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.
That same day, Byrd Lockhart mustered 23 men of the Gonzales Ranging Company of Mounted Volunteers.
The next day, February 24, Launcelot Smithers wrote from Gonzales:
To all the Inhabitants of Texas: In a few words there is 2000 Mexican soldiers in Bexar, and 150 Americans in the Alamo. Sesma is at the head of them, and from the best accounts that can be obtained, they intend to show no quarter. If every man cannot turn out to a man every man in the Alamo will be murdered. They have not more than 8 or 10 days provisions. They say they will defend it or die on the gorund. Provisions, ammunition and Men, or you suffere your men to be murdered in the Fort. If you do not turn out Texas is gone. I left Bexar on the 23rd. at 4 P.M. By the Order of W.V. Travis. L. Smithers.
On February 25, Capt. Albert Martin arrived in Gonzales with Col. Travis’s impassioned appeal “to all people of Texas and all Americans.”
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
By the 27th, Smithers and Martin were gone again, carrying copies of the Travis letter to San Felipe and beyond while Alcalde Ponton posted other copies as broadsides and in newspapers.
The Gonzales Rangers, 25 strong, left the town square at 2 pm Saturday, February 27. They picked up another 7 volunteers along the way. In the end, they were 32 men ranging in age from 16 to 44. Four days later they reached the outskirts of San Antonio. A man on horseback approached and asked in English, “Do you wish to go into the fort, gentlemen?” When they affirmed their intent, he turned to lead the way. The rangers followed, though they were not entirely sure the man could be trusted. Sentries at the Alamo shot at them, but at last the gates swung open and the Gonzales volunteers made a dash into the fort around 3 in the morning of March 1, 1836.
They knew when they entered that they would not come out alive.
In the words of John Henry Brown in his History of Texas:
At dawn on the first of March, Capt. Albert Martin, with 32 men (himself included) from Gonzales and DeWitt’s Colony, passed the lines of Santa Anna and entered the walls of the Alamo, never more to leave them. These men, chiefly husbands and fathers, owning their own homes, voluntarily organized and passed through the lines of an enemy four to six thousand strong, to join 150 of their countrymen and neighbors, in a fortress doomed to destruction. Does American history, or any history, ancient or modern, furnish a parallel to such heroism? ……They willingly entered the beleaguered walls of the Alamo, to swell the little band under Travis, resolved “never to surrender or retreat.” In after many years it was my privilege to personally know and live near many of their widows and little ones and to see the latter grow into sterling manhood and pure womanhood. I never met or passed one without involuntarily asking upon him or her the blessings of that God who gave the final victory to Texas.