|Alamo at Dawn|
The Alamo today
In the early moring hours of March 6, 1836 the Mexican army advanced on the Alamo silently and killed the sentinels in their sleep. They crept unnoticed into musket range until one of the Mexicans shouted "Viva Santa Anna!" and the buglers' music started. Travis is reported to have run to the wall yelling "Come on boys, the Mexicans are upon us and we'll give them hell!"
Until the defenders ran out of previously loaded weapons they held a slight edge. Once they had used all of them they found it difficult to load another one while keeping the Mexicans from scaling the ladders they brought to the walls. Some of the younger Mexican soldiers were growing uneasy on the frontline but the older more experienced soldiers pushed them on from behind. Once they reached the wall the Texians had to lean over the wall to shoot them making themselves a better target for the attackers.
Travis is one of the first officers to have been mortally wounded. He was shot while leaning over the wall to shoot at the attackers at the base of the wall. He pulled his sword and killed a Mexican soldier at the top of the ladder before his wounds took their toll. As the Mexicans reached the top of the ladders they were either beaten back or pushed over. They regrouped and tried again but again they were stopped.
Fifteen minutes into the battle they tried again and amassed two collums at the North wall where they found it with many holes and easily climbed over the wall. Once inside they opened the gate and the flow of men inside began. Seeing this the men on the South wall turned their cannons to the North and began firing into the attackers. This made the South wall undefended and seeing this the Mexicans began taking advantage of it.
As previously planned by Travis, Bowie and Crockett the Texians retreated to interior buildings. Some tried to surrender but were massacred on the spot and some were killed attempting to find cover. Crockett led one the final group out in the open. They were unable to load their guns so used them as clubs and fought with knives. All of the remaining Texians were soon barricaded in barracks. The Mexicans used the defenders own cannons to destroy the doors and then shot into the blackened room blindly before running in to finish the job by hand to hand combat. Jim Bowie, who was too sick to take part in the battle, was in bed and killed four before being killed with bayonets.
By 6:30 the battle was over. The Mexicans inspected each body and bayoneted the ones that moved. Even with all the Texians dead the Mexicans kept shooting causing them to kill each other in some cases. Santa Anna ordered the buglers to sound retreat and they still shot the Texians bodies for another 15 minutes.
Susannah Dickinson, her infant daughter, Travis' slave Joe and another slave Ben were sent to Gozalez to tell the remaining Texian army that Santa Anna's army was unbeatable. Alsbury and her infant daughter were allowed to return to their home as was another Tejano woman. On March 11th Dickinson reached Sam Houston, recently elected commander in chief of all Texian forces, and relayed Santa Anna's message. Hearing this he had the delegates at the convention to hastily evacuated and had his army retreat.
All the defenders have long held a special place in Texas lore. The ethnic make-up of the Texian defenders was 13 Texans(11 of which were of Mexican heritage), 41 born in Europe, 2 Jews, 2 blacks and the rest were made up of Americans from states other than Texas.
Today the Alamo is the most visited tourist site in Texas. I can vouch for the goosebumps that one gets from walking into the church and to feel the presence of the valiant Texians that gave their lives for Freedom for each of us Texans today.
The Alamo Cenotaph in San Antonio