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THE PROGRAM
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Episodes
The People
Empire Upon The Trails
Speck of the Future
Death Runs Riot
The Grandest Enterprise Under God
Fight No More Forever
The Geography of Hope
One Sky Above Us
Producers
Empire Upon the Trails

Introduction

Hats

The Heart of Everything

Tejas

In the Midst of Savage Darkness

We go to conquer

Trail of Tears

The Barren Rock

Westward I Go Free

What A Country

So We Die

A Continental Nation


THE WEST Empire Upon The Trails

We go to Conquer

Ralph Yarborough"After the Alamo fell, and Santa Anna ordered all the prisoners shot, he had said he was going to kill everybody that's opposing the Mexican government. There was terrific panic over the country, and every family that could got their belongings together in their buggy or wagon or whatever they had -- horseback... walkin', carryin' what you could, draggin' or puttin' on a mule -- and they just abandoned their homes. That was called the 'Runaway Scrape.' They were trying to get across the Sabine River to get into New Orleans before they got killed."
Ralph Yarborough

The fledgling government of Texas had retreated to the little town of Harrisburg, where they demanded that Sam Houston stand and fight. But Houston kept his own counsel, poring over Caesar's Commentaries on war, gnawing on the raw ears of corn with which he filled his saddlebags.

Sam HoustonHad I consulted the wishes of all I should have been like the ass between two stacks of hay. I consulted no one -- I held no councils of war. If I err, the blame is mine.
Sam Houston

Houston and his small army were in full retreat, zig-zagging across Texas, keeping just out of range of the advancing Mexicans. Rumors spread that alcohol had undercut his courage. Settlers jeered him from the roadside.

Ralph Yarborough"The men under him said he's a coward, and Sidney Sherman, the colonel, tried to replace him. Sam Houston said, anybody that tries to remove me from this command, I'll execute 'em on the spot.
Ralph Yarborough

For more than a month, Santa Anna pursued Houston's elusive army. Then the Mexican general made a mistake. He divided his troops and veered off in hopes of capturing the provisional government. Houston slipped up behind him at a bend in a river called the San Jacinto.

San Jacinto River As April 21, 1836: We are in preparation to meet Santa Anna. It is the only chance of saving Texas. We go to conquer. It is wisdom growing out of necessity to meet the enemy now.
Sam Houston

Santa Anna's army was surrounded by water on three sides. Houston's 800 men moved into position on the fourth.

"There were trees there. Houston had men up in those trees watching 'em, and calling down to him what they were doing. He says, 'The cavalry over there have taken their saddles off, they're taking their horses to drink.' This is siesta time; it's 3:30 and most of the Mexicans are having their siesta. Houston immediately ordered them to line up.
Ralph Yarborough

"Trust in God and fear not!" he told his men. "Remember Goliad! Remember the Alamo!"

Houston led the charge himself, swinging his saber. His horse fell, hit five times. Houston climbed onto another horse. It, too, was killed, and this time Houston's right leg was splintered by a musket ball.

But Santa Anna's army was on the run. The Texans and a company of tejanos under Juan Seguin were right behind them. The fighting lasted just 18 minutes. But the slaughter went on for another hour.

Santa Anna's Surrender at San JacintoWhen it was all over, 600 Mexican soldiers lay dead, nearly seven hundred more had surrendered. The surprise had been so complete, the blow so sudden, that only six Texans died during the Battle of San Jacinto.

Santa Anna himself was made Sam Houston's prisoner, and forced to sign a piece of paper ceding Texan independence.

Now, there were three independent republics in North America: Mexico, the United States -- and, under president Sam Houston, the new Republic of Texas.

Members of the Vincente Lugo family of Los AngelesThe loss of Texas will inevitably result in the loss of New Mexico and the Californias. Little by little our territory will be absorbed until only an insignificant part is left to us.... Our national existence... will end like those weak meteors that, from time to time, shine fitfully in the firmament and disappear.
Josť Maria Tornel y Mendivil


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