Friday, 29 April 2016

A double-dip into the past......Johnny Yuma and Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna......



General Santa AnnaWhen he [Santa Anna] approached Houston, the general was lying wounded under a large oak tree, standing on the bank of the bayou, and hanging as though decorated with great beards of grey moss. A short dialogue ensued, a son of de Zavala acting as interpretor. When he saw young de Zavala, he (Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna) embraced him, and proclaimed himself his father's friend, though in fact the elder de Zavala was then a fugitive on Galveston Island, along with the remainder of the fleeing government, and would have no doubt been shot two days before, had his excellency laid hands on him.  He threw himself on Houston's mercy, advising in a patronizing way that since Houston had conquered and captured the Napoleon of the West, he could afford to be merciful. To this Houston replied that Santa Anna had not shown any mercy at the Alamo or Goliad. He sought to justify himself by the refusal of the defenders of the Alamo to surrender, which made the storming of the place necessary, and invoked the act of congress against persons found in arms against the government as the excuse for Goliad. But General Houston replied, Fannin's men were surrendered under conditions which were violated. To this El Presidente replied in much warmth that if this were so, Urrea had deceived him, that this was the first he had heard of a conditional surrender, that he would look into it, and if found true, the most awful punishment would be meted out to Urrea.  The ad interim government of Texas now assumed negotiations with the captive president, and pending them, he sent a dispatch to General Filisola to retire to Victoria, advising:

"I have agreed with General Houston for an armistice until matters can be so regulated that the war will cease forever."
Two treaties were speedily concluded with him, known as the treaties of Velasco. An open treaty which provided: 
"That all hostilities would cease, and that he would not exercise his influence to cause arms to be taken up against the people of Texas during the present war for independence."
The secret treaty provided:
"That he should be sent home at once via Vera Cruz, and that he would prepare things in the 'Mexican cabinet so that a commission sent by the Texas government should be received, and that by means of negotiations all differences between Texas and Mexico should be settled and independence of Texas acknowledged. The Rio Grande was agreed upon as the boundary."
These bargains arranged, El Presidente and his suite embarked on a schooner at the mouth of the Brazos on June 3, 1836, bound for Vera Cruz. He was quite happy at having traded these treaties for his life, and issued a felicitous farewell address to the Texas people. There was a tremendous sentiment in Texas at this time for his execution, and the provisional government had great difficulty in keeping a semblance of order, and carrying out its program with him, and it was with much relief that President Burnet and his advisers saw him on board the Invincible, which was to carry him home. A few hours before the schooner sailed, a vessel came into the Brazos from New Orleans, bearing a company of soldiers mustered in the States for the war in Texas. The news of the atrocities at the Alamo and Goliad had aroused great feeling in the States, and when San Jacinto's tidings were spread, there was a rush of adventurous persons who would participate in the war, and these newcomers determined that the Mexican President should be detained. They defied the provisional government, and boarded the Invincible before it could set sail, and forcibly took possession of El Presidente with the avowed purpose of having him tried and shot. He was taken up the Brazos river to the Phelps plantation, about 30 miles from Velasco, and kept there during the summer and autumn.
A rumor was spread that an attempt was to be made to effect his rescue, and indeed such a plan was in progress, and he was put in irons and chained to a live oak tree, which is still standing at the site of the Phelps home. His further confinement under these circumstances weighed so heavily upon him that he became melancholy, and attempted to poison himself, but Dr. Phelps managed to neutralize the effect of the poison, and saved him for a long and varied career. On one occasion, a band of ruffians came to the Phelps home to assassinate him, and Mrs. Phelps first pleaded with them and when they made an effort to harm him, she threw her arms about him, and by a mixture of courage and entreaty caused them to desist.

According to the Handbook of Texas, James Aeneas E. Phelps (1794 or 1800-1847) was one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists from either Mississippi or Hartford, Connecticut.  His wife was Rosetta Abeline Yerby.  The family arrived in the colony on the schooner Lively in 1822, in the census of 1826 he was listed as a a physician with wife, two sons, two daughters, one servant, and fifteen slaves which he brought with him from Mississippi.  Phelps was a Mason and helped organize in Texas. He represented Brazoria at the Convention of 1836.  He was attached to the Medical Staff at San Jacinto with Anson Jones, on April 22 he established a hospital in the home of Lorenzo de Zavala near the battlefield. 

Phelps owned Orozimbo (Orizaba) Plantation where Santa Anna was held prisoner and treated.  In 1842 after his return to power in Mexico, Santa Anna expressed his gratitude by saving Phelps's son, Orlando, from execution as a member of the Mier expedition.
From Joseph Milton Nance's Dare-Devils All:  The Texan Mier Expedition 1842-1844:  After the arrival of the Texans at Santiago Prison from Salado, Orlando C. Phelps was brought before the president, who had seen his name on the list of Texan prisoners. His father, the jovial Dr. James A. E. Phelps, hospital surgeon of the Texan Army at San Jacinto, had three times frustrated Santa Anna's efforts to commit suicide while under house arrest in their home.  Santa Anna asked if he were related to Dr. Phelps of Orozimbo, and Orlando replied that he was his son. "I thought I recognized the name, Orlando, but you were a very small boy when I was in your home. You have grown much." Santa Anna instructed his secretary to order the boy's release and that he be furnished with clothing and money to get to the United States. Santa Anna sent an aide-de-camp with him [Orlando] into the city, and purchased two to three suits of clothes for him, and gave him a room in his palace. "I was informed of all this," said Waddy Thompson, "and as there was an American ship of war at Vera Cruz, about to sail to the United States, I wrote a note to Santa Anna, offering young Phelps a passage. He replied, thanking me for the offer, but declined it, saying he felt himself fortunate in having it in his power to return, in some degree, the kindness of Doctor Phelps to him, when he was a prisoner in Texas, and that he preferred sending his son home at his own expense; which he did, giving him also a draft in his favor in Vera Cruz, for whatever sum of money he might ask for."  The release of Phelps, commented Thomas Jefferson Green, "shows that the President of Mexico is not wholly destitute of gratitude."  The reaction among some of the prisoners to Orlando Phelps' release, however, was not so kind. "I have made mention of this fortunate animal [Phelps] . . . [elsewhere in this diary, wrote Canfield, and] further notice is unnecessary except that he is not worth the powder that would blow him to any place."   Phelps stayed at Santa Anna's palace until he left Mexico City by stage coach for Vera Cruz about May 5. He stopped at Perote Castle about lockup time on May 8 to bid his friends goodbye and receive letters to be carried to Texas. He reached New Orleans aboard the schooner Architect from Vera Cruz on Monday, May 22, and was interviewed the next day by the editor of the Picayune.  sdct

(Wharton, 1926, continued) While he [Santa Anna] was in confinement at the Phelps plantation, he was visited by a gentleman who bore him a message from Mr. Poinsett at his home in South Carolina. When Poinsett was minister to Mexico in 1824, he was a great apostle of republican ideas, and had a happy acquaintance with the young leader who had just overthrown the empire, and was the avowed champion of popular government.
"Say to General Santa Anna that when I remember how ardent an advocate he was of liberty ten years ago, I have no sympathy for him now, that he has gotten what he deserves."
To this very unkind message, El Presidente made this deliberate reply:
"Say to Mr. Poinsett that it is very true that I threw up my cap for liberty with great ardor, and perfect sincerity, but very soon found the folly of it. A hundred years to come my people will not be fit for liberty. They do not know what it is, unenlightened as they are, and under the influence of a Catholic clergy, a despotism is the proper government for them, but there is no reason why it should not be a wise and virtuous one."
   The first congress of the Republic of Texas assembled at Columbia on the Brazos in October, and the fate of the captive president was a great theme which was debated in both houses. The leaders in congress were loud for his life, and if the matter had been left to a vote, he would no doubt have lost. But General Houston, who had been elected President of Texas in September, 1836, was a man of great firmness, and had determined that to spare his life was the politic thing to do. Andrew Jackson, President of the United States, had written Houston, urging that he be released. In November, while the congressmen at Columbia were debating the fate of the "illustrious prisoner,"
        President Houston cut the debate short by sending him to Washington with an escort. He was accompanied by Messrs. Hockley, Patton, Bee, and Almonte. Well mounted, the party left the Brazos on the 25th of November, 1836, and rode toward the Lynchburg crossing of the San Jacinto, and near the sunset hour on a November day they rode across the battlefield.
The Texan escort rode ahead, and he and Almonte dropped behind as they came upon this familiar scene. No word was spoken while the five horsemen moved slowly over the hill slope and down toward the ferry. Just at sunset, they crossed the river, and in the lengthening shadows, El Presidente turned and cast a long meditative look at the scene of his greatest disaster.
       He did not want to go to New Orleans, for the Texan sentiment was so strong there that he feared for his life, and they rode through northern Louisiana to the Mississippi River, where they took a passing steamboat up the 'Mississippi to the Ohio, and up the latter river to Louisville, Ky., which place they reached on Christmas day, 1836. News that the Mexican president was passing through the country excited lively interest, and crowds were gathered at each stopping place for a look at him.
       Everywhere he was treated with the utmost courtesy and curiosity. The genial Almonte, who spoke English perfectly, made himself a favorite with every group. Though many of the men shot at Goliad were from Kentucky, there was not the slightest indignity offered him anywhere in the State, and when the party stopped at Lexington, they were accorded marked attention, and many members of the Kentucky legislature came over from Frankfort to pay their respects.

     As they went through Maryland, they stopped a day at Frederick, where a military court was in session, trying General Winfield Scott, of the United States army for alleged misconduct in the late Florida campaign, and El Presidente and General Scott were made acquainted, and exchanged greetings, and parted to meet another day. Lieutenant Hitchcock, who in May before had carried the news of San Jacinto to Washington, was an attendant at this court of inquiry, and wrote in his diary,
"The officers of the court and attendants adjourned and called at Robusto Hotel and paid their respects to the distinguished stranger. He is a Spaniard, a slight figure, about 5 ft. 10, of very commanding, dignified appearance, graceful manner and benign countenance. He smiled at his misfortunes, and for my life I could not believe he ever gave the order for the massacre at Goliad."
      In Washington, he visited President Jackson, and as speedily as possible set sail for home. He was sent to Vera Cruz on the United States frigate Pioneer, as the guest of the American Navy, and in the latter days of February, he and his faithful Almonte, standing on the deck of the Pioneer, saw the sentinel outlines of Cofre de Perote, the first glimpse of his native land after an absence of an eventful year.
      The real story of Santa Anna's trip to Washington has never been widely known. There was a determined fight in the American Congress, which convened in the autumn of 1836, upon the recognition of Texas' independence. Jackson's administration was coming to a close and he was to be succeeded the following March by Van Buren and the new administration was very conservative about the recognition of Texas, or any other act that would bring on war with Mexico.
    Houston, who became President of Texas in September, 1836, sent William H. Wharton, Minister to the United States, to negotiate for annexation. President Houston conceived that it would materially help the situation if Santa Anna would go in person to Washington and say to President Jackson that Mexico did not intend to make an effort to reconquer Texas. This would be an answer to the critics in Congress who were urging that the recognition of Texas would be considered an unfriendly act by Mexico.
       It was one of the conditions of Santa Anna's release that he should do this, and though he was authentically liberated when he left Texas under a military escort, in fact he was a quasi prisoner until he left Washington. He carried out his part of the bargain and in private conversations with President Jackson gave the message that he had been sent to deliver and this was a powerful aid to the recognition of Texas which was accomplished during the last hours of the Jackson administration.  sdct

       The most interesting chapter in Santa Anna's memoirs is his account of the Texas campaign. These memoirs were written nearly forty years after, and many of the details had escaped him, yet he is not faithful in his relation of major events. The following is an abstract of the 7th chapter of "My Memoirs, Written in My Last Exile":
I assembled and organized the expeditionary army of Texas at Saltillo. The filibusterers who believed that we would not return to Texas were greatly surprised at seeing us, and ran frightened to the Alamo. On that day, the fortress had a garrison of six hundred men, whose commander was named N. [W.] Travis, of great renown among the filibusterers. The so-called General, Samuel Houston, in a letter which I intercepted, said to the famous Travis:
'Take courage, and hold out at all risk; I am coming to your aid with 2000 splendid men, and eight well mounted cannons"
The filibusterers defended themselves obstinately, and gave no sign of surrender, and died fighting. Not one was left alive, but among us they put out more than a thousand.
General Urrea completely defeated Col. Fancy [Fannin], who came out to meet him at Goliad with 1500 men. Urrea announced his triumph in a dispatch which ended: "Since the adventurers who entered Texas armed to further the revolution of the colonists are outside the law, the prisoners have been shot." General Sesma followed Houston's tracks and from the Colorado sent me a dispatch: "Nothing is happening. The filibusterer Houston, with his gang, is still on the other side of the river." The chief of the filibusterers, on hearing of the nearness of the Mexicans, disappeared. The campaign should come to an end before the spring floods, which made it necessary to advance rapidly. Between the enemy and me was the copious Brazos River, and five leagues beyond, in the little village of Arrisburg [Harrisburg], was located the government of the so-called Republic of Texas. I marched toward this place, with six companies of grenadiers, and a small cannon.
In one night we crossed the prairie, and were approaching the houses when a gun was accidently discharged, which aroused the dogs, and frightened the officials, who ran to hide themselves in a little steamer which as a precaution they had in the Arroyo del Bufalo, with engine fired. In the residence of I. Bonnen [David Burnet], the titular President of Texas, there was found correspondence from Houston, who was in low spirits. In one letter, he wrote: "My men are deserting in platoons, believing the cause lost. This obliges me to seek the protection on Galveston Island until a more opportune time. I will make use of the first vessel that enters the San Jacinto River." I immediately ordered Filisola, whom I had left at Thompson's Pass, on the Brazos, to march to me with all his strength. I had left him two written orders:
"First: That he should not send me anv written dispatches, nor any correspondence which the enemy could intercept. Second: That after the arrival of Urrea's brigade, he should force his marches, and overtake me. These orders, dictated with so much foresight and opportuneness, did not prevent the lamentable event which Filisola's disobedience was to bring about. He seemed to have deliberately determined to disgrace a happy campaign which was nearing its end. Appreciating the situation, I did not lose a single hour. I looked for Houston, and found him along the banks of the San Jacinto River, under the shelter of the forest, ready to retire to Galveston. I resolved to delay him, affording time for Filisola's arrival, and camped in sight.

      I was awaiting impatiently, when Cos arrived with 300 men. Seeing my orders disobeyed, and foreseeing disaster, I determined to countermarch the same day, and try Filisola, and receive reinforcements. But it was already late. The evil was done. The disobedient Filisola had sent me information from Mexico by one of his aides, who before reaching my camp was intercepted, and when put to torture, told all he knew. Houston was then advised of the superiority of his forces, and decided to attack. At 2 o'clock in the afternoon, April 21st, I had fallen to sleep in the shade of an oak, hoping that the heat would moderate, so that I could begin the march, when the filibusterers surprised my camp, with admirable skill. Imagine my surprise on opening my eyes, and finding myself surrounded by these people, threatening me with their rifles. The responsibility of Filisola was obvious, because he and only he had caused such a catastrophe by his criminal disobedience.
Samuel Houston treated me in a way that could not have been hoped for. His humane and generous conduct contrasted severely with that of Filisola. I have always recalled with emotions of gratitude how much I owed to this singular man, in the saddest moments of my life. Shortly afterward, Houston went to New Orleans for treatment, and left me in charge of a so-called general named Rox (Rusk). This wicked man was cruel to me, but when Houston returned, he characterized Rox's conduct as barbarous, and with touching words, bade me forget it. On taking leave of me, Houston said,
"General, you are no longer a prisoner. Before returning to your country, I ask you to visit President Jackson, my protector and friend. He will receive you well, for he desires to see you."
In that helpless state, and in despair of getting away from the filibusterers, any refusal seemed imprudent, and with good grace I complied with his wishes. He recounts his visit to Washington, and says President Jackson repeated:
"Mexico, on recognizing the Independence of Texas, will be indemnified with six million pesos."
I replied to him:
"To the Mexican Congress only belongs the right of deciding that question."

     "El Presidente" landed at Vera Cruz on his return from Washington and the Texas campaign, February 23, 1837, after an absence of a little more than one year, and went directly to his plantation, where he announced his retirement from public life. He was received with every mark of respect, for his reverses seemed to have aroused more sympathy than censure among his fellow-countrymen, but he wisely sought a rest at Manga de Clavo, before venturing again into politics.  When he went out in the Texas campaign, the year before, he had left General Barragan, his vice-president, as Chief Executive. Vice President Barragan died in March, 1836, while the Alamo was under siege, and Congress had named one Jose Corro Provisional President, pending Santa Anna's return, and this person was yet in authority when El Presidente came back.  But while he was away, his old enemy, Bustamente, whom he had overthrown and sent into exile in 1832, had returned, and in June, 1837, while El Presidente was at his plantation, Bustamente was elected President of Mexico for a five-year term.  El Presidente remained down on his plantation for the next two years, planning a repetition of his unseating of Bustamente.  sdct

Santa Anna: The Napoleon of the West by Frank C. Hanighen, 1934

      Now follows one of the, most painful---and revelatory periods in our hero's life. In Mexico, enthroned in splendor as President or galloping about in the revolutions he emerges only as a pamphlet character---a stout hero to his partisans, a virile monster to his enemies. His military position, his quondam political offices, cast about him even in temporary defeat a mantle of grandeur, however tawdry. Balloon-like from the lips of the stiff figure emerge the lush, formal proclamations, the only recorded expressions of his thoughts. But vicissitudes among sharp analytical foreigners bring sketches and side-views---another dimension to make understandable his curious character.
     After the battle, the dead for some reason---probably the almost boyish joy of the conquerors who could think of little else save their miraculous victory---were left on the field to decompose. The stench was so offensive and quite evidently so unhygienic that some measure obviously had to be taken. Santa Anna, eager to extenuate his behavior at the Alamo, suggested that the bodies be burned, maintaining that he always employed this method of disposing of the dead. But the Texans avoided the difficulty by moving their camp about nine miles north.
       The defeated President had good reason to volunteer excuses for his past policies for he came to realize now the true danger of his position. Relatives and friends of the Alamo and Goliad victims were clamoring for his execution of the fifteen men who escaped from the Fannin massacre "each one" as Caro the secretary puts it, "became a tiger in his persecution of us." Efforts were made to induce Caro to relate the true story of Urrea's and Santa Anna's exchange of notes in regard to the executions. If he had not kept loyally silent, his master might have faced a firing squad. Meanwhile Zavala, the Texan Vice-President, appeared and when his distinguished countryman attempted to start a cordial conversation with him, he not only administered a chilling snub, but informed him that he might expect the supreme chastisement for his crimes.
       However, with the magnanimous Houston covering him with his protection and Rusk, the Minister of War, happy over his success in getting Santa Anna to order Filisola's retreat and eager for more concessions, His Excellency caught at the drifting straw of hope. As he later put it,
"in the critical position in which I was placed, this proposition was to me what the rays of lightning would be to a poor traveler, who having lost his way in a dark and stormy night, avails himself of the rapid flashes of light in order to trace an unknown path."
     The proposition he referred to came from the zealous Rusk and stipulated that Texan independence should be recognized and the boundaries of the new republic should reach to the Rio Grande. Also, indemnities were to be paid to Texans for lives and properties lost, all prisoners to be exchanged, the Mexicans to leave the country and the United States to act as intermediary and referee to see that all these provisions be observed.

       Santa Anna should be held as an hostage until these terms should be fulfilled. Otherwise---execution.

      Harsh demands, but obviously open to modification and Santa Anna, scenting a chance to barter and haggle, brightened up. The party which had dealt with the retreating Filisola had come back bringing with them the Mexican General Woll who pretended that he wished to negotiate further about matters, but whose real purpose was to spy on the condition of the Texans. Houston, divining this and intending that the Mexican forces should not know the real nature and extent of the Texan strength, held him as a prisoner, just as he was about to return to his army.

     General Adrian Wall, who was quite a personality, led a punitive expedition into San Antonio, in the autumn of 1842, with about 3,000 hand picked Guardia Nacional and regular army personnel.  The Mexican force, politely put, destroyed the Texian resistance, entering andexitting. demanding and receiving massive amounts of gunpowder, cannon, and military gear.   (El Gringo Viejo's observation)

       But the negotiations went on and there was to follow an opportunity for Santa Anna to gain time and to give full scope to his ability at parleys. For on the 5th of May it was deemed best for the distinguished captive to go on board the steamship Yellowstone together with Houston, Rusk, Burnet and the whole Texan Government, and travel to Galveston Island. Finding accommodations bad there, they repaired to Velasco, principal port of the new Republic, a better stage for the diplomatic drama. One of the passengers gave a very good picture of him on this voyage---a revealing character sketch:
He indulged in a singular self-delusion in regard to his own infallibility; for when talking of his reverses of fortune, he attributed all to a blind and wayward destiny, a tyranny over which human wisdom and human power had no influence. 'For,' said he, 'the same troops who fled in terror and dismay at your first fire, only the day before, the united efforts of myself and others could scarcely restrain from attacking you. They were old soldiers, fought bravely with me in Zacatecas, were familiar with and had been fearless of danger in all its shapes. It was destiny.' After the armistice was entered into and he was permitted to hope that his life would be spared, his conversation assumed a tone of gaiety little to be expected in one who had suffered such a sad reverse….He displayed great diplomatic skill, firmly (at first) opposing every measure by which Mexico was likely to suffer, and Texas be benefited, declaring that he had no such power, but finally giving a reluctant assent.
His conversation, afterwards, turned upon matters indifferently, in the discussion of which he displayed a strong and versatile mind, and very general historical and political information. He never spoke of military matters, or the relative merits of his officers, except on one or two occasions, referring very contemptuously to General Cos (Martin, as he called him). He professed a warm admiration of female character, and said 'women were the gravy of society.' In passing down the bayou from San Jacinto to Patrick's he made a great many observations upon the scenery along the river and seemed sensibly alive to the force of natural beauty. It was his invariable custom to send his compliments to General Houston and to inquire into the state of his wound every morning.
Well he might, for it was Houston who stood as a protector between Santa Anna and the bloodthirsty horde yelling for vengeance. His protection of the Mexican President and his support of the treaties which Rusk was drawing up seems to have been an attitude representing a combination of generosity and policy. It is perhaps improbable that he placed much reliance on Santa Anna's promises to recognize Texan independence or his power to enforce such measures if he could do anything about them. More likely is it that the shrewd old Indian fighter deemed it silly to kill this famous man and so to draw down on the young republic European and American censure when there was a bare possibility that some bargain might be made out of the preservation of his life.  Rusk drafted two treaties, one a severe and drastic document for public consumption, the other a secret one which Santa Anna was to sign and stand by. The first required that hostilities should cease, that the Mexicans should retire beyond the Rio Grande, that property taken should be returned (a modification of the indemnity demand which undoubtedly Santa Anna had gained in the parleys). More important in the eyes of the suspicious Texans who would peruse this treaty, Santa Anna should agree not to take up arms against the Texans in the future and should be sent to Vera Cruz "as soon as may be thought proper."
The secret treaty which the illustrious prisoner was to sign made no mention of property but required the Mexicans to retire beyond the Rio Grande. Other provisions reveal how much the sharp Mexican had obtained in concessions from his captors. Instead of recognizing the new Republic, Santa Anna was to "prepare" things in the cabinet at Mexico for the reception of a Texan mission to negotiate a treaty. But most important of all for the impatient captive, "The present return of General Santa Anna to Vera Cruz being indispensable for the purpose of effecting his solemn engagements, the Government of Texas will provide for his immediate embarkation for said port."
But at this point our hero overstepped himself. Having regained some of his old confidence and nourishing this on the fuss which Rusk and other officials were making to get him to sign, he became insolent and balked at placing the signature to the secret treaty, alleging that his word of honor and good faith were sufficient. This produced uproar in the Texan cabinet and instead of impressing them as Santa Anna had meant, it made them all very angry at the troublesome captive and strengthened the proponents of execution. Seeing how matters lay, His Excellency yielded and affixed his florid rubric to the document. But he had lost the good will of most of his protectors.   Together with Nuñez, Almonte, and Caro, he was now lodged not in the state-rooms of the steamboat but in a small room in Velasco with a sentinel outside whose presence suggested, under the circumstances, less detention than protection from mob violence. For it was only after the utmost difficulty that the moderates prevailed and made arrangements to place him on a ship in the harbor, the Invincible, preparatory to sending him to Vera Cruz. But on the morning of June 1st, just as he was to be taken on board, the soldiery rebelled and Rusk had to devote several hours to pacifying them. In the afternoon a storm came up---ominous threat of what was to follow---and Santa Anna was hurriedly taken on board, aided by Zavala who had by this time begun to have his troubles with the Texans and was then about to be ousted as Vice-President.
     Perhaps mindful of this situation he became conciliatory towards his former enemy and aided him in his plans. On board the Invincible our hero, his impressionable soul moved, dictated a premature proclamation to the Texans expressing gratitude:
"My Friends: I have been a witness of your courage on the field of battle, and know you to be generous. Rely with confidence on my sincerity and you shall never have cause to regret the kindness shown me. In returning to my native land, I beg you to receive the sincere thanks of your grateful friend.
 Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna."

    You all will see that this is neither an anti or pro-Mexican missive, nor is it at this printing designed to evoke sympathy for a tyrant, the equivalent of Pol Pot  or Chou En Lai.  To-morrow we shall delve into the  Life after Texas of this disgusting demagogue.

El Gringo Viejo

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Daughter-in-Law's "Doodling"


     The Portrait of a Horse is the kind of thing our Son's Wife does.   She has demonstrated advanced levels of talent and execution frequently, and never ceases to amaze her poor, old In-laws with her ability and competence, not only in the arts, but in the challenges of day to day life.

     We wanted to share this with the ever-increasing OROG community.   And yes, she does sell, from time to time.   She is also a top-flight commercial artist.

Thanks for your time and attention!

El Gringo Viejo

Think before you jump.....


     We were listening right now to the fact that Mr. Cruz has advised the Real Elephant Union that Carla Fiorina (aka - Annette Funicello) has been selected as that individual who will stand "one heartbeat from the Presidency".   Wise move, wise choice, wise strategy, wise tactic, and beneficial to the American concept of normalcy.  
     We would also suggest that there was a time when parting the seas with a staff, flying a single engine airplane to Le Gran France, and placing a man on the Moon were all considered laughable.

     However, consider the lessons of Baseball....the Great Catechism Instructor of Real Life.   It reads as follows:

      But neither of these two collapses can hold a candle to the events of May 23, 1901. The newly formed American League was in it's inaugural season and Washington was visiting Cleveland. Lefty Casey Patten, who eventually would win 18 games that season, took the mound for Washington. He was opposed by 30-year old William "the Wizard" Hoffer. Hoffer had enjoyed huge success as part of the Baltimore dynasty in the National League in the late 1890's. Over his first three seasons(1895-1897) he had compiled a record of 77-25 and twice led the N.L. in winning percentage, posting 30 wins as a rookie in 1895. But although 1901 would be Hoffer's first season in the American League, it would soon prove to be his last in the major leagues.
      Washington's offense struck early and often against Hoffer in tallying 14 hits to build up a 13-5 lead after 8 1/2 innings. And when Patten quickly retired the first two Cleveland batters to begin the bottom of the ninth, a Washington victory looked certain. After all, the bases were empty, there were already two outs and Washington was ahead by 8 runs. Down to its' final out, Cleveland slowly and methodically began accumulating baserunners. Three straight singles by Jack McCarthy, Bill Bradley and Candy LaChance produced the first Cleveland run of the inning. When the next batter, catcher Bob Wood, was hit by a pitch to load the bases, things were still a long way from settled. Cleveland shortstop Frank Scheibeck doubled home two more runs and centerfielder Frank Genins drove in another to narrow Washington's lead to 13-9. At this point, Washington manager Jimmy Manning had apparently seen enough and he pulled Patten and replaced him with reliever Watty Lee. 
      Lee promptly walked the first batter he faced to re-load the bases. Cleveland sent up pinch-hitter Erve Beck to bat for the pitcher Hoffer, who had made the first out of the inning. Beck cleared the bases with a three-run double to cut the margin to 13-12. The next batter, righfielder Ollie Pickering, drove in Beck from second with a single to tie the score, sending the frenzied fans streaming out on to the field at League Park in a premature celebration. When the field was finally cleared of revelers, McCarthy, who'd begun the rally with the first hit of the inning, returned to the plate. But Lee immediately compounded the problem for Washington by letting Pickering advance to second base on a wild pitch. McCarthy's second single of the inning was Cleveland's 20th hit of the game and drove Pickering home with the winning run for a 14-13 victory.
     Were Ted Cruz and his supporters to pull out any form of victory in Indiana, it would be something akin to that great scene where Rhett Butler tells Scarlett, "....frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."   You can win all the Yankee States  you want,  Don.    But, the problem is, whether we win or lose, we shall fight on and win.
      It is fairly recognisable that "the Donald" cannot withstand any sense of 'losing'.   If our guy and his forces pull out a victory, "the" Donald will have a meltdown, and show himself for the 12-year old, spoil't child that he is.
     This is not the time to be  jumping out of upper floor windows.  This is the time to circle the opposing army with our own light cavalry and shame him before his greatest admirers.  He is a shill, a provocateur, and a snake-0il salesman.   But, I think....with the "New York Values" State Prosecutor, unless he is paid off, will make life un-comfortable, to say the least, for "the" Donald.
More later.   We appreciate, most sincerely, the time and attention you all have given this page.
El Gringo Viejo

Monday, 25 April 2016

Sir Edmund Hillary, Duchess of Fort Marcy Park, Queen of the Universe, Eternal Goddess of All Universes


     We await that moment when (Sir Edmund) Hillary will receive at least the treatment Charles Colson received when the FBI found that Charles Colson had one (1) FBI personal raw data file in his desk, still sealed and unopened.  He went to prison for three years.   Or, mayhaps, that which befell Gen. Petraeus, for having one unauthorized file in his private possession, a having discussed that file with his "biographer" mistress.

     Stories are spilling out like bubbling broth from the caldron, and the fire is spitting and hissing with whispers about how the FBI will have a barracks uprising if Loretta Lynch does not move on (Sir Edmund) Hillary Corkscrew.  While it might be (please forgive) a pleasant sight to see Her Highness sitting in the stocks, bedecked in orange, it is very, very improbable that such will ever happen.   In all probability Huma is calling people everywhere around Washington, D.C. and Little Rock, Arkansas to remind them that she has their files and that her "friends" know where their grandchildren and daughters of potential witnesses play and hang out, and what primary schools they attend.
     In other words, let us not hold our breath.
    We shall await the "coming-any-time-now" pronouncement
 from the Department of Justice.

     "Federal Bureau of Investigation files for indictments against Sir Edmund Hillary:   Multiple charges, including solicitation of murder in the first degree, a capital crime, and over 1,439 felonies associated with other violent crimes and death, and election fraud, and the handling of ultra-sensitive FBI files and other documents deigned to be far beyond the reach of any person's personal recovery authority.....and the use thereof to the detriment of active personnel in the National Defense and the effort of National Security.

And Furthermore:

     The Federal Bureau of Investigation admits to collusion in the Travelgate disaster, and to the cover-up of the Mt. Carmel disaster, engineered by Janet Reno and Sir Edmund Hillary, along with the failure to investigate adequately the "Pardons for Pesos" shame that Sir Edmund Hillary and Billy Jeff Blythe and Eric Holder and the brothers of Sir Edmund Hillary and Billy Jeff and such slime brought upon the  office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

      The following indictments against (Sir Edmund) Hillary, Perpetual Queen of All Universes and Pantsuits, are too numerous to list.  We recommend that she be shot into the nether, sealed in the next available rocket-conveyance.   Once 'up-there' , she can seek out others of her type and have a wonderful time with her equals....such as Caligula, all those who call themselves 'Progressives' in America and elsewhere, and all members of that class of human  who wish to inflict 'democratic socialism and income equality' on the populace, Pol Pot, Adolph, Karl, Uncle Joe, Uncle Ho, Fidel and Raul, the Ortegas, Fernandez de Kirchner, and all "socialist reformers".

     Please forgive us.  Signed.....the FBI.
    (And to Richard Jewell - deceased and his mother, also RIP)....we knew that you were a hero, but we just did not want to let you have the credit for something we should have done, but did not do. understand....we had to defame and essentially convict you in public opinion, and that is not really, really nice.   But, perhaps you can take solace from the fact that we really celebrated with ''high-fives''  and long, long, happy hours at our favourite saloons.  You were such a fat, lower-middle class slob!!!!  Hahahaha.   Everybody knows your name, but nobody can name the guy we finally caught....Hahahahhaha....sorry, Rich....nothing personal!
      It's great when we have fat, no glamour, nobodies that we can slide off on America's public now-a-days.  The American public has an attention span of 2 seconds, and a critical thinking factor of 00.ooo1.   Have a nice day.   We have more important people to protect by covering up their felonious iniquity."
Pardon the ire.  We now return to our other pursuits.
El Gringo Viejo

Friday, 22 April 2016

Matters of Perception - Texas at the cusp of Ruin or Liberty - Lessons


Building upon the previous two posts, we would like to delve just a bit longer into the matters pertaining to 1836 in Texas.   Some of this arises from the birthday celebrations a few days ago in the area where we have our little adobe hut.  The incessant obsession with Donald Trump by those in attendance brought this observer to the point where he made various observations and suggestions:

     (1)     The people were advised to not obsess concerning Trump.

  Such condemnation and posturing we have seen amongst the Mexican populace, the beating of Trump pinatas at children's birthday parties, the "injury" suffered by having to listen to a politician say ill-considered things just does not justify the effort.   Vincent Fox Quezada, the first non-government party President of Mexico....a National Action Party conservative....made a fool of himself by sputtering things as bad or worse about Trump than did Trump himself.   Fox-Quesada's  be-fouling of the American airways with the worst of profanity, twice, on live American television was astonishing.
     Towards the end of Fox-Quesada's term as President of Mexico (2001 - 2007 inclusive) he also became a typical RINO by trying to be compassionate and caring....."reaching out" across the aisle in Congress, etc. etc.   The opposition, in large part, spit in his face.   Small inroads 0f "understanding" and "working together" were made, but all were quickly tossed aside upon the end of his term.   He also did little to nothing to assist in the campaign to elect his successor, allowing the National Action Party candidate to swim rough seas with no life jacket, essentially.   In spite of his pioneering victory, he has become a "sideliner" in Mexican political, cultural, and  social affairs.

     El Gringo Viejo played a bit of a dirty trick on the guests assembled.   He reminded the folks that during the late 1820s early to mid 1830s,  the vast majority of the "anglosaxones" who came into Texas came under contract in return for land.....large land tracts.   These contracts would be enforced by the various "empresarios" who obtained the grants and authority to issue land patents, where farms and small to middle-sized ranches could be set up.
    Colonisers  were required to learn the Spanish language, become practicing Roman Catholics, and to improve their lands within seven years, paying all levies and consideration required of all Mexicans.  They were also required to guarantee that they would neither introduce nor maintain an enslaved person.
   In exchange, they essentially received citizenship, plus the requirement to form join militias in order to guard against the marauding Apache, Comanche, Kickapoo, and  Kiowa nations.   In other words, they wanted to use the "anglosaxones" as bullet and arrow catchers so as to blunt the Indians who made annual, sometimes seasonal, "visits" deep into times as far South as San Luis Potosi.
     These conditions prevailed until the Conservatives took over the government in Mexico and suspended, then abolished, the Constitution of 1824 (very similar to the American Constitution), and then established an organic law Centralist government, expressly committed to cancelling any form of sovereignty for the States of the Mexican union.   A War commenced, almost a forerunner of the American War Between the States, in which at least one per cent of the Mexican population died.   A demagogue arose from the disorders surrounding these events of the early to mid-1830s by the name of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and it would be he who would torment and embarrass Mexico for the next 30 years.

     Lopez de Santa Anna was neither a Conservidor nor a Liberal.  He was first and foremost (and only) a Santa Annista.   Because the Texians were, in the main, Federalists and States' Righters, they presented a problem to the Centralist government.   Zacatecas, Coahuila, the entire Yucatan Peninsula, San Luis Potosi, most of Nuevo Leon, and Jalisco States were all substantially anti-Centralist.

     One floating phantom played a strategic problem for Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.  The stories of his victories over mediocre to even well-prepared and competent adversaries in the field went before him as he invaded Texas.   This would make his pacification of the Federalists (Liberals) and their silly defense of the Mexican tricolour with the numeral 1 8 2 4 emblazoned upon the vertical Green, White, and Red background quite easy he thought, except for that pesky strategic problem.   What was that little impediment?

     Because of the fact that the Mexican autocrats, oligarchs, democrats, Republicans, Clerical class, and wealthy landowners, and industrialists all had their ideas about how to arrange society and governance of said society, they spent much of their political time in Mexico City arguing about everything except that which mattered.  Texas....even Coahuila....was like something on the moon.  For most people, many leguas and varas and hectareas of distance that might even stretch to Canada or beyond, there were better things to argue and bluster about in and around Mexico City.

    (2)    The United States and Texas learned from the Mistakes of the 1836 period in Mexico.   They learned but it was probably also too late.

     During the period from around 1831 through to the first quarter of 1836, it is true what some historians and Mexican nationalists assert.   They declare that "scores of thousands" of "illegal aliens" poured into Texas more for the purpose of establishing slavery, law offices, commercial enterprises including illegal importation of refined and manufactured goods, and general business practices.   Most of these....essentially all....were from the United States, with a preponderance coming from what would later become "The Confederacy".
     The numbers were not so great, but they were significant.   The American-like cohort of the population quickly outdistanced the combined numbers of Spanish/Mexican ancestry and Indian ancestry very shortly after the beginning of the "colonisation" programme.   According to official and reliable sources, we find: State Historical Association
The colonization period of 1821–35 brought many settlers; the population was estimated
at 20,000 in 1831. In 1834 Juan N. Almonte, after a visit to Texas, placed the population
at 24,700, including slaves. In 1836 there were probably 5,000 blacks, 30,000
Anglo-Americans, 3,470 Hispanics, and 14,200 Indians in Texas.
(El Gringo Viejo suggests that the terms "Hispanic" and "Anglo" are very loose, even somewhat accurate)

We submit that Juan N. Almonte was a reliable source, and also a military officer of considerable position and respect.  Included in his reports to Mexico City was the frightening admission that the baby they had birthed in 1821 with Moses Austin and later his son, Stephen Austin, to bring a few "anglosaxones" into Texas had turned into a monster Goliath, dwarfing the Spanish/Mexican population and the native Indian altogether. The Indians counted were mainly among the Alabama, Coushatta, and Caddo....various types of the Chickasaw, Cherokee. and Creek Nations.  He also reported that there were numerous Negroes, and generally assumed they were all slaves, although he was told by the settlers that the Black Folks were actually manumitted, or in the process of manumission.   I was not there, and do not know which or who was slave or manumitted Negro.

     Almonte was also concerned with the fact that many of the settlers, nominally Mexican nationals, had had experience in the militias in the land of origin.   David Crockett, who would arrive late, and stay on this Earth only briefly after arrival, for instance, had been a lieutenant colonel in the Tennessee militia and had seen vigorous combat during the Indian Wars.  Almonte was also alarmed that the 50 per cent growth rate was fueled by people who had not entered with the intention of learning Spanish, of being loyal to a government as distant as Washington D.C. in many ways, or of being compliant with the labyrinthine complexities of Mexican commercial law.   They were, essentially, illegal aliens.  Few of the latter arrivals intended to push cotton up out of muddy soil, or round up wild cattle in the western stretches of what defined as colonisable territory in Texas.

     The point?   Mexico and the rest of the world should well understand why large segments of the population of the United States would want to seal a porous border.   Because Mexico slept at the switch, for instance, during the 1830s, a population built up that chafed at the thought of the arbitrariness  of organic law as opposed to common law.  It also suddenly became strong in terms of production and had small but very potent militia capacity.  Because of the further error by the Mexicans of placing 110% of the authority to conduct governmental business and military operation into the hands and contorted mind of one megalomaniac, Mexico lost its most valuable asset.   The present path of the United States is pictured by those errors and those of the Romans who paid and cajoled the plebeian classes with massive public entertainment and citizenship status when such classes, in those days, were in no way prepared for citizenship.

     One of the people with whom we were speaking told your humble servant that I would well advised to run seminars for the National Action Party so that they would campaign on those principals.   As much as the Mexican population is "down on Trump", they also have the problem, once again, of not sealing down their own southern border.   Now, several million people of Central American nationality (excepting only Costa Rica and Panama') are "in the shadows" in Mexico.  Although it might be hard for the OROG to believe, once a Centroamericano arrives into Mexico, he/she can be a bit overwhelmed at the wealth, prosperity, and abundance of product and food.  Sadly, they are also surprised at how much more "functional" the police and military are, and how the corruption is not as abusive.  I know, it sounds sadly humorous, but it is true.
      The problem?   The interior rot that the Central American gangs inject into already unstable parts of the urban Mexican situation.   It is a gangrenous condition that will, as in American, lead to cultural debilitation of the most grievous level.

There you all have it.   Have to make supper for the better half and me.  Perhaps I can talk her into taking me out to the Whataburger.
El Gringo Viejo

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Repost: A Review of the Times of San Jacinto....the Battle that brought Texas her Independence

File:Vicente Filisola.jpg
General Vicente Filisola
     The gentleman pictured above was many things.   He was a Spaniard with an Italian name.  He was a veteran of the Napoleanic Wars, and a distinguished Spanish soldier.   He came to New Spain late in the colonial period and served during the transition from Spanish to Mexican control of that area which now would include all of Mexico, Central America, western Canada, and most of what would become the western half of the United States of America.    For a brief period during the rule of Emperor Agustin de Iturbide I of the Mexican Empire 1821 - 1823, General Vicente Filisola served his Emperor as Governor of Central America.
      The good General served only briefly, however, due to the overthrow of the Empire and the establishment of the Republic of Mexico in 1824.   He did provide for an orderly transition from Mexican control to local governance and order, and withdrew his Imperial Army back into Mexico and joined the re-organised Army as a brigadier.
      It is said that Filisola was probably the one who inspired Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna to think of himself as...."The Napoleon of the West"....because of Lopez de Santa Anna's fascination with Napoleon Bonaparte and the legends associated with that Corsican.   Filisola was one of the few people in anyones army who had officer level dealings on a Napoleonic field of battle.

    Vicente Filisola is important to Texans because he was one of those Generals immediately under the command of the all important, self-consumed, pompous Generalissimo Presidente Lopez de Santa Anna.    Along with Filisola, and Perfecto de Cos, the Presidente's brother-in-law, and old Castrillon, and Ramirez y Sesma....all Spaniards  by birth and world view, there was also Brigadier Jose' Urrea, the Indian Fighter, a Davy Crockett figure, at once both rough-cut, and aristocratic, and oddly one of only two  Mexican general officers fighting in the Texas War of Independence who were born Mexicans.
    The commander in chief Lopez de Santa Anna, and the lowest ranking general officer were Mexicans.   Lopez de Santa Anna had moved three large elements from all parts of the country from January up to mid-February to do battle against a crafty bunch of scrappers in a place called "nowhere" by some and Texas by others.   Urrea moved a third of the Army along the Texas Coast, aiming to unify with the main body of the Army around a place called San Jacinto.   Urrea also moved quickly, like an early form of blitzkrieg, although he had five major battles against Texian units numbering from 100 to 500 combatants in each case, and several significant skirmishes which tested his 2,400 effectives severely.   He is best remembered, however, as the Mexican general who left orders to deal fairly and well with the Texian Colonel Fannin and the 440 Texian prisoners, only to have his orders countermanded by the Generalissimo Presidente.   So while Urrea had moved up to Victoria del Rio Guadalupe a few miles from Goliad, his subordinate received orders underlining the existing orders from the High Command that all found holding arms against the government would be executed for treason.
     Here, El Gringo Viejo enters a well-documented but rather neglected fact about the the issues of personality, strategy, tactics, honour, and the business of war that the Mexicans were undergoing even as they were winning, fairly easily against the insurrectionists.  To wit:

General José Urrea
Gen. Jose' Urrea
     "I was unable, therefore, to carry out the good intentions dictated by my feelings, overcome by the difficult circumstances that surrounded me. I authorized the execution, of thirty adventurers taken prisoners, and setting free those who were colonists or Mexicans
     "These orders always seemed to me harsh, but they were the inevitable result of the barbarous and inhuman decree which declared outlaws those whom it wished to convert into citizens of the republic,  I wished to elude these orders as far as possible without compromising my personal responsibility.
      "They doubtlessly surrendered confident that Mexican generosity would not make their surrender useless, for under any other circumstances they would have sold their lives dearly, fighting to the last. I had due regard for the motives that induced them to surrender, and for this reason I used my influence with the general-in-chief to save them, if possible, from being butchered."

Diary of the Military Operations of the Division
which under the Command of General José Urrea
Campaigned in Texas February to March 1836
Translation from Carlos Casteñeda's The Mexican Side
 of the Texan Revolution (Some headings added by
 current editor, WLM)
For Biographies, Search 

Extract from the Diary of Col. Nicolás de la Portilla

Col. Nicolás de la Portilla

In a Letter Portilla to Urrea....."I feel much distressed at what has occurred here; a scene enacted in cold blood having passed before my eyes which has filled me with horror. All I can say is, that my duty as a soldier, and what I owe to my country, must be my guaranty...."
March 26. At seven in the evening I received orders from General Santa Anna by special messenger, instructing me to execute at once all prisoners taken by force of arms agreeable to the general orders on the subject. (I have the original order in my possession.) I kept the matter secret and no one knew of it except Col. Garay, to whom I communicated the order. At eight o'clock, on the same night, I received a communication from Gen. Urrea by special messenger in which among other things he says, "Treat the prisoners well, especially Fannin. Keep them busy rebuilding the town and erecting a fort. Feed them with the cattle you will receive from Refugio." What a cruel contrast in these opposite instructions! I spent a restless night. sdct
March 27. At daybreak, I decided to carry out the orders of the general-in-chief because I considered them superior. I assembled the whole garrison and ordered the prisoners, who were still sleeping, to be awaked. There were 445. (The eighty that had just been taken at Cópano and had, consequently, not borne arms against the government, were set aside.) The prisoners were divided into three groups and each was placed in charge of an adequate guard, the first under Agustin Alcerrica, the second under Capt. Luis Balderas, and the third under Capt. Antonio Ramírez. I gave instructions to these officers to carry out the orders of the supreme government and the general-in-chief. This was immediately done. There was a great contrast in the feelings of the officers and the men. Silence prevailed. Sad at heart I wrote to Gen. Urrea expressing my regret at having been concerned in so painful an affair. I also sent an official account of what I had done, to the general-in-chief. [Portilla to Urrea, Goliad, March 26 1836 and Portilla to Urrea, Goliad, March 27, 1836]

     El Gringo Viejo and many old timey Texans know these stories, but they are not well known any longer.   Newly arriving people with Mexican backgrounds assume they know all and newly arriving people from the United States and elsewhere have seen Davy Crockett on Disney or some variation, and are certain in their knowledge of the issues involved with the period from 1829 through 1846 and the Texas situation.
     This is not said with any particular arrogance.   It is known that what El Gringo Viejo knows from his own research is now useless information.  Nothing matters in the course of human conduct that cannot be compressed into a six-word phrase to put on a bumper sticker.   What is past is no longer prologue, but rather simply useless white-noise on the left side of the time line.
      But as an enemy the man pictured below is known among the old, last remaining Texans who know what Texas really was, as an honorable enemy....a good and patriotic man involved in a grisly profession.    Something like Rommel, perhaps.

Manuel Fernández Castrillón (?–1836)
Fought Texians both at the Battle of the Alamo

and at the Battle of San Jacinto

     Castrillon was Santa Anna's ally through much of their working relationship, but Castrillón often took exception to Santa Anna's decisions during the Texas Revolution. He opposed the hurried assault on the Alamo. Yet when he received his orders to lead the battle's first column of troops, he did so with expert efficiency.
A humane and honorable soldier, Castrillón also pleaded clemency on behalf of the seven Texian fighters who survived the Alamo siege. Castrillón's arguments for mercy were ignored, and the men were executed. Castrillón again stated his protest when Santa Anna ordered the execution of the Goliad prisoners.
Castrillón's compassion was a sign of kindness, not weakness. When the Texians roused Mexican forces from their afternoon siesta on 21 April 1836 at the Battle of San Jacinto, he was one of the few Mexican officers to stand his ground. 
His bravery was recorded in the memoirs of Texian second lieutentant Walter Paye Lane: 
"As we charged into them the General commanding the Tampico Battalion (their best troops) tried to rally his men, but could not. He drew himself up, faced us, and said in Spanish: 'I have been in forty battles and never showed my back; I am too old to do it now.' 
He continues: "Gen. Rusk hallooed to his men: 'don't shoot him,' and knocked up some to their guns; but others ran around and riddled him with balls. I was sorry for him. He was an old Castilian gentleman, Gen. Castrillo."
Honored on both sides of the Texas Revolution—except by Santa Anna, who blamed the loss at San Jacinto in part on Castrillón—he was even buried in the family graveyard of Lorenzo de Zavala, the vice-president of Texas.

     So, all these major footnotes are added into the blog in order to celebrate the victory tomorrow, the 21st day of April, 1836 of the Battle of San Jacinto.   Normally creditted to the efforts of Gen. Sam Houston, who truly was a bigger than life figure, the truth is that Houston was painfully wounded at the beginning of the battle, by a musket ball to the right foot.   It was Gen. Somervell, commanding, and the surprize rush of the limited cavalry of the Texian force of a bit fewer than 700 men.....attacking on a Sunday morning.   The head of the cavalry was Capt. Juan Seguin, an arch-enemy of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.   The resolve of the Texian force to gain Independence, avenge the atrocities of Goliad and the Alamo allowed the inferior force to pin into a peninsula surrounded by a snake infested bayou, and then essentially destroy the effective force of an Army of 2,500 with superior munitions, armament, artillery, cavalry, stores, and so forth.
     Going back to Gen. Vicente Filisola, it was he who took control of the Mexican Army as it withdrew from San Jacinto.   Lopez de Santa Anna remained under arrest and would later be tranferred to Washington D.C. as an oddity and war-trophy of sorts.   He had been the best general in the field, but also the one most prone to err through arrogance and hubris.   Some say his membership in the Mason Scottish Rite order saved him from a rough and ready gallows at San Jacinto, since Houston and Somervell were both brother Masons.
     Filisola was met with his columns by Urrea, who forced control from Filisola, and took command of the withdrawal.   The two men would argue and write accusations against one another, and each would write interesting, if self-serving accounts of their experiences during the War.   It is the opinion of El Gringo Viejo that Urrea was the better soldier and was truthful concerning his wishes for the good treatment of the Goliad prisoners of war.
      Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna blamed both of them for everything;  Urrea for arriving too late to San Jacinto, Filisola for not mucking through the mud with cannons and stores any faster (he actually moved 2,000 men, animals, and stores faster than Santa Anna had moved his Army away from San Antonio in pursuit of Houston's Army.)   Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was a lot like Obama in his ability to blame everything on everybody but himself.

Committed to the dull truth, which always seems to wind up being far more interesting than the false legends or any fiction.....El Gringo Viejo resigns the evening and promises to return to more tales that interest him, and he hopes, the OROGs everywhere.
El Gringo Viejo