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Passing through San Antonio I decided to stop at the Alamo, preserved in a park in the center of the city. It’s a lovely, haunted monument.
Lieutenant Colonel William Barret Travis, commanding the garrison at the Alamo, wrote the letter below from the old mission complex not long before it was assaulted for the last time on March 6 by about 1,500 Mexican troops, who killed all its 200 or so defenders, including Travis, Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett. Their gallant stand inspired others to rally in defense of the new Republic Of Texas, resulting in the final defeat of the Mexican army at the Battle of San Jacinto the following month.
Commandancy of the Alamo
Bejar, Feby. 24, 1836
To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World
Fellow citizens & compatriots
I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country VICTORY OR DEATH.
William Barret Travis,
Lt. Col. comdt.
P.S. The Lord is on our side. When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn. We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels and got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves. Travis
Travis was 26 years-old at the time.