Travis' Appeal for Aid at the Alamo
(24 February 1836)
William Barret Travis and almost two hundred other defenders found themselves surrounded at the Alamo Mission in San Antonio in late February of 1836. Refusing to surrender, they held off the invading armies of Mexican Dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna for almost two weeks.
On March 6, the courageous Texans were overrun and slaughtered by well over 2000 Mexicans. The resulting delay of Santa Anna's eastward movement gave other Texans more time to organize, both politically and militarily, and to ultimately defeat and capture Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto, fought April 21, 1836.
The letter below was written by Travis soon after the Mexicans first appeared in the area around San Antonio. It is often referenced as a supreme example of the virtues of courage and self-sacrifice.
Commandancy of the Alamo
Bexar, Fby. 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, and our flag still waves
proudly from the walls. I
shall never surrender nor retreat.
Then, I call on you in the
name of Liberty, of patriotism, &
of everything dear to the American
character, to come to our aid
Travis' Appeal (page 2)
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 deter-
mined to sustain myself as long as
possible & die like a soldier
who never forgets what is due to
his own honor & that of his
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 & got into
the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves.
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