THE FALL OF THE ALAMO

When Colonel James Bowie came to San Antonio with his volunteers on January l9, it was with the understanding that General Sam Houston wanted the Alamo destroyed and the town abandoned.

The artillery left by General Cos' was the best between Mexico City and New Orleans but there were no horses of oxen to move it. Although both morale and supplies were low, Green B. Jameson. who knew the men at the Alamo, felt that if properly supported and inspired they would "do duty and fight better than fresh men..." After reconsidering General Houston's wishes and stydying Jameson's recommendations and defense plans, Bowie decided that this citadel was the key to Texas independence and the logical site for a stand.

Since the thick plaza walls on the west, north and south sides made up the main defense of the Alamo, timber and earth platforms were built along them for the rifleman. The 21 cannon were strategically located, with the largest cannon - the l8-pounder - at the southwest cornor, commanding the town. Jameson also built a palisade of stakes and dirt to close up a gap between the low barrack and the former church. The east side of the former church was defended by cannon rolled up a dirt ramp built by General C'os who had utilized the dismantled arches of the former church roof.

The occupation by Spanish cavalry and later the army of General C'os converted the former church and convento into a fortress. The Texan forces occupied the Alamo after defeating General C'os at the Battle of Bexar, December, l835. The convento became their barracks - the Long Barrack, as they came to call it. What remained of its upper floor, heavily damaged in the Battle of Bexar, was used as a hospital. The ground floor contained their armory and lodgings. The men agreed the Long Barrack would be the place of a final stand if necessary.

The structure was approximately 190 feet long and 18 feet wide. It remained connected by a passageway to the former church. During the Battle of the Alamo, inside each of the five west doors, was a semicircular parapet of stakes supporting a double curtain of cowhides hung with dirt between them.

It was in the Long Barrack that many of the defenders made a valiant stand and met their death in fierce hand-to-hand fighting.

DAY 1: Tuesday, February 23, l836
General Santa Anna's approaching army sighted by sentry in San Fernado church bell tower confirmed by scouts, Dr. John Sutherland and Smith to Gonzales with appeal for assistance. Santa Anna's troops move into the main plaza - hoist blood-red flag of no-quarter from church tower. Travis fires l8-pounder in answer to Santa Anna's demand for surrender.

DAY 2: Wednesday, February 24
Colonel Bowie, gravely ill, turns over shared command to Colonel Travis. Santa Anna reconnoiters area troops. First Mexican battery placed - begins bombardment of Alamo. Travis sends Albert Martin with letter "To the People of Texas and all Americans in the world".

DAY 3: Thursday, February 25
Firing from Mexican batteries begins early - two new batteries planted across river about 300 yeards from Alamo - ring drawing tigher around garrison. Colonel Travis fires on Mexican defenses. Travis sends out Juan Seguin and Antonio Cruz y Arocha to General Houston with new appeal for help, message ending, "Giving me help, oh my country". Robert Brown, Charles Despallier and James Rose torch huts in La Villita. Cold norther blows in around 9pm.

DAY 4: Friday, February 26
Cold day. Little rest for Texans. Travis trying to keep initiative until help arrives. Jameson's men digging trenches, throwing up earthworks. Mexican gunners are firing steadily - defenders conserving ammunition. Crockett and men busy with rifles, rarely missing mark.

DAY 5: Saturday, February 27
Travis continues active defense but weariness of garrison apparent. Mexican troops to north attempt to cut Alamo's water supply by blocking acequia. Firing from Mexican side during day, Santa Anna observed by Texans and fired at. Colonel Travis sends Bonham with another call for help to Colonel Fannin in Goliad.

DAY 6: Sunday, February 28
Norther abating, replaced by dreary drizzle. Little rest, little food for garrison. Mexican squad observed making another attempt to cut off water. New Mexican battery being placed by old mill, 800 yards to north. Cannonading continues. General Santa Anna's tactics of harrassment having effect on Texans. Croketee with fiddle and McGregor with bagpipes stage musical duel to cheer up men.

DAY 7: Monday, February 29
Mexicans move earthworks closer. Santa Anna reorganizes troops.

DAY 8: Tuesday, March 1, 3:00am
Texans elated at arrival of 32 men from Gonzales, led by John W. Smith. Rumors race through garrison that Fannin is on his way with 400 men. Texans fire two 12-pound shots at Santa Anna's headquarters on the main plaza; one shot hits house.

DAY 9: Wednesday, March 2
Heavy Mexican cannonading continues. Weary men in Alamo unaware Texas independence declared at Washington-on-the-Brazos.

DAY 10: Thursday, March 3
Mexican battalions arrive to reinforce Santa Anna's army. Returning from Goliad, Bonham gallops through enemy lines with word Fannin is not coming. John W. Smith rides out with appeal from Travis to the President of the Convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos, also carries personal messages. Travis tells Smith he will fire l8-pounder three times a day - morning, noon and night = as long as Alamo stands.

DAY 11: Friday, March 4
Mexican battery sends shots into Alamo's north ans west walls. Enemy entrenchments on all sides. Santa Anna calls meeting of Mexican officers about storming Alamo. In meeting, General Santa Anna, General Sesma and Colonel Almonte favor storming Alamo, but General C'os, General Castrillon and Colonel Romero oppose, preferring to wait until two 12-pounders arrive March 7.

DAY 12: Saturday, March 5
Mexican battery to north moves closer - defenders dodging enemy cannon balls crashing into north wall. To date, no Texans killed. Mexican fire tapers off in afternoon. Colonel Travis assembles men in plaza of Alamo, tells them there is no hope of help. The choices are surrender, try to escape, stay and fight. Colonel Travis draws line on ground with sword to be crossed by all who will stand and fight. All cross line but Moses Rose, who escapes over the wall. Santa Anna makes plans to attack at dawn, March 6, with four columns; C'os, northwest; Duque, northeast; Romero, east; Morales, south. Sesma's cavalry to prevent escapes to east; Santa Anna to hold reserves in readiness.

DAY 13: Sunday, March 6, 1:00am
Weary Texans sleep. Mexican troops moving toward positions. 2:00am - Santa Anna and Almonte discuss battle plans. 3:00am - Troops still moving to positions. 4:00am - Silence. Troops in position. Just after 5:00am - Santa Anna gives signal: Mexican buglar sounds DEGUELLO, four columns of the Mexican army advance on Alamo. Twice repulsed by Texans - Mexicans breech north wall, pour into plaza - desperate, intense fighting, heavy Mexican casualties. Battle rages through Long Barrack, low barrack and former chruch. 6:30am - Last firing over...the Alamo has fallen.

Mexican casualties were estimated at 600 men. One hundred eighty-nine Alamo defenders died in its defense.

At about 3:00pm on the afternoon of the 13th day, Mexican soldiers commenced laying wood and dry branches into a large pile upon which the bodies of the fallen Texans were laid. At 5:00pm, the fire was lighted. Their remains were gathered by other Texans and burried in a mass grave, the exact location of which is not known.

THE RESURECTION OF THE ALAMO

The Alamo (St. Louis) was established on Veteran's Day, November ll, l989. Our name was the brainchild of partner "Honest" Pete Polizzi - this name was chosen as both a way to honor those last at the Alamo year before and for the placement it offered in the local Yellow Pages. After all, with three other similiar shops in our metro area, one needs every advantage one can get! Since its conception, Tom has travelled to the site of the Alamo and realized just what those walls have come to represent.

On opening day, stock was pretty sparse. Tom had cleaned out his entire house, sacrificing every military collectable he had accumlated over thrity years. Pete, although not a collector in the true sense of the word, always relished in the buying and selling of military collectables. Tom and Pete had a long history of 'joint operations' - Tom usually supplying the financial and Pete the marketing-at-gun-show expertise. The stock accumulated over years of their association was also used as store stock.

As with any new business, things were very slow at first. It took some time for the collecting fraternity to find out about the Alamo, but soon the word was out and the fun began. Tom's original concept was to make the Alamo THE gathering place for the St. Louis collecting fraternity...a haven where all are safe from the hustle of every day life. A place where just being ones self is "politically correct". A place where everyone is just a collector, regardless of race, sex or profession. At any given time, one may encounter a tatoo artist, police officers, sales reps and doctors all sitting around the back room just talking collecting. The only part of the vision that hasen't come to pass is the pot bellied stove!

THE RE-RESURECTION OF THE ALAMO

After 24 years at the same location, the Alamo has moved ... just down the street to 157 Lemay Ferry Road. Come on by and check out what just came in!



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