William Travis, a lawyer in Anahuac, strongly disliked Mexican rule and became one of the leaders of what became known as the "war party". On 29th June, 1835, Travis raised a company of 25 volunteers and captured Captain Antonio Tenorio, the commander of Mexican forces in Anahuac. Some people living in Texas objected to this attempt by Travis to precipitate war.
On 28th November, 1835, a group of volunteers under the leadership of James Bowie and Edward Burleson, attacked a Mexican mule train. It was believed that the mule train was taking silver to pay the Mexican soldiers under the control of General Perfecto de Cos. After a brief gunfight the Mexicans fled leaving behind their mules. The Texans discovered the mule packs contained grass rather than silver.
Soon after the rebellion began the Texans surrounded San Antonio de Bexar. On 7th December a group of volunteers led by Ben Milam attacked the town. After the death of Milam on 7th December, James Bowie took over the leadership of the rebels. After two more days of fighting General Perfecto de Cos called for negotiations to take place. Cos offered the rebels control of San Antonio de Bexar in exchange for his men being allowed to return to Mexico.
In January 1836 William Travis was given command of the regulars and James Bowie the volunteers based at San Antonio de Bexar. General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and 7,000 Mexican troops arrived back in San Antonio on 23rd February, 1836. About 200 Texans took refuge in the fortified grounds of the Alamo. Bowie was struck down with typhoid and Travis eventually took over sole command of the fortress.
Samuel Houston signed the declaration of Texas independence on 2nd March, 1836. Two days later he was elected commander-in-chief of the army.
General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna now became determined to take the Alamo. He ordered the shelling of the fortress but the Texans refused to surrender. On 6th March the Mexican army stormed the fortress. During the battle 189 Texans were killed. This included James Bowie, William Travis and Davy Crockett. It is estimated that 1,500 Mexicans died during the fighting.
Samuel Houston and his small army retreated eastward following the fall of the Alamo. When Houston reached Buffalo Bayou he took up a defensive position by the River San Jacinto. General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and his army of 1,500 men arrived across the prairie on 20th April. After coming under artillery fire the Mexicans moved back to some trees that provided them some protection from the Texans.
On 21st April 1836, Houston sent a small party of men under the leadership of Deaf Smith, to destroy Vince's Bridge and therefore cutting off the only means of escape. Edward Burleson, as commander of the First Regiment, led the attack on the Mexicans and organized resistance ended within 20 minutes. About 630 Mexicans were killed and 730 soldiers, including General Santa Anna, were captured. Texan casualties included 16 killed and 24 wounded.
Houston negotiated with Santa Anna who eventually agreed to withdraw all Mexican troops from Texas. On 22nd October, 1836, Houston became the first president of the Republic of Texas.