While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Stephen L. Hardin

THOMPSON'S FERRY. Thompson's Ferry, on the Brazos River between San Felipe and Fort Bend, was operated from 1828 to 1834 by Jesse Thompson. It was important during the Texas Revolution. As Sam Houston's Texan army retreated toward Jared E. Groce's plantation, rear-guard contingents under Moseley Baker at San Felipe and Wyly Martin at Fort Bend sought to prevent the Mexicans from crossing the Brazos River. On April 9, 1836, Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna, not wishing to be delayed by Baker's men at San Felipe, led a column downriver toward Thompson's Ferry. The Mexicans arrived at the crossing on the morning of April 12 and spied a black ferryman on the east bank of the Brazos. Col. Juan N. Almonte, who spoke English well, hailed the ferryman. Probably thinking that this was a countryman who had been left behind during the retreat, the ferryman poled the ferry across to the west bank. Santa Anna and his staff, who had been hiding in nearby bushes, sprang out and captured the ferry. By this means the Mexican Centralists accomplished a bloodless crossing of the Brazos, which they completed by April 14. Twelve miles downriver, Martin and the Texans guarding the Fort Bend crossing learned that the Mexicans had crossed in force at Thompson's Ferry; outflanked and outnumbered, they had no choice but to abandon Fort Bend. Baker, also outflanked, was now obliged to end his dogged defense of the San Felipe crossing and join the rest of the Texans in their retreat. José Enrique de la Peña reported that after the battle of San Jacinto, 1,500 Mexican troops and four cannons were stationed at or near Thompson's Ferry under the command of Gen. Vicente Filisola. Peña asserted that if Filisola had force-marched his troops from Thompson's Ferry to San Jacinto, a mere two day's march, he might have undone the effects of the Texan victory. In 1936 the Texas Centennial Commission erected a monument at the ferry site.


Stephen L. Hardin, Texian Illiad: A Military History of the Texas Revolution (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994). José Enrique de la Peña, With Santa Anna in Texas (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1975). Frank X. Tolbert, The Day of San Jacinto (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959; 2d ed., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1969).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Stephen L. Hardin, "THOMPSON'S FERRY," accessed August 09, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/rtt01.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on December 20, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...