Officers and Enlisted Men~Battle of San Jacinto 21st April 1836
CONTINUED~PAGE TWO Primary sources Dixon and Kemp's The Heroes of San Jacinto, John Henry Brown's History of Texas and Miller's Bounty and Land Donation Grants of Texas, Stephen Moore's Eighteen Minutes. The Battle of San Jacinto and the Texas Independence Campaign and many other diverse sources. Listings are inclusive where there are questions or differences among sources)
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Rear Guard Opposing Harrisburg
Major Robert McNutt Commander
Jesse Benton Jr., Sargeant major
Thomas P. Anderson, Volunteer Physician
William W. Bomar, Volunteer Physician
William Francis H. Davis, Regimental Surgeon
Conrad Rohrer, Captain, Wagonmaster
Gibson Kuykendall Captain
Francis Miller, First Lieutenant
Sherwood Young Reams, first sargeant
William P. Polk, second sargeant
James Hampton Kuykendall, fourth sargeant
Jams Atkinson, Walter Elias Baker, Obidiah Beams, Joseph Bennett, James B. Blaylock, James H. Bostick, Joseph Bostick, McLin Bracey, Alexander Brown, Jonathan Burleson, James Burnett, Thomas Burtrang, Hell Orton (D.) Campbell, John Campbell, Rufus Easton Campbell, Arter Crownover, John Davis, Edward Dickinson, James Carson Duff, J.P. Duff, Henry Freed, Benjamin Granville, George W. Grimes, Basel Muse Hatfield, Joseph Jackson, Nathan B. Johnson, William P. Kerr, Adam Kuykendall, Brazilla Kuykendall, H.A. Kuykendall, John Kuykendall, Thornton S. Kuykendall, Hiram (Henry) Lee, Addison Litton, Jesse, John Litton, A. Liverall, Joseph Penn Lynch, L. Mantin (E. Manhue?), Elias J. Marshall, Hugh Lewis Marshall, John Marshall Jr., Joseph Taylor Marshall, Samuel B. Marshall, Nathaniel A. McFadden, George Morris, John Morris, William M. Perry, James B. Pier, Thomas Polk, R. Potts, Perry Price, Robert Price, William Price, John B. Rhodes, Earl Robbins, John Sharp, J.G. Snodgrass, John Stephens, Thomas B. Stevenson, Josiah Taylor, Stephen Townsend, P. John Townsend, Moses Townsend, M. Trud
Peyton R. Splane Captain
Samuel S. Gillette Second Lieutenant
William Gorham Orderly Sergeant
Wiley M. Head Second Sergeant
Preston Pevehouse Third Sergeant
Calvin P. Abbott, William Barker, Daniel Bradley, Octavius A. Cook, A.W. Cooke, John B. Crawford, Freeman Walker Douglass, Jonathan Douglass, William G. Goolsey, James Gordon, James B. Hinds, Archbald Hodge, James Hodges Jr., William Hodge, Joseph Ranson Johnson, William H. Kenney, William McMaster, John D. Moore, Bethel Morris Spencer Morris Jr., James D. Owen, Solomon Calvin Page, Alexander W. Rowlett, I.G. Smith, John G. Smith, William P. Smith, William W. Smith, Thomas Splane, Jesse Williams, Agabus Winters, William Riley Woods
Chance's Company (Washington Guards)
Joseph Bell Chance Captain
Moses Evans Second Lieutenant
John H. Scraggs Orderly-Sergeant
Ennis Hardin Second Sergeant
George Bond, David Wilson Campbell, James K. Chelaup, James R. Childress, John R. Cockrell, Thomas Common, Sylvanus Cottle, Josiah G. Dunn, Calvin Brallery Emmons, Edwin B. Emory, Massillon Farley, Benjamin C. Finley, Lankford Fitzgerald, John A.E. Gravis, Dr. J.D. Jennings, D.P. Jones, Garrett Law, Theodore Staunton Lee, Peterson Lloyd, James Maury, Robert Merritt, Spencer Morris Sr., Dr. Richard Rogers Peebles, J.M. Pennington, Stephen R. Roberts, Garett Sam, Thomas M. Splane, Thomas Thompson, Richard Vaughn, Josiah Walker, Robert Winett, W.H. Word, Joseph H. Woods, Gilbert Wright
CAMP GUARDS, SPECIAL DETAIL DUTY OR SICK
Arnold's Co: Stillwell Box, Alfred M. Hallmark, William Everett Kennard, Keeton McLemore Jones, Henry William Vardeman, John C. Walling, John Swanson Yarbrough Jr., Joseph Randolph Yarbrough
Billingsley's Company: John W. Anderson, Albert Black, Jeptha Boyce, David C. Connell, George Duty, Greenleaf Fisk, Isaac Gorham, Isaac Harris, Azariah G. Moore, Elisha Pruitt, George Washington Ricks
Baker's Co: Launcelot Abbot, William Pettus
Bird's Co: Young Caruthers, John M. Hensley, Robert Hancock Hunter, George B. Peerman
Bryant's Co: William Means, Hardy William Brown Price
Calder's Co: William A. Grady
Fisher's Co: John Breeding
Gillespie's Co: John Blaney, Micajah Bradley, William Everett, Henry Fullerton, William Kennard, William McCoy, Samuel McFall, William McIntire, Andrew McMillan, James McMillan, John Newton, Daniel Smith, Oswin Wilcox, John Walker, William Physick Zuber
Heard's Co: Napoleon Bonaparte Breeding, Henry L. Lightfoot
Hill's Co: Isham G. Belcher, John Bate Perry, Jacob Castleman, Willard Chamberlain, Capt., William Warner Hill, James Hollingsworth, James Hughes, David Levi Kokernot, Jesse Lindsay McCrocklin, Sion W. Perry, Jeremiah W. Simpson, Benjamin Franklin Swoap, William Townsend
Karne's Co.: Jesse Bartlett, William Caruthers
Kimbro's Co: James Burch, Newell W. Burditt, William Buck Burditt, Godfrey Etheridge, Jonas Hale, David Hill, Samuel McGown, Robert Tippett
Logan's Co: Stephen William Blount, Patrick Bryody, James Cole, John J. Holcombe, William M. McFaddin, James McLaughlin, William McLaughlin, Thomas Norment, David Rankin, William A. Smith, Robert Whitlock, Ransom Wilborn, Hezekiah Williams Sr.
McIntire's Co: Andrew Crier
Neill's Co.: George Washington Seaton
Patton/Murphree's Co: Robert Brown, Henry Buckley, Emery Holman Darst, Henry H. Haggard, Robert Hodge, Richard Hope, Elisha Mather, George Washington Pleasants, Wesley Tollett, Martin Varner, Nicholas Whitehead, Edward Williams
Teal's Co: Henry Teal
Roman's Co: George M. Casey
Ware's Co: Phillip Haddox Coe, James Hillness Collard, Jonathan S. Collard, Evan Conner, Thomas Conner, John Monroe Harbour, T.J. Harbour, Lewis Moore, Morris Moore, Ransom Olphin, Wiley Parker, Daniel Raper, Benjamin W. Robinson, John B. Tong
Wood's Co: Thomas Freeman
Unassigned: Oliver Farnsworth, Meredith Hunget, Seth Ingram, Thomas Kemp, Sterling Clack Robertson. Enoch Robinett, James M. Robinett, James Robinson, Ashbel Savery
BIOGRAPHIES & PHOTOS OF KEY FIGURES
Colonel Thomas Jefferson Rusk:
1st Secretary of War of the Republic 1836
Battle of San Jacinto
Brigadier-General of the Republic 1838-1839
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic 1839-1840
President Statehood Convention 1845
US Senator State of Texas 1846-1857
(Photo from The Old Stone Fort, Nacogdoches)
MAJOR WILLIAM GORDON COOKE
COOKE, WILLIAM GORDON (1808-1847).
William Gordon Cooke, soldier and statesman, son of Adam and Martha (Riddell) Cooke, was born at Fredericksburg, Virginia, on March 26, 1808. He was trained in the family drug business. He moved to New Orleans to continue his career and on October 13, 1835, volunteered for the New Orleans Greys. He arrived with the second company at Velasco, Texas, on October 25, 1835, and was elected first lieutenant the next day at Quintana. After arrival at Bexar on November 8, 1835, Cooke was elected captain of his company and raised volunteers to storm the town. Cooke led the party that captured the priest's house on the main plaza, thus forcing the Mexican capitulation, and received the flag of surrender, which he sent to Col. Francis W. Johnson, commanding officer.
Cooke then volunteered for the Matamoros expedition of 1835-36. As captain he led the reformed San Antonio Greys to Goliad. Shortly after Sam Houston's arrival and impassioned speech there, Cooke offered his services to the Texas army and was sent with his company to Refugio, where they were joined by Col. James Walker Fannin, Jr., and the Georgia Battalion. Fannin ordered Cooke to San Patricio to reinforce Maj. Robert C. Morris. Cooke was subsequently left in command there when Morris, Johnson, and Col. William Grant proceeded to the Rio Grande.
Cooke received Grant's letter stating his intentions to join the Mexican Federalists and, after relaying this news to Fannin, was ordered to fall back to Goliad, where he arrived on February 12, 1836. He was then sent with two Mexican prisoners to Washington-on-the-Brazos, where he joined Houston's staff as assistant inspector general. Cooke went with Houston to Gonzales and there assisted in organizing the troops. At the battle of San Jacinto he served on Houston's staff with the rank of major. Cooke was in charge of the guard on the prisoners when Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was captured. He prevented the angry Texans from executing Santa Anna so that he could be brought before General Houston.
When Houston went to New Orleans to recover from wounds received in the battle, Cooke accompanied him, but soon returned to Texas to serve as chief clerk of the War Department. In October 1836 he was appointed stock commissioner in Houston's first administration and was responsible for issuing stock certificates and certificates to fund the public debt. He served in this office until the spring of 1839. In November 1836 Houston appointed Cooke acting secretary of war and on January 31, 1837, inspector general, an office he held until July 31, 1837. Cooke then retired from the army because of ill health and opened two drugstores in Houston. On June 9, 1837, he was made official signer of the president's name to promissory notes of the Republic of Texas, a job necessitated by injuries to Houston's arm that were aggravated by illness. The position lasted until November 11, 1839.
Cooke reenlisted in the army around October 1838 and received a commission as quartermaster general of the republic. In March 1840 Mirabeau B. Lamar named him commissioner to sign treaties with the Comanches, and in this role he took part in the Council House Fight in San Antonio on March 19, 1840.
On August 18, 1840, Cooke was appointed colonel of the First Regiment of Infantry, the unit that laid out the Military Road from the Little River to the Red River. Fighting Indians and starvation along the way, Cooke explored and mapped much of north central Texas. He established Fort Johnson and Fort Preston on the Red River and Cedar Springs Post on the Trinity River; at this post were the first structures built by white men at the future site of Dallas. Cooke's success in this venture prompted a grand military ball in his honor, held in the Senate chamber at Austin on February 27, 1841, and a nomination for vice president of the republic. He declined the latter and accepted instead an appointment from Lamar in April 1841 as senior commissioner on the Texan Santa Fe expedition.
Cooke assisted Lamar in promoting and organizing the expedition and was to have been the chief civil authority in Santa Fe. On September 17, 1841, he was deceived by the traitor Capt. William G. Lewis and surrendered the Texans' arms. Cooke and his men were marched to Mexico City and imprisoned in Santiago Prison on December 26, 1841. They were released on June 14, 1842, and stayed at Waddy Thompson'sqv house in Mexico City and then in Jalapa, Vera Cruz, until passage could be arranged. Cooke arrived at Galveston aboard the United States brig Boxer on August 10, 1842.
Ignoring his pledge not to take arms against Mexico under pain of death, he immediately joined with Gen. Edward Burleson to expel the Mexican general Adrian Woll from San Antonio. On September 22, 1842, Cooke was wounded in Capt. John C. Hays's charge on the cannon at Arroyo Hondo. On October 25, 1842, Houston appointed him quartermaster general and chief of the subsistence department, in which capacity Cooke helped organize the infamous Snively expedition and the Somervell expedition, of which he was a member until February 1, 1843.
Seeking further revenge, Cooke went to New Orleans to join Edwin Ward Moore on his expedition to the Yucatan. They sailed on April 15, 1843, in the sloop-of-war Austin. Cooke participated in engagements with the Mexican steamships Montezuma and Guadaloupe, and after the Independencia joined the Texan fleet, he twice accompanied her on raiding expeditions, hoping to capture prisoners to exchange for those held in Mexican prisons. The first expedition resulted in the capture of the Mexican ship Glide, and the second brought back news to Moore that Houston had declared him a pirate, charges against which Cooke later defended him. They returned to Galveston on July 14, 1843, and Cooke received an appointment from Gen. Sidney Sherman as adjutant general of the Texas militia.
Cooke was elected representative from Bexar County to the House of the Ninth Congress on September 2, 1844, and served his term as chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs. Partly as a result of his efforts on Commodore Moore's behalf, Cooke was appointed by President Anson Jones in December 1844 to replace Morgan Calvin Hamilton as secretary of war. Cooke, who had become the last commander of the regular Texas army when the troops were disbanded in 1841, was now responsible for raising troops and supplies for the United States army of occupation under Gen. Zachary Taylor. He served in this office until the spring of 1846, when he ran unsuccessfully for the Congress of the United States. He lost to Timothy Pillsbury by a narrow margin. On April 27, 1846, Cooke was appointed the first adjutant general of the state of Texas by Governor James Pinckney Henderson. He served in this office until his death.
Cooke was a Protestant and a grand royal arch captain of Holland Masonic Lodge No. 36 in Houston. On August 16, 1844, he married Angela Maria de Jesus Blasa Navarro, daughter of Luciano Navarro and niece of Jose Antonio Navarro. They had one son. Cooke died of tuberculosis on December 24, 1847, at his father-in-law's ranch in Seguin. He was buried in nearby Geronimo and, on March 2, 1937, reinterred in the State Cemetery, Austin. Cooke's Camp, near San Antonio, Cooke County, and Cooke Avenue in San Antonio were named for him.
BURIED: TEXAS STATE CEMETERY:
Section:Republic Hill, Section 1
Row:S Number:7 Reason for Eligibility: Republic of Texas Veteran; Member, Republic of Texas House of Representatives; Secretary of War, Republic of Texas; 1st Adjutant General of Texas Birth Date: March 28, 1808 Died: December 21, 1847 Buried: Reinterred March 2, 1937
Commissary-General John Forbes
Some two days after the Battle of San Jacinto and in the morning at early sunrise I was attending to some duties close by the guard fire, where the Mexican prisoners were under guard I noticed two men approaching me from the prairie skirting Buffalo Bayou, as they came up to where I was standing. One of the men was a very youthful soldier with his gun on his shoulder, belonging to Captain Baker’s company. I think his name was Joel Robertson [Robison. the other man was a Mexican in undress and unarmed, the young soldier stated that as he was coming into camp, the Mexican threw himself in his way, and requested to be taken to General Houston. The Mexican then quickly addressed me in Spanish, which rendered into English meant, "Sir General Houston," intimating a desire to see the General and took from somewhere about his person a letter which he handed to me, pressing his finger on its address, which read Don Lopez de Santa Anna etc. I returned the letter to him and asked him if he was General Santa Anna, he replied affirmatively and again repeated "Sir General Houston" with emphasis, at that moment I was joined by Col. George W. Hockley whom I told who the prisoner was, and that we would take him before General Houston, at that same time we heard from the Mexican prisoners at the guard fire an exclamation of "El Presidente! El Presidente!" The prisoner placed between Col. Hockley and myself, our young Texian soldier in the rear passed through Col. Burleson’s quarters at the head of which General Houston’s tent was pitched. On our arrival we found the General outside of his tent stretched on a mattress at the foot of a large tree apparently asleep, resting on his left side and his back towards us. We ranged up alongside and I put my hand on his arm to arouse him, he raised himself on his elbow and looked up. The prisoner immediately addressed him telling him who he was and surrendering himself to him a prisoner of war. General Houston looked at him intensely, but made no reply, turning to me requested me to proceed to the guard fire and bring from thence before him, a young man who was reported to be the private secretary of Santa Anna and who could talk English fluently. I did so, and on my return found the prisoner seated quietly in a chair beside the General's mattress. The young man on seeing the prisoner assured General Houston that the prisoner then before him was truly General Santa Anna. General Houston wanting additional evidence sent me again to the guard fire to bring General Almonte before him. In bringing down General Almonte, I met with General Thomas J. Rusk and Lieut. Zavala to whom I mentioned what was taking place before General Houston. They accompanied me with General Almonte to where General Houston was when the prisoner was fully recognized and identified. Throughout the whole, General Santa Anna’s demeanor was dignified and soldierlike but a close observer could trace a shade of sadness on his otherwise impassive countenance.
CAPT. ANDREW BRISCOE
BRISCOE, ANDREW (1810-1849). Andrew Briscoe, merchant, patriot, judge, and railroad promoter, was born on November 25, 1810, on the plantation of his father, Parmenas Briscoe, in Claiborne County, Mississippi. He made several trips on horseback between Mississippi and Texas before settling in Texas, where he registered in 1833 as a citizen of Coahuila and Texas. With a shipment of goods he opened a store in Anahuac in 1835. Briscoe opposed the irregular collection of customs dues by Mexican authorities at Anahuac and presented resolutions of protest at a mass meeting there and later at Harrisburg. When he attempted to trade to DeWitt Clinton Harris goods with unpaid duties, both he and Harris were arrested by Mexican officials. They were released when William B. Travis and his volunteers came to drive Antonio Tenorio out of office. In July Briscoe wrote to the editor of the Brazoria Texas Republican justifying the action taken. In August he received a congratulatory letter from Travis. Briscoe was captain of the Liberty Volunteers at the battle of Concepcion and followed Benjamin R. Milam in the siege of Bexar. He was elected a delegate from his municipality with Lorenzo de Zavala and attended the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos, but evidently because of the urgency of reentering military service he did not remain until its close. At the battle of San Jacinto he was captain of Company A, Infantry Regulars.
In 1836 Briscoe was appointed chief justice of Harrisburg by Sam Houston. When his term ended in 1839, he began dealing in cattle and trying to promote a railroad. In 1839 he planned a road from Harrisburg to the Brazos River. In 1840, when the project was abandoned, about two miles had been graded and laid with ties. That year, in a paper entitled "California Railroad," he gave a complete plan for building a railroad from Harrisburg to San Diego via Richmond, Prairieville, Austin, and El Paso. In 1841 he secured a charter from the Republic of Texas for the Harrisburg Railroad and Trading Company, of which he was president. In the spring of 1849 Briscoe moved his family to New Orleans, where he engaged in banking and brokerage until his death, on October 4, 1849. He was survived by his wife, Mary Jane Harris Briscoe, and four children.
BURIED: TEXAS STATE CEMETERY:
Section:Republic Hill, Section 1
Row:T Number:3 Reason for Eligibility:Republic of Texas Veteran; Signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence Birth Date:November 25, 1810 Died:October 4, 1849 Buried:Reinterred February 26, 1937
COL. AMASA TURNER
"....if my name should find a humble place in the history of Texas, that it may said of it, he did his duty."
BURLESON, EDWARD (1798 ~ 1851). Edward Burleson, soldier and statesman, son of Capt. James and Elizabeth (Shipman) Burleson, was born at Buncombe County, North Carolina, on December 15, 1798. He served as a private in the War of 1812 in his father's company, part of Perkin's Regiment, Alabama. He married Sarah Griffin Owen on April 25, 1816, in Madison County, Missouri Territory; they had nine children. On October 20, 1817, Burleson was appointed a captain of militia in Howard County, Missouri; he was commissioned colonel on June 13, 1821, in Saline County, and was colonel of militia from 1823 to 1830 in Hardeman County, Tennessee.
He arrived in Texas on May 1, 1830, and applied for land in March 1831; title was issued on April 4, 1831. On August 11, 1832, at San Felipe de Austin, he was a member of the ayuntamiento governing the counties of Austin, Bexar, Goliad, and Guadalupe. On December 7, 1832, he was elected lieutenant colonel of the militia of Austin Municipality. In 1833 he was elected a delegate to the Second Convention in Mina. From 1830 to 1842 he defended settlers in numerous engagements with hostile Indians. On May 17, 1835, in Bastrop he was elected to the committee of safety and was therefore unable to attend the Consultation of 1835, although he had been elected a delegate. On October 10, 1835, in Gonzales he was elected lieutenant colonel of the infantry in Gen. Stephen F. Austin's army. On November 24, 1835, Burleson became general of the volunteer army and replaced Austin. On November 26, 1835, he fought in the Grass Fight during the siege of Bexar. His father was active in this battle, which was won by the Texans.
On December 1, 1835, Burleson was commissioned commander in chief of the volunteer army by the provisional government. On December 6 he entered Bexar and, with Benjamin R. Milam, wrote a report to the provisional government. On December 14, 1835, he reported on the success at Bexar to the provisional governor, Henry Smith. The volunteer army disbanded on December 20, 1835, and Burleson raised a company and rode to Gonzales in February 1836. By March 10, in Gonzales, he was officially elected colonel of the infantry, First Regiment. On April 21, 1836, at the battle of San Jacinto, he commanded the First Regiment, which was placed opposite Mexican breastworks and was the first to charge them. Burleson accepted the sword and surrender of Gen. Juan N. Almonte.
From July 12 to December 1836 he was colonel of the frontier rangers. In 1837 he surveyed and laid out roads to Bastrop, La Grange, and other Central Texas places. On June 12, 1837, he became brigadier general of the militia established by the First Congress of the Republic of Texas. As a representative of the Second Congress from September 26, 1837, to May 1838, Burleson served on the Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads, the Committee on Military Affairs, and the Committee of Indian Affairs, of which he was chairman. In 1838 he was colonel of the First Regiment of Infantry in the new regular army and on April 4, 1838, defeated Mexican insurrectionists under Vicente Cordova. In the spring of that year Burleson laid out the town of Waterloo, the original settlement of the city of Austin. He was elected to the Senate of the Third Congress but resigned on January 19, 1839, at President Mirabeau B. Lamar's request, to take command of the Frontier Regiment. On May 22, 1839, Burleson intercepted a Cordova agent with proof that Mexico had made allies of Cherokees and other Indians. He defeated the Cherokees under Chief Bowl in July 1839.
On October 17, 1839, Burleson was in command of the ceremonies establishing Austin as the capital of the Republic of Texas. He defeated the Cherokees on Christmas Day, 1839, at Pecan Bayou, killing Chief Bowl's son John and another chief known as the Egg. Burleson sent Chief Bowl's "hat" to Sam Houston, who was enraged. On August 12, 1840, Burleson defeated the Comanche in the battle of Plum Creek.
In 1841 he was elected vice president of the republic. In the spring of 1842, when the Mexican army under Rafael Vasquez invaded Texas, Burleson met with volunteers at San Antonio, where they elected him to command. Houston sent Alexander Somervell to take over, and Burleson handed the command to him. Burleson then made his famous speech before the Alamo: "though Thermopylae had her messenger of defeat, the Alamo had none." In the fall of 1842 Mexican general Adrian Woll invaded Texas. Burleson raised troops for defense and again yielded the command to General Somervell, sent by Houston. In 1844 Burleson made an unsuccessful bid for the presidency against Anson Jones. In December 1845 he was elected senator from the Fifteenth District to the First Legislature of the state of Texas. He was unanimously elected president pro tem.
During the Mexican War Burleson and Governor James P. Henderson went to Monterrey, Nuevo Leon; Burleson was appointed senior aide-de-camp, held the rank of major, and served as a spy during the siege of Monterrey and at Buena Vista. In 1847 Burleson, Eli T. Merriman, and William Lindsey surveyed and laid out the town of San Marcos. In 1848 Burleson introduced a resolution to establish Hays County and donated the land for the courthouse. He chaired the Committee on Military Affairs, which awarded a $1,250,000 grant to Texas for Indian depredations.
Burleson died of pneumonia on December 26, 1851, in Austin, while serving as senator from the Twenty-first District. He was still president pro tem. He was given a Masonic burial at the site of the future State Cemetery, the land for which was purchased by the state of Texas in his honor in 1854. Burleson was a Methodist.
BURIED: TEXAS STATE CEMETERY:
Section:Republic Hill, Section 1
Row:Q Number:13 Reason for Eligibility:Veteran, War of 1812; Republic of Texas Veteran; Texas Ranger; Member, House of the Republic of Texas; Member, Senate of the Republic of Texas; Vice President, Republic of Texas; Member, Texas Senate; 1st Person buried in the Texas State Cemetery Birth Date:December 15, 1798 Died:December 26, 1851 Buried:December 28, 1851
CAPT. Jesse Billingsley
Capt. 1st Com., 1st Reg't, Tex. Army
Captain Juan N. Seguin
Being sent by Travis to obtain help from Goliad, Captain Seguin, with two of his men, Antonio Cruz y Arocha and Alejandro de la Garza, were unable to get back into the Alamo. On the 29th of February the war council in the Alamo resolved to send an officer to obtain aid. It should be someone who, in addition to bearing dispatches, might make his own influences and information valuable enough to accomplish the object of his mission. All eyes turned to Captain Juan N. Seguin, and all officers, except Travis himself, were in favor of sending him. The officers argued that he was a Mexican, could talk the native Spanish, knew the surrounding territory better that anyone there, having been born and raised in this part of the country, and his chances of passing the enemy's line were better than those of anyone else.
Travis did not wish him to go, and argued for retaining him in the garrison, but at a night meeting of the war council Travis yielded to the majority. That night Seguin and his orderly, Antonio Cruz Arocha, prepared for the trip. Another of the Mexican recruits, Alejandro de la Garza, had already been sent as a courier to the provisional government. Having no horse nor equipment, Captain Seguin requested and procured Bowie's horse; Bowie willingly giving it to him, although too sick to recognize the borrower. Seguin then bade Bowie and the rest what proved to be a last good-bye.
The Alamo sentinel complained about Captain Seguin wanting to leave the garrison, but upon Seguin producing the order allowing him and the orderly to pass, and then explaining to the sentinel the possibilities of relief if his mission was accomplished, the guard not only was glad to allow them through but bade them God speed. The road of the two horsemen necessarily passed near the enemy's cavalry camp; and where they had to cross, a company of dragoons was stationed, at this time dismounted, and making ready to rest for the night. Seguin and his orderly rode as though unconcerned, and reaching the crucial spot, responded in Spanish to the sentinels' hail: "We are countrymen."
No doubt they were taken for Mexican rancheros, riding up to report, but when near enough for a swift dash, they rode fast and furiously past the guard at full speed. The hurried fire of the troopers being ineffective, they escaped on their mission, The next day Seguin met one of Fannin's officers, who had escaped from Goliad, and who informed him that his message was useless, and advised him to join the main body of the Texan army which was being gathered at González, which he did.
Others listed as messengers from the Alamo, and also belonging to Captain Seguin's men, are Juan M. Cabrera, Jacinto Peña and José Maria Jiménez. All of these men of Seguin's Company, had joined the Texan cause through his influence. Many of the men of this company fought in the battle of San Jacinto, and we find their names in the land certificates of the State, as receiving land for their services. Captain Seguin served gallantly at San Jacinto, in the rank of Captain and was later promoted to Colonel being in command of a regiment.
COL. ALEXANDER HORTON
James Austin Sylvester
From the Cavalcade of Jackson County by I.T. Taylor
James Austin Sylvester was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1807. After reaching manhood he moved to Kentucky. Captain Sidney Sherman raised a company of volunteers to aid Texas in her struggle for independence. James A. Sylvester joined this company of volunteers on December 18, 1835, at Newport, Kentucky. Captain Sherman's Company left Nacogdoches February 29, 1836, for Gonzales, but it seems that Sylvester had preceded them, for on January 10th he was commissioned a captain in the reserve army of the Texas Republic by Henry Smith at San Felipe de Austin. The original commission is in the Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Texas. They were given a farewell reception at the home of one of the leading citizens of Cincinnati the night before Colonel Sherman and his men left for Texas. At this reception the ladies of Newport presented the company of volunteers with a beautiful battle flag. The presentation was made by Mrs. Sherman herself. The flag was beautiful blue silk, bordered with gold fringe. In the center was painted a female figure representing the Goddess of Liberty and the words, "Liberty or Death." At about the end of the reception Ensign James Austin Sylvester asked the daughter of their host to give him some momento of the occasion to take with him as good luck. This beautiful girl removed her dainty white glove and said, "Here sir, is a gage of battle---let it be borne always in the foremost of the fight." The gallant Sylvester bowed low and replied, "I take it as a pledge of victory, and shall die before I surrender it to a foe." He placed this glove to the top of his standard. It remained on the staff pole throughout their journey to Texas, then to Gonzales, back across Texas and into the Battle of San Jacinto, where it was lost. It was never found.
March 12, 1836, Sherman's Volunteers were reorganized at Gonzales. Captain Sherman was elected colonel of the first regiment of Texas Volunteers. James Sylvester was made second sergeant and color bearer of the company. His service record may be seen in the State Archives at Austin. It is Comptroller's Military Services Record No. 1046. It is certified by Captain Wood that Sylvester enlisted December 18, 1835: was second sergeant and color bearer. It states that he participated in the engagement on April 20th and 21st and "was the individual who took the person of Santa Anna." It shows that he was honorably discharged June 18, 1836. General Sam Houston on August 3, 1836, at San Augustine presented Mr. Sylvester with a printed pamphlet, containing the names of the men who had fought at San Jacinto. On the back he wrote:
Presented to James A. Sylvester by General Sam Houston as a tribute of regard for his gallant and vigilant conduct first in the battle of San Jacinto and subsequently in the capture of Santa Anna, whose thanks were tendered by Santa Anna, in my presencc to Captain Sylvester, for his generous conduct towards him, when captured. (Signed) Sam Houston San Augustine 3rd Aug. 1836 The original manuscript is in the Rosenberg Library of Galveston. He was appointed captain by General Houston in August 3, 1836, when he presented him with the pamphlet and requested him to remain in the army until June, 1837.
Captain James Sylvester was the man who found and captured Santa Anna after the Battle of San Jacinto. Sylvester's own account of the capture of Santa Anna is as follows:
On the morning of the 22nd of April, 1836, news came into camp that a portion of our cavalry had surrounded Santa Anna and a number of his officers in a mot of timber some miles from our camp, and called for reinforcements in order to capture them. Col. Edward Burleson, commanding the First Regiment of Texas troops, called for volunteers, and mounting such horses as were under their control, they set out in search of the Mexican chief---after marching from the camp, near Lynch's Ferry to Vince's Bayou, where the bridge, but recently burned by Deaf Smith, impeded our further progress, and not knowing where our services were required, Col. Burleson called a parley. Some of the party were anxious to proceed by fording or swimming the bayou while others thought it useless to proceed farther after an ignis fatuus, when Col. Burleson ordered myself to take charge of such men as were disposed to return to camp and the others proceeded toward the Brazos in search of any Mexican stragglers that might be found.
The squad under my command proceeded back to camp. We left the main road and took down the bayou. We had not proceeded very far before some one of them proposed to skirt the timber in search of game. I took the straight direction promising to await their arrival at a certain point. After leaving the party, pursuing my course alone, I suddenly espied an object coming towards me, near a ravine. I immediately turned and made an effort to attract their attention. When I again looked for the object, it had vanished. Riding in the direction in which I had seen it, I came up to the figure of something covered with a Mexican blanket which proved to be Santa Anna. I ordered him to get up, which he did, very reluctantly and immediately took hold of my hand and kissed it several times, and asked for General Houston and seemed very solicitious to find out whether he had been killed in the battle the day previous. I replied assuring him that General Houston was only wounded, and was then in his camp. I then asked him who he was when he replied that he was nothing but a common soldier---I remarked the fineness of his shirt bosom---which he tried to conceal and told him he was no common soldier; if so he must be a thief. He seemed much disconcerted, but finally stated that he was an aide to General Lopez de Santa Anna---To affirm his assertion, he drew from his pocket an official note from General Urrea to General Santa Anna dated on the Brazos informing Santa Anna that he would be able to form a junction at or near Galveston and should immediately take up line of march to Velasco.
I was satisfied at the time, that in his official capacity of aide, such a paper might have been retained by him. At this juncture a portion of my squad came up, and as near as I can now recall consisted of Messrs. Miles, Vermillion and Thompson. General Santa Anna, complaining very much of fatigue, asked to ride a part of the way into camp. I think Mr. Miles proposed to dismount and walk to a point of timber, while we, (with Santa Anna mounted on his horse), went around the head of the ravine. When we formed a junction, Mr. Miles requested him to dismount, but Santa Anna refused to do so unless I required it. I told him I had no control over the horse, and he would have to dismount, which he did. I then took him behind me and we all proceeded to camp. I left him with the camp guard. He was immediately recognized by his own soldiers who were then prisoners in our camp, and was sent to General Houston's headquarters. When I returned to camp (having been sent for by General Houston) I was ordered to report to headquarters in person. I proceeded to the place---a wide spreading oak---and on presenting myself to General Houston, General Santa Anna immediately arose and came forward, embraced me, and turning to General Houston and other officers returned me thanks for my kindness while escorting him to camp and told me I was his savior. The above is a brief synopsis of the capture of General Santa Anna, from the recollections of 36 years ago. There may be some inaccuracies, but in the main the facts set forth are true. Signed---Jas. A. Sylvester, late first sergeant Company 9, First Regiment, Texas Volunteers, New Orleans, La., December 7, 1872.
Mr. Sylvester on May 6, 1874, from his home in New Orleans to the Democratic Statesman Austin, Texas, states as follows:
Gentlemen: At the last celebration of the veterans of the Texas Revolution held in the city of Austin on the 21st April last I noticed comments in some of the Texas papers of a speech made by General J. B. Robinson at that celebration, as being the captor of General Santa Anna at the battle of San Jacinto in 1836. General Robinson was one of the party of---I think five, with myself that left the main body of men under General Ed Burleson at Vince's Bayou who with volunteers, was in pursuit of General Santa Anna and the stragglers of his army on the 22nd, the day after the battle. Proceeding back to our main camp on Buffalo Bayou we separated for the purpose of hunting. But neither Mr. Robinson or any of the party was within five hundred yards of me when General Santa Anna was captured by myself, they joined me in a few moments after General Santa Anna had surrendered. I have always awarded the same credit to them that I felt was due to myself. But you will find among the archives of the Texas Historical Society a full account of the capture as also what passed between General Santa Anna and myself in the presence of General Houston and nearly the whole of our little army, as also a complimentary card from General Sam Houston to the expression of thanks and gratitude from General Santa Anna himself to me, when captured. Probably many of the old Veterans have either forgotten me, or suppose me dead---as I left Texas in 1843 and have resided in this city ever since where I have had the pleasure of meeting many of my old comrades and friends, among whom I may be permitted to mention three of the heroes of that battle, viz: General Sam Houston, General T. J. Rusk and General S. Sherman who have gone to that land from whence no travellers return. The last named was my old and honored commander and friend. Make what use you please of this, as it is only intended to correct an historical error, and place myself in a proper light before the Veterans. Yours truly, (Signed) James A. Sylvester.
The men on the scouting party mentioned above by Captain James A. Sylvester were A. H. Miles, Sion R. Bostic, Joseph Vermillion, Joel W. Robinson [Joel Walter Robison] Charles P. Thompson. Captain Sylvester lived at Texana for a number of years, was county treasurer of Jackson County. He was a member of the Somervell Expedition in 1842 and enlisted from Texana, Jackson County. He moved to New Orleans in 1843 and remained there until his death April 9, 1882. [Sylvester is said to have traded his bounty land for service which is in current downtown Dallas for a mule--WLM] He was a printer and worked for the New Orleans Picayune for a great number of years. He never married. He was buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery, New Orleans, Louisiana. His remains were removed from the Odd Fellows Cemetery at New Orleans on November 5, 1936, by the State of Texas and reinterred in the state cemetery at Austin, Texas. The nearest living relative is Mrs. Joseph A. Gannoway of Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The battle flag that Sylvester carried was the only colors carried by the Texans at San Jacinto. Some time after, when Colonel Sherman returned to Kentucky on a mission for the Republic of Texas, he carried with him the battle flag of San Jacinto and the following message:
War Department, Velasco, Texas, August 6, 1836 This stand of colors, presented by the ladies of Newport to Captain Sidney Sherman, is the same which triumphantly waved on the memoriable battlefield of San Jacinto, and is by this government presented to the lady of Colonel Sherman as a testimonial of his gallant conduct on that occasion. (Signed): A. Somervell. Approved: Secretary of War. David G. Burnet.
The flag is now mounted as a painting behind the Speaker's desk in the House of Representatives. It was presented to Texas by Mrs. Lucy Craig, a daughter of General Sherman, in 1896. It is the most highly prized relic of the State of Texas.