Texas Almanac, 1988-1989 Page: 25
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GULF COAST 25
Continued From Page 24
in command, advertised in the Telegraph and Texas
Register of Oct. 19, 1836, offering $3 a cord for wood
along the route between Quintana and Washington-
on-the-Brazos. It is not known whether the steamboat
ever resumed regular Brazos runs.
It is also not known if the owners were ever able to
collect the money owed by the government of the
fledgling nation. Bills were sent to the Texas govern-
ment several times. Sam Houston himself urged the
Congress to authorize payment for the services of the
Yellow Stone. But there is no firm evidence that the
bills wereever paid.
The Yellow Stone was once again thrust into the
Texas limelight when Stephen F. Austin died on Dec.
27, 1836, at the age of 43. The steamboat was sum-
moned to Columbia to pick up the entourage and
transport it a few miles downstream to Peach Point
Plantation, home of Austin's sister and her husband,
Emily and James F.: Perry. Austin was interred in the
plantation's burial ground, the Gulf Prairie Ceme-
tery. Austin's body was later re-Interred in the Texas
State Cemetery in Austin.
Hauling freight and a few passengers around the
Gulf occupied the steamboat's next several months.
The vessel made two or three runs up Buffalo Bayou
to the new village called Houston, but it was too long
Continued From Page 23
to the Alamo for 13 days before attacking on March 6.
Then his forces were tied down for several days, replac-
ing the soldiers lost in the attack. Finally he split his
forces with some troops following Houston across Texas
in the Runaway Scrape.
A more successful operation was carried out, how-
ever, along the Coast by Gen. Jose Urrea. Upon learn-
ing of the plans of Dr. Grant and Johnson to attack
Matamoros, Santa Anna on Jan. 15 dispatched Gen. Ur-
rea from Saltillo to Matamoros. Urrea learned that
Grant and Johnson were approaching Matamoros, and
he expected an attack. But the pair were hunting
horses, and split up with Johnson returning to. San
Urrea trailed Johnson and surprised the Anglo-Tex-
ans in a pre-dawn attack on Feb. 27 at San Patricio.
Johnson escaped but-several insurgents were killed. A
few days later, the Mexican general got word of Dr.
Grant's approach and ambushed him at Agua Duice
Creek, killing the physican and several others. These
two engagements were the first times that Mexican sol-
diers had defeated the Anglo-Texans. The news of the
victories was celebrated at San Antonio.
Gen. Urrea continued to move up the coast. On
March 20, he caught Fannin's command in an open
prairie and captured nearly 400 men and supplies. The
Texans claimed they thought they would get the honors
of war, but papers held in Mexico reveal an uncondli
tional surrender. Although aware of Santa Anna's
threat to kill all Insurgents, Urrea thought that the
sheer number of prisoners would discourage a massa-
cre. About 350 prisoners were executed on Santa Anna's
Mop-up operations consumed the next month of Ur-
rea's campaign. He took Guadalupe Victoria, the small
port at Linn's House and Matagorda. While camped on
the Colorado River, "Dr. Harrison," the son of a United
States general, was dispatched to upcoming settle-
ments to offer guarantees of safety and protection to-
colonists who had not taken up arms against Mexico.
HarriSon,-who Urrea said felt owed his life to the Mexi-
can general, had some success.
When Urrea reached Brazoria on April 22, many
colonists met him and expressed satisfaction with their
treatment. Some said they were more concerned with
Sam Houston's forces, which were made up of adven-
turers, than with the Mexican army. Aid was offered
the Mexicans in taking Velasco at the mouth of the Bra-
zos River and Galveston Island. History has given little
note to these TexasTories Houston knew of the feelings
of many, for letters from them-to Santa Anna had been
found among papers captured by the Texas army. Upon
the Texans' victory at San Jacinto,'Houston sent notes
to the Tories to inform them that they were supporting
a lost cause. Their names were never released.
to turn around in Buffalo Bayou without first backing
into White Oak Bayou - a tricky maneuver.
The spring of 1837'found the sturdy sidewheeler
carrying to Houston a printing press meant for the
Telegraph and Texas Register. Gail Borden Jr., the
developer of condensed milk and part-owner of the
paper, accompanied the press.
The Yellow Stone made a few more deliveries in
the Galveston area; after that, there is no further evi-
dence of its existence. Some historians think the
steamboat literally dropped from sight: They believe
that it hit a snag and sank in Buffalo Bayou. The last
scrap of documentation is a bill to the Texas navy
department dated June 2, 1837 - one last attempt to
get paid for services rendered. What is generally ac-
cepted to be the bell of the Yellow Stone is on display
at the Alamo.
One thing is certain, however: The Yellow Stone
earned an important place in the history of Texas.
- MARY G. CRAWFORD
FOR FURTHER READING
Jackson, Donald, Voyages of the Steamboat Yellow
Stone; Ticknor and Fields, New York, 1985.
Puryear, Pamela- Ashworth and Nath Winfield
Jr., Sandbars and Sternwheelers, Steam Navigation on
the Brazeos; Texas A&M University Press, College Sta-
Webb, Walter Prescott and H. Bailey Carroll,
eds., The Handbook of Texas, Vol. 2; Texas State His-
toricalAssociation, Austin, 1952.
Urrea was headed toward Velasco when word of
Santa Anna's defeat reached him, and he was ordered
to move northward to join with other Mexican forces in
a retreatfrom Texas.
Santa Anna initially considered returning to Mexi-
co after Dr. Grant's defeat and the fall of the Alamo. In
his mind, the war was over, and he was fully aware of
the fickle political tides that- rocked Mexican govern-
ment. The dictator wanted to return to Mexico City to
consolidate his regime-in the wake of the great victory.
But his general staff talked him outof going.
While Texas' land forces were having problems
dealing with the Mexican army, the new Republic's
navy was providing a heroic defense of the coast. Ini-
tially, letters of marque were issued to privateers to
provide protection for the shipping lanes to Texas. In
early 1836, however, fourships - the Independence, the
Liberty, the Brutus and the Invincible - were pur-
chased and placed- under the command of 29-year-old
Charles E. Hawkins. The ships held off the Mexican
navy and disrupted the army's sea supply lines. Be-
tween the work of the navy and Houston's scorched-
earth policy during the Runaway Scrape, the Mexican
army under Santa Anna's second in command, Vicente
Filisola, was denied supplies after San Jacinto, and that
was one factor leading to its withdrawal without a fight.
Despite the successes, Houston was hostile to the navy.
By late 1837, all four of the ships of Texas' first navy had
been lost after carving out a unique and enviable place
in the state's history.
Back on land, Santa Anna, after deciding to remain
in Texas, hurried to rejoin the advance units. On April
7, he joined Gen. Ramirez y Sesma and entered San
Felipe. Receiving intelligence that the rebel govern-
ment was in Harrisburg, Santa Anna headed after the
officials. Slowed by weather and sharpshooters, the
Mexican contingent arrived in Harrisburg a week later,
lust in time to see Texas officials rowing to a schooner.
While burning Harrisburg, Santa Anna got word that
Houston and his army were headed for Lynch's ferry
and escape into Louisiana.
Santa Anna wastedno time in chasing the rebel
army, and that was his undoing, for he passed it and got
cornered at San Jacinto. Early on April 21, 500 men
joined Santa Anna's command, but the soldiers and offi-
cers settled down for theirmidday rest without posting
sentries. Houston's forces attacked, and In less than 20
minutes, the Mexicans were routed and the battle was
over. The Texans had won. Santa Anna was captured
the next day dressed in a private's uniform.
Houston quickly got the Mexican leader to agree to
a truce and then left for New Orleans for treatment of
an ankle wound. President Burnet took charge of Santa
Anna, and on May 14, the dictator signed two treaties at
Velasco, a public document and a secret one. The public
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Texas Almanac, 1988-1989, book, 1987; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth113819/m1/28/: accessed November 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.