Thursday, February 11, 2010

San Antonio: Day 24

On a rainy, cold morning, we walked the four blocks from our hotel in the downtown area of San Antonio to the bullet-riddled remains of the Alamo.

Now a national shrine, the mission was built in 1724 by Spanish missionaries. What remains of the original complex contains the chapel, the long barracks – site of the most bloody hand-to-hand combat, and a gift shop/museum.

Inside the church, visitors can listen to a docent who relates the history of Texas and the Alamo. During the battle, a handful of women and children were gathered in the sacristy for protection. Many of these survived as eye-witnesses to the fight.

Originally, the church did not have a roof although one was added about 100 years after the battle. Standing inside the grey stone walls, with it’s crumbling frescoes, you can smell the cold, damp stone.

General Santa Anna’s 5,000 Mexican troops attacked the site in February 1836. The siege lasted 13 days, ending on March 6th. All 189 defenders were killed. They had come from many US states as well as Scotland, Ireland, England, Germany and Denmark. Here was the last stand of Davy Crockett (frontiersman), Jim Bowie (the knife fighter), and Col. Travis.

The phrase “Remember the Alamo” was the battle cry of the Texans who then defeated Santa Anna’s men at San Jacinto some 46-days later, in a revenge battle. That victory signaled the birth of the Republic of Texas.

No comments:

Post a Comment