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"To the People of Texas and All Americans
in the WorLD-"
Commandancy of the Alamo
Bexar, Feby 24th, 1836
To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World--
Fellow Citizens and Compatriots
I am besieged with a thousand or more of the Mexicans under
Santa Anna. I have sustained a continual Bombardment and
cannonade for 24 hours and have not lost a man.
has demanded surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison
is to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken. I have
answered the demand
with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly over
the wall. 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
The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and 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 and die like a solder who never
forgets what is due his honor and that of his country.
VICTORY OR DEATH
William Barret Travis
Lt. Col. Comd'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.
"My respects to all
friends, confusion to all enemies."
To Andrew Ponton, Judge and
Citizens of Gonzales
February 23, 1836
COMMANDANCY OF BEXAR, 3 o'clock p.m.: The
enemy in large force are 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.
P.S. Send an express to San Felipe with
news night and day.
From W.B. Travis and James Bowie
To James W. Fannin (at Goliad)
February 23, 1836
COMMANDANCY OF BEXAR: We have removed all
the men to the Alamo where we make such resistance as is
honor, and that of a country, until we can get assistance
from you, which we expect you to forward immediately. In
this extremity, we hope you will send us all the men you
can spare promptly. We have one hundred and forty six men,
who are determined never to retreat. We have but little
provisions, but enough to serve us till you and your men
arrive. We deem it unnecessary to repeat to a brave officer,
who knows his duty, that we call on him for assistance.
To Major-General Sam Houston
February 25, 1836
HEADQUARTERS, FORT OF THE ALAMO:
Sir; On the 23rd of Feb., the enemy in large force entered
the city of Bexar, which could not be prevented, as I had
not sufficient force to occupy both positions. Col. Bartes,
the Adjutant-Major of the President-General Santa Anna,
demanded a surrender at discretion, calling us foreign rebels.
I answered them with a cannon shot, upon which the enemy
commenced a bombardment with a five inch howitzer, which
together with a heavy cannonade, has been kept up incessantly
I instantly sent express to Col. Fannin, at Goliad, and
to the people of Gonzales and San Felipe. Today at 10 o'clock
a.m. some two or three hundred Mexicans crossed
the river below and came up under cover of the houses until
they arrived within virtual point blank shot, when we opened
a heavy discharge of grape and canister on them, together
with a well directed fire from small arms which forced them
to halt and take shelter in the houses about 90 or 100 yards
from our batteries. The action continued to rage about two
hours, when the enemy retreated in confusion, dragging many
of their dead and wounded.
During the action, the enemy kept up a
constant bombardment and discharge of balls, grape, and
canister. We know from actual observation that many of the
enemy were wounded -- while we, on our part, have not lost
a man. Two or three of our men have been slightly scratched
by pieces of rock, but have not been disabled. I take great
pleasure in stating that both officers and men conducted
themselves with firmness and bravery.
Lieutenant Simmons of cavalry acting as infantry, and Captains
Carey, Dickinson and Blair of the artillery, rendered essential
service, and Charles Despallier and Robert Brown gallantly
sallied out and set fire to houses which afforded the enemy
shelter, in the face of enemy fire. Indeed, the whole of
the men who were brought into action conducted themselves
with such heroism that it would be injustice to discriminate.
The Hon. David Crockett was seen at all points, animating
the men to do their duty.
Our numbers are few and the enemy still continues to approximate
his works to ours. I have every reason to apprehend an attack
from his whole force very soon; but I shall hold out to
the last extremity, hoping to secure reinforcements in a
day or two. Do hasten on aid to me as rapidly as possible,
as from the superior number of the enemy, it will be impossible
for us to keep them out much longer. If they overpower us,
we fall a sacrifice at the shrine of our country, and we
hope prosperity and our country will do our memory justice.
Give me help, oh my country! Victory or Death!
W. Barret Travis
Lt. Col. Com
Message to the Texas Independence Convention
To the President of the Convention
March 3, 1836
COMMANDANCY OF THE ALAMO, BEJAR: In the
present confusion of the political authorities of the country,
and in the absence of the commander-in-chief, I beg leave
to communicate to you the situation of this garrison. You
have doubtless already seen my official report of the action
of the 25th ult. made on that day to General Sam Houston,
together with the various communications heretofore sent
by express. I shall, therefore, confine myself to what has
transpired since that date.
From the 25th to the present date, the
enemy have kept up a bombardment from two howitzers (one
a five and a half inch, and the other an eight inch) and
a heavy cannonade from two long nine-pounders, mounted on
a battery on the opposite side of the river, at a distance
of four hundred yards from our walls.
During this period the enemy has been busily employed in
encircling us with entrenchments on all sides, at the following
distance, to wit -- in Bexar, four hundred yards west; in
Lavilleta, three hundred yards south; at the powder-house,
one thousand yards east by south; on the ditch, eight hundred
yards north. Notwithstanding all this, a company of thirty-two
men from Gonzales, made their way into us on the morning
of the 1st inst, at three o'clock, and Col. J.B. Bonham
(a courier from Gonzales) got in this morning at eleven
o'clock without molestation.
I have so fortified this place, that the walls are generally
proof against cannon-balls; and I shall continue to entrench
on the inside, and strengthen the walls by throwing up dirt.
At least two hundred shells have fallen inside our works
without having injured a single man; indeed, we have been
so fortunate as not to lose a man from any cause, and we
have killed many of the enemy.
The spirits of my men are still high, although they have
had much to depress them. We have contended for ten days
against an enemy whose numbers are variously estimated at
from fifteen hundred to six thousand, with Gen. Ramirez
Sesma and Col. Bartres, the aid-de-camp of Santa Anna, at
their head. A report was circulated that Santa Anna himself
was with the enemy, but I think it was false. A reinforcement
of one thousand men is now entering Bexar from the west,
and I think it more than probable that Santa Anna is now
in town, from the rejoicing we hear.
Col. Fannin is said to be on the march to this place with
reinforcements; but I fear it is not true, as I have repeatedly
sent to him for aid without receiving any. Col. Bonham,
my special messenger, arrived at Labahia fourteen days ago,
with a request for aid; and on the arrival of the enemy
in Bexar ten days ago, I sent an express to Col. F. which
arrived at Goliad on the next day, urging him to send us
reinforcements -- none have arrived.
I look to the colonies alone for aid; unless it arrives
soon, I shall have to fight the enemy on his own terms.
I will, however, do the best I can under the circumstances,
and I feel confident that the determined valour and desperate
courage, heretofore evinced by my men, will not fail them
in the last struggle, and although they may be sacrifieced
to the vengeance of a Gothic enemy, the victory will cost
the enemy so dear, that it will be worse for him than a
I hope your honorable body will hasten on reinforcements,
ammunition, and provisions to our aid, as soon as possible.
We have provisions for twenty days for the men we have;
our supply of ammunition is limited. At least five hundred
pounds of cannon powder, and two hundred rounds of six,
nine, twelve, and eighteen pound balls -- ten kegs of rifle
powder, and a supply of lead, should be sent to this place
without delay, under a sufficient guard.
If these things are promptly sent, and
large reinforcements are hastened to this frontier, this
neighborhood will be the great and decisive battle ground.
The power of Santa Anna is to be met here or in the colonies;
we had better meet them here, than to suffer a war of desolation
to rage our settlements.
A blood-red banner waves from the church of Bexar, and in
the camp above us, in token that the war is one of vengeance
against rebels; they have declared us as such, and demanded
that we should surrender at discretion or this garrison
should be put to the sword.
Their threats have had no influence
on me or my men, but to make all fight with desperation,
and that high-souled courage which characterizes the patriot,
who is willing to die in defense of his country's liberty
and his own honour.
The citizens of this municipality are all
our enemies except those who have joined us heretofore;
we have but three Mexicans now in the fort; those who have
not joined us in this extremity, should be declared public
enemies, and their property should aid in paying the expenses
of the war.
The bearer of this will give you your honorable
body, a statement more in detail, should he escape through
the enemy's lines. God and Texas! --
Victory or Death!!
P.S. The enemy's troops are still arriving,
and the reinforcements will probably amount to two or three
". . . under the flag of independence,
we are ready to peril our lives a hundred times a day, and
to drive away the monster who is fighting us under a blood-red
flag, threatening to murder all prisoners and make Texas
a waste desert."
To Jesse Grimes
March 3, 1836
Do me the favor to send the enclosed to
its proper destination instantly. I am still here, in fine
spirits and well to do, with 145 men. I have held this place
for ten days against a force variously estimated from 1,500
to 6,000, and shall continue to hold it till I get relief
from my country or I will perish in its defense. We have
had a shower of bombs and cannon balls continually falling
among us the whole time, yet none of us has fallen. We have
been miraculously preserved.
You have no doubt seen my official report of the action
of the 24th ult. in which we repulsed the enemy with considerable
loss; on the night of the 25th they made another attempt
to charge us in the rear of the fort, but we received them
gallantly by a discharge of grape shot and musquertry, and
they took to their scrapers immediately. They are now encamped
in entrenchments on all sides of us.
All our couriers have gotten out without
being caught and a company of 32 men from Gonzales got in
two nights ago, and Colonel Bonham got in today by coming
between the powder house and the enemy's upper encampment....
Let the convention go on and make a declaration of independence,
and we will then understand, and the world will understand,
what we are fighting for. If independence is not declared,
I shall lay down my arms, and so will the men under my command.
But under the flag of independence, we are ready to peril
our lives a hundred times a day, and to drive away the monster
who is fighting us under a blood-red flag, threatening to
murder all prisoners and make Texas a waste desert.
I shall have to fight the enemy on his own terms, yet I
am ready to do it, and if my countrymen do not rally to
my relief, I am determined to perish in the defense of this
place, and my bones shall reproach my country for her neglect.
With 500 men more, I will drive Sesma beyond the Rio Grande,
and I will visit vengeance on the enemy fighting against
us. Let the government declare them public enemies, otherwise
she is acting a suicidal part. I shall treat them as such,
unless I have superior orders to the contrary.
My respects to all friends, confusion to
all enemies. God Bless you.
To David Ayers
March 3, 1836
Take care of my little boy. If the country
should be saved, I may make for him a splendid fortune;
but if the country 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,
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