Why Should I Remember the Alamo?

Diana Bocco

The Battle of the Alamo has become one of the most famous in American history. The 13-day confrontation took place in 1836 between the Republic of Mexico and the Tejanos, rebels trying to make Texas into an independent republic. Texas had been part of Mexico since 1821, despite the fact that there was a large colony of American families along the area.

The Battle of the Alamo was fought between the Republic of Mexico and Tejanos, who were rebels seeking Texas independence.
The Battle of the Alamo was fought between the Republic of Mexico and Tejanos, who were rebels seeking Texas independence.

The Texas rebels started their fight for independence on 1 October 1835 by capturing the Mexican forces at San Antonio and establishing a rebellious government state. Antonio López de Santa Anna Pérez de Lebrón, the Mexican president and army general, quickly decided on a retaliation, advancing his forces through the north of Mexico until he reached San Antonio de Béxar, in Texas, where a fortress compound, the Alamo mission, stood.

Lieutenant Colonel William Barret Travis was the official in charge of the Texan 218-man army stationed at the Alamo. When word of the imminent attack spread, two small groups of volunteers made its way to the fortress. The first was led by Jim Bowie, the inventor of the Bowie knife, and the other by David (Davy) Crockett, the legendary Indian fighter.

On 23 February 1836, the 13-day siege of the Alamo started. Santa Anna's army was poorly prepared but they had the advantage of weaponry and numbers. The Mexican army arrived at The Alamo with 6000 men and 17 cannons. During the nearly two weeks before the final assault, the Mexican Army continued to close in on the Alamo, demanding surrender. Finally, on the night of 5 March 1836, they attacked the Alamo in a four-column formation. The Alamo defenders were unable to protect all walls and were quickly outnumbered and killed in hand-to-hand combat. The whole battle was over in under one hour. Except for a few women and slaves, there were no survivors at the Alamo. By the end of the battle, the Mexican army had lost over 1000 soldiers.

While Santa Anna's army was victorious, the loss of men severely impacted subsequent fights. In less than a month, the Mexican Army was reduced to less than 900 men. On 21 April, to the cry of "Remember the Alamo!" Major General Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna's army and forced all remaining troops to retreat into Mexico.

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