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The University of Texas at Austin

Exhibits

"To Whom Was This Sacrifice Useful?":
The Texas Revolution and the Narrative of José Enrique de la Peña

 

"...the instigators of the war...declared independence...."

Houston's Address To His Army, from The Devil's Comical Oldmanick, 1837
"Houston's Address To His Army," from The Devil's Comical Oldmanick, 1837. With Comic Engravings of All the Principal Events of Texas. New York: Fisher & Turner [1836]. Texas Collection Library.


Mr. Samuel Houston was the commander in chief of the Texas armies.... Houston... had forces inferior in number which, though composed of men of courage, were not subject to the discipline that makes the soldier....

--José Enrique de la Peña Narrative

In a cartoon typical of the cheap comic printing that enjoyed great popularity in the United States from the 1830s through the 1860s, General Houston addressed his army as follows: "Soldiers, there is the enemy—do you want to fight?" "Yes," "Well, then," "Let us eat our dinners and then I will lead you into the battle."

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Portrait of Sam Houston
Portrait of Sam Houston, by J. C. Buttre, 1858, after a daguerreotype by B. P. Paige (n.d.). Engraving, CN 00441, Prints and Photographs Collection.

 

 

 

 

 

Texan military commander Sam Houston was a former governor of Tennessee and a protégé of Andrew Jackson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Richard Ellis to Sam Houston, Washington [on-the-Brazos], March 5, 1836
Richard Ellis to Sam Houston, Washington [on-the-Brazos], March 5, 1836. Autograph letter signed, Sam Houston Hearne Papers.

 

 

 

 

On March 5, 1836, Richard Ellis, president of the Convention of 1836, conveyed to Houston his appointment as commander-in-chief of the armies of the Republic of Texas. Ellis urged Houston and “the Gallant Patriots of this Nation now under arms” to press forward “to victory and glory.”

  

 

 

 

  

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Unanimous Declaration of Independence
Republic of Texas, Unanimous Declaration of Independence, by the Delegates of the People of Texas, in General Convention, at the Town of Washington, on the Second Day of March, 1836. San Felipe de Austin: Printed by Baker and Bordens, 1836. Broadside, Earl Vandale Collection.

 

Circumstances forced [the Texans] to remove their masks when it was least convenient; on the 2nd of March 1836... they declared the Independence of Texas....

--José Enrique de la Peña Narrative

 

The Texas Declaration of Independence is the outstanding state paper in Texas history. At the foot of the broadside are the names of all the delegates present, with the exception of George C. Childress and Sterling C. Robertson, of Milam. This serious omission by the printers perhaps was caused by the fact that the Declaration was printed at San Felipe de Austin, forty miles down the Brazos River from Washington-on-the-Brazos.

 

 

 



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William Fairfax Gray, Journal entry, Washington-on-the-Brazos, March 2, 1836
William Fairfax Gray, Journal entry, Washington-on-the-Brazos, March 2, 1836. Autograph document signed, Earl Vandale Collection.

 

. . . on the 3rd of March neither we, nor those already taken prisoners, nor those we were fighting at the time could possibly have known that the instigators of the war had on the previous day declared independence.

--José Enrique de la Peña Narrative

Gray attended the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos at which delegates wrote the Texas Declaration of Independence. He kept a faithful record of the Convention's proceedings, noting that as there was no printing press in Washington, “various copies of the Declaration were ordered to be made and sent by express to various points and to the United States.”
 

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Army Orders
Texas Army, Commander-in-Chief, Army Orders, Convention Hall, Washington, March 2, 1836 [San Felipe de Austin: Baker and Bordens, 1836]. Broadside, CN 01013, Broadside Collection.



They were the aggressors and we the attacked, they the ingrates, we the benefactors. When they were in want we had given them sustenance, yet as soon as they gained strength they used it to destroy us.

--José Enrique de la Peña Narrative

 

At the time General Houston issued this fiery appeal to Texans to rally to the aid of their army, the fate of the Alamo garrison was still in doubt.

 

 

 

 


 

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Texas Forever!! Broadside
Texas Forever!! [New Orleans? 1836]. Broadside, CN 00834, Broadside Collection.

 

 

 

 

This is the only known copy of an inflammatory circular issued in New Orleans that demonized the Mexican army and offered substantial inducements of land to all who would come to aid the Texan cause. The broadside contains a brief account of the Alamo siege, the outcome of which was still unknown at the time this circular was issued.

 

 

 
 

 

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