The Alamo was already a hundred years old at the time of the siege and battle. It was founded in 1718 as a Spanish mission for the purpose of Christianizing the Indians indigenous to the area. The Indians themselves built the mission under the supervision of the Spanish priests and it was named Mission "San Antonio de Valero." The church was designed without the benefit of a master engineer, the roof collapsed almost immediately, and this portion of the mission was never actually completed.
By 1793, most of the Indians had died from disease and "San Antonio de Valero" was closed as a mission. In 1803, a Spanish cavalry unit from Alamo de Parras, Mexico, was quartered In the mission and it was from this unit that the mission received the name "PuebLo del Alamo." The Spanish word "alamo" means "cottonwood" and may refer to the cottonwood trees that grew along the San Antonio River.
In 1821, Mexico won her independence from Spain and claimed all the land that Spain owned that included Texas. In 1824, Mexico created a democratic constitution based on the United States Constitution. Mexico opened Texas for colonization, offering land very cheaply to new settlers. Many people. both Americans and Europeans, relocated to the area which offered the opportunity for a fresh start. In 1833, a Mexican general, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, was elected President of Mexico, but it wasn't long before he turned his presidency into a dictatorship. He began to collect hi-h taxes and passed harsh and unreasonable laws, making the settlers very unhappy with their new home. By 1835. many colonists began to threaten revolt. Alarmed by these threats. Santa Anna sent his brother-@ln-law,. General Martin de Cos, to reinforce the Alamo General Cos arrived in San Antonio. quartered himself and his troops in the Alamo, and converted the old mission into a fortress. He added some 21 cannons which he placed around the walls and began to prepare for a siege and battle. Declaring martial law, he jailed people for no reason and soon the threat of revolution became a reality. Almost two months after Cos' arrival. in December of 1835, a force of 400 Texans led bv Ben Milam made their way into San Antonio and engaged General Cos in battle. After several days of fighting Cos surrendered by raising, a white flag above the Alamo.
The Texan force of 400 suffered 19 casualties while. defeating Mexican forces of l,1OO and gained the most important military stronghold north of the Rio Grande. Leaving his cannons behind, General Cos fled to Mexico promising not to return. The defeat of Cos angered Santa Anna. It became a matter of honor to teach the Texans a lesson and he began to raise an army which he would personally lead to San Antonio.
In the meantime, despite the obvious importance of the Alamo location, Texas Army Commander Sam Houston ordered the Alamo abandoned and destroyed. Feeling that the outpost was far too isolated. he sent Colonel James Bowie with 30 men to carry out his orders. After arriving in San Antonio. somehow Bowie couldn't bring himself to destroy the old mission. Hearing that Santa Anna was marching toward The Alamo. He became even more determined to save the Alamo
The Battle Of The Alamo
Unsheathing his sword during a lull in the virtually incessant bombardment Colonel William Barret Travis drew a line on the ground before his battle-weary men. In a voice trembling with emotion he described the hopelessness of their plight and said, "those prepared to give their lives in freedom's cause, come over to me."
First Day Tuesday, February 23, 1836
General Santa Anna with the vanguard of his army arrived in San Antonio close to sundown. A blood-red banner was run up an San Fernando Cathedral, signifying no quarter. Colonel William 'Travis ordered the red banner answered
with a cannon shot. The Mexican soldiers fired back and the siege of the Alamo began. It lasted 13 days.
Second Day, Wednesday, February 24, 1836
Colonel Bowie, gravely ill, turns over command to Colonel Travis. Travis sends Albert Martin. with a letter "To the people of Texas and All Americans in the World."
Third Day, Thursday, February 25, 1836
Messengers reach Fannin in Goliad. The Mexican batteries move closer. A strong norther blows in around 9:00 P.M.
Fourth Day, Friday, February 26, 1836
A skirmish takes place east of the fort while the Texans are hunting for wood. Mexican trooos try to cut water supply.
Fifth Day, Saturdav, February 27, 1836
Bonham leaves for Goliad and Gonzales. The Mexican Army causes many night alarms, giving Texans very little sleep. The Mexicans try to cut off water supply to north.
Sixth Day, Sunday, February 28, 1836
Fannin starts for the Alamo and then returns to Goliad. Mexicans cannonade ail day. Crockett with fiddle, Mc Gregor with bagpipes, stace musical to cheer Texans. Drizzles.
Seventh Day, Monday, February, 29, 1836 Mexicans move earthworms closer. Santa Anna reconnoiters troops. The 32 men. leave Gonzales for the Alamo.
Eighth Day, Tuesday, March 1, 1836
3:00 a.m., Texans elated at arrival of 32 men from Gonzales. Texans fire two 12-pound shots at house Santa Anna is in on Main Plaza; one shot hits the house.
Ninth Day Wednesday, March 2, 1836
Heavy Mexican cannonading continues. Weary men in Alamo unaware Texas Declaration of independence declared at Washington-on-the-brazos.
Tenth Day, Thursday, March 3, 1836
Bonham returns from Gokiad-to report Fannin not coming. John W. Smith sent to Governor Smith with final message from the Alamo.
Eleventh Day, Friday, March 4, 1836
CannoTa-ding starts early and continues all day. Little return fire from the Alamo.
Twelfth Day, Saturday, March 5, 1836
Colonel Travis draws line on ground with sword for ail who will stand and fight with him. Mexican bombardment ends at 1O:00 p.m.
Thirteenth Sunday, March 6, 1836
1:00 a.m. Weary Texans sleep. - Mexican troops move into positions.
2:00 a.m. Santa Anna and Almonte discuss battle plans.
3:00 a.m. Troops still moving into positions.
4:00 a.m. Silence. Troops in position. Just after
5:00 a.m. Santa Anna gives signal. Mexican bugler sounds Dequello. Four columns of Mexican Army advance on Alamo. Twice repelled by Texans. Intense fighting, heavy Mexican casualties. Mexicans breach north wall, pour into plaza barracks, and former church.
6:30 am The Alamo has fallen
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