Historic Flags of the Texas State Library and Archives
This flag is a Mexican tricolor inscribed with the words, “Battalon Activo de Toluca.” (During an conservation treatment in the early 20th century, the words were reconstructed and "Activo" was misspelled as "Activa.") The battalion was considered one of Mexico’s most elite units. During the attack on the Alamo on March 6, 1836, the Toluca Activo assaulted the heavily fortified north wall, suffering casualties of over 30%, the highest of any Mexican unit in the operation. In spite of losing most of its officers, the unit was selected as part of the force Santa Anna formed to pursue Sam Houston’s retreating army. At San Jacinto, the Toluca Activo was assigned to guard against attack from the woods to the right of Santa Anna’s camp. The exhausted troops were no match when the Texans attacked on April 21, 1836, and the entire battalion was annihilated.
The flag was very badly damaged in the fighting at the Alamo and San Jacinto. Its remnants were 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. By 1904, the flag had been transferred to the custody of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.