Geography of War - The Battle of San Jacinto
April 21, 1836
The most important geographic feature was the marshland where the battle took place. Familiar to the Texians but alien and uncomfortable to the Mexicans, the swampy conditions that had been exacerbated by recent rains made troop movements quite difficult (and retreat nearly impossible). Santa Anna's decision to place his camp in a position where there was little room to fall back and regroup meant that his decision not to place sentries would be a fatal error from where there could be no recovery. Unarmed men who had been awakened attempted to flee across bodies of water, only to be shot or overtaken. The slight hill between the two camps, which is now disguised by the large monument that has been constructed on the site, also served to hide the advancing troops until they had closed to within 200 yards of the Mexican camp. Finally, the steady rain across the low-lying terrain served to prevent any additional reinforcements from being able to join the fight or relieve Santa Anna.
The battle was incredibly lopsided and hardly any Mexican forces escaped. As a result of the battle and subsequent treaties, Texas secured its independence as a nation. To save Santa Anna from being executed, the acting government sent him to Washington D.C. rather than allowing him to travel back to Mexico. By the time he arrived home again, he discovered that he had been deposed and was disgraced by newspapers throughout the country. When the United States agreed to annex the Lone Star State, including claims on all lands south to the Rio Grande, Mexico objected to the agreements that had been made by their former president and the two nations were soon embroiled in the Mexican-American War. As a result of that conflict, the United States would claim additional territory that stretched all the way west to California's Pacific coast - nearly 1 million square miles of land.