”Santa Anna is surprised by the ennemy, scarcely believing that he would dare to attack him, and has scarcely time to prepare his men and give the word for charging the ennemy, when the mexicans give away in the greatest conffusion and disorganize themselves. Nothing then is capable to stop them: the Battle then is over, the texians obtain a compleate victory make a number of prisoners and Gral Santa Anna himself is among them.”
— Letter to M. B. Lamar
May 29, 1836
Juan Nepomuceno Almonte (1803–1869)
Captured with Mexican forces at the Battle of San Jacinto
Almonte was the son of a priest who was shot for his role in revolutionary activities against the Spanish. Almonte was sent to the United States to be educated, but upon his father's death his scholarship was cut short. He found work in the United States, eventually returning to Mexico in 1821 when independence was won.
In 1824, Almonte played a major role in signing Mexico's first business development efforts when he pushed through a commercial arrangement with England. Later he was sent to Texas to prepare a status report on the Texas colonies: everything from the status of its economic development to its level of colonial loyalty.
Although not a lengthy or earth-shattering account, Almonte's report to Santa Anna gives a rare view of life in 1834 Mexican Texas. Its objective summaries and statistical data painted an optimistic picture of the potential for Texian colonists to contribute to their new nation's wealth and security.
When Santa Anna came to power as a Centralist president, Almonte remained on his staff as a loyal secretary and soldier. He helped Santa Anna's forces punish the Texian rebels at the siege of the Alamo. And he would follow Santa Anna again, but this time his service would have a grimmer result.
Juan Almonte was forced to surrender his position and the 250 men under his immediate control after the surprise attack at San Jacinto by Texian forces. According to eyewitness accounts, his demeanor was friendly and matter-of-fact, easing tensions on both sides. He served as an aide and interpreter for Santa Anna while they were in captivity, accompanying him to Washington, D.C.
Almonte was returned to Mexico with Santa Anna after their defeat at San Jacinto. He served in a variety of Mexican political positions over the next two decades before joining Maximillian's efforts to restore European control over Mexico. He died in Paris in 1869.