Battle of The Alamo by Bob Reece

To view the interactive map of The Alamo with photos click -- Interactive Map

During the afternoon of February 23, 1836 the Mexican army of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna arrived at the village of San Antonio de Bexar – today’s city of San Antonio, Texas. This massive army, numbering nearly 6,000 men, marched north from San Luis Potosi in December, 1835. The expedition would spread out by many miles all the while facing extreme hardships consisting of injuries, starvation, sickness and a freak blizzard in northern Mexico. Santa Anna may very well have surprised and gave damage to the Texians if it wasn’t for the thunderstorm that caused the Medina River, about 20 miles west of San Antonio, to reach high levels and forced the army to camp on February 21. Once the army was able to cross the river it made its final march to reach and take control of San Antonio where it immediately raised the red flag (no quarter given) from the bell tower of the San Fernando Church. The Texians witnessed the raising of the red flag from their fortified positions inside The Alamo.

So began the 13-day siege of The Alamo.

The Texians found themselves facing down the barrel of Mexican artillery (cannon and howitzers) creeping closer and closer each day. Day and night the artillery fire erupted against the defenders of The Alamo. Total number of defenders would climb to no higher than 250 soldiers by the time of the battle.

 "Victory or Death!"

Inside The Alamo James Bowie and Col William Travis led the men until Bowie’s illness progressed to the point where he could not ably lead and turned over command of his volunteers to Travis. Travis knew their situation was desperate. On February 24, 1836 from his office inside the west wall of The Alamo, Travis penned one of the most dramatic documents in American history.

To the people of Texas and all Americans in the world. Fellow citizens and compatriots. I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna – I have sustained a continual bombardment and cannonade for 24 hours and have not lost a man. The enemy has directed a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken. I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly from our walls – I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism and everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch – The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country –


William Barret Travis

Lt. Col. Comd


P.S. The Lord is on our side – When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn – We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels and got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves – Travis

Travis Letter on the grounds of the Alamo

Many fine historians have written extensively about the Battle of the Alamo. Interpretations have changed over the years including total number of Mexicans and Texians, actual number of Mexicans that attacked on March 6 as well as their number of dead and whether Davy Crockett surrendered or died in battle. The bibliography of this battle is quite extensive, so I refer you to The Alamo Film website hosted by Nick Medrano for a good list of books available in print. The site is at:

We are excited to share with you the following photos of the real Alamo and its environs and descriptions of what took place there on March 6, 1836. I took these photos on April 3, 2003.

One area of the Alamo that I always seem to be drawn to in some mysterious way is the area of the Crockett wall or palisade that was held by him and his Tennesseans. The line of this wall is easily seen by the property line that is marked and even carved out in the stone road. There is no wayside exhibit pointing out that this was Crockett's wall or the events that took place there before dawn on March 6, 1836.

The Mexican Army Attacks

First Phase

The battle began before dawn with four columns of Santa Anna's army striking simultaneously from four sides:

Morales Column

Attacking this southern location, Col Juan Morales led about 100 men of three companies of the Matamoras, Jimenez and San Luis battalions but found stiff resistance from the Tennesseans. The heavy fire forced Morales to move west, along the south wall of the Alamo compound.

It was at the southwest corner of The Alamo that the Texians placed their eighteen-pound cannon. It was this cannon that Travis used to answer Santa Anna's demand for surrender by firing it into the ranks of the Mexican army. It was the largest cannon used in this battle from both sides.

Cos Column

Attacking from the northwest was General Martin Perfecto de Cos with 300 men of the Aldama Battalion and San Luis Potosi militia. They brought with them ladders, axes and crowbars. Defending this location were two cannon. At the opening of the fight Cos's men were forced back from the intense fire.

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