March 18, 1836
It has been almost 23 years since I last wrote for the Baltimore Sun, and I am honored that they have contacted me in interest of having me write another piece. There are many current affairs in Texas with regards to Mexico and the United States. I have travelled to San Antonio to here from the Commander James Bowie on the issues between Texas and the now independent Mexico. This Independence from Spain granted Mexico governing over Texas (1). This however did not give Mexico control over Texas and many battles have broken out over control of the land. I’ve been in San Antonio for a little over a week now and have gotten to know the place. Though San Antonio is only a days travel from Austin, the air is much drier and specks of desert are scattered across the land, much like I would imagine Mexico to be like. Right outside the lodge I’m staying in I see two crows fighting over a coyote carcass, like Mexico fighting with Texas over this land.
I have my interview with James Bowie today, as I’m walking to the cafe I happen to walk by some buildings. There is nothing too surprising about the buildings, there is a general store, and what looks to be a government building. As I’m walking in front of the two building I notice through the small gap between them, an open shed. I check the street to see if anyone is around. Nope, the coast is clear. I slide myself sideways through the small gap flailing my arms wildly to destroy any annoying cobwebs before I walk through them. I make it through unscathed to find the large shed wide open. Once again I check the area to find no one around, and I walk inside. A long row of muskets and rifles cover the left wall, there must be around two hundred guns in total, but this isn’t even the shocking part. What surprises me the most is the hundreds of vessels containing gun powder. I hear movement in the far right behind some barrels of gun powder. As I walk over a young man jumps out.
“You can’t be in hear,” He says.
He scared me at first but I still ask, “What is all this for?” as I continue to scan the room while taking mental notes.
“You really should leave ,” he persists.
“Well, is there anything you can tell me?” I ask.
“No, my commander wants no citizens to know,” he tells me.
“And who might your commander be?” I ask,
“Commander James Bowie of course, whats it to you?” he says.
“Oh nothing, good day to you sir,” I say as I walk myself out the shed and back to the storefronts. I just thought of a few new things I might inquire my interviewee, James Bowie, about. My exploration and encounter in the shed made me late to my interview. I can see the cafe and I see Mr.Bowie sitting outside at a shaded table. As I approach the cafe I think to myself: Whats going on here? Why was there seemingly endless barrels of gun powder and only a couple hundred guns? Is it safe for me to be here? I walk up to James Bowie with these questions in mind.
“Good afternoon Commander Bowie,” I say
He then offers me a seat and we begin discussing current affairs with Mexico. He talks in a very confident tone as if Texas has already gotten it’s independence from Mexico. As if within this year Mexico would lose control over Texas and we would become an independent state. I want to believe this but the number of troops Mexico has compared to ours is startling. We would also need Mexico’s approval through a treaty. All these factors seem to aim against Texas gaining Independence any time soon. I can’t help it, I must ask about the shed.
“Jim, I stumbled across a shed earlier today, filled with weapons and supplies. I also met a young lad who told me that you, Commander James Bowie, doesn’t want anyone to know about it. Would you care to explain?” I ask
Jim gets up, leaves some money on the table, and says, “Come with me,”
I promptly get up and follow him out of the cafe, he doesn’t talk for a while. I can tell that he is thinking. I also notice that we are heading in the opposite direction of the shed, in fact we are heading straight for the Alamo Mission, which, Jim has been restoring ever since Texas captured it (and San Antonio), from Mexico a year earlier. As we walk, Jim tells me about how he has was told by Commander Same Houston that they didn’t have enough strength to keep power of the fort and that any energy used to restore the fort should be used elsewhere (2). He then tells me that he didn’t listen to these orders and was planning on defending this fort at all costs. I want to believe he made the right decision but with the large numbers Mexico had I but I simply cannot.
We finally reached the Alamo where he was greeted by a young man claiming that Mexican troops had been spotted by a small town 20 miles south. The gravity of the situation promptly rises as he tells me to leave town as soon as I can. I ask him, “What his plan was,”
I leave immediately for Austin, where, for the next month I wait patiently to receive updates. 189 Texans against 1800 Mexicans, numbers like these only discourage my hopes. The battle started on February 23th, only 3 days after I left San Antonio,
Its be thirteen days and the Alamo is still in our power. I walk to City Hall to get the daily update. As I walk in I see worried faces, I quickly learn that the Alamo has been overtaken by Mexico, I read the letter, “James Bowie dead, March 6th, 1836 (2).The next month was scary for Texas as a state, more battles were lost as Texan troops retreated. Sam Houston tells fleeing Texan troops, “Take courage and hold out at all risks, as I am coming to your assistance with two thousand men and eight well-manned cannons.” (5). After gathering remain troops, Sam Houston leads one final surprise attack, successfully pushing out and killing off the invading troops of Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto, while simultaneously capturing their commander, Santa Anna. Redemption is reached alas when Santa Anna signed the Treaty of Velasco on May 14, 1836 in exchange for his life (1). This treaty granted Texas an Independent State once and for all. James Bowie finally got his wish.
- “Remember the Alamo.” Readex. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2013. <http://infoweb.newsbank.com/iw-search/we/HistArchive/?p_product=EANX-K12&p_theme=ahnp_k12&p_nbid=R53F4FODMTM4NDUzMTk5Ni4zMzM3Njk6MTo2Om9yZWdvbg&p_action=timelinetopic&d_topic=Texas%20War%20of%20Independence&d_era=Jacksonian%20Era>.
- Hardin, Stephen L. Texian Iliad: A Military History of the Texas Revolution. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994.
- Lack, Paul D. The Texas Revolutionary Experience: A Political and Social History.College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1992.
- “Texas Campaign (excerpt).” Modern World History Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?
ItemID=WE53&iPin=amdoc539&SingleRecord=True (accessed November 18, 2013).
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