One of the most gallant stands of courage and undying self-sacrifice which have come down through the pages of history is the defense of the Alamo, which is one of the priceless heritages of Texans and of all Americans. It was the battle-cry of “Remember the Alamo” that later spurred on the forces of Sam Houston at San Jacinto. Anyone who has ever heard of the brave fight of Colonel Travis and his men is sure to “Remember the Alamo.”
Besieged by Santa Anna, who had reached Bexar on February 23, 1836, Colonel William Barret Travis, with his force of 182, refused to surrender but elected to fight and die, which was almost certain, for what they thought was right. The position of these men was known but no aid reached them. The request to Colonel James W. Fannin for assistance had gone unheeded. No relief was in store. As the Battle of the Alamo was in progress, a part of the Texas Army had assembled in Gonzales under the command of Mosely Baker in the latter part of February. From this army, a gallant band of 32 courageous men under the command of George C. Kimble left to join the garrison at the Alamo. Making their way through the enemy lines, these 32 men joined the doomed defenders and perished with them.
On March 2, 1836, during the siege of the Alamo, Texas independence was declared. Four days later, the document was signed with the blood shed at the Alamo. It was under such conditions that Travis and his men fought off the much larger force under Santa Anna. It was with the love of liberty in his voice and the courage of the faithful and brave that Travis gave his men the none too cheerful choice of the manner in which they wished to die.
Realizing that no help could be expected from the outside and that Santa Anna would soon take the Alamo, Travis addressed his men, told them that they were fated to die for the cause of liberty and the freedom of Texas. Their only choice was in which way they would make the sacrifice. He outlined three procedures to them: first, rush the enemy, killing a few but being slaughtered themselves in the hand-to-hand fight by the overpowering Mexican force; second, to surrender, which would eventually result in their massacre by the Mexicans, or, third, to remain in the Alamo and defend it until the last man, thus giving the Texas army more time to form and likewise taking a greater toll among the Mexicans.
The third choice was the one taken by the men. Their fate was death and they faced it bravely, asking no quarter and giving none. The siege of the Alamo ended on the dawn of March 6, when its gallant defenders were put to the sword. But it was not an idle sacrifice that men like Travis and Davy Crockett and James Bowie made at the Alamo. It was a sacrifice on the altar of liberty.