The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942 Page: 324
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
It is this matter of the accurate writing and interpretation
of history that brings me to the subject of my reflections here
today. There is too much inaccuracy in both writing and in-
terpretation - and particularly in interpretation. I have no
quarrel with differences of conviction growing out of the honest
consideration of all the facts that an honest investigation can
discover. Such differences are inevitable. It is the careless in-
terpretation, founded upon incomplete assimilation of the facts,
and the contrived interpretation, based upon falsification, against
which we need to guard.
I can illustrate the sort of differences that develop in different
minds where all the essential facts are known by the written
history of the campaign that preceded this battle of San Jacinto.
Thirty-eight years ago, in 1901, I wrote a brief narrative of
the San Jacinto campaign. It was the second piece of writing,
I think, that I ever published.' Since then Mr. Clarence Whar-
ton, Mr. Marquis James, and Colonel Andrew Houston have
published books or parts of books on the subject. We were all
about equally acquainted with the local facts, I think, when we
wrote. We know the movements of the Mexican and Texan
armies - if the Texan force can be called an army. We know
that the Texan force was made up of volunteers, undrilled and
largely undisciplined, some of them not enrolled in any com-
pany organization, some going away daily and others arriving
and taking their places. We do not know at any point, after
the movement from Gonzales, the precise number of men in
Houston's camp. The puzzle is to determine what was Houston's
plan of campaign. Should he have attacked an inferior Mexican
force on the Colorado? Why did he move up the Brazos from
San Felipe? Did he intend from the beginning to fall back to
the Sabine in the hope of inviting intervention by the United
States? I doubt that any amount of industrious investigation
can ever answer these questions convincingly.
Mr. Wharton and Mr. James believe that Houston's intention,
which he would naturally have kept to himself at the time and
never have admitted afterward, was to fall back to the Sabine.
Colonel Houston and I certainly agree in part, I think, though
we may express it in different ways, that the immediate plan
was purely opportunistic; to hold some sort of force together
2Dr. Barker's article, "The San Jacinto Campaign," appears in The
Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, IV, 237-345 (April,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942, periodical, 1942; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146053/m1/366/: accessed March 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.