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Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Recollection of the Battle of San Jacinto by Dilue Rose Harris

Last week I posted an excerpt from Dilue Rose Harris's memoir of Fort Bend County in 1836.  She was eleven-years old, and her family lived south of Stafford's Point, somewhere near the present intersection of Highway 6 and Dulles Avenue.

This week I've selected a couple of paragraphs covering the time they spent near Liberty, Texas waiting to cross the Trinity River, which was flooding during the Runaway Scrape.  Many refugee families were waiting to cross on April 21st, when the Texian army finally confronted the main corps of the Mexican army at San Jacinto.


We had been at Liberty three weeks.  A Mr. Martin let father use his house.  There were two families camped near, those of Mr. Bright and his son-in-law, Patrick Reels, from the Colorado River.  One Thursday evening all of a sudden we heard a sound like distant thunder.  When it was repeated father said it was cannon, and that the Texans and Mexicans were fighting.  He had been through the War of 1812, and knew it was a battle.  The cannonading lasted only a few minutes, and father said that the Texans must have been defeated, or the cannon would not have ceased firing so quickly.  We left Liberty in half an hour.  The reports of the cannon were so distant that father was under the impression the fighting was near the Trinity ....

The young men went a short distance from us and camped.  Then we heard some one calling in the direction of Liberty.  We could see a man on horseback waving his hat; and, as we knew there was no one left at Liberty, we thought the Mexican army had crossed the Trinity.  The young men came with their guns, and when the rider got near enough for us to understand what he said, it was "Turn back!"  When he got to the camp he could scarcely speak he was so excited and out of breath.  When the young men began to understand the glorious news they wanted to fire a salute, but father made them stop. He told them to save their ammunition, for they might need it ....

The good news was cheering indeed.  The courier's name was McDermot.  He was an Irishman and had been an actor.  He stayed with us that night and told various incidents of the battle.  There was not much sleeping that night.  Mr. McDermot said he had not slept in a week.  He not only told various incidents of the retreat of the Texas army, but acted them.  The first time that mother laughed after the death of my little sister was at his description of General Houston's helping to get a cannon out of a bog.  [Editor: Dilue's infant sister died during the Runaway Scrape.]