Texas Almanac, 1952-1953 Page: 44
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44 TEXAS ALMANAC.-1952-1953
for consumption by ULgartechea's cavalry
In the meantime a gathering of repreenta-
tive colonials was held at San Felipe begin-
ning Nov. 3, 1835, a provisional government
set up, and Austin, Branch T. Archer and
William H. Wharton were selected to go to
Washington and ask for the assistance of the
United States. This withdrew Austin from
command of the army which was besieging
San Antonio and Gen. Edward Burleson was
placed in command there by an election.
Henry Smith was elected provisional Gov-
ernor of Texas and a council was organized.
While Burleson had been chosen to lead the
army at San Antonio, Gen. Sam Houston was
named by the gathering at San Felipe as
Commander in Chief to succeed Austin.
At the consultation at San Felipe a warm
debate had been followed by a vote not to
declare Texas independent of Mexico but to
declare for the Constitution of 1824, which
Santa Anna had set aside, and to reserve for
Texas the right of governing itself until
assured constitutional government by Mexico.
Capture of San Antonio.
At San Antonio the siege dragged and
preparations were being made to abandon it
when Col. Ben Milam asked for volunteers to
attack the fort, organized about 300 men and,
after fighting from Dec. 5 to Dec. 9, 1835,
forced General Cos, who had arrived from
Mexico and taken command, to surrender,
with the agreement that he was to return
with his entire force to Mexico. Milam was
one of the two Texans killed during the
Battle of the Alamo.
The garrison at San Antonio dwindled after
the retirement of Cos, despite the fact that it
was known that Santa Anna was marching
on San Antonio with the pick of the Mexican
Army. Santa Anna arrived there Feb. 23. The
town was defended by about 155 men under
the command of Col. William B. Travis.
Travis 'appealed for aid, but the provisional
government was at odds with itself, the
council being arrayed against the Governor.
In fact, little provision had been made for
meeting the oncoming enemy. About thirty
men from Gonzales under the command of
Capt. Albert Martin broke through Santa
Anna's lines March 1, raising the force which
had been centered at the Alamo to approxi-
mately 187. It was this little band that held
the Alamo against overwhelming odds for
five more days in one of the most heroic
struggles to be found in the annals of man-
kind. On March 6 Santa Anna stormed the
Alamo with something like 3,000 men and the
last of the little band of Texans died fight-
ing. Among them were William Barret Travis,
James Bowie, Davy Crockett and James B.
Bonham. Lack of co-ordination among Texas
authorities was partly responsible. for the
tragedy of the Alamo.
*TRAVIS' LETTER FROM THE ALAMO.-On
Feb. 24, 1836, eleven days before the final storm-
ing of the Alamo, Colonel Travis dispatched an
appeal for aid which, while failing to bring sup-
port to the little band at the Alamo because of
slow communications, did much, nevertheless, to
rally Texans to the cause of freedom. Seemingly,
Travis wrote several copies and dispatched them
by courier to different points. An original in
Travis' handwriting is in the State Library, State
Capitol, Austin. This letter, among the most
heroic of all historic documents, is printed below
with bold-face type designating those parts of the
letter that were underscored by Travis for em-
Text of Letter.
Commander of the Alamo-
Bejar, Feby. 24th, 1836-
To the People of Texas & all Americans in the
Fellow citizens & compatriots-
I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the
Mexicans under Santa Anna-I have sustained a
Expedition Against Matamoros
Following the defeat of Cos, there had been
agitation for a war of independence against
Mexico and several local assemblies declared
Texas a free and sovereign state, notable one
at Goliad Dec. 20, 1835.
An ill-advised expedition against Matamoros
was authorized by the provisional council,
although opposed by Houston and Smith. It
was headed by Col. J. W. Fannin, Col. Fran-
cis W. Johnson and Dr. James Grant. While
the main body was at Goliad a detachment of
about fifty under Johnson at San Patricio
was surprised by Colonel Urrea, advancing
from Matamoros, Feb. 27, 1836, and all except
Johnson and a few companions were killed or
captured. On March 2 Grant and a force of
about twenty were surprised while rounding
up horses for Fannin's cavalry on the Nueces
near Agua Dulce and all but a few were
killed or captured.
These things were taking place while the
Alamo was under siege and while civil and
military authorities of the state bickered
Fannin remained at Goliad during the siege
of the Alamo. Receiving appeals for assist-
ance from Travis, he had once started for
San Antonio, but turned back on receiving
word that that place had been completely
surrounded by the Mexican Army.
Defeat of Ward and King
A.detachment of about 150 men was sent by
Colonel Fannin to the aid of Refugin under
command of Lt. Col. William Ward. A scout-
ing party under command of Capt. Amon B.
King was surprised by the Mexicans March
14 and all but a few were killed or captured.
Colonel Ward defended Refugio March 14 and
withdrew toward Victoria under cover of
night. Subsequently, some of these escaped
but others were killed or captured and sent
to Goliad where they were slain in a general
massacre March 27, among these latter being
Colonel Ward. Those of Captain King's scout-
ing party, including King, who surrendered.
were slaughtered by order of Urrea near
Refugio March 16.
Battle of Coleto and Goliad Massacre
After the fall of the Alamo Fannin was
ordered to retreat, but delayed because he
had dispatched a detachment to Refugio to
protect the citizens against a Mexican force
threatening that place. On March 19 he began
his retreat, but a heavy force under Urrea
surrounded him on Coleto Creek and a battle
was fought during the afternoon. Finding
his 300 men greatly outnumbered by the Mex-
icans, he surrendered the following morning.
They were returned to Goliad and on March
27 were marched out of camp and, under
Santa Anna's orders, slaughtered.
Declaration of Independence
While these things were taking place at
San Antonio and Goliad, confusion reigned in
governmental circles. When it became appar-
ent that the provisional government had failed.
continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours
& have not lost a man-The enemy has demanded
a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison
are to be put to the sword, it the fort is taken-
I have answered the demand with a cannon shot,
& our flag still waves proudly from the xalls--
I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I cal
on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism &
everything dear to the American character, to
come to our aid, with all despatch-The enemy
is receiving reinforcements daily & will rno doubt
increase to three or four thousand in four or fn\ e
days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to
sustain myself as long as possible & die like a
soldier who never forgets what is due to his own
honor & that of his county-Victory or Death.
WILLIAM BARRET TRAVIS,
Lt. Col. comdt
P S. The Lord is on our side-When the enemy
appeared min sight we had not three bushels of
corn-We have since found in deserted houses
80 or 90 bushels and got into the walls 20 or 30.
head of Beeves. . TRAVIS.
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Texas Almanac, 1952-1953, book, 1951; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117137/m1/46/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.