Toluca Battalion flag

Captured at the Battle of San Jacinto

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This tri-color Mexican army flag is inscribed with the regiment’s name, “Battalon Activo de Toluca.” During a conservation treatment in the early 20th century, the words were reconstructed and “Activo” was misspelled as “Activa.

The Toluca Battalion, 400 men strong and one of the most prestigious fighting units in the Mexican army, fought under this flag. While positioning themselves to storm the north wall of the Alamo just before daylight on March 6, 1836, the battalion woke the Texian army. The Mexicans were fired upon point blank and suffered heavy losses. After losing their leader to injury, the unit regrouped and scaled the north wall into the Alamo compound to victory.

Because of its elite fighting status, General Santa Anna then ordered the Toluca battalion to accompany him as he pursued General Sam Houston’s retreating army. On April 20, the Toluca advanced into the woods near Lynch’s Ferry on the San Jacinto River to disrupt the Texian troops who had found cover there. In retaliation, Houston ordered the first firing of the Twin Sisters cannons, which had only arrived nine days earlier.

The Tolucan Battalion retreated. The next day, it was decimated by hand-to-hand combat. This silk flag, badly damaged in the fighting, was captured.

This flag, as well as battle flags for the Guerrero 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.

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Toluca Battalion flag Artifact from San Jacinto, TX
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