A sharp attack was made with these overwhelming odds. The Americans drove the assailants back with their rifle fire, but they had nothing to oppose to the Mexican artillery. The contest continued for several days, and finally the Mexicans breached the wall and fell upon the garrison, who were now reduced by more than half. There was an hour of blood, and every one of the Alamo’s defenders, including the wounded, was put to death. The only survivors of the slaughter were two negro slaves, a woman, and a baby girl.
When the news of this bloody affair reached Houston he leaped forth to the combat like a lion. He was made commander-in-chief of the scanty Texan forces. He managed to rally about seven hundred men, and set out against Santa Anna with little in the way of equipment, and with nothing but the flame of frenzy to stimulate his followers. By march and countermarch the hostile forces came face to face near the shore of San Jacinto Bay, not far from the present city of Houston. Slowly they moved upon each other, when Houston halted, and his sharpshooters raked the Mexican battle-line with terrible effect. Then Houston uttered the cry:
“Remember the Alamo!”
With deadly swiftness he led his men in a charge upon Santa Anna’s lines. The Mexicans were scattered as by a mighty wind, their commander was taken prisoner, and Mexico was forced to give its recognition to Texas as a free republic, of which General Houston became the first president.
This was the climax of Houston’s life, but the end of it leaves us with something still to say. Long after his marriage with Miss Allen he took an Indian girl to wife and lived with her quite happily. She was a very beautiful woman, a half-breed, with the English name of Tyania Rodgers. Very little, however, is known of her life with Houston. Later still—in 1840—he married a lady from Marion, Alabama, named Margaret Moffette Lea. He was then in his forty-seventh year, while she was only twenty-one; but again, as with his Indian wife, he knew nothing but domestic tranquillity. These later experiences go far to prove the truth of what has already been given as the probable cause of his first mysterious failure to make a woman happy.
After Texas entered the Union, in 1845, Houston was elected to the United States Senate, in which he served for thirteen years. In 1852, 1856, and 1860, as a Southerner who opposed any movement looking toward secession, he was regarded as a possible presidential candidate; but his career was now almost over, and in 1863, while the Civil War—which he had striven to prevent—was at its height, he died.
Lola Montez! The name suggests dark eyes and abundant hair, lithe limbs and a sinuous body, with twining hands and great eyes that gleam with a sort of ebon splendor. One thinks of Spanish beauty as one hears the name; and in truth Lola Montez justified the mental picture.