February 27, This day during the Texas Revolution

February 27, 1836 – The Battle of San Patricio was a 19th century battle fought on February 27, 1836, between the Republic of Mexico and the rebelling Mexican state of Texas. The rise to power of Antonio López de Santa Anna in 1833 led several Mexican states to openly rebel. One such state was Coahuila y Texas. The eastern Texas portion of the state was mainly settled by immigrants from the southern United States. When Santa Anna usurped power and appointed himself a dictator, suspending the Mexican Constitution of 1824, the people of Texas rebelled, wanting their civil liberties. With the fall of the Mexican strongholds in San Antonio, Goliad, and other Mexican forts and cities, to the Texas rebels, Santa Anna decided to personally crush the rebellion. He led a force called Army of Operations of about 6,000 soldiers into northern Mexico. Santa Anna split his forces for maximum coverage. One such column was led by General José de Urrea. He was ordered to march along the Texas coast in the southeast to keep open Mexican supply lines from the coast. With the approval of the General Council, Texas revolutionaries James Grant, Frank W. Johnson and Robert C. Morris had collaborated on plans to lead an assault on the Mexican town of Matamoros. Recruiting around 300 men, among who several were native San Antonians, they gathered provisions from the Alamo and La Bahia for their expedition. These men needed horses for their long journey south and splitting into groups, they traveled toward the coast to capture wild horses. On February 27, 1836, Urrea’s advanced reconnaissance patrol discovered Frank W. Johnson and about 34 multi-ethnic Texans (called Texians at this time) camped at the abandoned Irish settlement of San Patricio. In a surprise attack at 3:30 a.m., Mexican troops opened fire on the Texian Army and killed about 10 rebels (7 native born) and took 18 prisoners. The fire-fight lasted a few hours. Johnson and four other Texans were captured but later managed to escape and rejoin James Fannin’s command at Goliad. One man, Daniel J. Toler, escaped without capture. Grant and Morris’s party was also surprised by Urrea’s army as they camped at Agua Dulce Creek. On March 2, Mexican forces surprised the Texans and killed Grant and Morris and twelve other Texans. The survivors were taken and imprisoned at Matamoros.

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