LETTERS: Tejano heroes undercounted

Texas history has long forgotten the Tejanos who fought with Gen.

Sam Houston’s Texas army against Gen. Santa Anna’s Mexican army on April 21, 1836 at the Battle of San Jacinto that won Texas independence from Mexico.

According to the memoirs of Capt.

Juan Seguin, he was asked to list the names of the 20 Tejanos who fought in his company on the battlefield, so Texas historians have long believed that there were just 20 Tejanos in the Texas army.

However, a newly discovered document in the Texas Archives revealed a written petition dated April 12, 1875, of a grievance addressed to the Texas comptroller asking why the Anglos who fought in the Texas War for independence were being granted a retirement pension while the Tejanos who fought alongside the Anglos were not.

Seguin and former Capt. Antonio Menchaca, along with 18 other Tejanos, documented major Tejano participation in all the major Texas battles, including the Battle of San Jacinto.

About 25 Tejanos under the command of 1st Lt. Salvador Flores, Seguin’s second in command, served as Houston’s rear guard against the Mexican cavalry and to protect the invaded population. From 15-20 Tejanos, including Blas Herrera, Seguin’s best scout, were at the orders of Deaf Smith, chief of Texas scouts. More than 30 Tejanos were sent eastward to escort and protect Texas and Tejano families during the Runaway Scrape. Three Tejanos were sick at San Felipe and at least 10 were left to guard the baggage and supplies at Harrisburg. Four or five Tejanos were left behind in charge of watching the horses at the start of the battle of San Jacinto.

If we add Seguin’s company of 20 Tejanos on the battlefield at the time of the Battle of San Jacinto, the more accurate figure of Tejanos in the Texas Army is closer to 120, not just the 20 that was thought before.

Whether these Tejanos were serving in the cavalry or in the infantry, escorts or guards, scouts or spies, these forgotten Tejano heroes served Texas in whatever roles were needed and were willing to fight and die for Texas independence.

Jack Ayoub Harlingen