|Commander K. at the Alamo, San Antonio, TX|
"The Cradle of Texas Liberty"
1836 was the momentous year in the history of Texas, Mexico and the United States. In that year a small group of Texians and Tejanos gathered at a fortified church in San Antonio called the Alamo. This was the year of the Texas Revolution.
The mission of the Alamo (http://www.thealamo.org/) had been built by the Spanish in 1744. It was intended to help settle a desolate sparsely populated land and to convert native Americans, mainly Comanches, to Christianity.
In 1821 Mexico won its independence from Spain. Texas was still a desolate land with few settlers. The Mexicans launched a campaign to bring more people to Texas by offering generous land grants. The only catch was that new settlers had to convert to Catholicism and that slavery was illegal. This brought many Americans, mostly from the Southern states, to Texas. Stephen Austin was and American Impresario in the Texas territory who actually changed his first name to "Estaban". Austin today is politically the "bluest" part of Texas.
Then the government in Mexico changed. The dictator Santa Anna came to power. Suddenly the Anglo immigrants seemed to be a threat to Mexican rule.
The occupation of the Alamo by about 250 Texians was a direct threat to Mexican authority. From the Mexican perspective, the Alamo insurgency was the result of a failed immigration policy that needed to be revised and the rebellion put down. Santa Anna arrived with a force of over 2,000 Mexican soldiers to subdue the mission.
The leaders of the Texas Revolution who became the martyrs at the Alamo had no desire for martyrdom. Most had come to Texas to get rich. They were not perfect people. Many were slaveowners. There were classic American stories of men who had come to Texas looking for life's "second chance".
|Bowie Knife, Alamo Museum, San Antonio, TX|
In 1831 William Travis was an Alabama school teacher who abandoned his pregnant wife and child to make his way to Texas. At age 26 the Alamo was his first command. Travis brought his slave Joe to the Alamo.
David Crockett was a legendary frontiersman from Tennessee. He was elected to Congress in 1826, but lost his re-election bid in 1834. Crockett responded, "I told the people of my district that I would serve them as faithfully as I had done; but if not, they might go to hell, and I would go to Texas."
|Commander K. at Alamo|
Commandancy of the Alamo------
Bejar Fby. 24th 1836
To the People of Texas &
all Americans in the world------
Fellow citizens & compatriots------
I am besieged, by a thousand
or more of the Mexicans under
Santa Anna ----- I have sustained
a continual Bombardment &
cannonade for 24 hours & have
not lost a man ----- The enemy
has demanded 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, & our flag still waves
proudly from the wall ----- I
shall never Surrender or retreat
Then, I can on you in the
name of Liberty, of patriotism &
every thing dear to the American
character, to come to our aid,
with an dispatch ----- The enemy is
receiving reinforcements daily &
will no doubt increase to three or
four thousand in four or five days.
If this can is neglected, I am deter
mined to sustain myself as long as
possible & die like a soldier
who never forgets what is due to
his own honor & that of his
country ----- Victory or Death
William Barret Travis
Lt. Col. Comdt
|Commander K. and the Texas Heroes|
Tomb of Travis, Bowie and Crockett
San Fernando Cathedral, San Antonio TX
Travis' defiant "Victory or Death" defence of the Alamo recalls Leonidas' defence of Thermopylae against the Persians. "Come and take it" would become a motto for Texans just as it had been for Leonidas.
Mexican forces had won a victory at the Alamo. Due to the savage no quarter policy ordered by Santa Anna, it would prove to be a Pyrrhic victory for the Mexicans. After the Alamo, Santa Anna also ordered the murder of over 342 unarmed Texian prisoners at Goliad. Santa Anna's disregard of the rules of warfare exposed to the world his nature as a brutal tyrannical dictator; by these actions Mexico had forfeited its legitimate claim to Texas.
"Remember the Alamo" would become a rallying cry for Sam Houston's force of Texians at the decisive Battle of San Jacinto which took place the following month...http://americanconservativeinlondon.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-battle-of-san-jacinto.html.
|Alamo at night|
|Commander K. at Menger Bar, San Antonio, TX|
Photo courtesy: Jim Hooper
This post is dedicated to the memory of my grandmother, Nina Kelly (Eaves), of Wolf City, Texas.