Alamo (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Type of action: Siege and massacre in the Texan War of Independence. Result: Annihilation of the Alamo’s garrison.
In San Antonio de Béxar, Colonel Benjamin Rush Milam and 300 Texan volunteers arose against the Mexican garrison under General Martín Perfecto de Cós (December 5-10, 1835). When Cós surrendered, Milam’s men occupied the Alamo and enhanced its fortifications. Colonel James C. Neill took command of the Alamo’s garrison of about 100 on December 21.
Acting as emissary and military attaché for Governor Henry Smith and General Sam Houston, Colonel Jim Bowie arrived in San Antonio on January 19, 1836. Lieutenant Colonel William Barret Travis came with 30 more men on February 2. Colonel Davy Crockett brought about 20 Tennesseans on February 8. With Neill on temporary furlough, Travis and Bowie decided to share command on February 14.
General Antonio López de Santa Anna arrived in Béxar on February 23 and immediately began bombarding the Alamo. The Mexicans had hundreds of field pieces, but no heavy siege guns. The Alamo had fourteen smoothbore cannons, the largest an eighteen pounder. When Santa Anna demanded unconditional surrender on the first day of the siege, Travis answered with a blast from that gun. Santa Anna ordered continuous bombardment.
Travis assumed sole command on February 24 when Bowie fell ill with fever, perhaps pneumonia, and was incapacitated for...
(The entire section is 661 words.)
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