BRAVE HEARTS IN THE ALAMO (1836)
NO SURRENDER AND NO RETREAT
 WHILE in American Florida the Seminoles were standing out for home and independence, in Mexican Texas the
Americans themselves were doing likewise. Tables had been turned.
Beginning in 1821 (the same year that Florida had been acquired by the United States), American
settlers mainly from the South had moved into Texas, by per-mission of the Mexican government. The
Texas lands were broad and fertile, and used not at all by Mexico. Thousands of acres might be had
for nothing except the work of cultivating them.
In due time the Texas Americans found that Mexico was not to be trusted. They were being hedged
about more and more by oppressive laws; were in danger of becoming mere subjects, and not free
citizens. When they asked to be made a separate Mexican State, to be allowed to elect their own
State officers, and write their own laws as provided for in the Mexican constitution of 1824, that
So in the fall of 1835 the Texas settlers rose to defend themselves against oppression. In
southwestern Texas they won the skirmish of Gonzales, called the Lexington of Texas; they advanced
upon the town of
 San Antonio, by a house to house fight captured it, December 11. In southern Texas there were
victories. By the end of 1835 no Mexican soldiers remained in all Texas.
The Mexican government which was supposed to be a republic but was ruled rough shod by the dictator
president, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, prepared to subdue the Texas "rebels." Rebels they
were, but they were fighting for their rights under the Mexican constitution.
After they had gallantly cleaned Texas, the American colonists, poor, brave, proud and hardy, did
not pull well together. They chose State officers, but they divided as to the management of affairs.
Sam Houston had been elected commanding general of the Texas troops. He issued orders that were not
General Houston had served in the Regular army as lieutenant; he had campaigned with General Andrew
Jackson against the Creeks; he viewed matters with a military eye. Texas was large, and thinly
populated; as seemed to him, the little army was trying to cover too much territory. He directed
Lieutenant-Colonel J. C. Neill, who was holding San Antonio, to destroy the fortifications there and
march east with his artillery into interior Texas before he was cut off by a Mexican army.
Lieutenant-Colonel Neill replied that he was unable to move his guns—that he had no horses or
oxen for the purpose; therefore he should stay. In fact, the Texans hated to give up one inch of
Texas, and particularly San Antonio. Officers wrote to the governor,
 John Smith, protesting. Governor Smith and his council disagreed upon the methods to be used in
carrying on the war with Mexico; General Houston's hands were tied by lack of support. It had been
the same with General Washington, in that other war for American independence.
While the governor and the council were bickering, and General Houston appealed in vain for money
and supplies, the garrison at San Antonio grew less and less. When Lieutenant-Colonel William Barret
Travis arrived there in February, 1836, he found only about one hundred Volunteers; the others had
gone home to put in their crops and to attend to their families.
This William Barret Travis was from North Carolina: was twenty-eight years old, six feet tall,
slender and straight, round faced, blue eyed and red haired—a determined, sandy fighting man
and thoroughly American.
He had been appointed from captaincy in the Volunteers to a lieutenant-colonelcy in the Texas First
Infantry, regularly enlisted for the war. He brought with him to San Antonio, from his recruiting
service on the way, some thirty new Texas Regulars. Those were all. His poor success in raising
reinforcements worried him, but did not daunt him.
February 12 he wrote to Governor Smith, saying that General Sesma and two thousand Mexican soldiers
were at the Rio Grande River boundary, only two hundred miles southwest, on their way to retake San
"We are illy prepared for their reception," he said.
 "Yet we are determined to sustain our position as long as there is a man left, because we consider
death preferable to disgrace, which would be the result of giving up a post that has been so dearly
And he added:
"With two hundred men I believe this place can be maintained, and I hope they will be sent as soon
as possible. Yet should we receive no reinforcements I am determined; and should Bexar [which was
San Antonio] fall, your friend will be found beneath its ruins." This shows what kind of a man
William Barret Travis was.
Colonel Neill was obliged to go home on the day of the letter, by reason of illness in his family.
Nevertheless Colonel Travis had brave hearts left with him.
Colonel James Bowie was there, sharing the command. Colonel Jim Bowie and his brothers Rezin and
Stephen were well known in Texas. He himself had come out from Louisiana in 1819. He had been
naturalized as a Mexican citizen. In 1830 he had married the Senorita Luz Veramendi, daughter of the
vice-governor of the State of Coahuila and Texas; had a home in San Antonio and did a manufacturing
business at Saltillo, the capital of the State, south of the Rio Grande.
Colonel James E. Bonham of South Carolina was there. He had known Lawyer Travis back in the United
States; they had been boyhood friends and he had gladly followed Will to Texas. Now here they were
together, for the defence of San Antonio.
 Young Lieutenant Almeron Dickinson was there; He had come in with Colonel Travis and recruits from
his home in Gonzales, sixty miles east. Lieutenant Dickinson was not far turned twenty, had a pretty
Mexican wife and a tiny baby; was just about to send for them to visit him and their relatives in
No less personage than Davy Crockett the famous Tennessee hunter arrived with twelve other Tennessee
"buckskins." At this time a number of volunteers from the United States were making for Texas, to
help their fellow Americans win out. Davy Crockett and his band had traveled straight for San
Antonio at the Texas frontier, as the place where they would see action quickest. Davy had brought
his long-barreled, silver-mounted rifle—his "Old Betsy." In their worn leather clothes and
their coon-tail caps the Tennesseeans looked fit.
They raised the garrison to one hundred and fifty officers and men. That was not many, in such a
situation, for the Mexican troops were surely coming on.
San Antonio de Bejar (or Bexar, which is pronounced the same, Behar) was a very old town, located,
as today, in the southewestern part of Texas, by shortest air-line about one hundred and fifty miles
northeast of the Rio Grande River. It had been founded as a Spanish barracks in 1718, to protect the
mission or church of San Antonio de Valero, near by, across the little San Antonio River on the
The mission de Valero was rebuilt in 1744 and named San Antonio del Alamo, but people generally
spoke of it as the Alamo. Alamo is the Spanish word for
 poplar or cottonwood tree; and besides, a detachment of Spanish troops once stationed here were
known as the Alamo Troop of the district of Parras.
In 1836 the mission del Alamo was vacant, and still about three quarters of a mile to the east of
the town San Antonio de Bejar. A flat bare plain and the little river separated it from old Bejar.
It stood by itself, like a battered fort, with only a few low adobe houses near it.
There was a large front yard, one hundred and fifty yards long and fifty yards wide, on the west
side, toward the town, enclosed by a clay or adobe wall nine to twelve feet high and almost three
feet thick. A row of stone rooms had been built on the inside of the west outer wall. The south end
wall also had barracks rooms, projecting out; and along the middle of the rear side of the east wall
there were two-story rooms, each opening through the wall by a door into the yard. These had been
used as a convent.
The east half of the Alamo, back of these two-story rooms, was divided into smaller yards, for
cattle, hides, and so forth, and contained the chapel, in the south-east corner. This chapel, of
stone blocks, laid four feet thick, was seventy-five feet long, sixty-two feet wide and twenty-two
feet high. Part of it was without a roof. It was set back from the big front yard, and had a yard of
its own, enclosed by outer dirt embankments and the inner connecting walls.
Many of the barracks rooms built against the walls of the big yard had been pierced with loopholes
by the Spanish and Mexican soldiery. They all opened into
 the yard; the doorways were reinforced inside with hide shields like breastworks, over which the
soldiers might fire into the yard. But the rooms did not open into one another. They were cells.
Mexican troops had occupied the Alamo last December, before the capture of San Antonio by the
Texans. They had surrendered their cannon, and had marched out. With garrison enough to man the
cannon and the walls—the right kind of a garrison—the Alamo should prove very strong.
But it was a large place to be held by a few.
Colonel Travis and Colonel Bowie quartered their handful of Texas Regulars, and their Volunteer
cavalry and riflemen mainly in old Bejar, where they were well acquainted. They and the other
officers and men had relatives and friends there.
By the rest of Texas San Antonio and the Alamo seemed to have been forgotten. But General Cos (who
had been driven out of San Antonio) and General Sesma, with two thousand Mexican soldiers, were
waiting just across the Rio Grande River. General-in-Chief Santa Anna, with four thousand Mexican
soldiers, was marching up across the desert below the Rio Grande, to join them.
It was in the morning of February 22, Washington's Birthday, when two of the Texan sentinels,
stationed upon the flat roof of San Fernando church at the Military Plaza in San Antonio de Bejar
sighted the advance scouts of the Mexican army, in the southwest. They gave the alarm. Colonel
Travis sent out two of his cavalry to reconnoiter. They came pelting back;
 they had seen a column of oncoming Mexican troops, and had been hotly pursued.
This was a surprise for the Travis and Bowie men.
They had expected the Mexicans not before March. But Santa Anna had marched his troops hard, in
winter weather, across the desolate hills and desert, five hundred miles of trail.
The garrison in Bejar had been at a dance; the men were scattered and still asleep. Colonel Bowie
and Colonel Travis collected them in haste. All withdrew to the Alamo.
Young Lieutenant Dickinson snatched his wife and baby from a doorway, lifted them to the saddle
before him and so took them along. On the way over the plain the column gathered thirty or forty
cattle, and drove these in.
The Texas Americans might easily have retreated farther, in safety. They knew the trails eastward;
the Mexicans could never have caught them. But they were too proud of their rights, to give ground
while there was a fighting chance. They despised the Mexicans; had already thrashed them, and odds
did not count.
The Alamo was the outpost of Texas liberty. The Texas flag waved over it. There were fourteen
cannon, mounted upon the walls, with one on a platform in the center of the large yard. If gunners
might be obtained, then with the support of the deadly rifles the Alamo should be held against all
Mexico. The needed reinforcements might yet arrive.
This day and all the night the one hundred and fifty
 busied themselves strengthening the Alamo. The next afternoon, February 23, the first brigade of the
Santa Anna army, fifteen hundred Mexican soldiers, entered, San Antonio. Colonel Bowie had fallen
from a gun platform and injured himself. That put Colonel William Travis in command. He ordered a
shot from an eighteen-pounder to be fired toward San Antonio, as a challenge. He sent off a
dispatch, by express rider, to Gonzales, sixty miles east. It was received there in the middle of
the night of February 26.
Commandancy of Bejar.
Feb. 23, 3 o'clock p. m., 1836.
The enemy in large force is in sight. We want men and provisions. Send them to us. We have 150 men
and are determined to defend the Alamo to the last. Give us assistance.
The little town of Gonzales passed the news on, and hastened to muster what able-bodied men it
might, from the scattered houses and the fields. James Bonham, Colonel Travis' friend, was upon his
way from the Alamo to Goliad, one hundred miles southeast. At Goliad there were Colonel James W.
Fannin the Georgian, and four hundred and fifty Volunteers chiefly of the United States. Colonel
Travis hoped to get them. He was pulling every string.
General Santa Anna followed his first column into Bejar. In the morning of February 24 he had his
bugler orderly sound a parley; he sent a flag forward, with a staff officer, to offer terms to the
Americans in the Alamo. The terms were unconditional surrender.
"I promise nothing to rebels; not even life," Santa Anna said.
 Colonel William Travis the slender red-headed warrior answered indignantly; and the spirit of his
answer is shownin his famous dispatch, carried out into the east by the brave Captain Albert Martin
Commandancy of the Alamo,
Bejar, Feb'y 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 put 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, & of
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 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
William Barrett Travis, Lt.-Col. Com'd't.
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 & got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves.
This dispatch traveled all the way to the settlement of Washington, one hundred and twenty miles
beyond Gonzales, where the citizens of Texas were gathering in convention to declare for
Independence. It was received on February 29; was read at the first meeting of the convention, the
next morning, March 1.
It created much excitement. General Houston was
 there as a delegate; but his powers as commander-in chief had been limited by the quarrels between
the governor and the council, and by the disobedience of officers. Texas had less than one thousand
men under arms; the detachments were widely separated; the treasury was without money, the army
without supplies. It was not only the Alamo that was in danger from the south as well as from the
west a Mexican host was likely to sweep through the country, and the settlers knew not which way to
face in order to protect their homes.
At the Alamo Colonel Bowie now was desperately ill with typhoid pneumonia; he could not rise from
his cot in the large hospital room of the two-story barracks next to the chapel. But he and Colonel
Travis were agreed to fight to the end.
The flag above the walls was the Mexican tri-color, green, white and red, with the date 1824 in the
center white bar instead of the Mexican eagle. Texas had not yet declared for independence except as
a State. The date referred to that constitution of Mexico which guaranteed to the Mexican States a
government of their own officials.
The Travis men made sallies, cleaning out the Mexican advanced posts and shooting down the
cannoneers and engineers.
Colonel Travis continued to send dispatches. He announced that while the Alamo held out he would
fire a signal gun at sunrise every morning. To a friend he wrote:
"Take care of my little boy. If the country should
 be saved, I may make a splendid fortune; but if the country should be lost, and I should perish, he
will have nothing but the proud recollection that he is the son of a man who died for his country."
Captain John W. Smith and Captain Albert Martin, of the dispatch bearers, led in reinforcements of
thirty-one men from Gonzales. They all freely sacrificed themselves—they ran the Mexican lines
at three o'clock in the morning of March 1, with really no expectation of getting out again.
That gave Colonel Travis one hundred and eighty-three men, including the helpless James Bowie and
the messengers who were being sent away.
Colonel Fannin, at Goliad, tried, with four hundred of his Volunteers. He started; his wagons broke
down, his teams bogged, he could not get his artillery forward and he had few supplies. Besides, he
was leaving the south open to invasion. So he turned back.
But the noble James Butler Bonham had not waited for him. As soon as he had delivered the dispatch
asking aid and had obtained promise of help he had turned back.
"I will report the result of my mission to Travis or die in the attempt."
Bringing the encouragement, riding a buckskin horse and wearing a white handkerchief on his hat as a
sign to his comrades, at one o'clock in the morning of March 3 he dashed through the Mexican lines
and safely entered the gate of the Alamo. He was there to fight for and die with his friend.
The last dispatch from resolute Colonel Travis was
 dated March 3 (this same day), and was received by the convention at Washington of Texas about eight
o'clock Sunday morning, March 6. Captain Smith of Gonzales had brought it, again. He had ridden the
one hundred and eighty miles from the Alamo in three days.
I am still here in fine spirits and well-to-do (Colonel Travis wrote). With 145 men, I have held the
place against a force variously estimated from between 1,500 to 6,000, and I shall continue to hold
it until I get relief from my countrymen, or I will perish in its defense. We have had a shower of
bombs and cannon balls continually falling among us the whole tine; yet none of us have fallen. We
have been miraculously preserved.
Again, I feel confident that the determined spirit and desperate courage heretofore exhibited by my
men will not fail them in the last struggle; and although they may be sacrificed to the vengeance of
a Gothic enemy, the victory will cost that enemy so dear that it will be worse than a defeat.
A blood-red flag waves from the church in Bejar and in the camp above us, in token that the war is
one of vengeance against rebels.
These threats have had no influence upon my men but to make then all fight with desperation and with
that high-souled courage which characterize the patriot who is willing to die in defense of his
country; liberty and his own honor, God and Texas; victory or death!
The Texas convention had declared for an Independent Republic, on March 2; it was drawing up a
constitution and electing officers. Sam Houston had been chosen commander-in-chief again of the
Texas army. He advised the convention to sit fast and finish its business, so that Texas should have
a government. Without a government the war could not be carried on. He himself prepared to leave at
once for Gonzales and relieve the Alamo.
There at the Alamo the Mexican troops had been
 pressing nearer and nearer. Santa Anna's full army had arrived. He now had five thousand well
trained troops—infantry, cavalry and artillery, commanded by his best generals. They relaxed
neither day nor night. The Texas Americans got no rest, while trying to guard all the points; knew
little about serving artillery; depended upon their rifles, with which to hold the enemy off; saved
ammunition, and with one hundred and eighty men covered a space that should have been defended by
Colonel Travis had made a speech to them. He no longer had hope that reinforcements to amount to
anything would be able to reach him, in time. He assembled his battalion; drew a line upon the
ground with his sword.
"All of you who are willing to defend this place to the last, and if needs be stay and die with me,
step to this line."
The dispatch bearers had slipped through the Mexican guards; other men might do the same. But every
man except one stepped to the line. Colonel Jim Bowie had himself borne to it on his cot.
General Santa Anna had been losing cannoneers by the Texas rifles; every detachment sent to test the
walls had been repulsed by bullet and grape. The Texans seemed never to sleep. His field-pieces were
too light for breaching the walls. On March 4, after he had been besieging the Alamo for ten days,
he held a council of his officers. Should the Alamo be stormed at once, or should they wait for
heavier artillery and breach the walls first?
 There was a discussion. He decided. He wished to move forward and conquer all Texas before the
settlers had rallied. Enough time had been spent already with this little force of Americans.
"Gentlemen, we will take the Alamo by storm, between midnight and daylight of March 6."
There were to be four columns, numbering twenty-five hundred picked infantry, attacking on the four
sides. They were to be equipped with scaling ladders, pick axes and crowbars, and led by veteran
This night of March 5 the Mexican cannon ceased firing; the Mexican sharpshooters also ceased. It
was a strange quiet, and the Travis men well knew what it meant. About midnight there drifted to
them the dull tramp of marching ranks, the faint clank of weapons. The keen ears of men such as Davy
Crockett, old Captain Albert Martin, and other scouts and Indian hunters read the signs. The Alamo
made ready for an attack.
The air was slightly gray when at four in the morning, Sunday, March 6, a bugle pealed from the
Mexican camp. The notes were instantly followed by the shrill cheers "Viva! Viva!" on north, south,
east and west, and the thunderous tread of many feet.
With rifles and muskets cocked and matches lighted the Texan crack shots and gunners waited tensely.
Where would the attack strike first? Hark! Listen to those Mexican bands! United in the south, where
Santa Anna and his reserves were safely stationed, they played the dreadful tune of the
 The masses of charging Mexicans, in dense column, loomed into sight, coming at the double quick. The
column on the north side was making straight for a breach in the northeast corner of the large yard.
Suddenly the Texan cannon upon the north wall opened crashingly; then the rifles and muskets flamed,
every bullet told, the men reloaded, fired again, and again, and the column reeled backward, leaving
a trail of bodies.
Now the west wall likewise was wreathed in smoke; the east wall and the chapel breastworks on the
south-east had joined in the fray. The Texans had hard work to rush from point to point, serving the
cannon and the small-arms. But the columns on the east and on the west recoiled; they could not face
the music. Hooray!
While the fighting continued in the southeast, the columns upon the east and the west added
themselves to the north column, and all together returned to the assault. Colonel Travis, at the gun
mounted upon a platform in the northwest corner, raked the mass; the bullets were poured into it.
The Mexicans broke, they fled wildly, their officers spurred among them, striking with the flats of
swords—and even while the grimy Texans were cheering, the united columns came on, for the
PLAN OF THE ALAMO
Alas, the hot rifles could not be reloaded fast enough; the cannon muzzles could not be pointed down
far enough to clear the foot of the wall to which the Mexican officers were driving their soldiers
with blows. It was a mob; many fell, the others pressed forward,
 for they were unable to go back. They boiled through the breach, they scaled the wall and tumbled
over the parapet like sheep. And Colonel Travis was dead—he had crumpled across the carriage
of his gun, a bullet through his forehead.
The advancing wave of the yelling enemy had spread; it lashed against the west wall—it rose
and flowed over; and on the east a stockade forming one of the yards of the chapel had been forced.
The Texans could not be everywhere at once.
The large yard was being invaded from three sides; the fighting thickened to hand-to-hand, with gun
butt and bowie knife matched against sword and bayonet. James Bonham had been killed. The heroic
defenders were being shoved toward the chapel. The cannon upon the platform in the center of the
yard is held to the last inch by Davy Crockett's squad. Twice, three times it belches its grape into
the crowded Mexicans. Then it has to be abandoned. The Davy Crockett men, Tennesseeans and Teaxns
both, slowly retreat, swinging their rifles by the barrels.
Everybody who is able falls back into the convent or the two-story barracks which open into the
yard, between the yard and the chapel. That is the second stand. The Travis cannon is seized and
turned inward by the Mexicans. Its balls plunge through the bar-racks walls. The Mexicans storm the
rooms. From inside, the Texans reply with their rifles, through the loopholes and the doorways; but
they are separated into little groups, cut off one from the others.
With muskets and bayonets the Mexicans charge in
 by the breaches and the doors. Many fall again, for the Texans in the rooms fight like tigers at
bay; but there are plenty of Santa Anna soldiers to clamber over the red piles and wear the Texans
After a time the rooms all had been taken, except the last ground-floor room, at the end toward the
chapel. This was the hospital. The Mexicans could not get in until they had wheeled a howitzer to
the door and fired twice with grape. Fifteen Texans were killed but forty-two Mexicans lay dead
Only the chapel remained. There were still a few of those Texas Americans. The chapel was rushed,
from the front. Now Davy Crockett fell, while, covering the retreat, he swung Old Betsy in the
little front yard of the chapel until he had no more space and bayonets and bullets struck him to
the trampled earth. It is said that a ring of heaped-up Mexicans surrounded him.
Jim Bowie had been moved from the hospital to a small room formed by an arch of the chapel entrance.
He heard the tumult, he raved to get up and out, but the fever had weakened him so that he could
scarcely raise his head. He had his pair of pistols lying cocked and ready upon his coverlet; his
knife was bared. Thus he waited. A Mexican woman, the Senora Candelaria, his friend, was nursing
him. She died, aged one hundred and fourteen, in San Antonio in 1899; she long remembered that
She lifted Colonel Bowie's heavy head into her lap, and in vain would have saved him. The fierce
faces of the Mexican soldiers peered into the room. They knew Jim Bowie; and weak as he was, they
did not dare
 approach within his reach. They shot at him, from the door; he replied with his pistols, and his balls
told. He did not ask for quarter—he wished no quarter. The Mexicans dodged hither and thither;
they feared his pistols, they feared his knife, they swarmed upon him, stabbing at long distance
with their bayonets while the Senora Candelaria shielded him. Then a musket ball grazed her chin and
pierced Jim Bowie's heart. Now he was gone, too.
Lieutenant Dickinson's wife was clutching her baby tight, in the arch room across from that of
Colonel Bowie. She, likewise, had heard the battle-clamor. Suddenly Lieutenant Dickinson darted in,
powder-stained and bleeding, for a goodby.
"All is lost," he cried. "If they spare you, save my child."
He ran out again, and died fighting.
In the east end of the chapel there was the powder magazine room. Colonel Travis had given
instructions that at the last moment it should be blown up and the whole place with it. Major T. R.
Evans, who commanded the artillery, saw that the time had come. As far as he knew, nobody was left
but himself and the enemy. It should be an end and a decisive end. No quarter, the Mexicans had
said? All right; no quarter.
He sped for the magazine, but a bullet stopped him. He had waited an instant too long.
Then from somewhere Private Walters, wounded, dived into Mrs. Dickinson's room. He was being
pursued—the Mexican soldiers were hot after him. Mrs.
 Dickinson could not save him; they bayoneted him before her eyes. And now, two hours after sunrise
of this March 6 the defence of the Alamo had ended indeed. At the same moment the final dispatch of
Colonel Travis was being delivered to the Texas convention at Washington.
When the wind was right, the people at Gonzales had been able to hear the Alamo signal gun; but this
morning they had heard, instead, the roll of musketry and the booming of rapid cannon. In time the
sounds had ceased, and no signal gun had followed.
On his way from the convention Sam Houston had also listened; placing his ear to the ground, Indian
fashion, every morning, before breaking camp. When he arrived at Gonzales he learned that no signal
gun had been heard for several days. The Alamo evidently had been taken.
On March 11 two Mexicans from Bejar brought the news.
Of all the Travis and Bowie men only five were found alive by the Mexican searchers, after the
massacre. They were led to General Santa Anna. General Santa Anna had not been in the attack; not
he. His place as commanding general was only to direct, anyway. He well might have been merciful
now; but when several of his officers suggested that the five Americans be kept as prisoners he
turned his back with a scowl. At the sign, his soldiers used their bayonets.
The bodies of one hundred and eighty-two were piled up and burned. Mrs. Dickinson and her baby were
put upon a horse and sent to Gonzales with a proclamation
 threatening the other Texas colonists. These two, and Colonel Travis' negro servant Sam, Mrs.
Alsbury who was the Mexican sister-in-law of Colonel Bowie, her little daughter and the Senora
Candelaria, were the only persons known to have been spared, in the Alamo.
"The obstinacy of Travis and his soldiers was the cause of the death of the whole of them," said
General Santa Anna, "for not one of them would surrender."
Small wonder, when he had promised no quarter and was fighting Americans. He himself had lost
between five hundred and six hundred men.
In after years the people of Texas erected a monument to the heroes of the Alamo. It stands upon the
capitol grounds at Austin. The four sides contain the names of one hundred and sixty who were known,
headed by the names of W. B. Travis, James Bowie, J. B. Bonham, David Crockett.
The inscription on the west side says: "Heroes of the Alamo." The inscription on the east side says:
"God and Texas. Liberty or Death." The inscription on the south side says: "I shall never surrender
or retreat." The inscription on the north side says: "Thermopylae had her messenger of defeat, the
Alamo had none."
The old chapel of the Alamo is today surrounded by the modern city of San Antonio; and there it is,
for all to see.
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