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Archive for March, 2011

For the 175th anniversary of Texas’ independence, I decided to walk myself, day by day, through the events of the Alamo siege and battle in quick bursts on Twitter, a medium uniquely suited for short, timely updates.

Sometimes I was even able to tweet an event at the time of day it actually happened, which drew some shivers from readers (they were kind enough to tell me) as, for example, when a norther blew in after dark on Feb. 25, dropping the mild weather to nearly freezing.

My good friend and very funny coworker Ponch Garcia provided color commentary, which I’m also recording below. He tweets as @bourbonitis, a name derived from an Alejandro Escovedo song.

Stick around to see if I actually get up at 5 tomorrow morning to tweet the final assault! (Sources and Twitter-jargon help are at the bottom.)

Feb. 23

  • 175 years ago today: Santa Anna’s army reaches #Alamo, sends in a demand that Texians surrender. Travis answers with a single cannon shot.
  • RT @bourbonitis Santa Anna replies, “¡Ay caramba!”
  • At 3 p.m., Travis dispatches letter asking town of Gonzales to send provisions & troops. He & Bowie know #Alamo can’t hold out with 150 men.

Feb. 24

  • 175 years ago today: 24 hrs into #Alamo siege. Bowie falls ill; Travis takes full command. Weather: warm/cloudy, 100% chance of cannonballs.
  • Travis writes second call for backup, the famous letter stating #Alamo has not lost a man and he’ll fight to the death: http://bit.ly/hwDC4C
  • RT @bourbonitis: Little-known fact: In his famous letter, Travis dotted his “i’s” with smiley faces.

Feb. 25

  • 175 yrs ago today: Fannin leaves Goliad with 300 troops to aid #Alamo- a mission he never completes. Inside walls, water, firewood run low
  • Fannin barely gets on way to #Alamo before turning back, thus seriously reducing number of Texas high schools that will be named for him.
  • Although, put yourself in Fannin’s shoes with this summary of his predicament: Scroll down to “Fannin’s value” http://bit.ly/igIt0T #Alamo
  • 175 yrs ago today: Night falls at the #Alamo on 3rd day of siege. A norther blows in, and the “summer heat” drops to just above freezing.

Feb. 26

  • 175 yrs ago today: Day 4 of siege. Some #Alamo defenders slip outside walls for water/firewood, engaging in small battles w/surrounding army

Feb. 27

  • 175 yrs ago today: 5th day of siege. Sentries sleeping at their posts. Small group of fighters sets off from Gonzales to aid #Alamo troops.
  • The Gonzales Ranging Company has 32 men. They will have to get through a thousand Mexican soldiers just to reach the #Alamo.

Feb. 28

  • 175 years ago today: #Alamo still under continual bombardment, but morale inside is high: Not a single defender has been killed.
  • Davy Crockett part of why morale is high; prob. didn’t play fiddle, but “was seen at all points, animating the men to do their duty.”-Travis
  • Travis has written to Col. Fannin and Gen. Houston, confidently expecting they will send troops. None have come. He knows #Alamo will fall.
  • RT @bourbonitis: Davy Crockett was known to craft his hat into a motivational puppet named “Scrappy Cappy.”
  • From sickbed, Bowie looks at calendar, realizes 1836 is leap yr so thank God Sue will only tweet 12, but men still must fight all 13 days.

March 1

  • 175 yrs ago today: At 3 a.m. the Gonzales reinforcements (32 men) slip through the Mexican army; #Alamo gates swing open and they dash in
  • The #Alamo’s 12-pound cannon fires twice, and one shot strikes the house Santa Anna is using as headquarters (Photo – http://bit.ly/dUKY1R)
  • Rumors fly inside the #Alamo that Fannin is coming to their aid with 400 troops.

March 2

  • 175 yrs ago today: Delegates at Washington-on-the-Brazos issue Texas’ declaration of independence. (Broadside: http://bit.ly/gMcoP9 )
  • Day 9 of #Alamo siege: Troops unaware of declaration, but Travis is eager for it so “world will understand… what we are fighting for.”
  • 175 yrs ago today: Texas newspapers begin printing Travis’ plea for #Alamo reinforcements; printed “broadsides” of the letter also circulate
  • RT @bourbonitis Also in that day’s newspapers was the last “Garfield” strip that was actually funny.
  • Present day :) — The original Texas declaration of independence is on display right now in Austin at Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives

March 3

  • 175 yrs ago today: At 11 a.m. Bonham returns to #Alamo with news that aid is coming (it isn’t). Santa Anna, however, gets 1,000 more troops.
  • In 10 days of siege, no #Alamo defenders have been killed. Legend says this or March 5 is the day Travis draws his line in the sand.
  • One of Travis’ last letters, a brief note to a friend named David Ayers, begins, “Take care of my little boy.” #Alamo
  • Sunset: Frenchman named Rose either flees #Alamo & lives to be 65 http://bit.ly/f1d6GQ Or never existed http://bit.ly/enaNZH . Take yer pick

March 4

  • 175 yrs ago today: Santa Anna calls afternoon meeting with his officers to tell them he plans to overrun the #Alamo.
  • Some officers want to simply wait for the big artillery to arrive and blast the walls, rather than lose troops scaling the walls.

March 5

  • Day [12] of #Alamo siege: I am developing dorky crush on Lt Col Travis
  • Srsly though. OK, he’s overdramatic, a bit of a dandy, but while he was not eager to die for cause, he was ready to. End result: Texas.
  • 175 yrs ago today: At noon, Santa Anna tells his staff the assault on the #Alamo will be tomorrow morning.
  • RT @bourbonitis Officers suggest trying to drive them out of the #Alamo with conjunto versions of Guns N’ Roses songs.
  • Last courier leaves #Alamo: James Allen, a college kid with a fast horse, carrying yet another plea for help to Fannin. Guess how that goes.
  • 175 yrs ago today: At midnight, about 1,800 of Santa Anna’s troops begin moving quietly into place for the final assault on the #Alamo.

Photos at Alamo, March 4, 2011

As I happened to be in San Antonio on Friday on another matter, I was unable to stop myself from driving down to the Alamo in the afternoon!

Twitter jargon

For non-Twitter initiates: An @ usually precedes Twitter usernames; putting # before a word allows people to search for all tweets with that label in them; and RT means retweet, as when I’m forwarding Ponch’s comments to my readers. A link that begins with bit.ly is just a shortened version of a long web address.

Sources

I leaned most heavily on Randy Roberts and James S. Olson’s 2001 book, “A Line in the Sand: The Alamo in Blood and Memory.” Also, Stephen L. Hardin’s “Texian Iliad”; the Handbook of Texas; the official Alamo web site; this transcription of Travis’ letters; and this chronology.

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