On this day in 1836 the Alamo fell. The Alamo was a former Spanish Mission located in the city of San Antonio in the far northern Mexican province of Texas. Texans were attempting to break away from Mexico and become an independent country. In December 1835 a group of Texan volunteers led by George Collinsworth and Benjamin Milam overwhelmed the Mexican garrison at the Alamo and took control of San Antonio. Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna organized an army and marched north from Mexico City to retake the renegade province. Soon, more volunteers began streaming into the Alamo to help defend it, including David Crockett of Tennessee (who was a veteran of the 1813-14 Creek War), William Travis of Alabama and James Bowie of Louisiana. About 200 men, women and children fortified themselves inside the walls. The Mexican Army arrived on February 23 and Santa Anna demanded surrender. Travis and Bowie answered with a cannon shot. On the morning of March 6, after a 13 day siege, 1,800 members of the Mexican army attacked the Alamo from all sides and swiftly took the garrison. Only a few women and children were left alive. Santa Anna's brutality at the Alamo inspired hundreds to join the ranks of the fledgling Republic of Texas army. The next month, on April 21, General Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto with the battle cry of "Remember the Alamo!"
Michael E. Palmer is a writer and photographer based in Alabama.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org