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Old 02-23-2017, 10:25 AM   #1
Tmag
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Default 13 Days to Glory - The Alamo

Day 1 - Tuesday, February 23, 1836
This battle, though neither final or decisive, was the seminal moment in the Texas War of Independence.

Near San Antonio de Béxar (modern-day San Antonio) was an 18th century Spanish Mission. Abandoned at the end of that century, it was briefly turned into a garrison for Spanish troops; who gave it the name, "Alamo". After Mexico gained its independence from Spain, the Alamo was held by a Mexican garrison; till this force was expelled by Texians under the famous knife-fighter James "Jim" Bowie, a land-owning resident of San Antonio, in December of 1835.

Bowie was at first ordered by the new Texian Army commander, Sam Houston, to dismantle the fort and retrieve the 19 cannons of various caliber left behind by the Mexicans. Instead, upon finding he had insufficient transport to effectively evacuate the guns, Bowie decided to improve the defenses (with the aid of engineer Green B. Jameson) and hold the Alamo. Bowie felt strongly that the Alamo could be a bastion defending Texas from Santa Anna's coming attack. In a letter to Henry Smith, a leader of the Texas War or Independence Party, Bowie argued that "the salvation of Texas depends in great measure on keeping Bexar (San Antonio) out of the hands of the enemy. It serves as the frontier picquet guard, and if it were in the possession of Santa Anna, there is no stronghold from which to repel him in his march towards the Sabine."

Bowie shared command of the mixed "regulars" and "volunteers" with Colonel James C. Neill. Neill sent to Houston and the provisional government for supplies and additional men; but at this stage both the Texas government and Houston's incipient army were in disarray; and no help was sent to the Alamo.

On February 3, 1836 Lt. Colonel William Barret Travis arrived at the Alamo with 18 cavalrymen of the new Texan army; to take over as Neill's second-in-command. Travis was a young lawyer from Alabama, recently come to Texas to build a new life. Five days after Travis' arrival, another group of volunteers, these from Tennessee arrived at the Alamo. They were led the famous frontiersman and former U.S. Congressman, David ("Davy") Crockett; a man who was already a legend in his own time; famous for his abilities as a sharpshooter.

When on February 11th Neill had to absent himself from the Alamo because of family matters, he left Travis, the highest-ranking "Regular" army officer in command of the garrison. Bowie, who led a band of 30 "Volunteers", would act as his co-commander. Bowie and Travis detested each other, and as they prepared the fort against eventual attack, tension between the two men was high. But all supposed that Santa Anna would not attempt a winter campaign, and long before he arrived in the spring Neill would have returned; likely with reinforcements.

However, Santa Anna, who fancied himself as "the Napoleon of the West", was doing what all great generals attempt: the unexpected. In the dead of winter, he was marching north toward Texas, at the head of an army of 6,019 soldiers. This force had set out in December, even as Bowie was capturing the Alamo in the first place. Their progress was slow as the army worked its way over difficult and sometimes frozen terrain; encumbered by artillery, supply wagons, and numerous camp followers. Santa Anna had spent 1835 putting down rebellions and fighting battles in Mexico against well-armed local militias; and the core of his army was comprised of loyal veterans. However, many of the soldiers were newly recruited replacements, and their officers used the march north to train their men. On February 12, Santa Anna crossed the Rio Grande, undetected by the Texian defenders. It was not till the morning of February 23 that Travis' scouts reported the approach of Santa Anna's 1,500 strong advance guard, when it was only 1.5 miles outside of town.

While the surprised and unprepared Texians hurried into the Alamo, the Mexican army occupied San Antonio Bexar. A parlay soon followed, in which Bowie sent his engineer, Green B. Jameson, to ask terms. According to Mexican sources, he was informed by Santa Anna's aid, José Bartres, that El Presidente demanded unconditional surrender ("on discretion"):

... according to the order of His Excellency... the Mexican army cannot come to terms under any conditions with rebellious foreigners to whom there is no recourse left, if they wish to save their lives, than to place themselves immediately at the disposal of the Supreme Government from whom alone they may expect clemency after some considerations.

This was in keeping with Santa Anna and the Mexican government's official position toward the Texian rebels: In late December 1835, the Mexican Congress passed the Tornel Decree, declaring foreigners fighting in Texas against Mexico "pirates", to be treated with summary justice. Santa Anna had in the previous year shown no clemency to rebels in Mexico, and his reputation preceded him. Even had the Texian garrison within the Alamo been so inclined, they were under no illusions that they could expect mercy at the hands of Santa Anna.

Not that they were so inclined:
To this demand for unconditional surrender, Travis and Bowie answered with a blast from the fort's 18 pounder cannon; signaling their defiance.

In response, Santa Anna ordered the raising, over the highest tower in the nearby town, of a blood-red flag and the playing of the Degüello; a bugle call used by Spanish armies, signaling "no quarter" to their opponent. The name "Degüello" derives from the Spanish verb for the act of throat-slitting; and so the tune was also known as the "cut throat" song!
This battle would be to the knives.

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Old 02-23-2017, 10:28 AM   #2
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Enjoy these very much.
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Old 02-23-2017, 11:22 AM   #3
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Keep em coming
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Old 02-23-2017, 11:23 AM   #4
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Great stuff. keep them coming
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Old 02-23-2017, 11:41 AM   #5
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Great Read
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Old 02-23-2017, 11:50 AM   #6
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Now you're talking! I look forward to this thread all year.
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Old 02-23-2017, 01:02 PM   #7
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That pic is totally inaccurate. I have been to the Alamo and there is not an 18 pound cannon in that corner, it is actually a Ripley's Believe It or Not.

Agreed, I love these post and all of Texas history. Looking forward to the rest.
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Old 02-23-2017, 01:05 PM   #8
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It's a shame no more of the Alamo was preserved than what is left.
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Old 02-23-2017, 01:07 PM   #9
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One of the best threads of the year
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Old 02-23-2017, 01:13 PM   #10
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Hard to believe Santa Anna travelled over sometimes frozen terrain given today's weather patterns.


Oh look a squirrel!!
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Old 02-23-2017, 01:20 PM   #11
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Thanks for sharing. Next time I go hog hunting I'm going to "deguello " those hogs!
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Old 02-23-2017, 01:45 PM   #12
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We just had the archaeologist from Pape Dawson Engineers in today for a hour long speal about their dig. Very fitting on this day.
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Old 02-23-2017, 03:04 PM   #13
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Please continue.
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Old 02-23-2017, 03:05 PM   #14
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Found out recently that my family is/are descendants of James C Neill. Pretty cool history
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Old 02-23-2017, 03:15 PM   #15
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I recently read this, and it is pretty good.

https://books.google.com/books/about...kp_cover&hl=en

Show's how ineffectively the Mexican army was run.
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Old 02-23-2017, 03:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neck View Post
That pic is totally inaccurate. I have been to the Alamo and there is not an 18 pound cannon in that corner, it is actually a Ripley's Believe It or Not.

Agreed, I love these post and all of Texas history. Looking forward to the rest.
Well it is a little inaccurate...there is a Mexico flag flying over the Alamo!!
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Old 02-23-2017, 03:40 PM   #17
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This is good stuff, if you don't mind I am going to send this to my fiance, she is a teacher and would love to read this stuff to her kids!!
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Old 02-23-2017, 04:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZST_bowhunter View Post
This is good stuff, if you don't mind I am going to send this to my fiance, she is a teacher and would love to read this stuff to her kids!!
That would be great.
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Old 02-23-2017, 04:08 PM   #19
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I'm in!
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Old 02-23-2017, 04:35 PM   #20
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I'm in also.
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Old 02-23-2017, 04:54 PM   #21
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I'm in.
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Old 02-23-2017, 04:57 PM   #22
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Thanks for sharing...I'm in.
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Old 02-23-2017, 05:31 PM   #23
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good read
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Old 02-23-2017, 05:52 PM   #24
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I like the history and learning.. I'm in for sure
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Old 02-23-2017, 06:47 PM   #25
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Old 02-23-2017, 10:54 PM   #26
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Remember the Alamo


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Old 02-23-2017, 11:36 PM   #27
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Nice
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Old 02-23-2017, 11:45 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZST_bowhunter View Post
Well it is a little inaccurate...there is a Mexico flag flying over the Alamo!!
The flag that flew over the Alamo had the red white and green bars but it was not the Mexican flag. It had the date1824 on it to represent the Texans fight to restore the Mexican constitution of 1824. That was one of the reasons the rebelling started in East Texas, changes and amendments to that document.
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Old 02-23-2017, 11:48 PM   #29
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Also remember most Texans were illegal immigrants who defeated their new countries military after revolts and protests.
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Old 02-24-2017, 12:15 AM   #30
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Now you're talking! I look forward to this thread all year.
This
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Old 02-24-2017, 06:58 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AntlerCollector View Post
Enjoy these very much.
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Old 02-24-2017, 09:14 AM   #32
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Day 2 - Wednesday, February 24, 1836

The second day of the siege began early with the Texians facing a newly established battery erected by the Mexicans during the night. The battery consisted of two eight-pounders and a howitzer and was located approximately 400 yards to the west of the fort. It was known as the River Battery.

The defenders were busy that night as well. They had captured at least one Mexican soldier and six pack mules during a nighttime patrol. According to Enrique Esparza, the defenders used the captured soldier to decipher bugle calls for the Texians throughout the siege.

Sometime around eleven that morning, Santa Anna began his survey of the Alamo fortifications and surrounding area to familiarize himself with the area.

The Mexican army pillaged the Texian's stores in Béxar and began the bombardment of the Alamo in earnest. The Texian artillery returned fire with no obvious results.

James Bowie, in command of the garrison, fell ill. The garrion's surgeon described his illness as a "A peculiar disease of a peculiar nature." Jim Bowie relinquished his command of the garrison to Travis.

The Alamo's well proved inadequate in supplying the garrison's water needs. This forced the defenders to obtain water from the acequia and reservoir to east of the compound setting the stage for several skirmishes.

Travis penned his "Victory or Death" letter. Defender Albert Martin carried the letter from the Alamo and added his own comments to the back of the document.

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, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, 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 determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country 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 and got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves.
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Old 02-24-2017, 09:25 AM   #33
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Awesome...thanks
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Old 02-24-2017, 10:37 AM   #34
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Man that's good stuff Tmag.... Following for sure..
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Old 02-24-2017, 11:09 AM   #35
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Favorite thread every year


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Old 02-24-2017, 11:24 AM   #36
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Travis's letters give me chills.
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Old 02-24-2017, 11:25 AM   #37
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Wow.. just think, he wasnt comfortable writing that letter from a desk at home or an office, he was under stress of losing his life and that of his men and his confidence, determination and unwavering commitment to their cause.. Awesome!
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Old 02-24-2017, 05:53 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosco11 View Post
Wow.. just think, he wasnt comfortable writing that letter from a desk at home or an office, he was under stress of losing his life and that of his men and his confidence, determination and unwavering commitment to their cause.. Awesome!
Amen, all heroes for sure.
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Old 02-24-2017, 06:03 PM   #39
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And people wonder why Texans are so proud ? !!
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Old 02-24-2017, 06:29 PM   #40
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And people wonder why Texans are so proud ? !!
exactly!
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Old 02-25-2017, 07:28 AM   #41
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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 and got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves.

This is my favorite part of the letter. "The Lord is on our side!"
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Old 02-25-2017, 08:53 AM   #42
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My great grandfather (James George) was a volunteer at the Battle of Gonzales. He brought 2 oxen pulling a trailer filled with 2 bushels of peas to Gonzales Tx. The battle of Gonzales was essentially a battle between Mexico & Gonzales over a cannon (come and take it cannon) that was given to the residents of Gonzales to ward off comanche raids. Once the Texans defeated the Mexican Dragons at the battle of Gonzales, James George was asked to go and fight at the Alamo, He was also the person who transported the come and take it cannon to the Alamo with his oxen and trailer mentioned earlier. The Texas Government offered James a league of land (4,438 Acres) on Plum creek near Lockhart Tx. to arrive and fight at the Alamo. Unfortunately, James and his comerades all died at the Alamo, the land went to James' wife and children from which I decend. James' wife remarried and the land is still owned by that family to this day.
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Old 02-25-2017, 09:50 AM   #43
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Day 3 - Thursday, February 25, 1836

The morning of February 25, 1836 dawned with summer-like temperatures opening one of the most eventful days of the siege.

The Mexicans launched an attack with approximately 400 - 450 soldiers personally led by General Castrillon. The Matamoros Battalion and three companies of cazadores made up the attacking force. They came from the area of the river battery through Pueblo de Valero's jacales and buildings advancing to within 50-100 yards from the Alamo's walls.

After two hours of fighting, The Texians finally forced a Mexican withdrawal using the ditches and outworks. They inflicted only light casualties on their attackers. Sometime during the fighting, Texian sorties burned the jacales closest to the Alamo. At the same time, the Mexicans established new fortifications near the McMullen house.

As the Mexicans advanced through the pueblo, they discovered a young woman and her mother in one of the houses. Although already married, Santa Anna took advantage of the situation, arranged a false marriage, and quickly consummated the relationship.

That night, the temperatures dropped into the 30's. Under the cover of darkness, William B. Travis sent Colonel Juan Seguin to find General Houston and ask for help. The defenders ventured out again burning even more jacales. There is some evidence that at least nine men deserted the garrison and gave information to Santa Anna where the Texians had hidden at least 50 rifles.

The day's fighting was not a victory for the Texians. The Mexicans had established artillery and infantry entrenchments in La Villita and the Alameda, but the Texians proved that as unorganized as they were, they could fight.
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Old 02-25-2017, 10:09 PM   #44
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Hey - Here's day 3!
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Old 02-25-2017, 11:37 PM   #45
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Where would the McMullen House have been on the map at Post 1?

Today showed not only that they could fight but also that they dang well would!
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Old 02-26-2017, 08:04 AM   #46
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Day 4 - Friday, February 26, 1836

The Texians burned more jacales during the night. It soon became obvious that the Alamo's water well would not supply the needs of a 150+ people in the garrison. They would have to obtain water from the nearby acequia.

The overnight arrival of a norther dropped the temperatures to near freezing. As daylight broke, a Texian foray went outside the walls to obtain water and wood. A small skirmish erupted with the Mexican troops under General Sesma. Mexican casualties were slightly heavier than in earlier fights due to the Texian's eastern-facing cannon.
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Old 02-26-2017, 01:57 PM   #47
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Ttt
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Old 02-26-2017, 04:26 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cap50948 View Post
The flag that flew over the Alamo had the red white and green bars but it was not the Mexican flag. It had the date1824 on it to represent the Texans fight to restore the Mexican constitution of 1824. That was one of the reasons the rebelling started in East Texas, changes and amendments to that document.
This is highly accurate
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Old 02-26-2017, 04:29 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wakehunter View Post
My great grandfather (James George) was a volunteer at the Battle of Gonzales. He brought 2 oxen pulling a trailer filled with 2 bushels of peas to Gonzales Tx. The battle of Gonzales was essentially a battle between Mexico & Gonzales over a cannon (come and take it cannon) that was given to the residents of Gonzales to ward off comanche raids. Once the Texans defeated the Mexican Dragons at the battle of Gonzales, James George was asked to go and fight at the Alamo, He was also the person who transported the come and take it cannon to the Alamo with his oxen and trailer mentioned earlier. The Texas Government offered James a league of land (4,438 Acres) on Plum creek near Lockhart Tx. to arrive and fight at the Alamo. Unfortunately, James and his comerades all died at the Alamo, the land went to James' wife and children from which I decend. James' wife remarried and the land is still owned by that family to this day.
I love this behind the scenes kind of history. Thanks so much for sharing.
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Old 02-26-2017, 04:57 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wakehunter View Post
My great grandfather (James George) was a volunteer at the Battle of Gonzales. He brought 2 oxen pulling a trailer filled with 2 bushels of peas to Gonzales Tx. The battle of Gonzales was essentially a battle between Mexico & Gonzales over a cannon (come and take it cannon) that was given to the residents of Gonzales to ward off comanche raids. Once the Texans defeated the Mexican Dragons at the battle of Gonzales, James George was asked to go and fight at the Alamo, He was also the person who transported the come and take it cannon to the Alamo with his oxen and trailer mentioned earlier. The Texas Government offered James a league of land (4,438 Acres) on Plum creek near Lockhart Tx. to arrive and fight at the Alamo. Unfortunately, James and his comerades all died at the Alamo, the land went to James' wife and children from which I decend. James' wife remarried and the land is still owned by that family to this day.

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