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The Grass War And The Siege Of Bexar

Beginning in October 1835, Texans laid siege to the town of Bexar (San Antonio). The last engagement before the Texans stormed the town came

Erastus "Deaf" Smith

on November 26. On that day, scout Erastus "Deaf" Smith rode into the Texan encampment with the news that Mexican cavalry with pack animals were approaching the town to bring reinforcements to General Martín Perfecto de Cos at the Alamo.

The Texans were eager to stop the reinforcements, and had high hopes that the pack animals were carrying silver coins -- back pay for the Mexican troops. General Edward Burleson sent 40 cavalry under James Bowie and 100 infantry under William H. Jack to stop the reinforcements and seize the supply train.

The two cavalry forces skirmished west of town, with Cos sending infantry to the aid of the supply train. The Texas forces pushed the Mexican troops into the town and seized the supply train of 40 pack animals. The casualties numbered four Texans wounded, three Mexicans dead and 14 wounded.

When the Texans opened the booty carried by the animals, they discovered not silver coins but grass, intended to feed the army animals.

The siege of Bexar came to an end a little over a week later, when on December 5, 1835, the Texas volunteers entered the town and began the house-to-house fighting that resulted in the surrender of Cos on December 9.

Mexican units were garrisoned at the Alamo from 1803 until Texan forces laid siege to Bexar (present-day San Antonio) from mid-October until December 1835.

Stephen F. Austin

Originally the army in the field served under Stephen F. Austin, popularly elected as commander in chief. Success on the battlefield led to his demanding surrender of General Martin Perfecto de Cos, the Mexican commander and brother-in-law of President Santa Anna. The demand was refused in words echoing the later defiance by Travis: "he would defend the place until he died, if he had only ten men left with him—" By mid-November, however, Austin had been sent as one of three commissioners to the United States, charged with obtaining recognition and support from other governments. The army was running low on supplies, and the various commanders were divided in their desire to take Bexar

Edward Burleson

Edward Burleson proposed withdrawing to Goliad for the winter. However, new intelligence brought a change in plans and a decision to enter the town. Benjamin R. Milam and Francis W. Johnson, with some 300 volunteers, entered Bexar before dawn on December 5, while Burleson and another 400 men scouted, protected the Texan supply line, and forced Cos to divide his forces between the town and the Alamo.

Ben Milam

Milam was killed by a sniper bullet on December 7, but the conflict continued from house to house until December 9, when General Cos, at last, asked for surrender terms. The capitulation was signed on December 11, 1835. Cos and his men were allowed to return to Mexico with the understanding that none would return to fight against the Texans. The retreat effectively removed the last Mexican soldiers garrisoned in Texas. Most of the volunteers returned to their homes, convinced that the war was over. General Cos later was captured at the Battle of San Jacinto.

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