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The Alamo

The Alamo, built in 1718 as a part of the original Mission San Antonio de Valero, is generally remembered as the rebuilt chapel.

The Battle of the Alamo

In 1836 the fortification, of which the ruins of the Chapel was only a small part, was known as the Alalmo.

February 23 - March 6, 1836

A small band of Texans held out for thirteen days against the army of General Antonio López de Santa Anna. The Alamo fell in the early morning hours of March 6, 1836, the death of the Alamo Defenders has come to symbolize courage and sacrifice for the cause of Liberty.You can find out much more about the Alamo at their web site http://www.thealamo.org


Main Gate and Chapel

The main gate, it's defensive "lunette" and the low barracks is on the left, to the right is the chapel. Between the two was the palisades wall made from two rows of verticle wooden posts with dirt packed between them and lashed together with leather strips it was only 4 feet high but did have a ditch in front of it and four cannons behind it. In front of this wall the defenders drug feld mesquite trees, which have large dangerous spines. As this was considered to be a weak spot in the defense Col. Davy Crocket and his Tennessee volunteers chose this area to defend in the battle, this area was never breached.

I seem to remember Larry McMurtry killing off one of his characters with a thorn puncture from a mesquite that became infected.


Inside the Gate and fifty feet from it there were two 8 pound cannons behind a short wall loaded with shrapnel to be fired if the front gate were to be breached, the round structure represents a well the defenders were digging, the exact location is unknown.


To the right is a ramp built to move an 18 pound cannon up onto the ramparts. At the time it was the largest cannon between New Orleans and Mexico city. The east room of the low barracks was where Col. James Bowie was found slain in his bed. He had been ill and had been quarantined there as they thought he might be contagious. He died in his bed with both guns blazing.


The West Wall, at the upper portion of the picture, had a 12 pound cannon at the top of the ramp between two buildings. This was the area where the "Christianized Indians" lived before the war. Travis, Bowie, and other garrison officers had their headquarters in the building just North of the cannon placement. In front of these buildings was a small acequia dug for the Indians to get water.


On the east side of the Plaza was the long barracks, a two-storied structure which was the original Convento de la Mission San Antonio de Valero. It contained the artillery officer headquarters as well as quarters for some of the garrison and a hospital on the second floor.


The North Wall had two ramps built to the top of the fortifications to move cannons up to the top of the ramparts


There were two eight pound cannons near the center of the north wall directed by the Commander of the Alamo, William B Travis. On the northwest corner, to the right of the picture, were two more eight pound cannons. Travis was killed on the North wall by a musket ball to the forehead shortly before the north wall was breached just before dawn of March 6, 1836.

Col. Cos was in charge of the contingent that first breached the wall. This is interesting because he was the comander of the Alamo when the Texans defeated him and took control of the Alamo shortly before the final battle. As part of the terms Col. Cos agreed to take his men and return to Mexico never to fight again in the war. Of course his brother-in-law was General Santa Anna so I imagine that when he met his brother-in-law down the road a'piece his brother-in-law told him he didn't care what he signed.


This brings us back to the Chapel. There was a ramp from the front door leading up to the back wall where there was a cannon. Beside the Chapel and behind the Long Barracks were the livestock pens, these had been fortified and again had ramps to move cannons up onto the walls. The small structure in the left pen was the latrine.


Jacalitos were the small houses made mostly with sticks and mud by the local people. At night a party of the defenders slipped out and burned them down because soldiers could hide in them and shoot at people on the walls. There were 2 cannons in the lunette guarding the front gate.


ACCURACY OF THE MODEL

I have spent a lot of time going over all of the books, pamphlets and maps of the Alamo that I could get my hands on and have spent a large amount of time actually at the Alamo in the past years. Not all maps and references agree on some of the details but this model accurately depicts those features about which there is no discrepancy As to other feature that there is some question about I have had to go with whom I thought was the most credible or in some cases I have chosen what I think the defenders would most likely do. If you have any corrections or comments please e-mail me.

October 30,2017

bill@finepots.com