The Battle of the Alamo

The Battle of the
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
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
• 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
•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
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
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