This Month in 1836—The Battle of the Alamo

The Texas Revolution was an 1830s movement in which predominantly American Texians sought independence from Mexico, which governed the province at the time. Calling for a new Republic of Texas, the Texians took up armed conflict against the Mexican army starting in 1835. One of the campaign’s most pivotal moments occurred in February and March of 1836 at the Alamo–a former Catholic mission located in the Texas city of San Antonio de Bexar. The Texians had previously fortified the Alamo in anticipation of a Mexican attack. One such defender was Davy Crockett, the legendary American frontiersman from Tennessee who brought coonskin caps back into style a century after his death.

On the morning of February 23rd, 1836, Texian scouts located Mexican soldiers a mile and a half outside of San Antonio—who intended to siege the Texian-held area. President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna of Mexico set his sights on the Alamo, which housed several hundred Texian defenders.

Santa Anna’s troops bombarded the Alamo with artillery fire over the course of several days, inching closer to the fortress each night. On March 6th, the Mexican army stormed the Alamo. That day, Santa Anna defeated the considerably smaller group of Texian defenders and seized the fort.

Although the Texians were defeated at the Alamo, this battle became a highly symbolic moment for their campaign. Just one month later, Texian troops led by Sam Houston vanquished Santa Anna’s army at the Battle of San Jacinto–forcing the general to surrender and thus marking the beginning of the independent Republic of Texas. Texian soldiers were said to have cried out “remember the Alamo!” during the fight, which commended the fort’s defenders and motivated them to defeat the much-larger Mexican army.

Texas was granted its independence, and ultimately annexed by the United States nine years later. To this day, the battle of the Alamo runs deep in the state’s heritage.

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