Mexico’s dictator and general, Santa Anna, was furious!
Most of the citizens of Mexico objected when he tossed out the Mexican Constitution of 1824, established himself as a dictator with unquestioned centralized power, and began to impose high taxes and disarm the people.
Those Texans, though! They just would not turn over their guns and be quiet!
Santa Anna sent his cousin, General Martin Perfecto de Cos (doesn’t he sound like his mother’s little darling?), to San Antonio de Bexar to quell the resistance there and arrest anyone who dared to criticize the dictator.
In response, a contingency of Texans under Stephen F. Austin and Edward Burleson besieged Cos in Bexar until an attack led by Ben Milam forced him to surrender in December 1835, releasing Cos and his men only after they pledged to honor the Constitution of 1824 and leave Texans alone.
When they returned to Mexico City in disgrace, General Santa Anna gathered an army and headed north with the intent to teach Texans a bloody lesson, and despite his pledge General Cos came along in tow. The Mexican Army crossed into Texas on February 16, 1836.
Texas defenders holed up in the Alamo and prepared to defend their freedoms. On February 23, they spotted Santa Anna’s army closing in.
Just before sunset on February 23, 1836, Launcelot Smithers slipped out of the Alamo and spurred his horse 76 miles to Gonzales. He carried a note from Col. Travis to Alcalde Ponton:
The enemy in large force is in sight. We want men and provisions. Send them to us. We have 150 men and are determined to defend the Alamo to the last. Give us assistance. P.S. Send an express to San Felipe with news night and day.
From this point, events began to happen quickly! Please check back to follow Texas’ Road to Revolution.
Teaching Tips: It will be very helpful to create a timeline to show what happened, where events happened, and who was involved. In less than two months, Santa Anna lost almost 20% of Mexico’s land mass, and within 12 years he had lost almost 50% as a direct result of his epic failures as a leader.