175 years: The Alamo.

Today is Sunday, March 6.  175 years ago, on exactly this day and date, Sunday, March 6, the Mexican army attacked the Alamo.  The famous John Wayne movie has the attack happening in broad daylight, in the afternoon.  Wrong.

The attack began in chilly darkness, at 5 a.m.  In silence.  The Alamo defenders were asleep, but they woke up soon enough. 

The Mexicans advanced on four sides.  The first advance did not go well for them.   Alamo defenders fired a cannon loaded with scrap metal, and the blast cut a large swathe through the Mexican column approaching the northwest corner.  More cannon fire cut down more troops.  The Mexicans fell back.  Some of the newer, inexperienced Mexican soldiers fired their guns recklessly, hitting their own fellow soldiers.  For a few minutes, it looked like Santa Anna’s men might be routed.  But they regrouped, and they found holes in the walls.  From all sides, soldiers poured into the compound. 

One of the first Texians to die was Willaim B. Travis, as he stood on the north wall and fired down on Mexicans.  Defenders retreated, as planned, into the “long barracks”.  They fired at the attackers through holes in the barracks walls.  Some of the bloodiest, hand-to-hand fighting was done in the barracks. 

Mexican soldiers moved on to the chapel.  They were met by a cannon blast from inside the chapel.  Defenders did not have time to reload the cannon, so they fired their rifles.  The attacking soldiers bayonetted the defenders.  One wounded Texian crawled toward the magazine area where gunpowder was stored.  He held a torch and was hoping to ignite the gunpowder, but he died without succeeding.  Had he succeeded in exploding the gunpowder, he surely would have killed a number of non-combatants who were hiding in the sacristry, including women and children.

A group of Texians made it outside the Alamo walls.  They fired on Mexican soldiers, but soon they were killed.   Inside the Alamo, a few defenders actually survived the carnage.  They were captured and summarily executed.  

By 6:30 a.m., all defenders were dead.   

How and where did David Crockett die?  No one knows, not really.  Some say he was one of the few survivors who were executed.  Others say he died in the battle, and that his body was found surrounded by a dozen or so dead Mexican soldiers.  Truth is, we will never know.  All that matters is that he was one of the defenders, and all defenders died.  Mrs. Dickinson said that she recognized Crockett’s body lying on the ground. 

Among the non-combatants, who lived?  Most famous are Mrs. Dickinson, her daughter Angelina, and Travis’s slave Joe.   Years later, Mrs. Dickinson told a reporter that during the attack a Mexican soldier spoke to her in English:  “Are you Mrs. Dickinson?”  She answered yes, and he said, “If you want to live, follow me.”  She took her daughter and followed him, in spite of flying bullets, and they survived. 

Others survivors included Juana Navarro Alsbury, Bettie (a black cook), Maria de Jesus Castro, Charlie (a black slave), Ana Salazar Esparza and her children.  Also surviving were several couriers who had left the Alamo to carry messages, and were not present at the battle.

How many Mexican soldiers died?  Possibly as many as 600, out of 2,500.  By any measure, that is a high casualty rate. 

What did the defenders accomplish by their sacrifice?  Militarily, perhaps not much.  They did not buy much time for Sam Houston to gather his own army.  Anyway, Gen. Houston was at the constituational convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos, not with his own troops.  But in terms of morale for the rest of Texas, they inspired all Texians to carry through their war for independence from Mexico.

Those who died defending the Alamo: 

1.  Abamillo, Juan – TX
2.  Allen, Robert – VA
3.  Andross, Miles DeForrest – VT
4.  Autry, Micajah – NC
5.  Badillo, Juan A. – TX
6.  Bailey, Peter James III – KY
7.  Baker, Isaac G. – AR
8.  Baker, William Charles M. – MO
9.  Ballentine, John J. – PA
10.  Ballantine, Richard W. – Scotland
11.  Baugh, John J. – VA
12.  Bayliss, Joseph – TN
13.  Blair, John – TN
14.  Blair, Samuel – TN
15.  Blazeby, William – England
16.  Bonham, James Butler – SC
17.  Bourne, Daniel – England
18.  Bowie, James – KY
19.  Bowman, Jesse B. – TN
20.  Brown, George – England
21.  Brown, James – PA
22.  Brown, Robert – unknown
23.  Buchanan, James – AL
24.  Burns, Samuel E. – Ireland
25.  Butler, George, D. – MO
26.  Cain, John – PA
27.  Campbell, Robert – TN
28.  Carey, William R. – VA
29.  Clark, Charles Henry – MO
30.  Clark, M.B. – MS
31.  Cloud, Daniel William – KY
32.  Cochran, Robert E. – NH
33.  Cottle, George Washington – MO
34.  Courtman, Henry – Germany
35.  Crawford, Lemuel – SC
36.  Crockett, David – TN
37.  Crossman, Robert – PA
38.  Cummings, David P. – PA
39.  Cunningham, Robert – NY
40.  Darst, Jacob C. – KY
41.  Davis, John – KY
42.  Day, Freeman H.K. – unknown
43.  Day, Jerry C. – MO
44.  Daymon, Squire – TN
45.  Dearduff, William – TN
46.  Dennison, Stephen – England or Ireland
47.  Despallier, Charles – LA
48.  Dewall, Lewis – NY
49.  Dickinson, Almeron – TN
50.  Dillard, John Henry – TN
51.  Dimpkins, James R. – England
52.  Duvalt, Andrew – Ireland
53.  Espalier, Carlos – TX
54.  Esparza, Gregorio – TX
55.  Evans, Robert – Ireland
56.  Evans, Samuel B. – NY
57.  Ewing, James L. – TN
58.  Faunterloy, William Keener – KY
59.  Fishbaugh, William – unknown
60.  Flanders, John – MA
61.  Floyd, Dolphin Ward – NC
62.  Forsyth, John Hubbard – NY
63.  Fuentes, Antonio – TX
64.  Fuqua, Galba – AL
65.  Garnett, William – VA
66.  Garrand, James W. – LA
67.  Garrett, James Girard – TN
68.  Garvin, John E. – unknown
69.  Gaston, John E. – KY
70.  George, James – unknown
71.  Goodrich, John C. – VA
72.  Grimes, Albert Calvin – GA
73.  Guerrero, José María – TX
74.  Gwynne, James C. – England
75.  Hannum, James – PA
76.  Harris, John – KY
77.  Harrison, Andrew Jackson – TN
78.  Harrison, William B – OH
79.  Hawkins, Joseph M. – Ireland
80.  Hays, John M. – TN
81.  Heiskell, Charles M. – TN
82.  Herndon, Patrick Henry – VA
83.  Hersee, William Daniel – England
84.  Holland, Tapley – OH
85.  Holloway, Samuel – PA
86.  Howell, William D. – MA
87.  Jackson, Thomas – Ireland
88.  Jackson, William Daniel – KY
89.  Jameson, Green B. – KY
90.  Jennings, Gordon C. – CT
91.  Jimenes (Ximenes), Damacio – TX
92.  John – unknown
93.  Johnson, Lewis – Wales
94.  Johnson, William – PA
95.  Jones, John – NY
96.  Kellog, John Benjamin – KY
97.  Kenney, James – VA
98.  Kent, Andrew – KY
99.  Kerr, Joseph – LA
100.  Kimbell, George C. – PA
101.  King, William Philip – TX
102.  Lewis, William Irvine – VA
103.  Lightfoot, William J. – VA
104.  Lindley, Jonathan L. – IL
105.  Linn, William – MA
106.  Losoya, Toribio – TX
107.  Main, George Washington –
108.  Malone, William T. – GA
109.  Marshall, William – TN
110.  Martin, Albert – RI
111.  McCafferty, Edward – unknown
112.  McCoy, Jesse – TN
113.  McDowell, William – PA
114.  McGee, James – Ireland
115.  McGregor, John – Scotland
116.  McKinney, Robert – TN
117.  Melton, Eliel – GA
118.  Miller, Thomas R. – TN
119.  Mills, William – TN
120.  Millsaps, Isaac – MS
121.  Mitchell, Edwin T. – unknown
122.  Mitchell, Napoleon B. – unknown
123.  Mitchusson, Edward F. – VA
124.  Moore, Robert B. – VA
125.  Moore, Willis A. – MS
126.  Musselman, Robert – OH
127.  Nava, Andrés – TX
128.  Neggan, George – SC
129.  Nelson, Andrew M. – TN
130.  Nelson, Edward – SC
131.  Nelson, George – SC
132.  Northcross, James – VA
133.  Nowlan, James – England
134.  Pagan, George – unknown
135.  Parker, Christopher Adam – unknown
136.  Parks, William – NC
137.  Perry, Richardson – TX
138.  Pollard, Amos – MA
139.  Reynolds, John Purdy – PA
140.  Roberts, Thomas H. – unknown
141.  Robertson, James Waters – TN
142.  Robinson, Isaac – Scotland
143.  Rose, James M. – OH
144.  Rusk, Jackson J. – Ireland
145.  Rutherford, Joseph – KY
146.  Ryan, Isaac – LA
147.  Scurlock, Mial – NC
148.  Sewell, Marcus L. – England
149.  Shied, Manson – GA
150.  Simmons, Cleveland Kinlock – SC
151.  Smith, Andrew H. –
152.  Smith, Charles S. – MD
153.  Smith, Joshua G. – NC
154.  Smith, William H. – unknown
155.  Starr, Richard – England
156.  Stewart, James E. – England
157.  Stockton, Richard L. – NJ
158.  Summerlin, A. Spain – TN
159.  Summers, William E. – TN
160.  Sutherland, William DePriest – unknown
161.  Taylor, Edward – TN
162.  Taylor, George – TN
163.  Taylor, James – TN
164.  Taylor, William – TN
165.  Thomas, B. Archer M. – KY
166.  Thomas, Henry – Germany
167.  Thompson, Jesse G. – AR
168.  Thomson, John W. – NC
169.  Thruston, John, M. – PA
170.  Trammel, Burke – Ireland
171.  Travis, William Barret – SC
172.  Tumlinson, George W. – MO
173.  Tylee, James – NY
174.  Walker, Asa – TN
175.  Walker, Jacob – TN
176.  Ward, William B. – Ireland
177.  Warnell, Henry – unknown
178.  Washington, Joseph G. – KY
179.  Waters, Thomas – England
180.  Wells, William – GA
181.  White, Isaac – AL or KY
182.  White, Robert – unknown
183.  Williamson, Hiram James – PA
184.  Wills, William – unknown
185.  Wilson, David L. – Scotland
186.  Wilson, John – PA
187.  Wolf, Anthony – unknown
188.  Wright, Claiborne – NC
189.  Zanco, Charles – Denmark

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