Remember the Alamo Battle Cannons

August 22, 2018

In 2017, The Alamo partnered with Texas A&M University's Conservation Research Lab (CRL) to restore and conserve the seven historic Alamo battle cannons in our possession. Used in the 1836 Siege and Battle of the Alamo, the conservation team discovered exciting information about the cannons, including two unfired cannon balls inside one of them.

History of the Cannons

After the Battle of San Jacinto, the Mexican soldiers still in San Antonio were ordered to destroy the Alamo's cannons so that the Texans could not use them again. Damaged pieces of the cannons laid buried at the northwest corner of the Alamo compound until they were uncovered during the construction of Samuel Maverick's house in 1852. Most of these cannons were donated to the Alamo by the Maverick family or their relatives.

The Conservation Process

Process of removing layers of paint and corrosion from a cannon

These cannons had not been conserved in over 50 years and was their first treatment of any kind other than routine painting. Numerous layers of paint and corrosion were removed by CRL through an electrolytic reduction process. This process discovered details of wear on the cannons, telling us more about how they were used.

The team at Texas A&M University discovered that some of the cannons were cast in Great Britain, North Wales and that some were typicaly guns for the merchant and civilian markets. This conservation effort even discovered two unfired cannon balls.

For more details on what was discovered while the Alamo Battle Cannons were conserved, watch this interview with Alamo Historian and Curator Dr. Bruce Winders and Texas A&M Research Associate Jim Jobling.

Return to the Alamo

Restored cannon on display in Alamo Cannon Arcade

After the conservation process is completed, each cannon will be returned to the Alamo. They will be on display in the arches of the arcade. The arches prevent the cannons from being exposed to direct sunlight. Long-term preservation is the reason that the cannons are displayed in a vertical orientation. This orientation will prevent trash and debris from accumulating in the bore of the cannons.

On August 22, the Alamo and Texas A&M University hosted a special event marking the completion of this project on the Texas A&M University RELLIS System campus in College Station.

This transtition ceremony saw the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets return command of the final Alamo Battle Cannon that A&M was restoring, to a team of Alamo living history reenactors. Texas A&M University Chancellor John Sharp, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush and former SEAL and "Lone Survivor" Marcus Luttrell spoke at this once-in-a-lifetime event.

The restoration of the Alamo battle cannons was possible thanks to the public donations and grants given by The Texas Historical Foundation, The Brown Foundation, Inc., and Mr. & Mrs. Travis A. Mathis, and other generous donors.

When you donate to the Alamo, you support preservation efforts to help ensure that artifacts like that battle cannons, the Alamo Church, Long Barrack and our artifact collection are well taken care of for future generations to enjoy.