Historic Flags of the Texas State Library and Archives
Silk, 53.5 x 61 inches
This flag is a Mexican tricolor with the words "Batallon Matamoros Permanente" inscribed. Permanente signifies standing or regular army. The unit that became the Matamoros Battalion was formed in 1823 as part of the Republic of Mexico's national army. It was named for Friar Mariano Matamoros, a Roman Catholic priest who became a military commander in the Mexican independence movement and was captured and executed by the Spanish.
The Matamoros Battalion was comprised of 350 of Mexico’s most elite troops. During the storming of the Alamo on March 6, 1836, the men scaled the south wall of the fort after a ferocious struggle and led the room-to-room fighting in which most of the Alamo defenders were killed. Despite its own heavy casualties, the battalion was selected as part of Santa Anna’s core group that set out in pursuit of Sam Houston’s retreating army. At San Jacinto, the Matamoros Battalion was assigned to defend the center of Santa Anna’s camp. In the fighting on April 21, 1836, the entire battalion was annihilated.
The flag was displayed in 1846 during the ceremony marking the annexation of Texas to the United States. It remained in the custody of the Texas Adjutant General’s office, and was displayed for some years at the headquarters of the Frontier Battalion, the famed force of Texas Rangers that fought outlaws and Indians on the frontier from 1874-1900. Around 1900, the flag was transferred to the custody of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
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