TEXAN FORCES AT THE ALAMO SURROUNDED BY SANTA ANNA
San Antonio, Texas (JFK+50) One hundred and eighty years ago today, February 24, 1836, several thousand Mexican soldiers under General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna surrounded one hundred and fifty Texan rebels within the compound of the Alamo, an old abandoned Spanish mission, here in San Antonio on the first day of what was to be a thirteen day siege.
San Antonio de Bexar and the Alamo had been captured by Texan forces in December 1835. The old mission had 21 pieces of artillery and most of them were installed on the walls by chief engineer Green B. Jameson. When Jim Bowie arrived on January 18, 1836, he saw the Alamo as a necessary buffer between the Mexican army and the Texan settlements to the north.
It was clear, however, that the Alamo could not hold without reinforcements. General Sam Houston, seeing the futility of the situation, recommended the old mission be abandoned and destroyed. That advice, obviously, would not followed.
Colonel Bowie, down with what has been described as typhoid pneumonia, relinquished command to Colonel William Barrett Travis* who responded to Santa Anna's demand to surrender with a cannon shot. Colonel Travis then sent out a message to his comrades at Gonzales. He wrote...
"The enemy in large force is in sight. We want men and provisions. Send them to us. We have 150 men and are determined to defend the garrison to the last."
*William Barrett Travis (1809-1836) was born in South Carolina and studied law in Claiborne, AL. WBT founded the Claiborne Herald & passed the bar in 1829. His law practice foundered and he fell into debt. WBT left for Texas, joined the rebel forces and commanded forces at the Alamo.
"ALAMO, BATTLE OF THE," Texas State Historical Association, www.tshaonline.org/
"13 Days of Glory," The Alamo: The Shrine of Texas Liberty, www.thealamo.org/
Colonel William B. Travis