The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961

Book Reviews

passed through the vicinity, including countless California emi-
By all standards, therefore, artistic, mechanical, and historical,
The San Saba Papers provides an auspicious introduction of
Lawton Kennedy to the field of Texas history. It is to be hoped
that other subjects in the field will receive similar treatment in
the future. CHESTER V. KIELMAN
The Day of San Jacinto. By Frank X. Tolbert. New York
(McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.), 1959. Illustrations and
note on sources. $4.75.
This is the story of the less than eight hundred men who in the
late afternoon of April 21, 1836, followed Sam Houston in the
furious charge against Santa Anna's encampment on the plain of
San Jacinto that was to end forever Mexican domination of
Texas territory. Frank Tolbert is at his dramatic best in re-creat-
ing what surely must have been one of the most incredible events
in all American military history-when an entire Mexican army
was taken completely by surprise by an enemy marching across a
mile-wide prairie in broad daylight.
The Day of San Jacinto is in reality two stories. It is, first and
foremost, the story of a band of fighting men. It is true that they
were undisciplined frontiersmen with a strong penchant for ignor-
ing or disobeying their officers. And in defense of their unvar-
nished vocabulary, let it be said that they had plenty to cuss about.
They were short on guns, wagons, and reinforcements; they had
no medicines and no money with which to buy any. They had
fallen back toward the Sabine boundary and had set in motion a
veritable stampede of civilians bent on getting out of the path of
the advancing Mexicans. It is no less true, however, that they
were fierce in combat. The battle lasted only eighteen minutes
and was followed by an indiscriminate slaughter. The hatred that
had been generated by Mexican atrocities at the Alamo and
Goliad goes a long way in explaining the merciless retaliation at
San Jacinto; it was clearly reflected in the order issued by one
officer to his men: "Boys take prisoners, you know how to take
prisoners, take them with the but of yor guns, club guns, & re-


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed February 6, 2016.