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The Battle of the Alamo: The Beginning

The Battle of the Alamo was fought between February 23rd and March 6th 1836 in San Antonio, Texas. Part of the Texas Revolution, the conflict was the first step in Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna's attempt to retake the province of Texas after an insurgent army of Texian settlers and adventurers from the United States had driven out all Mexican troops the previous year.

Here is the The Battle of the Alamo: The Beginning quiz.

True or False?

1. In this time period, captured pirates were executed immediately.

2. General Sam Houston ordered Colonel James Bowie to help destroy the Alamo.

3. William B. Travis and his men arrived on February 6.

4. Davy Crockett joined the Texians on February 11.

5. On February 11, Colonel James C. Neill went on furlough, likely to pursue additional reinforcements and supplies for the garrison. James Bowie takes command of the Alamo.

6. Santa Anna's army crosses the Rio Grande on February 12, 1836.

7. On February 21, 1836, Santa Anna and his vanguard reached the banks of the Medina River, 25 miles from the Alamo.

8. With no idea that the Mexican army was so close, the majority of the Alamo garrison joined San Antonio residents at a February 22 fiesta to celebrate Christopher Columbus's birthday.

9. Santa Anna and his army arrived at San Antonio on February 23, 1836.


Answers  

1. True. In this time period, captured pirates were executed immediately. The resolution thus gave the Mexican Army permission to take no prisoners in the war against the Texians. Santa Anna also sent a strongly worded letter to Andrew Jackson, the United States president, warning that any Americans found fighting the Mexican government would be treated as pirates. The letter was not widely distributed, and it is unlikely that most of the American recruits serving in the Texian Army were aware of that there would be no prisoners of war.

2. True. After hearing from Colonel James C. Neill of the poor state of the Alamo, General Sam Houston ordered Colonel James Bowie to take 35 to 50 men to San Antonio to help Colonel James C. Neill move all of the artillery and destroy the Alamo. They arrived on January 19, where they found a force of 104 men with little supplies and gunpowder.

3. False. The provisional governor of Texas, Henry Smith, ordered William B. Travis to raise a company of 100 men to reinforce the Alamo; Travis and his men arrived on February 3.

4. False. Davy Crockett joined the Texians on February 8.

5. False. On February 11, Colonel James C. Neill went on furlough, likely to pursue additional reinforcements and supplies for the garrison. Travis and Bowie agreed to share command of the Alamo. Bowie would command the volunteers, and Travis would command the regular army and the volunteer cavalry.

6. True. In late December, Santa Anna's army began the march north. After a two-week break in Saltillo to train the new recruits in how to use their weapons, the march into Texas resumed on January 26, and the army crossed the Rio Grande on February 12.

7. True. As early as February 16, locals warned that Santa Anna was marching towards San Antonio. Despite his own contempt for the accuracy of the rumors, on February 21 Travis, at the urging of Captain Juan Seguin, released 15 of the Tejano volunteers so they could evacuate their families from ranches south of San Antonio. That afternoon, Santa Anna and his vanguard reached the banks of the Medina River, 25 miles from San Antonio.

8. False. With no idea that the Mexican army was so close, the majority of the Alamo garrison joined San Antonio residents at a February 22 fiesta to celebrate George Washington's birthday. After learning of the planned celebration, Santa Anna ordered General Ramirez y Sesma to seize the Alamo while the garrison was unprotected; sudden rains halted the raid.

9. True. Fearing the Mexican army's imminent arrival, many San Antonio residents began to leave early the morning of February 23, 1863. When Travis discovered their reasons for fleeing, he stationed one of his soldiers in the San Fernando church bell tower to keep watch. At about 2:30 that afternoon, the soldier saw flashes in the distance and rang the bell. Travis sent scouts to look for signs of an approaching army; they returned quickly, having seen Mexican troops 1.5 miles outside the town.

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