Remember the Alamo – A Cry to ‘Remember’

“Remember the Alamo” became a rallying point that would ring throughout our nation’s history.

Revenge is a strong motivation, and during military conflict, it can be a powerful potion for action.

As the Texans flexed their muscles and demanded autonomy, the skirmishes began. Following the “Grass Fight” in November 1835, the Texans moved toward the Alamo mission in San Antonio and, in a systematic siege on the settlement, forced the Mexican forces to withdraw back toward the Rio Grande.

Santa Anna responded with rousing speeches comparing the Texans to lawless pirates who should be hanged, perhaps from a symbolic yardarm. The Mexican troops listening to the general understood what he meant. Their memories of Zacatecas were all too vivid. When the local governmental leader in that region had rebelled against the central authorities in Mexico City, Santa Anna had himself led the troops that looted the city, punished residents indiscriminately, and seized control of the territory. With more than 7,000 troops, Santa Anna again took control of the army, leaving his second in power to rule from Mexico City.

The Mexicans crossed the Rio Grande and marched north. The Texans realized that the general would attack either San Antonio or Goliad, each on one of the main roads leading into Texans’ territorial claims. When it became apparent from scout reports that San Antonio was the target, the Texans began to fortify the Alamo mission. They understood that their job was to hold back the Mexican forces until reinforcements from the north could join the fight.

But the Texans understood the Herculean task before them. While Santa Anna’s army had swelled to thousands, the Texans had less than 150 men and about 20 cannons, aided by a small contingent of regular army commanded by Colonel William B. Travis and a militia force under the command of legendary frontiersman Colonel James Bowie. Many of the men at the Alamo were relatively new to Texas, searching for adventure and perhaps a large homestead.

The most famous “soldier” was former Tennessee Congressman Davy Crockett. (Cue the music from the Disney series, “Davy Crockett – King of the Wild Frontier.”)

Crockett and President Andrew Jackson had found themselves on opposite sides of several major political issues, and Jackson had orchestrated Crockett’s defeat. In a highly quotable speech to the House of Representatives, Crockett had colorfully told Congress where it could go and ended his statement with, “I’m going to Texas.” And he had.

How had the eastern states known what was happening in Texas? Colonel Travis understood the overwhelming odds faced by the Texans — the freedom fighters on the frontier — and had drafted a letter asking for support. Hoping for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of volunteers to join the stand against the Mexican forces, Travis soon realized the time lapse between the arrival of his letters meant the response from the East would not come in time. Thirty additional supporters arrived, and Travis understood the defenders were in for the fight of their lives — literally, their lives.

The Mexican forces arrived on February 23 and laid siege to the Alamo until the final attack occurred on March 6, when all the Alamo’s defenders died in a historic fight. In a humane gesture, Santa Anna did allow a few women, children, and slaves to leave prior to the fight.

The stories about the Alamo’s heroic stand spread quickly, and the cry “Remember the Alamo” became a rallying point that would ring throughout our nation’s history.

                              Sam Houston

At the same time, 59 Texans came together at Washington-on-the-Brazos, and by the time the debates and votes had occurred, a document declaring Texas independence had been introduced on March 1, approved on March 2, and signed on March 3. Sam Houston had been named commander of the army, as everyone there understood that the fight was coming to them.

One of Houston’s first actions was to rescind an order to Colonel James Fannin to go to the aid of the Alamo. Instead, he was to consolidate his troops and prepare for a fight. By late March, Fannin and his men were surrounded and forced to surrender at Goliad. The Mexican commander, Urrea, was ordered by Santa Anna to execute the Texans, and on March 27, 400 men in Fannin’s command were summarily executed.

The battle cry grew to “Remember the Alamo – Remember Goliad” as the Texans rallied for a final stand.

Written by Linda Moss Mines for The Patriot Post ~ April 10, 2024

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