The Texas Almanac, for 1860, with Statistics, Historical and Biographical Sketches, &c., Relating to Texas. Page: 49
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Santa Anna moved forward with a thousand or twelve hundred men of all
arms, and on 23d February pitched his tents on the heights of the Alasan, near
San Antonio. His whole armament was ordered to concentrate at that place,
excepting the division of Gen. Urrea, who was directed to march nearer the
gulf coast and lateral to it. The aggregate of the army of invasion amounted
to about 7500 men, infantry, cavalry, and artillery, of which he had a heavy
park. Santa Anna commanded in chief, having Gen. Felisola, an Italian by
birth but long in the Mexican service, for his lieutenant, assisted by Generals
Sesma, Urrea, Tolsa, Andrade, Woll, and the miscreant Cos. Almonte was his
interpreter, chief secretary, and confidential adviser.
The new convention met at Washington on 1st of March, 1836. Richard Ellis
of Eastern Texas was chosen President, and H. S. Kimball Secretary. After
completing the formulas of organization, they proceeded to the primary object
of the meeting, and on the 2d day of March, 1836, adopted and promulgated a
Declaration of Independence, dissolving forever the federal obligations of Texas
and her connection with the government and people of Mexico. Her severance
from revolutionary Mexico was now officially pronounced by authorized dele-
gates from the people. It relied upon a small and wide-spread constituency to
sustain and perpetuate it. Mexico at this period, contained a population esti-
mated at seven to eight millions, comprising various derivations and all the
shades of color found in the family of man. Texas was principally and almost
exclusively settled by Americans, and did not contain more than thirty thou-
sand souls of that great original. Some few hundred Mexicans were located at
Nacogdoches, San Antonio, Goliad, and other small towns; some of whom con-
tributed to our cause, while the greater portion were decidedly hostile. The
history of the world does not present a parallel instance of a people declaring
and finally establishing their independence of a nation so vastly outnumbering
and in juxtaposition to them. It is hardly presumable they could have done so
without material exterior aid. Such aid was cheerfully and effectually ren-
On the 24th February, Col. Travis, in a high-spirited "address to the people of
Texas," says: " I am besieged by a thousand or more Mexicans . . . I shall
never surrender or retreat . . the enemy are receiving reinforcements
daily . . . and concludes with the emphatic motto, 'victory or death."'
(Foote, ii. 218.) He and his devoted companions soon realized the last awful
alternative, and perished as perished Leonidas and his Spartans. On the 1st
March, a gallant band of 32 men from Gonzales, led by Capt. L W. Smith, made
their way into the Alamo, in despite of its strict investment; thus giving mag-
nitude ao the dreadful slaughter that ensued. Col. I. B. Bonham also, who had
visited Col. Fannin to solicit aid, eluded the enemy's pickets and returned to
the fatal scene, where soon he was to be numbered with the illustrious dead.
The Alamo wall is of rectangular form, heavily but rudely constructed; it
being originally designed for a mission, and to be used, if used at all, in a mili-
tary way, only to repel hostile Indians. It had neither bastion or salient point,
from which to enfilade an approaching enemy. Its dimensions were entirely too
large to be efficiently manned by the small garrison within. The enemy were
well apprised of its condition, and knew the numerical inadequacy of its de-
fenders. This gave them confidence and zeal to prosecute the siege with vigor.
Santa Anna demanded an instant and unconditional surrender, to which a defi-
ant answer was given and the battle joined. Again the blood-red flag floated
from the spire of the church, symbolizing the perverseness of a false Christian-
ity. The bombardment was speedily and furiously opened, but with little ef-
fect; while the Mexicans suffered great loss, the garrison returning their fire
deliberately and with precision of aim. Their ammunition was scarce, and they
economized it. They improved their walls in every practicable way by earth-
works, and dug a trench within them. The enemy also drew their lines of in-
trenchments as near as possible to avoid the terrific rifles which they had
learned to dread.
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The Galveston News. The Texas Almanac, for 1860, with Statistics, Historical and Biographical Sketches, &c., Relating to Texas., book, 1860~; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth123766/m1/51/: accessed June 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.