Thursday, 23 October 2014

Remembering the Alamo: A Fight to the Death

Some facts about the Alamo:

189 men defended the Alamo of whom only 9 were from Texas, and they were Mexicans. At least, 34 had been born overseas mostly in Britain, and all but 25 were volunteers.

The bagpipes were played at dawn and dusk on everyday of the siege.

One man crossed the 'line in the sand' drawn by Travis that he said would allow them to leave the Alamo before the attack began without repercussions. He was Louis 'Moses' Rose, a French veteran of Napoleon's invasion of Russia. He has been known ever since as the 'Coward of the Alamo.'

The final assault began at 5.30 in the morning in total darkness.

The Texan sentries all had their throats cut before they could raise the alarm,

Both Bowie and Travis's slaves survived the battle as also did Brigido Guerrero, who claimed that he was a Mexican soldier who had been captured earlier in the fighting.

One defender, Henry Wardell, escaped over the wall during the fighting but died some months later from his wounds.

A number of women and children were also captured, and all the prisoners were given two silver coins, a blanket,, and escorted from the camp.

The Alamo was not the greatest massacre of the Texan Revolution, more than 350 Texans were executed at the town of Goliad having earlier negotiated their surrender.

Vengeance is mine - at the decisive Battle of San Jacinto on 21 April 1836, some 650 Mexican soldiers were killed after having lain down their arms.

William Barret Travis, the man who had been placed in temporary command of the Alamo was vainglorious, pompous, and arrogant but also courageous. He had earlier deserted his wife and child and had since kept a detailed diary of his sexual conquests.

He was one of the first to die at the Alamo shot through the head as he ascended the ramparts.

Davy Crockett was a legend in his own lifetime, the famous backwoodsmen and ex-Congressman arrived at the Alamo with his 14 Tennessean volunteers having told his constituents who had just rejected him - You can go to hell, I am going to Texas! He had a killing in mind, but of the financial kind.

Some say that he was executed on the express orders of Santa Anna having surrendered as the battle reached its denouement. Others that he died heroically surrounded by the corpses of his enemy.

Jim Bowie was a slave trader and a land speculator with a ferocious reputation who once killed a man in a fight dragging him to the ground and disemboweling with his famous Bowie Knife that had been invented by his brother Reza, despite having been stabbed in the chest and shot three times.

He had since married into the Mexican aristocracy and become very rich.

He died at the Alamo in his bed where he was dying from consumption. It was said that the bayonets had been thrust so deep into his body that it was possible to raise him into the air.

Sam Houston, the victor at San Jacinto and first President of the independent Republic of Texas.

The Travis Letter sent from the Alamo during the siege:

"I call on you in the name of liberty and patriotism and everything dear to the American character to come to our aid with all dispatch. The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand within four or five days. Then, if this call is neglected I intend to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his honour and that of his country - Victory or Death.

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