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No need to reset clocks forward or back – just
Remember the Alamo!
The Alamo
San Antonio, Texas

Terry Jeanson, our man in San Antonio, posted this timely dispatch earlier today, the 173rd anniversary of the Fall of the Alamo. While one thing or another has prevented his attendance in years past; this year the stars were in alignment and he managed to attend the early morning ceremonies. Often referred to as a reenactment, the event is actually a somber ceremony, befitting the sacrifice of the defenders. Mr. Jeanson’s observations in his own words:

Battle of the Alamo Reenacted

Photos & Text by Terry Jeanson, March 7, 2009
Alamo Battle
In Late February, 1836, Colonel William B. Travis (at right in white coat) orders all troops and volunteers that are at San Antonio de Béxar into the Alamo compound. Many women and children are also brought to the Alamo for protection. David "Davy" Crockett (right in coonskin cap) leads the men into the Alamo, carrying the flag of Coahuila & Texas, a green, white and red tricolor with two yellow stars in the center white stripe.
Alamo Battle - Mexican Troops
Mexican troops arrive in San Antonio on February 23, 1836, led by Generalissimo Antonio López de Santa Anna (right, in feathered hat.)
Alamo Battle - Cannon shot
A courier is sent to the Alamo by Santa Anna, ordering the men to surrender. Travis replies with a cannon shot.
Alamo Battle - James Bowie falls ill
On February 24th, Colonel James Bowie falls ill (most likely from advanced tuberculosis.) He addresses his men and urges them to follow Travis. He is escorted inside the Alamo chapel by his sisters-in-law, Gertrudis Navarro and Juana Alsbury.
Alamo Battle - Travis writes his famous letter
Travis writes his famous letter, addressed to the "people of Texas & all Americans in the world," asking for help to defend the Alamo.
Alamo Battle - Santa Anna sends letter to Travis
After seven days of siege by the Mexican army, Santa Anna sends Travis a letter calling for three days of truce. It's at this time that Travis informs the Alamo's non-combatants and volunteers that if they wish to leave, they may do so.
Alamo Battle - troops from Gonzlaes
On March 1st, thirty-two troops from Gonzales, led by Lt. George C. Kimbell, receive a warm welcome at the Alamo.
Alamo Battle - Travis confers with Crockett
Travis confers with Crockett and tells him that he has no authority over the volunteers at the Alamo and that they can leave if they wish to do so. On March 3rd, James B. Bonham delivered a letter to Travis from Major Robert. M. Williamson that reinforcements were on the way. (Bonham is wrongly remembered as bringing the news that Colonel Fannin was not coming.)
Alamo Battle - March 5, 1836
March 5, 1836 - After addressing the volunteers, the men decide to stay and fight.
Alamo Battle - final assault on the Alamo
At dawn on March the 6th, the final assault on the Alamo begins.
Alamo Battle - Mexican troops
The Mexican troops exploit a weakness along the Alamo's north wall.
Alamo Battle - Colonel Travis fatally wounded
Shortly after the attack on the north wall begins, Colonel Travis is fatally wounded.
Alamo Battle - hand to hand  combat
The Alamo defenders engage in bloody hand-to-hand combat as the Mexican troops storm the compound.
Alamo Battle - all Alamo defenders perished
By 8:00 AM, the battle is over and all the Alamo defenders have perished. Officially, the number of dead Alamo defenders totals 189, but the actual total may be well over 200. About 600 Mexican troops were killed or wounded.
Alamo Battle - Alamo survivors
The Alamo survivors included several women, children and slaves. Among them were Susannah W. Dickinson (holding her daughter, Angelina,) widow of Alamo defender Captain Almaron Dickinson. Santa Anna sends with Mrs. Dickinson a warning letter to General Sam Houston that any other "pirates" in Texas will meet the same fate. (The men in the picture with heads bowed on their rifles represent the dead Alamo defenders.)

The body on the ground is that of Alamo defender Gregorio Esparza, whose wife and children were inside the chapel and survived the attack. Esparza's brother, Francisco, was granted permission remove his brother's body so that he may have a Christian burial. The bodies of the other Alamo defenders were burned on funeral pyres.
More about the Battle of the Alamo >

March 6, 2009
Remember the Alamo - The Ceremony

“At 6:00 AM, the Texian and Tejano Alamo defenders, represented by re-enactors dressed in period costumes, entered from the south side of Alamo Plaza while uniformed representatives of the Mexican Army entered from the north side of the plaza led by a man dressed as Santa Anna. I believe the actor may have been an actual descendant.

Thirteen women, representing those who survived the battle inside the chapel, entered the plaza and lit candles.

Entertainer Phil Collins, who is quite the Alamo buff, read the peace prayer of St. Francis of Assisi in English and another man read the prayer in Spanish. Letters from eyewitness accounts of the battle were also read aloud.

Both groups of soldiers, the Mexican soldiers first, gathered in front of the Alamo and fired their flintlock rifles into the air, the deafening sound causing not a few in the audience to jump backwards.

Later, wreaths were placed in front of the Alamo by representatives of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, the Sons of the Republic of Texas and other groups, including descendants of Alamo defenders such as David Crockett, José Toribio Losoya and Gregorio Esparza. A musician played hymns on the bagpipe during the ceremony, ending with "Amazing Grace."

I know there are many that say that the Alamo's location in downtown San Antonio makes it difficult to visualize how things were during the battle in 1836, but it has never distracted me. It's never been hard for me to connect with the history that flows from the place, encouraging me to learn more about it. Every one of my visits to the Alamo is a special one.“

Copyright Terry Jeanson
March 10, 2009
Related Stories: The Alamo | Alamo History | San Antonio | Texas

Battle of the Alamo, a painting
Battle of the Alamo
Photo courtesy Texas State Library & Archives

Alamo History
Articles by Texas historians and columnists

  • The Alamo
  • Battle of the Alamo by Jeffery Robenalt
  • The Mass Grave of the Alamo Defenders
    A Virtually Unknown Feature of the Most Written-about Event in Texas History
  • Susannah Dickinson by Linda-Kirkpatrick
    "...Susannah picked up Angelina and followed the officer into the courtyard. It was then that she viewed a site that history books can never describe. The air was still and there was a deafening hush all around. The bodies of the brave dead Texans lay stacked in piles, later to become funeral pyres spreading smoke and history to the sky above..."
  • The Women of 1836, Part III, Mary Millsap by Linda-Kirkpatrick
    "... Mary Millsap, wife of Isaac Millsap, Gonzales Ranger. Isaac was the oldest defender at the Alamo and Mary was now one of the oldest widows. Not only was Mary left with the burden of seven children to raise but she had been blind for many years..."
  • Alamo Backdoor by Mike Cox
    Who first noted that the old Spanish mission in San Antonio had no back door? And what if the Alamo did have a back door, or at least a secret escape route? On Sept. 15, 1894, the Eagle Pass Guide reprinted a story from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, “The Alamo’s Secret Passage.”...
  • Letters from the Alamo by Murray Montgomery
    "...I've also had a desire to get my information from the original sources - that is, those folks who actually lived, loved, fought, and died during those turbulent times of early Texas..."

  • Line in the Sand by Mike Cox
    "By March 5, 1836, Col. William Barrett Travis had known for several days that his situation inside the old Spanish mission called the Alamo had become hopeless..."

  • Did Davy survive? by Bob Bowman
    Did Davy Crockett survive the battle of the Alamo, only to be sent to Mexico as a prisoner and forced to work in a mine? The possibility was raised in an edition of Southwestern Historical Quarterly in April of 1940...
  • David Crockett Memorial Building, Crockett, Texas by Sarah Reveley
  • New Alamo Letter
    Our Initial Correspondence from Mr. David London:
    "I am sending a copy of a letter written by William B. Travis at the Alamo that has been in my family for over 160 years... We have never offered it for sale... It had never been published..."
    more
  • ALAMO LETTER:
    From Travis' hand to the State Archives
    or Is there a Graphologist in the house?
    by John Troesser
  • The Spirit of Sacrifice, aka The Alamo Cenotaph by John Troesser
  • Joe by MikeCox
    The man who witnessed Travis' death at the Alamo
  • Alamo Monument by Mike Cox
    In 1912, a San Antonio group began raising money to build a monument to the defenders of the Alamo. But the memorial they wanted for Alamo Plaza would not be any run of the mill monument. It would be Texas-sized and then some, an architectural wonder...
  • Alamo Hero by W. T. Block Jr.
    Isaac Ryan
  • Killer's Trail of Thread by W. T. Block
    Some Alamo Heroes Fought Twice for Texas
  • George C. Kimble and Almaron Dickinson, Heroic hat makers at the Alamo by Murray Montgomery
  • Savior of The Alamo... Remembering Adina De Zava by Murray Montgomery
    "If it hadn't been for her efforts, the Alamo might well have been replaced by a parking lot."
  • Eyewitness to the Battle of the Alamo - An Unidentified Mexican Soldier's Personal Account of the Historic Struggle by Murray Montgomery
  • Alamo Letters by Mike Cox
    The impassioned letters Col. William B. Travis sent by courier from the Alamo are dramatic pieces of writing, but they are not the only surviving words of someone who died in the old Spanish mission on March 6, 1836.
  • Alamo Ghosts - Dawn at the Alamo by James L. Choron 4-4-04
    An ghost encounter, and chilling tales of ghostly experiences at the Alamo.
  • The Alamo's Red River Connection by Bob Bowman
  • Alamo Marksman by Bob Bowman
  • Juan's Cabin by Bob Bowman
    When Juan Antonio Badillo left East Texas in 1836 and enlisted for six months service with the new Republic of Texas, he left two legacies. One, he was one of only a handful of Tejanos - Mexicans born in Texas - who died at the Alamo on March 6, 1836. Two, he left a still-standing log cabin that could be among East Texas' oldest structures...
  • Alamo Cowards by Mike Cox
  • Alamo Museum by Sarah Reveley
  • Alamo Survivor Enrique Esparza - Historical Marker. Enrique Esparza is buried in the El Carmen Cemetery in Losoya
  • February 8, 1836 Cartoon by Roger T. Moore
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