Remembering the Alamo: The Alamo Story Research Proposal

Pages: 10 (3127 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Military

Remembering the Alamo: The Alamo Story

The battle of the Alamo in 1836 is one of the most interesting and contested historical events on the American continent. Not only are many of the events contested, the lives and reputations of individuals such as Davy Crockett are also heatedly discussed among historians. Nevertheless, one fact remains incontestable: although the Texians lost, the battle of the Alamo in 1836 leads to the defeat of the Mexican Army within the Texas Province.

This paper discusses the background of the Alamo, the events that lead to the battle in 1836, important names during and after the battle, and the impact that the battle had on the Mexican Army and the Texas Province. These are all significant and shows how initial defeat is not necessarily the beginning of final defeat. Indeed, the battle of Alamo inspires greatness not only in the individuals who were directly or indirectly involved, but also in the nations affected by these individuals.


The Alamo originated as the Misi n San Antonio de Valero; it was constructed as a home for missionaries and Indian converts in 1724, and served in this capacity until 1793. During this year, the five missions were secularized and given to the Indian residents remaining at the time. These residents continued to work on the farms, and as such formed part of the growing San Antonio community.

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At the turn of the century, the Spanish military took over the mission. It is also from this army that the Alamo was named after the soldiers' hometown, Alamo de Parras, Coahuila. The mission then became not only a refuge and hospital for soldiers, but also served as the key site of the ten years of struggle for Mexican independence. Indeed, the Alamo served both Revolutionaries and Royalists at the time, and continued to serve all types of military personnel, including Spanish, Rebel, and Mexican, until the Texas Revolution. As such, the Alamo and San Antonio served as key sites during the Revolution, specifically leading up to the 1836 Alamo battle.

Research Proposal on Remembering the Alamo: The Alamo Story the Assignment

The battle was preceded by specific political events and forces. Specifically, revolts at the time were inspired by the increasingly dictatorial rulership of the Mexican President, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. During October 1835, Mexican federalists began to revolt against the President's rule by means of an armed uprising against the government. In response, Santa Anna assembled his Army of Operations in Texas, comprising recruits from all sectors of society, including convicts. Meanwhile, the Texian army was in the process of systematically defeating the Mexican troops in Texas, resulting in the surrender of General Martin Perfecto de Cos, Santa Anna's brother-in-law, on December 9. At this time, the Texian army comprised mostly recent arrivals in the form of United States adventurers, reinforcing the Mexican view of outside influences attempting to invade their country. This perceived interference further fueled Santa Anna's rage. He banned taking prisoners of war, and foreigners fighting in Texas were executed summarily. Although Santa Anna notified President Andrew Jackson of this policy, the information was not widely distributed to the Texian Army: most American recruits were unaware of the immediate danger to their lives.

During this time, when Texian soldiers established an outpost at the Alamo, the complex stretched across 3 acres, with an interior plaza with a chapel to the west and the Low Barracks to the south. The east was bordered by the Long Barracks, and the north contained a cattle pen. These buildings were surrounding by a wall that was 2.75 fee thick. Improvements for battle were bade by Green B. Jameson, the Texian engineer. The garrison was however still greatly undermanned, with dwindling provisions. Fewer than 100 soldiers were left at the Alamo by January 6, 1836.

III. The Way to Battle

Colonel James C. Neill, the acting commander at the Alamo, requested reinforcements in terms of troops and supplies, realizing that the garrison would not be able to withstand an extended siege. There was however not much organization in the Texian government, one of the problems being that four different men claimed command over the Texian army.

As a result of these difficulties, James Bowie was sent to the Alamo on January 19 to destroy the complex. However, a lack of draft animals made it impossible to remove the artillery. In addition, Neill persuaded Bowie of the strategic importance of the location. Upon deciding to remain, Bowie and Neill wrote to Governor Henry Smith, notifying the latter that they would "rather die in these ditches than give it up to the enemy." Smith then sent William B. Travis, a cavalry officer, to Bexar with a reinforcement of 30 men on February 3, with Davy Crockett arriving five days later.

It was only after the beginning of the siege that about 400 further volunteers arrived at the Alamo to help defend the mission against the Mexican army. Throughout the siege, Travis continued to send letters requesting reinforcements. Settlers gathering in Gonzales initially waited for Colonel James Fannin with more reinforcements. Some of these settlers grew impatient and began marching to Bexar on February 27. Travis sent Samuel G. Bastian to Gonzales in search of the reinforcements. On his way, he found the group marching from Gonzales and offered to lead them the rest of the way to the Alamo. Bastian and three other men were however driven away by a Mexican attack. It was dark at time, and when the remaining 32 men reached the Alamo, the Texians assumed them to be Mexican, and attacked them. They were however convinced of the mistake when they heard a wounded soldier curse in English.

Meanwhile, Fannin attempted to march from Goliad to the Alamo with 320 men along with artillery reinforcements. This mission was however abandoned for reasons that remain unclear: Fannin claimed that his officers requested the journey to be cancelled, while the officers in turn blamed Fannin for the retreat. Some 50 men from Fannin's group once again attempted the march to Alamo. At Cibolo Creek, the marchers found a further group of men also waiting for Fannin. On March 3, Travis sent three men to find Fannin, unaware that the original rescue mission had been abandoned. The men reached Cibolo Creek just before midnight and found the Texian reinforcements 20 miles from the Alamo. Some of these men managed to break through the Mexican lines towards the Alamo on March 4, while others were driven away.

IV. The Battle of Alamo, 1936

General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and his Mexican army were not without their problems either. Having begun their preparations for the 1836 siege by the end of the previous year already, the Mexican Army of Operations began marching north by the end of December, 1835 27. The army crossed the Rio Grande on February 12, their progress being stifled by dwindling rations, record low temperatures, and Comanche raids. The Texian army however remained blissfully unaware of the slow but sure Mexican progress, crippled as they were in terms of animals and manpower to engage in proper spying procedures. Hence, although Bexar residents began warning the army that the Mexicans were approaching on February 16, Travis nonetheless disregarded such rumors to the extent that his army enjoyed celebrations for George Washington's birthday on February 22. The Alamo was left unprotected, and would have been seized if sudden rains had not interrupted the Mexican advance.

Bexar residents fled the town on February 23 in anticipation of the Mexican arrival. The Texian army was somewhat surprised to find Mexican troops a mere 1.5 miles outside Bexar. Unprepared, the soldiers were obliged to gather what cattle and food they could from the abandoned town. Desperate, the Texians also requested an honorable surrender, the conditions of which the Mexicans rejected in favor of unconditional surrender. Bowie and Travis were in mutual agreement that this was unacceptable. It was at this time that Travis sent couriers to Gonzales and Goliad with urgent requests for additional reinforcements. By the afternoon of the same day, about 1500 Mexican troops had occupied Bexar. The siege had begun.

The Mexican army far outnumbered the Texians, and were determined to maintain this advantage: troops were stationed to the north and east of Alamo to prevent reinforcements from these directions. The following day saw the arrival of a further 600 Mexican troops, and further soldiers were stationed on the road to Gonzales, and later 800 more soldiers were stationed on the road to Goliad. In addition, the Mexican army established artillery batteries to the south, east, and southeast of the fort, which slowly but surely closed in upon the fort.

During the first week, the Mexican and Texian armies matched their fire power. On February 24, the first fatal shot was fired at a Mexican scout. Several Mexicans crossed the San Antonio River on February 25, entering abandoned shacks close to the Alamo. Texian soldiers burned the huts under cover fire from the Alamo, after which the Mexicans retreated… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Remembering the Alamo: The Alamo Story.  (2009, January 14).  Retrieved April 4, 2020, from

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"Remembering the Alamo: The Alamo Story."  14 January 2009.  Web.  4 April 2020. <>.

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"Remembering the Alamo: The Alamo Story."  January 14, 2009.  Accessed April 4, 2020.