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Sam Houston's Notes Before San Jacinto, April 19, 1836

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This is a primary source that is part of the online exhibit of Texas 175: A Dozen Documents that Made a Difference. This is a letter written by Sam Houston and is held at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Historians still debate Sam Houston's strategy in taking the Texan army on a retreat eastward towards Louisiana rather than engaging immediately with Santa Anna's troops after the Battle of the Alamo. Some observers would never forgive what they considered cowardice, but Houston was determined not to fight the enemy unless he thought he could win. On April 19, 1836, Sam Houston made notes of his plans to meet Santa Anna on the battlefield. This document is one of several copies Houston made and sent to various friends for safekeeping in case he did not survive the battle. Two days later, on April 21, 1836, Houston turned his army south and took on the hated forces of Santa Anna. The result was a total rout of the Mexican army.
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