If you explore museum collections you will notice that we have a lot of Santa Anna’s stuff.
How did we get it, and how did it end up in such diverse collections?
Mostly it is a result of the “booty auction” held April 26, 1836, where Texian officers and men bid on the spoils from the Battle of San Jacinto.
Most soldiers purchased practical things like saddles, mules, and muskets. But there were finer things to be had.
Here is an assortment of Santa Anna’s stuff, some from the booty auction, and some acquired by other means.
Yes, the Pastry War was a real thing, not some new show on the cooking channel. France used the supposed looting of a French pastry shop in Mexico City ten years earlier as an excuse to blockade Mexican ports and capture Vera Cruz.
The flesh and bone leg was buried with military honors, and Santa Anna, without missing a step, continued to plague the Mexican Republic on a leg made of cork.
The leg on the left was captured by the the Fourth Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Infantry at the Battle of Cerro Gordo in 1848.
They surprised Santa Anna during lunch, and he made his escape on horseback, minus the leg. It is now at the Illinois State Military Museum in Springfield.
The leg on the right is displayed at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City. I don’t know the back story on that one.
It was donated to the Sam Houston Memorial Museum by Sam’s son, Andrew Jackson Houston.
But it’s not really a soup tureen.
According to Lonn Taylor in Texas Monthly a couple years ago, a letter in the museum’s files by one of Sam Houston’s grandsons reveals the truth.
A. J. Houston was embarrassed by his father’s trophy, and had a second handle added to disguise its true nature….It’s a chamber pot.