during the Capitol renovations in the 1990s), they weren’t the "sisters." Texana author Mike Cox reminds me the real ones are still lost, buried somewhere in either Houston or Harrisburg in East Texas at the end of the Civil War. So replicas at the battlefield park are all there are for the present.

The Alamo legend

Thirteen Days to Glory, originally published in 1958, is one of the better myth books of the Alamo. But having only recently read it, at A.C. Greene’s recommendation, I see that it’s shot through with questionable stuff. None is sillier than the "line in the dust" notion foisted on the legend in the late Nineteenth Century by W.P. Zuber. He was a Revolutionary war veteran who was apparently trying to make up for having sat out the battle of San Jacinto as a baggage guard.

So hardy is Zuber’s fable that the D.R.T. now has a brass rod affixed to the flagstones in front of the chapel shrine to commemorate the line. That it is a fraud is logically demonstrated in 2003’s Alamo Traces, New Evidence and New Conclusions. My other favorite Alamo books are the 2000 novel The Gates of the Alamo, with its portrayal of David–rather than Davy–Crockett and ignoring of Zuber’s line altogether, and the 1994 revolutionary military history Texian Iliad, which dismisses the line as without foundation.