San Jacinto LbNA # 16702
|Placed Date||Jul 21 2005|
The somewhat neglected Lone Star Pavilion in Burnet Woods in Clifton was a gift from the Sons and Daughters of the Republic of Texas. Although there is no marker denoting its history, the Pavilion commemorates the generosity of Cincinnatians who donated the famous Twin Sisters, two six-pound cannon, which helped to assure Texas’ independence from Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto. This is a short, easy hike. Bring compass, pen, and inkpad.
The Battle of San Jacinto
In the Spring of 1836, the meager and demoralized army of Texans retreated eastward following their devastating defeat at the Alamo. They prepared their defenses near the San Jacinto River while the Mexicans formed a battle line across an adjacent prairie. The Texans numbered only 750 men and faced over 1500 of the enemy, who were secure and flushed with pride at the victories they had enjoyed for the previous few weeks against the Texans.
The 21st of April dawned bright and beautiful. Early in the morning, General Sam Houston sent Deaf Smith, the celebrated Texas spy, to destroy the bridge over which the Mexican army had passed, thus cutting off their only available escape. Houston waited until the overly confident Mexicans were taking their mid-day siesta. When Houston finally gave the order to attack, the Twin Sisters boomed and the frenzied Texans surged forward amid cries of “Remember the Alamo!” “Remember Goliad!” The battle lasted only 18 minutes. In the end, 700 Mexicans were slain, with another 730 taken prisoner (including the notorious Mexican dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna). The battle for Texas independence was won.
A panel on the side of the San Jacinto monument underscores the importance of the battle: "Measured by its results, San Jacinto was one of the decisive battles of the world. The freedom of Texas from Mexico won here led to annexation and to the Mexican War, resulting in the acquisition by the United States of the States of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah, and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma. Almost one-third of the present area of the American nation, nearly a million square miles of territory, changed sovereignty."
The Twin Sisters were financed by sympathetic Cincinnatians and manufactured at the Cincinnati foundry of Greenwood and Webb. Since the United States was taking an official stance of neutrality toward the rebellion in Texas, the citizens of Cincinnati shipped their cannon to the Texans as "hollow ware." After San Jacinto, the already legendary guns were documented to have seen action during the Battle of Galveston during the Civil War, but their fate after that remains a mystery. Credible evidence suggests that a small group of Confederate and Texas loyalists buried the Twin Sisters in a field near Harrisburg or Houston to keep the guns out of Union hands when the Confederacy was defeated. But the men took the location to their graves, and the famous Twin Sisters have never been recovered.
The stamp in this letterbox reflects the top of the Art Deco style San Jacinto Monument, which is the tallest monument column in the world.
To the Box:
Start at the Lone Star Pavilion in Burnet Woods in Clifton. Since you took the time to read my story about San Jacinto, I won’t make you do the research – the Pavillion is on Clifton Ave. across the street from Hebrew Union College. Admire the replicas of the Twin Sisters, and stand at the barrel of the one on your left (as you are facing the pavilion). Take a bearing of 30’ and walk 27 paces to the disk goal (1 pace = 2 steps, or about 5 feet). Take a new bearing of 115’ and walk to the next disk goal. Continue along the treeline in an easterly direction until you come to a distinct trail marked by a trail marker post (about 33 paces). Take that trail. Shortly, you will come to a set of steps leading up to your left. From the top step, take a bearing of 335’ and walk 6 paces to the left side of a large tree. Continue on a bearing of 320’ to the next large tree (you won’t be able to walk in a straight line because of the Asian honeysuckle, but it’s about 8 paces away). The San Jacinto Letterbox is behind the tree under a large piece of bark. Please re-cover well, as this park is heavily traversed by college students.
Enjoy, and please email me if you find the letterbox.