The Battle of the Alamo was fought between the Republic of Texas and Mexico from February 23, 1836 to March 6, 1836. It took place at a fort in San Antonio, Texas called the Alamo. The Mexicans won the battle, killing all of the Texan soldiers inside the fort.
1854 Alamo Author: Unknown
What was the Alamo?
In the 1700s, the Alamo was built as a home to Spanish missionaries. It was called the Mission San Antonio de Valero. Over time, the mission was turned into a fort for Spanish soldiers who called the fort the “Alamo.” In the 1820s, American settlers arrived in San Antonio and began to settle the area.
Leading up to the Battle
In 1821, the country of Mexico won its independence from Spain. At the time, Texas was part of Mexico and Mexico had a government similar to the United States. Many Americans moved to Texas and became Mexican citizens.
In 1832, a powerful Mexican general named Santa Anna took control of the government. The Texans (called “Texians” at the time) didn’t like the new ruler. They rebelled and declared their independence on March 2, 1836. Santa Anna gathered an army to march on Texas and take it back.
Who were the leaders?
General Santa Anna
The Mexican forces were led by General Santa Anna. He led a large force of around 1,800 troops. The Texans were led by the frontiersman James Bowie and Lieutenant Colonel William Travis. There were around 200 Texans defending the Alamo which included the famous folk hero Davy Crockett.
What was the fort like?
The Alamo covered around 3 acres of land which was surrounded with an adobe wall that was between 9 and 12 feet tall. There were buildings inside the fort including a chapel, a barracks for soldiers, a hospital room, a large courtyard, and a horse corral. Cannons were placed along the walls and on top of buildings.
Defend or Retreat?
When the Texans heard that General Santa Anna was coming there was much debate on whether the fort should be abandoned. Sam Houston wanted the fort abandoned and the cannon removed. However, James Bowie decided he would stay and defend the fort. The rest of the soldiers decided to stay as well.
General Santa Anna and his troops arrived on February 23, 1836. They laid siege to the fort for 13 days. On the morning of March 6, the Mexicans launched a major attack. The Texans managed to fend off the first few attacks, but there were too many Mexican soldiers and they managed to scale the walls and get inside the fort. The fighting was fierce, but eventually the Mexicans won. They killed every soldier in the fort.
Although the Texans lost the battle, it galvanized the rest of Texas against Mexico and General Santa Anna. A few months later, Sam Houston led the Texans to victory over Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto. The Texans rallied to the cry of “Remember the Alamo!” during the battle.
Interesting Facts about the Battle of the Alamo
- Between 400 and 600 Mexican soldiers were killed in the battle.
- Estimates on the number of Texans killed vary from 182 to 257.
- Not everyone in the fort was killed.
- Most of the survivors were women, children, servants, and slaves.
- The Alamo was used by Confederate forces during the Civil War.
- During the 1870s, the Alamo was used as a warehouse.
- Today, the Alamo is a popular tourist destination
- Over 2.5 million people visiting the site each year.
Sam Houston Author: Unknown
- Occupation: Politician, Governor of Texas
- Born: March 2, 1793 in Rockbridge County, Virginia
- Died: July 26, 1863 in Huntsville, Texas
- Best known for: Leader of the Texas Revolution
Where did Sam Houston grow up?
Sam Houston was born in Virginia where he grew up working on his father’s farm with his four older brothers and three younger sisters. His father died when he was thirteen and the family moved to Tennessee.
Sam didn’t like working on the farm with his brothers. He ran away and went to live with a local Cherokee tribe where he was given the name “Black Raven.” Sam enjoyed hunting and living with the Cherokee. He lived with them for three years learning their language and way of life,
War of 1812
In 1813, Sam joined the U.S. army to fight in the War of 1812. Sam was a natural born leader and quickly became an officer under General Andrew Jackson. He proved his bravery at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend where Sam was one of the first soldiers to jump over a barricade and charge the enemy. During the battle, he was shot several times including an arrow wound that would trouble him for the rest of the life.
After the war, Houston worked for the government as an intermediary with the Cherokee in Tennessee. He also studied to be a lawyer and opened a law practice in Nashville in 1818. Houston next entered politics. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1822 and governor of Tennessee in 1827.
Around 1833, Sam Houston moved to Texas. At the time, Texas was a territory of Mexico. Houston and many of the other settlers were not happy with the Mexican leadership. When Santa Anna took control of Mexico, the two sides began to fight. In 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico. They named Sam Houston as the commander of their small army.
Battle of San Jacinto
General Santa Anna of Mexico invaded Texas to put down the rebels. One of the first major battles took place at the Alamo. Sam Houston ordered the soldiers at the Alamo to retreat, but they refused and decided to fight. They lost the battle to Santa Anna and all the soldiers that remained at the Alamo were killed.
As Santa Anna advanced, Houston ordered his ragtag army to retreat before the larger Mexican force. After retreating for a over a month, Houston went on the attack. He surprised and defeated Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. This decisive victory led to a treaty that established Texas as an independent country.
Leader of Texas
After the revolution, Houston was elected the first President of Texas in 1836. Later, he helped Texas become part of the United States. He served as a U.S. Senator from Texas and then as Governor of Texas.
Houston was governor of Texas when the Civil War began in 1861. He was strongly against Texas leaving the United States and joining the Confederacy. As a result, he was removed from office.
Death and Legacy
Sam Houston died from pneumonia on July 26, 1863 in Huntsville, Texas. He was married three times. He had eight children with his third wife Margaret. The city of Houston, Texas is named after Sam.
Interesting Facts about Sam Houston
- He is only person to have been governor of two states (Texas and Tennessee).
- His father, also named Sam Houston, fought in the Revolutionary War.
- He was left for dead on the battlefield at Horseshoe Bend.
- But he managed to survive the night and was found and taken to a doctor.
- Francis Scott Key, who wrote the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner, once defended Houston in court after he beat up a congressman.
- He drank alcohol and earned the nickname “The Big Drunk” from the Cherokee.
- Houston signed the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2.
- His birthday was also March 2.
- Houston was one of the few Texas casualties at the Battle of San Jacinto.
- He was shot in the ankle.