The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 37, July 1933 - April, 1934 Page: 15
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A Critical Study of the Siege of the Alamo
c. The Beginning of the Siege
But the information to be gleaned from this letter reaches some-
what beyond the point that has been arrived at in the narrative.
As has been said, by three o'clock on the afternoon of February 23,
Travis and his soldiers were intrenched within the walls of the
Alamo, while Santa Anna's army had possession af the town of
Bexar, and were establishing their batteries. Upon entering the
town, Santa Anna had ordered a red flag to be raised over the
tower of San Fernando church. Concerning the first demand for
surrender there is some difference between the Mexican and Texan
accounts. Santa Anna's official report records that when he raised
the red flag over the tower of the church, it was answered from
the fort of the Alamo by a cannon shot which was immediately
followed by a white flag, sent out by the garrison, with an offer to
evacuate the fort provided the Texas should be allowed to retire
unmolested and in arms. To this he replied that there would be
no terms short of unconditional surrender.,s
From letters, found in Mexican archives, it appears that Juan N.
Seguin gave a more accurate account of what actually happened.
Seguin said that when the Mexicans raised the red flag, Travis
immediately ordered it to be answered by a shot from the 18-
pounder of the fort, but that just about the time the shot was
fired the Mexicans sounded a parley, and raised a white flag.
Travis wished to ignore this flag and call to parley, but Bowie
without consulting Travis, and much to his displeasure, sent out
a flag of truce to demand what the enemy wanted, whereupon,
Santa Anna denied having raised a white flag, and informed the
messenger that the garrison could be recognized only as rebels, and
could be allowed no other terms than a surrender at discretion.
When this information was given to Travis he is said to have become
very angry. He ordered his men to assemble; he harangued them
and administered to them the oath of "never surrender."39 The
documents which practically prove Seguin's account correct are as
"Santa Anna to JosC Maria Tornel, Minister of War and Marine, Feb-
ruary 27, 1836, University of Texas Transcripts, Guerra, Frac. 1, Leg. 3,
Op. Mil. 1836, Texas.
8R. M. Potter, "The Fall of the Alamo," 5, a reprint from the Ameri-
can Historical Magazine, January, 1878. In this account Potter gives
Juan N. Seguin, John W. Smith, and other eyewitnesses as the author-
ity for his statements.
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Texas State Historical Association & Barker, Eugene C. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 37, July 1933 - April, 1934, periodical, 1934; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101094/m1/23/: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.