Livetweets: The fall of the Alamo

Here in Feb. 23-March 6, 2021, we are again in the midst of the Alamo’s “13 Days to Glory.” I’ve “livetweeted” the Alamo siege twice, in 2011 and 2020. This year, I thought I would collect the text of my 2020 tweets in case I ever decide to revise them again!
So here they are – the tweet thread I did last year.

Feb 23 – 9:58 a.m.

Since 2020 is a leap year like 1836, the Alamo’s “13 Days to Glory” are 13 days again. In honor, redoing my Alamo livetweets 🙂 

Today in 1836, the massive Mexican army starts arriving. From here on out, the whole 13 days, the Texians know they’re fatally outnumbered. (pic: @mySA)

Feb 23 – 9:59 a.m.

184 years ago today: Santa Anna’s army reaches the Alamo and sends in a demand that Texians surrender. Travis answers with a single cannon shot.

Feb 23 – 10:01 a.m.

The cannon pictured (credit: @OfficialAlamo) is a 16-pounder used in the 1836 battle, the largest cannon ever found at the Alamo, conserved and restored by @TAMU in 2018.

Feb 23 – 3 p.m.

At 3 p.m., Travis dispatches a letter asking the town of Gonzales to send provisions and troops. He and Bowie know the Alamo can’t hold out with 150 men.

Feb 23 – 3:01 p.m.

The 32 men Gonzales sends will fight their way into the Alamo, and all will die there. In 2019, @OfficialAlamo honored them by recreating the call. Gonzales again sent 32 volunteers:,26202

Feb 23 – 5:33 p.m.

Travis’ letter of 3 p.m. Feb. 23. Text courtesy

Feb 24 – 12:21 p.m.

24 hours into the Alamo siege. Bowie falls ill; Travis takes full command. Weather: warm/cloudy, 100% chance of cannonballs.

Feb 24 – 12:28 p.m.

Travis writes another call for backup. This is the famous letter stating the Alamo has not lost a man and he will fight to the death.

Feb 24 – 12:29 p.m.

Viral, 1830s-style: Within days, Texas printers and newspapers circulate hundreds of prints of Travis’ letter, including the one pictured here. (pic: Yale)

Feb 25 – 10 a.m.

Morning of Feb. 25, 1836: At 10 a.m., Santa Anna launches a minor assault that lasts two hours. Alamo defenders fire back so effectively that the Mexican soldiers retreat. (pic: AP)

Feb 25 – 12:18 p.m.

Inside the Alamo, still no losses, just a few injuries: “Two or three of our men have been slightly scratched by pieces of rock,” Travis writes.

Feb 25 – 2 p.m.

Davy Crockett probably didn’t play the fiddle, but Travis writes that he “was seen at all points, animating the men to do their duty.”

Feb 25 – 6:43 p.m.

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 – 11:23 a.m.

Feb. 26: Alamo under ongoing bombardment, with the Mexican army digging in around them on all sides.

Feb 26 – 11:24 a.m.

Exhaustion setting in. As there are not enough troops to rotate, the sentries sleep at their posts. Supplies running low.

pic: “The Alamo” (2004)

Feb 26 – 11:58 a.m.

Some Alamo defenders slip outside walls for water and firewood, engaging in small battles with the surrounding army.

Feb 27 – 7:45 a.m.

As the Alamo enters its 5th day under siege, temperatures hover in the 30s. Mexico’s army is running low on supplies, too; soldiers requisition livestock and corn from residents. They also try to cut off the Alamo’s main water supply, an irrigation canal.

pic: @mySA

Feb 27 – 1:51 p.m.

Gonzales’ 32 men are on the road, riding in answer to Travis’ call for help. They will have to get through a thousand Mexican soldiers just to reach the Alamo.

Feb 28 – 3:51 p.m.

Feb. 28, 1836: Fannin leaves Goliad with 320 troops to aid the Alamo – a mission he never completes. The expedition gets less than a mile before wagons start to break down.

Feb 28 – 4:20 p.m.

Within a day, Fannin gives up and turns back, thus seriously reducing the number of Texas high schools that will be named for him.

Feb 28 – 4:47 p.m.

Fannin’s fate and his legacy: 

Graphic by @mySA; read more:

Feb 29 – 7:31 p.m.

7th day of Alamo siege. There is a general lull in the fighting, though at 7:30 p.m. a Mexican soldier riding close by to reconnoiter is killed by the Alamo’s sharpshooters.

Feb 29 – 8:23 p.m.

Night brings freezing temperatures and hail. The Gonzales men approach carefully, picking their way around the Mexican army’s campfires.

Mar 1 – 6:35 a.m.

At 3 a.m, the 32 men from Gonzales slip through the Mexican army – an Alamo gate swings open and they dash in.

Mar 1 – 8:40 a.m.

Their arrival fuels a day of higher spirits inside the Alamo. Firing the 12-pound cannon twice, the Texians hit a house that – unknown to them – Santa Anna is using as headquarters.

Mar 2 – 11:15 a.m.

March 2, 1836: Delegates at Washington-on-the-Brazos issue Texas’ declaration of independence.

Mar 2 – 11:18 a.m.

Inside Alamo (day 9), the Texians don’t know it’s been signed but had hoped for it. Travis will write in a letter tomorrow, “Let the convention go on and make a declaration of independence, and we will then understand, and the world will understand, what we are fighting for.”

Mar 3 – 4:20 p.m.

At 11 a.m. Bonham returns to the Alamo with news that aid is coming. 

[Narrator voice] Help was not coming. 

Santa Anna, however, gets 1,000 more soldiers.

Mar 3 – 4:21 p.m.

The Alamo defenders can see celebrations and cheering in town as more Mexican soldiers arrive. They’re now surrounded by 2,590 troops.

Mar 3 – 7:35 p.m.

Travis writes that he has heard Fannin is underway with reinforcements, “but I fear it is not true.” His letters of March 3 make clear they are prepared to die fighting.

Mar 3 – 7:37 p.m.

One of Travis’ last letters, a brief note to a friend named David Ayers, begins, “Take care of my little boy.”

Mar 4 – 7:34 p.m.

184 years 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.

Mar 5 – 12:13 p.m.

March 5, 1836: At noon, Santa Anna tells his staff the assault on the Alamo will be tomorrow morning.

Mar 5 – 12:38 p.m.

Later today, the last courier leaves the Alamo: James Allen, a college kid with a fast horse, carrying yet another plea for help to Fannin. Allen lived until 1901. He served at San Jacinto, became a Texas Ranger, then a farmer, a mayor and judge, married and had seven kids.

Mar 5 – 10:59 p.m.

At midnight, about 1,800 of Santa Anna’s troops begin moving quietly into place for the final assault on the Alamo.

Mar 6 – 7:59 a.m.

Around 5 a.m., Santa Anna launches his army at the Alamo. The battle lasts less than an hour and a half. Nearly all of the Alamo defenders are dead – perhaps 7 survive, but Santa Anna orders them executed.

Mar 6 – 8:02 a.m.

“By eight o’clock, every Alamo fighting man lay dead.” – Handbook of Texas @TxStHistAssoc

Mar 6 – 8:22 a.m.

As Travis had said, they cost Santa Anna: Mexico’s president had ordered an unnecessary attack and lost more than 400 soldiers. Santa Anna’s seizure of dictatorial power had caused this Texas Revolution. Now his poor decisions were about to set Texas free.

Mar 6 – 8:23 a.m.

In the wake of the Alamo’s fall, Texian settlers flee the area, Santa Anna orders the execution of Fannin’s troops at Goliad, and Sam Houston seals Texas’ independence on April 21 with a surprise victory at San Jacinto.

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