Battle of Anahuac anniversary celebrated

Reenactors Mike Gilbert

ANAHUAC—With tensions rising between colonists, loyalists and Mexican troops, the arrest of William Travis and imprisonment at Fort Anahuac escalated in bloodshed in what is considered some of the first shots fired in the Texas Revolution.
On June 9, county residents gathered in Anahuac to celebrate the 175th anniversary of what become known as the Battle of Fort Anahuac.
The celebration began at 9 a.m. with a parade from the courthouse to Ft. Anahuac Park. Festivities continued with a performance by the Anahuac High School band, which played “From Anahuac to San Jacinto.”
The program continued with welcomes and greetings from local dignitaries and a performance by the East Gate Brass Ensemble, under the direction of James Sterling III.
Guest speaker for the ceremony was Sam Houston IV, great grandson of General Sam Houston.
The program concluded with a recreation of the Battle of Fort Anahuac with rebel troops from The Texas Army, wearing period uniforms, charged a wall manned by Mexican troops portrayed by local Royal Rangers.
During the celebration, guests had the opportunity to visit various arts and crafts and antique vendors as well as food vendors, have their picture taken on an authentic Texas longhorn or learn about local historical and wildlife projects.

A group from the Buffalo Soldiers Museum in Houston was on hand to teach about the contributions of the African-American soldiers who were assigned to protect wagon trains during the post-Civil War westward expansion.
According to historians the Battle of Fort Anahuac in 1982, as well as later skirmishes in 1835 upset those wishing to maintain the status quo with Mexico which helped precipitate the Texas Revolution.
Tensions in Anahuac already high between colonists and Mexican soldiers came to breaking point when Travis, who would later command the Texian forces at the Alamo, formed a civilian militia. Depending on who was asked the purpose of the militia was to protect residents from Indian attack or to protect them from Mexican troops who were convicted felons sent to Anahuac to serve out their sentence in the army.
With slavery illegal in Mexico, Travis was also accused of helping slave trackers recover runaway slaves who sought asylum at the Mexican outpost.
Following Travis’ arrest by fort commander Col. Juan Davis Bradburn, a group of 200 rebels captured 19 Mexican cavalry near Turtle Bayou. While near Anahuac, the rebels penned what has become known as the Turtle Bayou Resolutions, a series of statements supporting the reform movement by Federalist Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
Bradburn superior, Col. Jose de las Piedras, released Travis from prison. Travis is then believed to have incited the Mexican forces against the remaining Centralist officers in favor of Santa Anna supporters.