Fiske, E.G. (fl. 1836) to Miss S. H. Fiske
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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00765 Author/Creator: Fiske, E.G. (fl. 1836) Place Written: New Orleans, Louisiana Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 22 May 1836 Pagination: 3 p. : address ; 25 x 20 cm.
Writes to his sister concerning Indian problems. Discusses Texas and the capture of Santa Anna.
Two weeks after the defeat at the Alamo, 350 Texans surrendered to Mexican forces near Goliad with the understanding that they would be treated as prisoners of war. Instead, Santa Anna ordered the men shot.
After the defeats at the Alamo and Goliad, volunteers from the American South flocked to Sam Houston's banner. On April 21, 1836, his army of less than 800 men surprised and utterly defeated Santa Anna's army as it camped out on the San Jacinto River, east of present-day Houston. The next day, Houston's army captured Santa Anna himself and forced him to sign a treaty granting Texas its independence, a treaty that was never ratified by the Mexican government because it was acquired under duress.
For most Mexicans in Texas, defeat meant that they would be relegated to second-class social, political, and economic status. The new Texas constitution denied citizenship and property rights to those who failed to support the revolution. All persons of Hispanic ancestry were considered in the "denial" category unless they could prove otherwise. Consequently, many Mexican landowners fled the region.
The following letter reports the news that the Texans had taken Santa Anna prisoner at the Battle of San Jacinto.
New Orleans May 22, 1836
My dear Sister
Your very acceptable letter of 27th April is before me. In reply I have nothing to write that can be news to you as we get none here. We one day have news that St. Anna has been taken by the Texans and next day contradicted, but I believe the general opinion seems to be that he is really a prisoner. We have not had any mail from New York for nearly a week as it [sic] pasage [sic] has been wholly obstructed by the rising of the Indians in Alabama and Georgia. The last news we had from Columbus [Geo.] was that from 4 to 5000 people had abandoned their houses and fled to that town for protection. They had turned their ware houses and stables into dwellings and had been obliged to erect tents all about the streets. The authorities compel every person who is able to carry a gun to turn out twice in each day to drill and make them take turns standing guard. All is alarm and confusion in all the frontier settlements, but all this is hundreds of miles from this city and we have very little trouble with it.
I have had the pleasure of a slight acquaintance with the Mr. Kendall you mention; was introduced to him by some acquaintances from Burlington I happened to meet here. He has left the city. As for that Mr. Watson, there are several of that name whom I know in the way of business, but have no acquaintance with them any farther. Those I know are respectable.
The weather continues delightfull [sic]. We have had very little rain this spring. Peas are getting to [sic] old, but our new Potatoes have been fine about a month. They are now getting quite ripe.
I am sorry to here that Elizabeth remains in so delicate a state of health and hope the next time you write to hear a more favorable account of her.
I am most happy to hear of the health happiness of all the rest of my relatives and friends and hope they will not trouble themselves about me any longer for I have no doubt I shall live as long here as any where else. I continue to enjoy delightful health. Do write soon. It seems as though it had been an age since I received a letter before the last.
To Miss S.H. Fiske
Since the foregoing was written Genl. Houston has arrived in the city, the commander in Chief of the Texan army and confirmed the news of the capture of Santa Anna and entire destruction of the Mexicans. They have 2000 prisoners among which are 40 officers, all the principal men in Mexico. Genl. Houston has come here for surgical aid being badly wounded in the Battle of 21st of April which resulted in the capture of Santa Anna and his entire army. The Texans were 600 strong and the force under St. Anna and subsequently another division of 1200 surrendered making about 40 Mexican prisoners to one Yankeeâ€¦thisâ€¦one Yankee is equal to 10 Mexicans, the whole Mexican force that invaded Texas amounted to 7000 and the whole force Genl. Houston had in the field has not at any one time amounted to more than 700 or 800 men, and has entirely destroyed this immense army. Who will say after this anything is impossible with Americans.
Miss S.H. Fiske
Saratoga Springs, N. York
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