After the fall of the Alamo on the 6th day
of March, 1836, Santa Anna, President of Mexico, marched to the
conquest of the balance of Texas with four divisions of his army.
The first, commanded by himself in person, and the second by
Filasola, followed the small retreating army of General Houston and
the fleeing settlers. Colonel Urrea was sent with another division
to attack Colonel Fannin at Goliad, while Gaona, with the fourth,
went by way of Bastrop to destroy the little town and settlement
there. Among the regimental commanders were Almonte, Sesma,
Castrillon and others. Colonel Almonte, who figured so conspicuously
in this invasion, was with the division of Santa Anna.
On the 26th of March, 1836, Santa Anna ordered Colonel Urrea with
his force of nearly 2,000 men to scour all the country from Victaria
to Galveston, and under his most strict responsibility he should
fulfill the orders of the government to shoot all prisoners, and to
commence with those under Colonel J. W. Fannin, who had been taken
captive but a few days before. The same instructions were given to
Sesma and Gaona; to execute all those found with arms in their
hands, and to force those who had not taken up arms to leave the
The town of Gonzales in DeWitt's Colony on the Guadalupe was laid in
ashes by the Texans when they abandoned it, and nothing but smoking
ruins confronted Santa Anna when he approached it. Houston was
retreating towards the Colorado, and the settlers were fleeing from
the various settlements towards the Sabine River.
Between the 17th and 20th, after having crossed the Colorado,
General Houston moved down that stream on the east side from
Burnham's to Beason's, the latter being a, few miles below the
present town of Columbus, in Colorado County. Sesma was in command
of the advance of Santa. Anna's division, and on the 20th was on the
Navadad. River, thirty miles west of the Colorado. He reported to
Santa Anna on the lath 4that he was on the Colorado River, but was
in fact on Rocky Creek, a tributary of the Navadad, twenty miles
west of the Colorado. On March the 20th Houston's scouts, under
Captain Henry W. Karnes, defeated the scouts of Sesma on Rocky
Creek, killing one and capturing another. On the 23rd Sesma camped
three miles from the Colorado.
Satisfied that Santa Anna's main army would follow the advance under
Sesma, General Houston fell back to the Brazos and encamped on Mill
Creek, above San Felipe. The news had now been received of the
massacre of Fannin's men, and when it was also learned that the
Mexican army was on the east side of the Colorado, the people of San
Felipe burned the town, and a general re-treat commenced from that
place, the settlers endeavoring to put the Sabine River between them
and the Mexican army until the final battle for Texas independence
came off. It was during these trying and exciting times that those
famous scouts, Deaf Smith, Henry Karnes and Wash Secrest, performed
service that won them a bright page in Texas history.
On the 12th and 13th General Houston, with the aid of the steamboat
"Yellowstone," commanded by Captain Ross, and nearly loaded with
cotton at Grace's Ferry, and a, smaller craft, crossed from the west
to the east side of the Brazos, which was very high and -difficult
of passage and pitched camp at "Groce's Retreat," near the present
town of Hempstead. In the meantime he had ordered Captain Wiley
Martin to occupy a position with a small force at Fort Bend, and
Captain Moseley Baker, with a like force opposite San Felipe, to
dispute the passage there with Santa Anna, and cripple and delay him
as much as possible. Here Baker's men from the east bank fought the
first advance of the Mexican army, and so destructive was their
rifle fire that the Mexicans recoiled, and, not knowing the strength
of the Texans across the river, abandoned the idea of any further
attempt to force a. passage there, and moved thirty miles below to
Fort Bend, now Richmond. It was impossible for General Houston to
guard all the river passes for 100 miles, and at the same time
concentrate his force so as to guard any one point effectually. An
invading army marches with everything necessary to conquest.
"Colonel Almonte in his diary in
substance says that on the 9th Santa. Anna took the choice companies
of Guerrero, Matamoros, Mexico and Toluca and fifty of the Tampico
cavalry and moved down the country in search of a crossing over the
river, following the road leading to and down the San Benard. On the
10th, at a farm on the Fort Bend and Egypt crossing of the Benard,
they found twenty barrels of sugar and 1,250 bushels of corn. Here
they learned that a force was awaiting to oppose them at Fort Bend
on the old Fort Bend road, and then they marched toward that place.
(This force was Captain Martin's men.) At half past 9 o'clock p.m.
they halted, but at 2 a.m. renewed the march on foot-from the
president (Santa Anna) down to the soldiers, leaving the baggage and
cavalry for the purpose of surprising the enemy, who defended the
crossing, before daylight. They did not succeed, as the distance was
double what they supposed it was. Day broke on them a quarter of a
league from the ferry, and frustrated their plans. The men were then
placed in ambush.
On the 11th they were still in ambush, when a passing Negro from the
east side was captured. He conducted them to the canoe in which he
crossed, a little below the ferry, in which, unperceived, they
crossed. By this time the cavalry arrived and took possession of the
houses. In John Henry Brown's history of Texas he says: "Captain
Martin had previously crossed to the east side and kept up a fire at
the Mexicans till the Cazadores, under Bringus, crossed at the lower
ford and were about to assail him in the rear. He then retired."
Almonte does not mention any fight with Martin's men, or the capture
of John R. Fenn and Joe Kuykendall, or the passage of the "Yellow
Stone" down the river at the time. He further says that "An order
was at once sent to Sesma to join them here, and a letter written by
Santa Anna to Urrea at Matagorda. The boats were then repaired, and
they took possession of Thompson's Ferry, a little above On the 13th
Ramirez with a force arrived from Victoria. Many articles were
found, and dispatches arrived both from Filasola and Urrea.
"On the 14th," says Almonte, quoting his exact words, "We crossed
the river early with our beds only, and pro-visions for the road. At
3 in the afternoon we started from Thompson's Ferry and arrived at
Harrisburg on the 15th."
Within a day or two after Santa Anna left Fort Bend Filasola arrived
with his division, and was here joined by Gaona, who, having burned
Bastrop, marched down the Colorado, and, intercepting the trail of
the other divisions, followed them.
During this time The gallant little army of Houston were crossing
the northwestern part of Fort Bend County, in the direction of the
head of Buffalo Bayou.
Fort Bend County
Contribute to Texas Genealogy
If you have
information you would like contribute to the website, please
use our comment form!! If you find a broken link please let