San Jancinto Museum of History

Edward Burleson


Every thing goes on well heare as fare as I know nothing is rong I think I shall Give General Cos a few fyers of Canon to knight

— Letter to General S. F. Austin
November 12, 1835

Edward Burleson (1798–1851)

Commander, Texian First Regiment at San Jacinto

Edward Burleson was born a soldier's son in Buncombe County, North Carolina. He fought alongside his father in the War of 1812 and eventually moved to Missouri, where he became a captain in the local infantry. He excelled in the role, earning a colonel's rank in a Tennessee militia before his migration to Texas in 1830.

This pistol belonged to Burleson, and likely saw plenty of service.

Burleson received a land grant in San Felipe de Austin, and began a progression of municipal and military roles, mostly involving the militia. In 1832, he rose to lieutenant colonel in the Austin militia, and spent the next decade putting his soldiering skills to work defending the Austin colonists from hostile natives.

By the end of 1835, Burleson had risen to the rank of general in the volunteer army. His first major action against Mexican Centralists was during the Texian siege of General Cos' government forces in Béxar. He fought well in the famous Grass Fight, and was eventually made colonel of the Infantry, First Regiment.

As the Battle of San Jacinto unfolded, Burleson's First Regiment would attack from directly across the Mexican encampment, startling the soldiers from their otherwise restful afternoon. Burleson accepted the surrender of Colonel Juan Almonte, one of Santa Anna's highest ranking officers.

After the Battle of San Jacinto, Burleson continued to serve Texas as a soldier and statesman. He protected the fledgling nation from futile Mexican efforts to reestablish power, engaged hostile Indians, and even served as a Texas spy.

Patriotic service was somewhat of a family tradition for Burleson. Fighting alongside him at the Grass Fight in Béxar was his father, James Burleson, who played a significant role in the day's action. And his son, Edward Burleson, Jr., would go on to serve in both the Texas Rangers and the First Regiment of Mounted Rifles in the Civil War.

Learn more about Burleson in our Veteran Biographies section. To learn more about the key events of the Texas War of Independence, check out our interactive timeline.