Texan forces captured San Antonio and the Alamo on December 10, 1835. At this point, Santa Anna and his entire army began their March to Texas. Santa Anna reached the Alazan at noon, on the 23d day of February, 1836 ; and Urrea arrived at San Patricio before dawn on the morning of the 27th. At two o’clock in the afternoon, Santa Anna marched into San Antonio: The Texan guard in the town retired in good order to the Alamo. Colonel Travis, in anticipation of an attack, had done what he could to strengthen the walls, and provide means for defense. The Alamo, though strong, was built for a mission, and not for a fortress. Travis was greatly deficient in men, provisions, and ammunition.
Santa Anna immediately demanded a surrender of the Alamo and its defenders, without terms. The demand was answered by a shot from the fort. The enemy then hoisted a blood-red flag in the town, and commenced an attack. It was intended to be by slow approaches, for at first the bombardment was harmless. Travis sent off an express with a strong appeal for aid, declaring that he would never retreat.
COMMANDANCY OF THE ALAMO, BEXAR, February 24, 1836.
FELLOW-CITIZENS AND COMPATRIOTS : I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna. I have sustained a continued bombardment for twenty-four hours, and have not lost a man. The enemy have demanded a surrender at discretion ; otherwise the garrison is to be put to the sword, if the place is taken. I have answered the summons with a cannon-shot, and 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, and of everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid with all despatch. The enemy are receiving reinforcements daily, and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. Though this call may be neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible, and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country. Victory or death!
“W. BARRET TRAVIS, Lieutenant-Colonel commanding.
” 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, eighty or ninety bushels, and got into the walls twenty or thirty head of beeves. “T”