Today in History

Today in History: March 6

Remembering the Alamo

The Alamo
Alamo, San Antonio, Texas
Robert Runyon, photographer, circa 1900-1920.
The South Texas Border, 1900-1920

This photograph of the Alamo by Robert Runyon is presented in conjunction with The General Libraries at the University of Texas at Austin.

Texans or Texians, according to some sources, began fighting for independence from Mexico in 1835. By December the small Texas army had captured the important crossroads town of San Antonio de Bexar and seized the garrison known as the Alamo.  Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna recaptured the town on March 6, 1836, after a thirteen-day siege; the Mexican army suffered an estimated 600 casualties.  Of the official list of 189 Texan defenders, all were killed.  Historians continue to debate the number of defenders inside the Alamo.

The defense of the Alamo is well-known for those who fought for Texas.  David Crockett, James (Jim) Bowie, and William Barret Travis were among those remembered by the "Remember the Alamo" reported to be yelled at the victory at San Jacinto.

The cost entailed in regaining San Antonio contributed to General Santa Anna's defeat less than two months later at the Battle of San Jacinto. On April 21, 1836, Sam Houston, commander of the Texas army, led 800 troops, inspired by the sacrifice of their comrades at the Alamo, in a surprise attack on Santa Anna's 1,600 men. Houston's decisive victory at San Jacinto secured Texas independence from Mexico.

Texas remained independent for from 1836 until 1845 when the legislature voted for annexation to the U.S. The Mexican American War soon followed, a two-year conflict resolved by the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

Sam Houston
Sam Houston in Civilian Dress, Clean Shaven
produced by Mathew Brady's studio, circa 1848-1850.
America's First Look into the Camera: Daguerreotype Portraits and Views, 1839-1864

Houston immigrated to Texas in 1833 and quickly became a leader in the Texas rebellion, beginning in 1835. He was president of the Republic of Texas from 1836 to 1838 and from 1841 to 1844, and U.S. senator from Texas from 1846 to 1859. Prior to his career in Texas, Houston served as a congressman from Tennessee from 1823 to 1826.

Panoramic view of San Antonio, Texas
Panoramic view of San Antonio, Texas, circa 1910.
Taking the Long View: Panoramic Photographs, 1851-1991