On February 26, Travis began to order fire power conservation in anticipation of further battle. The Texians burned more huts and were also engaged by Colonel Juan Bringas. One Texian was killed on this occasion.
On March 3, 1000 further Mexican troops reinforced Santa Anna's army, which now amounted to almost 2,400. Santa Anna began to plan a direct assault on the fort on March 4. A visit from a local woman to negotiate a Texian surrender, according to historians, is likely to have increased Santa Anna's impatience for battle. It was decided that the fort would be attacked on March 6. On the evening of March 5, the Mexicans strategically ceased their bombardment of the fort, and as planned, the Texian army fell into exhausted slumber.
Planning for the final assault began just after midnight on March 6, and Santa Anna gave the order to advance at 5:30 AM. The Mexican army advanced from all sides, killing the three sleeping Texian sentinels outside the walls. The subsequent battle cries finally woke the Texian army. In the battle itself, William B. Travis was one of the first to die on March 6. Although greatly advantaged by numbers, it is interesting to note that the Mexican army had some tactical disadvantages when advancing upon the Texians. The formation of the column for example was such that untrained recruits tended to fire badly and injure those in front of them. Their tight concentration also provided a good target for Texian artillery. The Mexicans however soon gained the advantage of their numbers. Starting at the north wall, the Mexicans began to scale and enter the fort. They pursued the Texians who were fleeing, killing most of them. Some of the Texian army retreated to the barracks and chapel, from where they could continue the defense. Having advanced well into the effort, the Mexican soldiers replaced the Texian flag with the Mexican one. They secured complete control of the Alamo within an hour. At the time of battle, Bowie was too ill to participate, and died in bed, while the last of the Texians who died were the eleven men at the cannons in the chapel. One of the last was Jacob Walker, who attempted to hide the women who were at the fort.
The battle of the Alamo was over by 6:30 AM on March 6. In their zeal to ensure that all the Texians were dead, some Mexican soldiers accidentally killed each other; some of the Mexican generals lost control of their bloodthirsty troops. Soldiers continued to fire into dead bodies for 15 minutes after the buglers were ordered to sound a retreat.
V. Important names and heroes of the Alamo
There were several important role players during the battle of the Alamo. Travis and Santa Anna were certainly at the forefront of these. Notably, Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, and James Bowie played some of the most important role during this significant time. Each of these men, as will be seen, had his own reasons for joining the revolution effort and ultimately the battle of the Alamo.
Davy Crockett, for example, was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1827. After some success in his political career, he was consecutively defeated in elections held during 1833 and 1834. Upon these defeats, Crockett made the decision to go to Texas. Crockett's exact fate during the Battle of Alamo is uncertain. There are many differing accounts, of which one is that he is among a group of Texians who surrendered and were subsequently executed. Others provided accounts in which Crockett died only after killing numerous of the Mexican army. Many believe that stories of his surrender were spread not so much to discredit Crockett as to do so with Santa Anna's reputation as villain.
Whichever the true story is, Crockett has left an interesting legacy, which was reborn during the 1950s in the form of a Walt Disney television series. This sparked further debate surrounding the accuracy of Crockett's representation and reputation. Although the prominence eventually waned, Crocket remained a prominent name and role in subsequent films depicted the Alamo battle and history.
James Bowie began his career as a land speculator. After a near-fatal battle in which he killed the Rapides Parish sheriff with a large knife, he decided to move to Texas in 1828. His prowess with the knife on this and subsequent occasions led to the popularization of the weapon as the "Bowie knife."
In Texas, Bowie established himself and was elected as commander of the Texas Rangers in 1930. Their task was to keep the peace and protect the colonists from hostile Indian attacks. From here, Bowie was involved in several military establishments, and began his journey towards Alamo by signing up as a private under Fannin. Bowie was instrumental in preparing Alamo for battle. Although it was a crushing defeat, and although he died somewhat ingloriously in illness, Bowie's legacy lives on in his role as one of the prominent leaders prior to the battle itself.
Sam Houston move to Texas was instigated by a somewhat unsavory trial brought about by a disagreement with an anti-Jacksonian Congressman. In Texas he began to be involved in the politics of the time, and came to support Texan independence from Mexico. With his prominent involvement for this cause, Houston became a Major General of the Texas Army, and later Commander-in-Chief. As such, he negotiated a settlement with the Cherokee in 1836. While not directly involved at the Alamo battle, Houston nonetheless serves as a preserver of its legacy and the instigator of its future effects. He was forced to retreat from Gonzales in response to Santa Anna's superior forces, but soon avenged the fallen of Alamo. Houston led the battle of San Jacinto, as mentioned above, and thus established final victory for Texas. Here he was twice elected president of the Republic of Texas, and served from 1836 to 1838, and subsequently from 1841-1844. Houston's legacy culminates in the settlement of Houston, founded by J.K. And a.C. Allen during August 1836, which also became the capital of Texas.
All three men played a significant role in leading and inspiring men towards fighting for their independence, even in the face of overwhelming odds. Although Crockett and Bowie died at Alamo, their legacy far outlived their tragedy and culminated in final victory for Texas, while their killer, Santa Anna, was permanently discredited.
VI. The outcome of the battle
The outcome of the battle is also subject to historical debate. Santa Anna for example initially claimed that 600 Texians had been killed, while 70 Mexican soldiers were killed and 300 wounded. Later reports however modified the Mexican casualty amounts to between 182 and 257. Today, most historians place this number of killed or wounded Mexicans between 400 and 600.
Texian survivors include Susanna Dickinson, the slave, Joe and the freedman, Sam, as well as several other women and children. It is said that Santa Anna hoped to win the loyalty of Texan slaves in support of the Mexican government. In addition to the immediate aftermath, the battle of the Alamo also had far-reaching consequences for the ongoing revolution. Sam Houston was unaware of the Alamo defeat and travelled to meet the 400 volunteers to relieve the Texians. When he was however informed otherwise, he ordered a civilian evacuation of the area and an army retreat. This, along with the vast numbers of the Mexican army, inspired Santa Anna to believe that Texian resistance would not take long to crumble. However, the defeat simply inspired renewed effort, and men deluged Houston's army.
This culminated in the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21. The Texian army surprised Santa Anna's camp near Lynchburg Ferry. The battle did not take long, with little more than 18 minutes to secure Texian victory. According to reports, Texian soldiers greeted their victims with a repeated cry of "Remember the Alamo. Santa Anna was captured and forced to retreat out of Texas with his soldiers. Mexican control over the province was depleted, and the new Republic of Texas could finally make some claims towards legitimacy.
After his defeat at San Jacinto, Santa Anna was disgraced. Many memoirs and accounts of the battle contain strong criticism against him and his way of doing battle. As mentioned above, the account of Davy Crockett's surrender could also be invented for the purpose of discrediting and disgracing Santa Anna.
Today, the Alamo represents an official shrine to those who died in the battle. A cenotaph in the center of Alamo Plaza commemorates them. Indeed, it has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the region. The Alamo lives on in social memory by means of art forms such as music and film. The already-mentioned tributes to Davy Crockett are among other ballads and films depicting the battle and those who fought in it. Most significantly, the battle was not so much a Texian defeat as a catalyst towards ultimate victory.…