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All three armies present at the Battle ofSanJacinto crossed Vince's Bayou. The destruction of the bridge over that small, muddy bayou would delay reinforcements to or retreat by the Mexican army. Map drawn by the author. Reassessing the Location ofVince's Bridge: Critical Prelude to the Battle ofSanJacinto C. David PomeroyJr.* Vince's Bridge, or rather its destruction on April 21, 1836, is an important event in Texas history because it delayed the escape of Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna from the Battle of San Jacinto, resulting in his capture the next and giving the Texans crucial momentum in their war for independence. En route to San Jacinto, the armies of Mexican generals Santa Anna and Martin Perfecto de Cos and Texian General Sam Houston each crossed Vince's Bridge. Santa Anna and Cos had traveled from Thompson's Crossing on the Brazos River to Harrisburg and then on to SanJacinto. Houston's Army approached Harrisburg from the north and crossed Buffalo Bayou before crossing Vince's Bridge. Houston knew that the bridge was "on the only road communicating with the Brazos."1 Nearly twenty-five hundred additional Mexican troops were located at or around Thompson's Crossings.2 Houston ordered Vince's bridge destroyed in anticipation of his attack on Santa Anna on the afternoon of April 2 1 , thus cutting a vital transportation route for reinforcements and preventing escape by either army from the battlefield. The location of Vince's Bridge had generally been accepted as crossing over Vince's Bayou until the article 'Vince's Bridge: Question Mark of the San Jacinto Campaign" by George Charlton appeared in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly in ig65· In that article, Charlton argued * C. David Pomeroy,Jr. is a retired attorney and an avocadonal historian. He authored Pasadena: The Early Years (Pomerosa Press, igg3) and die "Pasadena" and "Allen Ranch" entries in die New Handbook of Texas. Mr. Pomeroy is on the Board of Directors of the San Jacinto Battleground Association, an Honorary Son of die Republic ofTexas, and a member of die Harris County Historical Commission. 1 Eugene C. Barker, The San Jacinto Campaign," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, 4, (Apr., 1901), 262. 2 Gregg J. Dimmick, Sea of Mud: The Retreat of the Mexican Army after San Jacinto, an Archeological Investigation (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 2004), 8. Vol. CXII, no. 4 Southwestern Historical QuarterlyApril 2009 412Southwestern Historical QuarterlyApril that Vince's Bridge was over Sims Bayou, not Vince's Bayou.3 With the publication ofThe Texas State Historical Association's The New Handbook of Texas in igg6, Charlton's reasoning gained wide acceptance through Philip L. Fry's article on Vince's Bridge. Despite this official acceptance, a critical inquiry of the historical record regarding which bayou the bridge spanned finds significant flaws in Charlton's research, suggesting that the original assumption that the bridge spanned Vince's Bayou was correct. With "Vince's Bridge," Charlton took a fresh look at the location of the famous bridge from the San Jacinto campaign. He was struck by this comment from Eugene Barker: "[t]he whole episode of Vince's Bridge has received emphasis from the historians which is probably far beyond its importance. The bayou does not exceed three miles in length and could have been headed by either reinforcements or fugitives with the loss of but a few hours at most." Charlton also found noteworthy remarks by Randolph Clark of Texas Christian University who stated, "[t]he bridge never existed except in the minds of the historians." After his review, Charlton dismissed both comments and concluded, The destruction of Vince's Bridge was of great strategic value in connection with the San Jacinto Campaign and was in no way a myth."4 In his article, Charlton homed in on Barker's comment about how small the bayou was and therefore not a significant impediment to advancing or retreating soldiers. Charlton's conclusion was that the bridge was not over Vince's Bayou, but probably over Sims Bayou because Sims was a much larger and longer stream. With a bigger stream, the delays would have been greater and, thus, the importance of the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 410-427
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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