This Day in History: The Battle of the Alamo
On this day in 1836, the Battle of the Alamo is fought. Despite a valiant defense by the Texans (then called Texians), the Mexican Army is victorious.
Okay, so I already discussed the long siege and battle a few days ago. But can you ever really say too much about Texas?! Ha. So, in that spirit, here are some random facts that you may not know about the Alamo.
When Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna arrived at the Alamo, he sent a courier with a demand that the Texians surrender. Do you want to take one wild guess as to how the Texians responded? They responded with a cannonball! The Texas spirit was born early, wasn’t it?!
Three famous figures were killed at the Battle of the Alamo: William B. Travis, Jim Bowie, and Davy Crockett. Travis was defending the north wall of the Alamo when he was killed, early in the battle, by a shot to the head. Bowie probably died in the Low Barrack. He was ill and confined to bed when the battle started. Crockett’s death is more of a mystery. He either died during battle or he was executed by Santa Anna afterwards.
The number of Texians who died defending the Alamo is also a bit of an unknown quantity: Depending on whose figures you believe, that number is as low as 150 or as high as 250. The youngest of these Texians was 16 and the oldest was 56.
Imagine that! No more than 250 Texians, defiantly refusing to give up the Alamo to the much larger Mexican force (as many as 1,800 soldiers) sitting just outside the Alamo’s walls. BRAVE. DETERMINED. And they inflicted heavy casualties on the Mexican force, although historians dispute the actual number of killed and injured among Santa Anna’s men.
Maybe one of the bravest acts at the Alamo? During the course of the siege, 32 men snuck past the Mexican lines and joined their fellow Texians inside the Alamo. They had to know that they were volunteering to go to their death. Yet they joined the Battle anyway.
Those men truly meant the words written by Travis during that 2-week siege: VICTORY OR DEATH!
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Chronology (The Alamo website)
Alamo, Battle of the (Texas State Historical Association website)
James Donovan, The Blood of Heroes: The 13-Day Struggle for the Alamo--and the Sacrifice that Forged a Nation (2013)
Thom Hatch, Encyclopedia of the Alamo and the Texas Revolution (2016)
William Barret Travis, Letter From the Commandancy of the Alamo (1836) (reprinted HERE)