Thursday, April 21, 2005

San Jacinto Day

April 21 might not be a big deal to you, but it is to Texans. It's the anniversary of General Santa Anna's defeat by Sam Houston at San Jacinto, located only a few miles from where I'm sitting. The Houston Chronicle has an article about the battle today, the gist of which is that Houston won because of superior firepower. The Mexican troops were using "surplus British East India pattern, smoothbore Brown Bess muskets." According to a fellow named James Mitchell, "The British weapon had a hitting range of 25 yards. Maybe you could hit a target at 50 yards. Beyond that, it's anybody's guess. On the Texas side, it's hard to know what the percentages are. There were Springfields in Houston's army, muskets of various manufacture, maybe even a few Brown Besses. But the vast majority, probably over 500, carried the weapon of choice — the American Kentucky rifle."

And the difference? Well, "the Kentucky rifle was accurate to up to 200 yards in ideal conditions. But even in the chaos of battle [Mitchell said], it was a sure killer at 50 yards."

You can read all about the battle, the San Jacinto Monument and Museum, and a lot of other stuff here. And there's a swell photo of the monument here.

1 comment:

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

That's some tower, but are you sure it's not a monument to the French tickler?

As an Alamo fan I'm also interested in San Jacinto. The weapons theory may be right but let's not forget that the Texicans caught Santa Anna's army having a siesta when they attacked. The battle lasted 20 minutes. That's less time than it takes me to wake up so if any of the Mexican troops were like me they lost the battle in their sleep.