Guerrero Battalion flag
Captured at the Battle of San Jacinto
This light-weight silk Mexican flag is inscribed with the words “Pe. Batallon Guerrero.” “Pe.” is abbreviated from “Permanente,” signifying a standing or regular army. Named for the Mexican revolutionary hero, Vincente Guerrero, the battalion became part of the Republic of Mexico’s national army in 1823. By the time of the Texas Revolution, it had become a fierce fighting force.
In 1836, the Guerrero Battalion was part of the Second Infantry Brigade, sent to reinforce General Santa Anna’s army following its heavy losses at the Alamo. The battalion arrived at the San Jacinto camp on the morning of April 21, 1836 after a 24 hour forced march. Exhausted, the men were resting when, at about 4:30 p.m., bugles sounded the alarm that General Sam Houston’s army was attacking. The fighting lasted only 18 minutes. Most of the men of the battalion were killed and this flag, reported to be drenched in blood, was seized.
Rains pounded Texas during the spring battles of 1836. As flags like this one became wet and bloodied, damage occurred. To make silks heavier and stiffer, during the 1800s they were often soaked in mineral salts. Absorbed into the fabric, the salts made it brittle, speeding the deterioration process over time. This flag has undergone conservation treatment to preserve as much of the original silk as possible.
This flag, as well as battle flags for the Toluca and Matamoros battalions, is based on Mexico's national flag, a tri-color banner that honors Mexico's past, present, and future. Celebrating Mexican independence from Spain in 1821, the green stripe symbolized independence and hope. White represented the purity of the Catholic faith. Red stood for the Spanish who joined the revolution and the blood spilled by Mexican heroes. In the center of each flag is an eagle devouring a snake, balanced on a prickly pear cactus. It’s said the Aztecs knew where to build their capital Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City, after seeing an eagle perched on a cactus in the middle of Lake Texcoco. The Guerrero flag's design also includes oak and laurel branches symbolizing strength and victory.
Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin
60 1/4" W x 58 1/2" H
Time Period: 1821 - 1834
This artifact is not on view.