On February 24, 1836, in San Antonio, Texas, Colonel William Travis issued a call for help on behalf of the Texan troops defending the Alamo, an old Spanish mission and fortress under siege by the Mexican army. Colonel Travis, in 1935 became a leader of the growing movement to overthrow the Mexican government and establish an independent Texan republic. On February 23, 1836, a large Mexican force commanded by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana arrived suddenly in San Antonio. Travis and his troops took shelter in the Alamo, where they were soon joined by a volunteer force led by Colonel James Bowie.

Santa Ana had 5,000 troops and heavily outnumbered the several hundred Texans. Travis answered Santa Ana’s call for surrender with a bold shot from the Alamo’s cannon. Furious, the Mexican general ordered his forces to launch a siege. Travis immediately recognized his disadvantage and sent out several messages via couriers asking for reinforcements. Addressing one of the pleas to “The People of Texas and All Americans in the World,” Travis signed off with the now-famous phrase “Victory or Death.”

Only a few men from a nearby town responded to Travis’ call for help.  The result was the killing of Travis, Bowie, Davy Crocket and 190 of their men but not before they killed at least 600 of Santa Ana’s men.


Why did more men not go help at the Alamo?

Sam Houston would not let them, he needed time to build his forces and choose his field of battle.

Some men going to the aid of the Alamo had surrendered to Santa Ana and were executed en mas.

Learn more about this story in THE VETERAN NEXT DOOR SHOW about how American POWs have been treated in the past.