The Alamo Essay, Research Paper
The Alamo was originally a Franciscan mission in San Antonio, Texas. It was erected about the year 1722. The Alamo was not a very successful mission and became deserted. However, the Alamo would get its share of action in years to come when a small Texas garrison moved into the mission rather than follow orders which were given to William Barrett Travis from Sam Houston to abandon it. Instead, the 155 men began to prepare the roofless mission for a battle.
Texas had been chafing under the Mexican government which legislated against slavery, allowed the military to intrude upon civil affairs, and was chronically unstable. Because of the steady advancement of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, general and dictator of Mexico, Sam Houston, the commander of Texas s armies, ordered San Antonio abandoned. However, General William B. Travis, who had become first in command after Jim Bowie fell ill, decided to stay in the Alamo.
They were joined by others, notably the “Tennessee Boys” led by Davy Crockett. Before Crockett s arrival, the 155 men in the Alamo were lazy, undisciplined, and worst of all, had no hope or belief. However, when Davy Crockett and his 32 men showed up, things began to change. Even though he was only there for six days, the team of Crockett and Bowie gave life to every man inside the old mission walls. Men were filled with high spirits and hope, and when the first day of the siege began, they showed it.
Santa Anna had positioned his approximately 5000 troops totally encircling the Alamo, and when his artillery arrived he began an intensive siege that would last for thirteen days. Several times the garrison fought back the attacking swarms of Mexicans. However, on March 6, 1836, the thousands of Mexicans broke through the defense and swarmed into the courtyard of the Alamo.
Travis, his chief aides (including the American frontiersmen Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, founder of the Bowie knife) and the remainder of the garrison perished in the brutal hand-to-hand combat that followed.
General William B. Travis died when he was shot trying to position the cannon. It has been said that the shot did not kill him, but that he killed himself before the siege. Jim Bowie, sick in his room, fought to his last breath of life. In 1995 excavators started digging for gold that he supposedly threw down one of the Alamo s wells before the siege. Davy Crockett, the woodsman and politician from Tennessee fought to the very end. His heroic last stand quickly became a picture of history. There also have been rumors that he surrendered when he was obviously one of few still alive, but there has been no facts to prove that. No one is said to have survived in the Alamo except the families and civilians and a slave. The Texans had fought hard, and the Mexicans lost somewhere between 600 to 1000 men.
At the subsequent Battle of San Jacinto, when Santa Anna was defeated, the cries of “Remember the Alamo” inspired and motivated the Texans to take over the Mexican s fort six weeks after the siege of the Alamo. The Alamo was a very important part of Texas and American history. It gave us memorable heroes, and an inspiring new chapter in history, even though the whole story of the Alamo has been clothed in folklore and romance so that the very truth is hard to find. Most of all it gave the country a new meaning and example of national pride, hope, and belief.