You’ve seen the movies. Read the stories.
It’s one of the most iconic battle sites in the world. And weirdly, it’s smack dab in the middle of one of the largest cities in Texas, surrounded by places like Ripley’s Believe it or Not and ‘Tomb Rider 3D’.
If you need a refresher, here’s what happened:
On February 23rd, General Santa Anna and the Mexican Army rode into San Antonio around 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Earlier that morning, William Travis, Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett learned that Santa Anna was coming. The Texan Army numbered around 800 men and they were holed up inside the Alamo walls. The Mexican army numbered near 1000.
The next day, Colonel Travis sent this appeal for reinforcements, using a messenger who barely made it through the Mexican Army lines:
“Fellow Citizens and Compatriots: I am besieged by a thousand or more Mexicans under Santa Anna. I have sustained a continual bombardment and cannonade for 24 hours, and I have not yet lost a man. The enemy has demanded the surrender; at discretion, otherwise the garrison is to be put to the sword if the fort is taken. I have answered the summons with cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the wail. I shall never surrender or retreat. Then I call upon you in the name of liberty, patriotism and everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid with dispatch. The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and will doubtless, in a few days, increase to three or four thousand men. Though this call may be neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible, and die like a soldier who never forfeits what is due to his own honor and that of his country. Victory or death!
(Signed) “W. BARRETT TRAVIS, Lieut-Col. Commanding.”
For the next 13 days, the two armies traded artillery and musket fire. Santa Anna continued to receive reinforcements daily and by March 6th, his army had grown to over 4000 men. The Texans received no help.
That morning, the Mexican Army advanced on the Alamo. They charged twice and were pushed back by the Texan artillery fire. On the third charge, Santa Anna’s army was able to scale the walls, but took massive losses. Out of 800 men that were in that charge, only 130 survived.
They re-grouped, charged again and what followed was some of the most fierce hand to hand combat we can imagine. The Texans fought bravely but were eventually overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of the Mexican Army.
After the battle, a witness said, “”The gallantry of the few Texans who defended the Alamo were really wondered at by the Mexican army. Even the generals were astonished at their vigorous resistance, and how dearly the victory had been bought.”
In the end, Santa Anna lost almost 1600 men, twice as many as the entire Texan force.
On the north battery of the fortress lay the lifeless body of Colonel Travis, shot only in the forehead. Toward the west in a small fort opposite the city was found the body of Colonel Davy Crockett. Colonel Bowie was found dead in his bed in one of the rooms of the south side. Bowie had been deathly ill at the start of the battle and was unable to assist the fighters.
Out of this historic battle came the rallying cry for Texas that eventually led to the capture of General Santa Anna and Texas Independence.
Today, just like in 1836, it’s important that we always, “Remember the Alamo.”
The Alamo is in the heart of San Antonio, in Central Texas.
Not only is there a ton of stuff to do near the Alamo in downtown San Antonio, but the story of the Alamo is probably something your kids have either heard about in school or seen on TV. The tour is also really short, so kids won’t be stuck inside for too long.