On February 24, 1836, Lt. Col. William Travis wrote the following from inside the Alamo in San Antonio, where he was besieged by the Mexican dictator and general, Santa Anna.
Commandancy of the The Alamo
Bejar, Feby. 24th. 1836
To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World-
Fellow Citizens & compatriots-
I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna – I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man – The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken – I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls – I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch – The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country – Victory or Death.
William Barret Travis.
Lt. Col. comdt.
P. S. The Lord is on our side – When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn – We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels and got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves.
On February 25, Capt. Albert Martin arrived in Gonzales with Col. Travis’s impassioned appeal “to all people of Texas and all Americans.” This was the second and final letter Col. Travis sent to appeal for aid. Though it was copied and widely dispersed, only the men of Gonzales responded.
I had the very great privilege of seeing the Travis letter when it was returned to the Alamo in 2013 for the first time since it left that shrine of liberty in 1836.
- Draw a graph that shows how many men were inside the Alamo and how many were attacking them.
- Draw another graph that shows approximately how many men lived in Texas at the time and how few (32) responded to Travis’ urgent plea.
- Why do you think so few responded in the way Travis hoped?
- What would you have done if this were happening today?
- How many people does it take to effect change when their cause is just and their hearts are passionate?