Today on March 6, 1836, after thirteen days of intense fighting at the Battle of the Alamo, Mexican forces finally broke through the walls.
The Battle of the Alamo, also known as the Siege of the Alamo, was a major engagement during the Texas War of Independence. Located in present-day San Antonio, the Alamo was an old, abandoned mission named Misión San Antonio de Valero. During the 1700s, Spanish settlers established a nearby mission and garrison in the region. The troops stationed there nicknamed the mission El Alamo — the Spanish word for the surrounding cottonwood trees. In October 1835, Texas initiated a war against Mexico and its centralized government. Led by a group of American colonists, the Texas Revolution saw an independent republic emerge after six months of conflict.
A small group of Texian volunteers had previously captured the Alamo several months before. The regiment was under the command of Colonel James Bowie and Lieutenant Colonel William Travis. They had been ordered to abandon the mission due to insufficient troops and supplies — but refused to leave. Instead, the Texans dug in and prepared for an attack. Even with limited reinforcements, their soldier count never exceeded 200 men. The Texan soldiers were primarily made up of local farmers, doctors, militia, and frontiersmen — a far cry from resembling any form of a professional army. Yet, they wouldn’t stop them from making a courageous stance at the inevitable Battle of the Alamo.
In retaliation, a regiment of nearly 3,000 Mexican soldiers began marching towards the Alamo. Historians continue to debate the actual number of Mexican troops as estimates still widely differ. On February 26, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna reached his target and immediately besieged the makeshift fort. Over the next thirteen days, they would launch two significant assaults, but both were miraculously repelled. However, on the morning of March 6, they launched a third attack and broke through a breach in the outer wall. The Mexicans quickly overpowered the exhausted defenders.
Santa Anna had ordered his men to take no prisoners, and only a handful of Texans survived. The Battle of the Alamo quickly became legendary due to their bravery and limited survivors. The next month, Texas had its revenge by defeating Mexico near San Jacinto, present-day Houston. Texan soldiers shouted ‘Remember the Alamo’ as they charged into battle. Shortly after, they went on to gain their independence but were annexed by the United States less than ten years later. Millions of tourists now visit the Alamo Museum every year. The Battle of the Alamo remains a major source of pride for Texas.