Santa Anna’s army marched toward Anahuac, burning Harrisburg on their way. Sam Houston’s army hurried to intercept him. On April 20 both armies arrived at San Jacinto.
Santa Anna expected Houston’s exhausted recruits to rest and regroup, but Houston decided on a surprise attack. At about 3:30 in the afternoon of April 21, while the unsuspecting Mexicans were taking a siesta, Houston led his 910 men with cries of, “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!” They fired at almost point blank range, scattering the terrified Mexicans who had no time to group for battle.
The fight was over in eighteen minutes.
After the battle, Santa Anna could not be found. The next day, a Texas sergeant apprehended a Mexican in a common soldier’s uniform trying to sneak away under cover. As he brought his captive to General Houston, the other Mexican prisoners recognized him and began to shout, “El Presidente!” Santa Anna was forced to surrender in disgrace.