The Alamo


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The Alamo

The Alamo

ALAMO, A  FORT IN TEXAS, erected for a mission building in 1744; used for religious purposes till 1793, when, on account of the great strength of its walls, it was converted into a fort. In the struggle by Texas for independence, the most sanguinary and heroic conflict of the border warfare, which merged into the Mexican War, occurred there—a conflict which for years was familiar to Americans as the Thermopylae of Texas. The fort was about an acre in extent, oblong, and surrounded by a wall 8 or 10 feet in height by 3 feet in thickness. A body of Texans, under the command of Col. William Barrett Travis, retired into the fort early in 1836, upon the dismantling of San Antonio by Sam Houston, and then Santa Anna, with a large force, invested the fort Feb. 23. The Texans numbered only 140 men, while the Mexican army was 4,000 strong. The enemy took possession of the town, then erected batteries on both sides of the river, and for twenty-four hours bombarded the fort, during which, it is stated, over 200 shells were discharged into it, but without injuring a man. The attacking forces made several vigorous assaults on the fort, but were repulsed in each case. The commander of the beleaguered garrison sent many couriers to San Felipe for assistance, but only a handful of men succeeded in reaching the fort. As the siege progressed provisions grew scarce, and the defenders of Alamo, worn by the labors of the defense and broken in health, although not in spirits, were hourly becoming less able to hold their posts. March 6 a combined attack was made by the entire forces of the besiegers; twice they assaulted the posts, and were as often driven back with heavy loss by the Texan troops. A hand-to-hand encounter ensued, which the Texans, few and feeble, were unable to sustain, and but six of their devoted band remained. Among this number was the famous Davy Crockett, who, with the others, surrendered, under promise of protection; but when they were taken before Santa Anna were, upon his command, instantly cut to pieces, Crockett having been stabbed by a dozen swords. Other barbarities were committed, such as collecting the bodies of the slain in the centre of the Alamo, and, after horribly mutilating the re-mains, burning them. Only three persons, a woman, a child, and a servant, were spared. A few weeks after Santa Anna was routed with immense loss, and himself captured in the battle of San Jacinto, where the Texans raised the war cry, " Remember the Alamo!" It is estimated that during the siege of Fort Alamo the Mexican losses aggregated over 1,600 men. For many years, indeed until the close of the Mexican War, the Texans only needed to be roused to deeds of valor by the recollection of the massacre at the Alamo, and dearly did the neighboring republic pay for the butchery by Santa Anna and his forces.





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