Article Content for The Alamo

13 Days of Glory

The following is a brief timeline of the 13 days of the Siege of Alamo:


DAY 1: February 23, 1836

Mexican dictator General Antonio López de Santa Anna and his troops arrive at San Antonio and begin siege preparations at the Alamo.  Travis immediately sent a request to Gonzales for help.


DAY 2: February 24, 1836

Travis assumes overall command of the Alamo after Bowie becomes too ill to serve as co-commander.  Santa Anna ordered an artillery battery constructed on the west side of the river.  Travis sent out his famous “Victory or Death” letter that began with the words “To the People of Texas & all Americans in the World.”


DAY 3: February 25, 1836

A two-hour engagement occurs when Santa Anna’s troops attempt to occupy jacales (picket and thatch huts) located near the southwest corner of the compound.  Members of the garrison venture out and burn the jacales this night.  Santa Anna’s soldiers construct artillery batteries south of the Alamo.  James W. Fannin leaves Goliad with a relief column bound for the Alamo.


DAY 4: February 26, 1836

A “norther” or cold front blows in, dropping the temperature and bringing rain.  Fannin, returns to Goliad after learning that column of Mexican troops under Col. José Urrea is advancing northward from Matamoros.


DAY 5: February 27, 1836

Work continues on the batteries and entrenchments ringing the Alamo.  Santa Anna sends foraging parties to nearby ranches to look for supplies.  


DAY 6: February 28, 1836

The Alamo endures prolonged cannonade from Santa Anna’s artillery batteries. 


DAY 7: February 29, 1836

Santa Anna sends troops toward Goliad to intercept Texian reinforcements reportedly being brought by Fannin.  Mexican troops are also positioned east of the Alamo, completing the encirclement of the besieged garrison.  Evidence indicates an informal truce completed today may allow some civilians inside the Alamo to leave.


DAY 8: March 1, 1836

A second cold front arrives.  A relief column from Gonzales arrives, responding to Travis’ pleas for help. The Gonzales Ranging Company safely enters the compound, increasing the garrison’s strength by at least thirty-two.  Finding no sign of Fannin’s reinforcements, the detachment sent by Santa Anna returns.


DAY 9: March 2, 1836

The siege continues.  Unbeknownst to defenders of the Alamo, the provisional Texas government at Washington-on-the-Brazos declares independence from Mexico.


DAY 10: March 3, 1836

Travis receives a letter from his friend Major Robert M. “Three-Legged Willy” Williamson carried in by James B. Bonham that details efforts to send aid to the Alamo.  In the letter, Williamson asks Travis to hold out a little longer until help arrives. Santa Anna receives 1,100 reinforcements.  Travis sends out his last known appeals for assistance, stating, “I am determined to perish in the defense of this place, and may my bones reproach my country for her neglect.”


DAY 11: March 4, 1836

Santa Anna ordered his artillery batteries moved closer to the Alamo.  The prolonged artillery attack continues.


DAY 12: March 5, 1836

Santa Anna announces to his officers that he plans to attack the Alamo in the morning and orders them to prepare their troops for assault.  Although evidence is lacking, tradition holds that Travis gathered his command together one final time to offer them the chance to leave.  According to one account, Travis draws a line in the sand and asks the garrison to make a decision to stay or leave.  Only one man, Moses Rose, chooses to leave.


DAY 13: March 6, 1836

Santa Anna gives the order to attack just before dawn.  After a bloody 90-minute battle, the Alamo falls.  Santa Anna orders the bodies of the slain defenders burned.