"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Friday, 6 March 2009

The Alamo

On this day in 1836, the Texian defenders of the Alamo were overwhelmed by the third wave of Santa Anna's Mexican forces, having defeated the previous two attacks and inflicted heavy casualties.

My paternal Grandfather is a big fan of all things 'western', and I grew up with the story of these free men and their heroic stand to remain so on the land they'd built and cultivated as a symbol of that special magic that makes America.

Is is estimated that during the siege (which began on 23rd February) the Texians, largely volunteers, managed to inflict 400-600 casualties on the Mexican Army. High end estimates state 257 of the 260 men in the Alamo mission were killed.

I see these men as heroes and salute their courage, and I feel their story and the Texas Revolution in general contains many valuable lessons for the modern world.

I suppose time will tell if it is folly to compare the ambitions of these men with the ambitions of those currently colonising the south-western United States and the Western World in general; but you would think with examples like this, we would be able to learn that massive population changes do matter and can have far-reaching consequences.

Still, politics aside, I would like this post to be a tribute to the brave men who died in one of the great battles of later Western Civilisation, and what they achieved - their families becoming free as part of America.


Dr.D said...

1st Earl, thank you for that! It is great to see the Battle of the Alamo remembered.

I see that you have spelled the meskin general's name as Santa Anna, with two n's, as does Wikipedia. When I was growing up in South Texas, we always were taught that the proper spelling was Santa Ana, with a single n.

The Alamo was a small village church, one of several in San Antonio. The meskins were headquartered several blocks away in the RC cathedral. Both of these buildings remain, as does the house of general Cos, brother of Santa Ana. These sites were all within the village of San Antonio de Bexar, and then there were four more large missions in the surrounding country side.

We lost some awfully good men at the Alamo -- Crockett, Travis, Fannin, and a host of others, but a few weeks later at San Jacinto we settled their case for good! Santa Ana dallied with a woman while the Texans approached, and it was all over rather quickly. And it stayed settled until the recent administrations refused to defend the border--for shame!!

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...

Well, I don't know why I deferred to Wikipedia on this one, because I'd always seen it written as 'Ana', and it is on th back of my DVD case.

That shouldn't be an authoritative source, but there you go.

Thanks for the further info.

Is my usage of 'Texian' correct? I was taught that a Texan is someone like yourself born in the US state of Texas, but a Texian was an Anglo settler in Mexican Texas then the independent state of Texas.

Dr.D said...

You are definitely correct about the Texians. That is something that I routinely do incorrectly because that word seems very awkward to me, but it is nevertheless correct. It is not entirely clear when the usage changes, but the early settlers were definitely known as Texians.

Dr.D said...

This was written for Americans, but there is something here for Brits as well.

Remembering The Alamo
By Chuck Baldwin
March 10, 2009

This column is archived at

March 6 marks the anniversary of the fall of the Alamo back in 1836. For more than 13 days, 186 brave and determined patriots withstood Santa Ana's seasoned army of over 4,000 troops. To a man, the defenders of that mission fort knew they would never leave those ramparts alive. They had several opportunities to leave and live. Yet, they chose to fight and die. How foolish they must look to this generation of spoiled Americans.

It is difficult to recall that stouthearted men such as Davy Crockett (a nationally known frontiersman and former Congressman), Will Travis (only 23 years old with a little baby at home), and Jim Bowie (a wealthy landowner with properties on both sides of the Rio Grande) really existed. These were real men with real dreams and real desires. Real blood flowed through their veins. They loved their families and enjoyed life as much as any of us. There was something different about them, however. They possessed a commitment to liberty that transcended personal safety and comfort.

Liberty is an easy word to say, but it is a hard word to live up to. Freedom has little to do with financial gain or personal pleasure. Accompanying Freedom is her constant and unattractive companion, Responsibility. Neither is she an only child. Patriotism and Morality are her sisters. They are inseparable; destroy one and all will die.

Early in the siege, Travis wrote these words to the people of Texas: "Fellow Citizens & Compatriots: I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna. . . . The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise the garrison are to be put to the sword . . . I have answered the demand with a cannon shot & our flag still waves proudly from the walls. I shall never surrender or retreat. . . . VICTORY OR DEATH! P.S. The Lord is on our side. . . ."

As you read those words, remember that Travis and the others did not have the A.C.L.U., P.E.T.A., People for the un-American Way, and the National Education Association telling them how intolerant and narrow-minded their notions of honor and patriotism were. A hostile media did not constantly castigate them as a bunch of wild-eyed extremists. As school children, they were not taught that their forefathers were nothing more than racist jerks.

The brave men at the Alamo labored under the belief that America (and Texas) really was "the land of the free and the home of the brave." They believed God was on their side and that the freedom of future generations depended on their courage and resolve. They further believed their posterity would remember their sacrifice as an act of love and devotion. It all looks pale now.

By today's standards, the gallant men of the Alamo appear rather foolish. After all, they had no chance of winning--none. However, the call for pragmatism and practicality was never sounded. Instead, they answered the clarion call, "Victory or death!"

Please try to remember the heroes of the Alamo as you watch our gutless political and religious leaders surrender to compromise and political correctness. Try to recall the time in this country when ordinary men and women had the courage of their convictions and were willing to sacrifice their lives for freedom and independence.

One thing is certain: those courageous champions at the Alamo did not die for a political party or for some "lesser of two evils" mantra. They fought and died for a principle, and that principle was liberty and independence. o did the men at Lexington and Concord. That is our heritage.

Today, however, our national leaders are in the process of turning America over to the very forces that the Alamo defenders gave their lives resisting. On second thought, do they look foolish, or do we?

Beyond that, how much longer do we have before it will become necessary for freedom-loving States such as Texas (and maybe Oklahoma, Montana, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Vermont or South Carolina) to declare their independence one more time? An argument could be made that Washington, D.C., is considerably more brutish and tyrannical than old Santa Anna ever was. I'm not so sure
that it isn't already time to again hoist the "Don't Tread On Me" flags, shout "Remember The Alamo," and renew the faith and courage of William Travis and Patrick Henry.

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...

Thanks for that Dr. D, a good read and some sentiments to remember there.