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Battle of the Alamo

Andrew Jackson

Battle of the Alamo: Andrew Jackson was the 7th American President who served in office from March 4, 1829 to March 4, 1837. One of the important events during his presidency was the Battle of the Alamo.

Definition and Summary of the Battle of the Alamo
Summary and definition:
The Battle of the Alamo was a 13 day siege at a mission in San Antonio that was fought between February 23, 1836 – March 6, 1836 by Mexican forces of about 4000, under President General Santa Anna, against a handful of 180 American rebels fighting for Texan independence from Mexico.

The battle was won by the Mexicans but the 13 days gave General Sam Houston time to build and develop his Texan Army at San Jacinto who were motivated by the courage shown, against all odds, by their fellow Texans.

Battle of the Alamo History for kids: Where is the Alamo?
We have all heard about the Battle of the Alamo, but where is the Alamo? The Alamo is located on the banks of the San Antonio River in San Antonio, Texas, USA (Modern address: 300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205)

Battle of the Alamo History for kids: What was the Alamo?
The Alamo was originally a former Roman Catholic Franciscan mission and fortress built in 1718, called the Mission San Antonio de Valero. In the early 1800s Spanish troops were stationed in the abandoned chapel of the former mission. The garrison stood in a grove of cottonwood trees  and the Spanish soldiers gave it the name "El Alamo" (the Spanish word for cottonwood) and to remind them of Alamo de Parras, their hometown in Mexico.

When was the Battle of the Alamo? Who won the Battle of the Alamo?
The
Texas Revolution began with the battle of Gonzales in October 1835. The Battle of the Alamo was a 13 day siege fought from February 23 1836 and March 6, 1836 between a handful of 180 American rebels, fighting for Texan independence from Mexico,  who were in the Alamo against Mexican forces of about 4000, under President General Santa Anna. The Battle of the Alamo was won by the Mexican Army.

Why was the Battle of the Alamo significant?
The 13 day siege at the Alamo gave General Sam Houston time to build and develop his Army at San Jacinto. Texans were inspired by the bravery of the rebels and the battle cry of "Remember the Alamo" spurred the small number of Texan soldiers to fight the large Mexican Army. Ultimately, the Texans defeated Santa Anna's Army and Texas won it's independence from Mexico, becoming the Republic of Texas on April 21, 1836.

Battle Cry of the Alamo: "Remember the Alamo!"
The Battle cry "Remember the Alamo!" was a reminder of the courage and sacrifice of the men who perished at the siege and a rallying cry to all Texans. General Santa Anna had declared that the Mexican Army would take no prisoners. The rebel Texans knew that they had no hope of winning the siege and that death awaited all of them. The phrase "Remember the Alamo" is so important to the history of Texas that it is still proudly displayed on the reverse of the Texas State Seal over the picture of the mission. The central images reflect important Battles in the Texas Revolution. The famous battle cry ensures that the bravery and patriotism of the defenders in the old mission at San Antonio will never be forgotten, nor their cause for liberty and the freedom of Texas.

Survivors at the Battle of the Alamo
There were a few of people who survived the bloody siege. Civilian non-combatants such as women, children and cooks were spared including Susannah Dickinson, the wife of Captain Almaron Dickinson and her baby daughter Angelina. A handful of Texans were also spared. General Santa Anna sent these men to Sam Houston’s camp at San Jacinto as a warning that a similar fate awaited the rest of the Texans if they continued their rebellion against Mexico.

Colonel William B. Travis: "Victory or Death"
Colonel William B. Travis wrote a letter addressed "To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World" marking the envelope with the words "Victory or Death" - William B. Travis Victory or Death letter. Please take a minute to read the letter, it is regarded as one of the most heroic letters ever written.

Timeline and Facts about Battle of the Alamo
The following fact sheet contains interesting facts and timeline on Battle of the Alamo.

The Texas Revolution began in October 1835 with the Battle of Gonzales.

The siege started in February 23, 1836 and ended on March 6, 1836. 180 Americans were laid to siege by the Mexican Army consisting of 4000 soldiers led by General Santa Anna during the Battle of the Alamo

The Alamo was originally built in 1718 as Roman Catholic Franciscan mission and then used as a garrison for the Mexican army

November 1835: Sam Houston was selected as Commander-in-Chief of the Texas Army

December 21, 1835: James Clinton Neill is ordered by Sam Houston to take command of the Texan and Tejano garrison stationed at the mission in San Antonio

January 17, 1836: Jim Bowie arrives at the garrison to evaluate the situation - Sam Houston had suggested he remove the artillery and blow up the Alamo. The decision is made to defend the garrison

February 3, 1836: Colonel William B. Travis arrives at the garrison

February 8, 1836: Davy Crocket arrives at the garrison with a group of Tennessee volunteers

February 11, 1836: Neill becomes ill and leaves the garrison

February 11, 1836: Neill transfers command to William B. Travis, the highest-ranking regular army officer in the garrison

February 12, 1836 : William Travis and Jim Bowie argue over who has command of the garrison

February 14, 1836: Neill returns to settle the dispute. Bowie and Travis agree to a joint command

February 17, 1836: William B. Travis sends his first letters asking for assistance, the Texans were not expecting Santa Anna's forces until spring

February 22, 1836: Santa Anna reaches San Antonio with generals Sesma, Amador and Castrillón and the Vanguard Brigade

February 22, 1836: Santa Anna demands surrender and states that no one will be spared if this is not done. The Texans refuse to surrender

February 23, 1836: Daniel Cloud sounds the alarm as the attack begins. The fort comes under artillery fire from Mexican troops

February 24, 1836: William B. Travis writes his Victory or Death Letter to the closest town at Gonzales. He vows "I shall never surrender or retreat."

  • Other letters requesting help for the Battle of the Alamo are sent to Gonzales, Goliad, San Felipe, Nacogdoches and Washington-on-the-Brazos

February 24, 1836: Jim Bowie becomes ill and William B. Travis assumes full command

February 26, 1836: Relief forces begin to gather at Gonzales

26 Feb 1836: James Fannin attempts his relief march to the fort but is forced to turn back

March 1, 1836: 32 men of the Gonzales Ranging Company arrive at the fort in response to the Victory or Death letter

March 2, 1836: The Texas Declaration of Independence is signed and the Republic of Texas is declared although the men fighting the Battle of the Alamo are unaware of these momentous events

March 3, 1836: James B. Bonham arrives at the garrison and tells Travis that James Fannin and his troops were not coming

March 3, 1836: William Travis tells all the troops that they are free to leave - the brave men choose to stay and fight at the Battle of the Alamo

March 3, 1836: Mexican battalions Aldama, Toluca and Zapadores arrive in San Antonio

March 5, 1836: The Mexican artillery stop shelling the fort, they defenses have been weakened to such an extent that plans are made to assault the garrison

March 6, 1836: The final attack begins at dawn with hand-to-hand combat

March 6, 1836: Only a few Texans survive the bloody siege of the Battle of the Alamo. Civilian non-combatants such as women, children and cooks were spared.

March 6, 1836: Over 600 Mexicans were killed during the Battle of the Alamo and countless injured

March 6, 1836: A handful of Texans were also spared who were sent Sam Houston’s camp at San Jacinto as a warning that a similar fate awaited the rest of the Texans if they continued their rebellion against Mexico.

April 22, 1836: Following a series of battles Santa Anna is defeated and captured

May 14, 1836: The peace treaty of Velasco is signed by the Republic of Texas and General Santa Anna of Mexico.

June 15, 1836: The demoralized Mexican army, cross the Rio Grande back into Mexico

December 29, 1845: Texas becomes part of the United States - refer to Texas Annexation

US American History
1829-1841: Jacksonian Era

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