Bloodshed in Texas: The Struggle for Independence and the Battle at The Alamo

By Kate Ashe, March 30, 1836

Blood, terror, no American soldiers left alive. The Southernmost American colonies are currently in a state of strife with the Mexican authorities whose land they reside on, mostly concerning the lack of government involvement in civilian life.1  Recently, this disagreement has caused several battles ending in mass deaths, both of Mexican and American soldiers.2

Part of this disorganization is due to the fact that Mexico itself declared independence from Spain in only recently in 1821. The fledgeling nation that Mexico became then wanted to secure its Northernmost territories, namely the very territories we now know as Texas. In order to do this, the Mexicans encouraged our American people to settle in these lands, unintentionally creating a breed of Americans now known as ‘Texians’.2 Though the system Mexico had created was effective for a short period of time, the Texians soon began demanding things like a public school system, removal of military forces, and fair legal proceedings.

Recently, these disagreements elevated, and the Texians not only drove the Mexican authorities South of the Rio Grande River, but also attempted to declare their independence using what they call the Texas Declaration of Independence.3  This Declaration speaks of Mexico in a very negative light, saying things such as “It has been, during the whole time of our connection with it… a weak, corrupt, and tyrannical government”.4  The Texians are now paying the price for what the Mexicans see as disrespect from this declaration, and they are paying in the most notable way possible: bloodshed and violence.

The Declaration was released during what is seemingly the most significant battle of the Texian struggle thus far, where the defiance of the Texians was enough to prompt the Mexican general Antonio López de Santa Anna to launch a counterattack on San Antonio de Béxar, where Texian troops had set up a fort in an old church known as the Alamo. The siege lasted 13 days, coming to its climax earlier this month on March 6th. The last night of the siege, Mexican soldiers began scaling the walls of the makeshift fortress, and many of their numbers were killed approaching or climbing the walls themselves. The main Texian defense tactic was the cannons they had installed on the walls of the Alamo, and once Mexican soldiers were inside, there was not muisantao001p1ch the Texians could do. The Mexican soldiers, amateur and untrained, reportedly wreaked havoc on both the Texian army and their own. During the final battle, the Mexicans defeated the Texians in a large battle; none of the 200+ Texian soldiers made it out alive.5 Eyewitness accounts suggest that 5-7 Texians may have surrendered, but that they were murdered soon after. Now, San Antonio de Béxar is under Mexican control, but it is not the end of the struggle for the Texians.

In a response to the battle (which is now being coined ‘The Battle of The Alamo’), President David G. Burnet of the Republic of Texas has called his men to action, recently saying “Let every man able to poise a rifle or wield a sabre fly to the army… The Blood of the martyrs of freedom, the heroes of the ‘Alamo’ call aloud for vengeance”.6 It seems that San Antonio de Béxar may have become a sort of tipping point for the control of the Texas Territories, posing as a signifier of the power dynamic at any given time.5

Even though the rebellious Texian forces are still very active, the Mexican government seems to remain calm. A few days ago in Veracruz, Governor Joaquín Muñoz y Muñoz was quoted saying “The invincible eagles of the republic have settled themselves again on the fortress of the Alamo; and the glorious national colors wave triumphantly over the ramparts which were once the goal of the colonial rebels”.7 Muñoz seems to have no evident worries about these Texian forces, and will continue to treat all of Texas as a Mexican territory.8

Looking forward, it seems the Texians and the Mexicans will continue to battle over the Texas Territories, but neither side will give up easily. 9 Could the Southernmost American colonists pull off a revolution similar to the revolution against Britain, or will the Mexican army continue spilling Texian blood until the revolution is dead? For now, it seems that only time will tell.

Works Consulted:

  1. Costeloe, Michael P. “The Mexican Press of 1836 and the Battle of the Alamo.” The Southwestern Historical Quarterly 91, no. 4 (1988): 533-43. http://www.jstor.org/stable/30240054.
  2. Antonio López De Santa Anna, Daguerreotype. Illustration. Accessed April 18, 2017. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Texas-Revolution/images-videos.
  3. John Myers Myers, The Alamo (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1973), http://www.questiaschool.com/read/59352651/the-alamo.
  4. “Document 10: Remembering The Alamo.” In Constructing the American Past: A Source Book of a People’s History, edited by Elliott J. Gorn, Randy Roberts, and Terry D. Bilhartz, 208-09. Vol. 1. New York, NY: HarperCollins College Publishers, N.d
  5. Hutton, Paul Andrew. “The Alamo, well remembered: the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, immortalized by Texans, also remains in the national memory 175 years later, thanks to Travis’ line in the sand, Crockett’s death and some lesser ‘battles’ that ensued there.” Wild West, February 2011, 26+. Student Edition (accessed April 18, 2017).
  6. “Document 20: Remembering The Alamo.” In Constructing the American Past: A Source Book of a People’s History, edited by Elliott J. Gorn, Randy Roberts, and Terry D. Bilhartz, 208-09. Vol. 1. New York, NY: HarperCollins College Publishers, N.d
  7. “Document 21: Remembering The Alamo.” In Constructing the American Past: A Source Book of a People’s History, edited by Elliott J. Gorn, Randy Roberts, and Terry D. Bilhartz, 208-09. Vol. 1. New York, NY: HarperCollins College Publishers, N.d
  8. Hutton, Paul Andrew. “The Alamo, well remembered: the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, immortalized by Texans, also remains in the national memory 175 years later, thanks to Travis’ line in the sand, Crockett’s death and some lesser ‘battles’ that ensued there.” Wild West, February 2011, 26+. Student Edition (accessed April 18, 2017).
  9. Wallenfeldt, Jeff. “Texas Revolution.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 31 July 2016. Web. 18 Apr. 2017. <https://www.britannica.com/topic/Texas-Revolution>.

Image Sources:

  1. Antonio López De Santa Anna, Daguerreotype. Illustration. Accessed April 18, 2017. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Texas-Revolution/images-videos.
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