Determined to crush the Texas rebels, Santa Anna took command of the Mexican army that invaded Texas in 1836. The Alamo was a former Spanish mission in San Antonio, in central Texas. It had served as a military garrison for Spaniards, Mexicans and Texans. After the Texans drove General Cos out of Texas, they used the Alamo as a stronghold. Santa Anna decreed that all foreigners who could be trapped under arms on Mexican soil should be treated as pirates and shot (Binkley 9).
This was an effort to scare everyone from fighting, especially since foreigners made up the bulk of the Texas military. After regaining honor at the famous fall of the Alamo in 1836, Santa Anna felt that her work in Texas was finished. But under lawyer, he decided to strike a final blow to the Texas rebels by dividing his army and sweeping the land. The resulting campaign led to the Battle of San Jacinto.
Many immigrants wanted greater autonomy within the Mexican empire. Perhaps a lighter hand and Mexico's accommodation could have maintained Texan ties with Mexico City, but with the Anglos who far outperform Latinos north of the Rio Grande, perhaps not. Santa Anna, winner of the Spanish armies, calling herself “Napoleon of the West”, cracked down and set out north to crush the Texan rebels. A group of them stood firm in the Alamo of San Antonio until its annihilation.
Another 400 fought in Goliad until they were forced to surrender. Santa Anna ordered them all executed as rebels several days later. When the liberals of Zacatecas challenged their authority and an attempt to reduce their militia in 1835, Santa Anna moved to crush them and continued her victory on the battlefield with a tough campaign of repression. But the loss of Goliad by Kos, as well as the initial (and less famous) fight at the Alamo in 1835, proved an embarrassment to Santa Anna.
One of the biggest supporters to the Texas cause was Santa Anna, the Mexican president, who provided the cause for the revolution, aroused the anger and zeal of Texans, and caused Texans to win the final battle in San Jacinto. The six injured men who survived the assault were captured and Santa Anna had them executed on the spot (Wood). Although eccentric and arrogant (he thought he was the “Napoleon of the West”), Santa Anna was nothing but cunning. When Santa Anna dissolved the state legislature and seized all power, Texas found itself working under an illegal system of government.
Santa Anna, with about 1,250 men, preferred Texans to come to light; Houston, with about 800 men, preferred the forest. Just as General Cos' Army was heading toward the Rio Grande toward Mexico, General Santa Anna's Army was marching north to Texas, unbeknownst to Texans. Initially, Santa Anna's execution policy had the desired effect; all Texans rushed to the U.S. border (see map).
Santa Anna disappeared during the battle, so the next day General Houston ordered a thorough search of the island. In the secret treaty, Santa Anna pledged that, upon her return to Mexico, she would do everything possible to get the Mexican government to adhere to the public treaty. Then, when Santa Anna arrived in Goliad, Fannin packed his bags, and he and his men retreated east to the American border. Between 1833 and 1855, the Mexican presidency changed hands at least thirty-six times, and Antonio López de Santa Anna ruled eleven of those times (Pueblo).
Secret negotiations with Scott failed, and when Mexico City was captured, Santa Anna withdrew into exile.