The Battle of the Alamo 13 Days that forever changed the history of North America Before the Battle When General Cos surrendered San Antonio in December 1835, Santa Anna was furious and determined to crush the Texas colonists. He immediately moved his army of 4,000 soldiers northward to San Antonio. General Jose Urrea led the smaller army towards Goliad. The Texans at the Alamo were led by Colonel James Bowie, known for his overly, large knife, and Lt. Col. William B. Travis. Jim Bowie Legendary adventurer Mexican citizen who was sent to San Antonio by Sam Houston to assess the situation t the Alamo and destroy the fort if it was not ready to defend Stayed in San Antonio and enforced the Alamo Commanded the Volunteer army at the Alamo until illness forced him to give Travis full command William B. Travis Agitator and member of war party Sent to San Antonio by Governor Smith to reinforce Alamo Commander of the Texan forces at the Alamo Pleaded for help from Col. Fannin and any others who would listen, but was denied. Before the Battle Later, former U.S. Congressman David Crockett of Tennessee was one of many volunteers who arrived to help. Bowie was chosen commander of the volunteers; and Travis was chosen commander of the regular army. After Bowie became ill, he passed full command to Travis. Although scouts reported that Santa Anna had crossed the Rio Grande, Travis still believed he had time to prepare for battle. Davy Crockett • Crockett was a legendary adventurer who had served in Congress. • After being defeated in an election he told the voters “you all can go to hell. I am going to Texas” •Offered a command by Travis, but refused it. The Thirteen Day Siege Begins At the Alamo Santa Anna unexpectedly arrives on February 23 and lays siege to the Alamo. He flew the red flag meaning “no quarter” or death to traitors— no mercy, no prisoners! The Mexican army’s cannons had bombarded, or fired upon, the Texans daily. The Texans’ long-range Kentucky rifles were no match for Santa Anna’s arsenal of cannon. On March 3, Travis wrote his last appeal for help in his famous “Victory or Death” letter to the convention at Washington-on-theBrazos. The Thirteen Day Siege Begins At the Alamo Although no troops were sent, James Bonham, the messenger, returned knowing he would face his death. Is this Fact or Legend? On March 5, Travis took his sword and drew a line in the sand. All who wished to stay, fight, and risk death, cross the line. The rest are free to go in peace. All but one, Louis “Moses” Rose (a native of France), crossed the line. He decided he wasn’t ready to die for a hopeless cause. James Bonham •Lifelong friend of William Travis •Was a great horseman •Sent as messenger to get help from Texans around the Alamo •Reportedly went to Goliad were Fannin refused to move •Rode through the Mexican lines in order to get back into the Alamo •He died defending the fort on March 6, 1836 Juan Seguin Native of Spanish and Mexican Texas Led scouts during the siege of San Antonio Led his unit into the Battle for San Antonio on Dec 5, 1835 Was with Travis and the men at the Alamo in 1836 until he was sent to get more volunteers at Gonzales (main character in “The Alamo” movie) Later served at the Battle of San Jacinto The Battle of the Alamo Santa Anna has all his troops into position. An icy cold front blew in the previous night, and Alamo defenders spent the night trying to stay warm. For the first time in many days, Santa Anna’s cannon fell silent. At 5:30 AM, Mexican buglers begin playing El Deguello (ancient Aztec war chant) meaning no mercy. Then, 1,800 men attack and Travis on the north wall is one of the first Texans killed as he takes a bullet to the forehead. The Battle of the Alamo Bowie is on his sickbed; he supposedly killed several Mexican soldiers with his knife before they killed him. Crockett was fighting fiercely with his volunteers on the palisade (tall wooden fence). An hour later, more Mexican soldiers pushed forward and stormed over the Alamo walls. The final assault was led by 400 Zapadores – Santa Anna’s best trained soldiers held in reserve. The Texans were overpowered and the battle ended around 7:00 A.M. The Significance of the Alamo 189 Texans died. 600 Mexicans died and hundreds wounded later die as well. Some Texans that survived were supposedly executed. Santa Anna allowed survivor Susanna Dickinson to leave safely to tell Sam Houston the news that Alamo had fallen. Overall, Santa Anna suffered heavy losses – possibly ¼ of his army. The Significance of the Alamo It also bought more than two weeks of incredibly valuable time for Houston to recruit and train an army. News about the Alamo made the Texans angry and determined for revenge; inspiring them to “Remember the Alamo”! The news also encouraged Americans to help by sending more money and supplies. Questions for Reflection: Use your notes and text to answer completely 1. 2. 3. 4. Who were some of the significant people at the Alamo? Why is Travis’s letter so significant? Why do you think the Alamo defenders decided to stay? What did the Alamo defenders actually accomplish?