Chronology of Events Related to the Alamo
by Donald Burger, Attorney at Law

September 29, 1835: Mexican Army Lt. Francisco Castaneda and a hundred dragoons arrive to take back a cannon from the Texans at Gonzales.

October 2, 1835: In the early dawn of October 2, Texans attack the Mexicans under Lt. Castaneda by firing the cannon and their rifles. The Texans paint a black cannon barrel on a white flag and the words, "Come and Take It." Lt. Castaneda, who is under orders to avoid a fight, withdraws to Bexar. Thus, the Texans win the Battle of Gonzales.

October 9, 1835: Texans under the command of Captain Collinsworth capture Goliad and its two cannon.

October 13, 1835: Texans under the command of Stephen Austin head from Gonzales to San Antonio to throw General Cos out of Texas.

October 27, 1835: Austin sends Jim Bowie, James W. Fannin and Andrew Briscoe on patrol with 92 men to scout out the situation.

October 28, 1835: Troops under General Cos attack Bowie at the Mission Purisima Concepcion. Bowie is ready and the Mexicans suffer heavy casualties and are forced to withdraw. William Barret Travis, in command of a volunteer mounted company, gives chase.

October 31, 1835: David Crockett writes his brother-in-law that the next day Crockett will head for Texas.

November 1, 1835: Austin sends a surrender demand to General Cos. Cos returned it unopened.

November 18, 1835: Austin receives notice that he has been promoted to a commissioner to the United States.

November 24, 1835: The 405 Texans still engaged in the siege of General Cos elect Edward Burleson as their leader. The next day Austin heads for the United States.

December 4, 1835: Burleson announces his decision to call off the siege until spring.

December 5, 1835: Ben Milam is unwilling to give up the siege. He rallies the men and 240 Texans advance on San Antonio. Four days of hand-to-hand combat follow, during which Milam is killed.

December 10, 1835: General Cos surrenders. He and his men are allowed to return to Mexico on condition that they "not in any way oppose the re-establishment of the [Mexican] Federal Constitution of 1824."

December 30, 1835: Dr. James Grant and 200 troops head from San Antonio toward Matamoros, leaving Colonel Neil with around 100 men to hold San Antonio.

January 5, 1836: Crockett arrives in Nacogdoches, Texas.

January 7, 1836: Santa Anna arrives at Satillo to ready his army for the march on San Antonio.

January 17, 1836: Jim Bowie and 30 men leave Goliad with orders from Sam Houston for Colonel Neill to abandon the Alamo and blow it up.

January 18, 1836: Colonel Neill is forced to hole up at the Alamo because of his dwindling number of troops. Green B. Jameson, in charge of making a fort of the mission, writes Sam Houston, "You can plainly see that the Alamo never was built by a military people as a fortress."

January 19, 1836: Jim Bowie and 30 men arrive at the Alamo and hand Colonel Neill Sam Houston's written order to destroy the Alamo. However, Houston had told Bowie, "Much is referred to your discretion."

January 22, 1836: Bowie learns from the Navarro family of San Antonio that Santa Anna and 4600 men are marching on the Alamo.

January 23, 1836: William Travis and 30 men set out for the Alamo at the orders of Governor Smith. Travis purchases a five dollar flag, design unknown.

January 25, 1836: The final Grand Review of Santa Anna's troops in Satillo takes place.

January 26, 1836: Santa Anna begins his march to the Alamo.

January 26, 1836: The men of the Alamo sign a resolution to stay at the Alamo. "We cannot be driven from the post of honor."

January 27, 1836: Jose Cassiano arrives at the Alamo with details of the Mexican troops gathered at the Rio Grande.

February 2, 1836: Jim Bowie writes a letter to Governor Smith asking for help in defending the Alamo:
"The salvation of Texas depends in great measure on keeping Bexar out of the hands of the enemy. It serves as the frontier picquet guard, and if it were in the possession of Santa Anna, there is no stronghold from which to repel him in his march toward the Sabine. Colonel Neill and myself have come to the solemn resolution that we will rather die in these ditches than give it up to the enemy."

February 3, 1836: Travis arrives at the Alamo.

February 7, 1836: The men of the Alamo elect Sam Maverick and Jesse Badgett to represent them at the Convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos.

February 8, 1836: Davy Crockett and his "Tennessee Mounted Volunteers" arrive at the Alamo.

February 12, 1836: Santa Anna reaches the Rio Grande.

February 13, 1836: In a letter to Governor Smith Travis notes of the Alamo: "It is more important to occupy this post than I imagined when I last saw you. It is the key to Texas . . . ."

February 14, 1836: Travis and Bowie reach an agreement to share a joint command of the Alamo.

February 16, 1836: Santa Anna crosses the Rio Grande into Texas.

February 23, 1836: Santa Anna reaches San Antonio.

February 23, 1836: Travis sends a dispatch for help to Gonzales:
"To any of the inhabitants of Texas. The enemy in large force is in sight. We want men and provisions. Send them to us. We have 150 men and are determined to defend the Alamo to the last. Give us assistance."

February 23, 1836: Travis and Bowie send a dispatch to Fannin in Goliad. It reads:
"We have removed all our men into the Alamo, where we will make such resistance as is due to our honour, and that of the country, until we can get assistance from you, which we expect you to forward immediately. In this extremity, we hope you will send us all the men you can spare promptly. We have one hundred and forty-six men, who are determined never to retreat. We have but little provisions, but enough to serve us till you and your men arrive. We deem it unnecessary to repeat to a brave officer, who knows his duty, that we call on him for assistance."

February 23, 1836: Santa Anna orders the red flag of "no quarter" flown from the San Fernando church, in clear view of the Alamo defenders. Travis fires his 18 pound cannon in answer.

February 24, 1836: Jim Bowie becomes so ill that he is unable to continue his joint command and turns sole command over to Wm. Travis.

February 24, 1836: Travis sends a letter out by Albert Martin:
"To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World-

Fellow Citizens and Compatriots:

I am besieged with a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna. I have sustained a considerable Bombardment and cannonade for 24 hours and have not lost a man. The enemy has demanded surrender at discretion, otherwise the garrison is to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken. I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the wall. I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism, and everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid with all dispatch. The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets which is due his honor and that of his country.
William Barret Travis, Lt. Col. commanding the Alamo"

February 25, 1836: In a daring raid a small group of Alamo defenders race out and burn La Villita--a small collection of huts near the Alamo that the Mexicans had been using as protective cover.

February 26, 1836: It is a very cold day in San Antonio, with a norther coming in.

February 26, 1836: Fannin decides to march to the aid of the Alamo. He sets out from Goliad with 320 men. Almost immediately, troubles begin. Wagons break down and extra oxen are required to pull the artillery across the San Antonio River, just outside Goliad. By late afternoon the river is crossed and Fannin makes camp.

February 27, 1836: The norther still blows through San Antonio.

February 27, 1836: Fannin calls a council of war. It is pointed out that there is little food to sustain 320 men on a march to San Antonio. Also, to leave Goliad exposes the entire left flank of Texas to attack by the Mexican Army. The decision is made to return to Fort Defiance in Goliad.

February 27, 1836: Launcelot Smithers reaches San Felipe with Travis' dispatch of Feb. 24.

February 27, 1836: Travis sends James Butler Bonham with a dispatch to Fannin.

February 27, 1836: Santa Anna sends a messenger to Mexico City informing them that he has taken San Antonio. He neglects to mention anything about the Alamo.

February 28, 1836: Santa Anna receives word that Fannin is coming from Goliad with 200 men to the aid the Alamo defenders. By the time Santa Anna receives this message Fannin has already decided to remain at Fort Defiance in Goliad.

February 28, 1836: A messenger arrives at Goliad with the news for Fannin that the Mexicans under General Urrea have defeated Colonel Frank Johnson's forces at the battle of San Patricio, just fifty miles south of Fannin's forces. Although Johnson escaped, most of his men were killed.

February 29, 1836: Leap Year's Day sees the end of the norther in San Antonio. Santa Anna decides he must deal with Fannin's forces before dealing with the Alamo.

March 1, 1836: Thirty-two men from Gonzales, lead by George Kimball, (and calling themselves the Gonzales Ranging Company of Mounted Volunteers), arrive at the Alamo at 3 am.

March 1, 1836: Even though ammo is low, Travis authorizes the firing of one of the 12 pounders to celebrate the arrival of the men from Gonzales. Two shots are fired. One strikes the building used as the headquarters of Santa Anna. He is elsewhere at the time.

March 2, 1836: Texas Independence is declared at Washington-on-the-Brazos.

March 2, 1836: Sam Houston issues a broadside:
"War is raging on the frontiers. Bejar is besieged by two thousand of the enemy, under the command of general Siezma. Reinforcements are on their march, to unite with the besieging army. By the last report, our force in Bejar was only one hundred and fifty men strong. The citizens of Texas must rally to the aid of our army, or it will perish. Let the citizens of the East march to the combat. The enemy must be driven from our soil, or desolution will accompany their march upon us. Independence is declared, it must be maintained. Immediate action, united with valor, alone can achieve the great work. The services of all are forthwith required in the field.
Commander-in-Chief of the Army.
It is rumored that the enemy are on their march to Gonzales, and that they have entered the colonies. The fate of Bejar is unknown. The country must and shall be defended. The patriots of Texas are appealed to, in behalf of their bleeding country.

March 3, 1836: Jim Bonham, having failed to convince Fannin to come to the aid of the Alamo defenders, rides through the Mexican lines and enters the Alamo at 11 am.

March 3, 1836: At last, Gaona's men begin arriving, bringing Santa Anna's troop strength to 2,400 men and ten artillery pieces.

March 3, 1836: Santa Anna's troops receive word of the Mexican victory at San Patricio (37 Texans killed) and a second red flag is hoisted. This one is on Powder House Hill.

March 3, 1836: Just before midnight John W. Smith leaves the Alamo with a dispatch from Travis and letters from the men, including Travis. In a letter to David Ayers, who was taking care of Travis' son, Travis writes:
"Take care of my little boy. If the country should be saved, I may make him a splendid fortune; but if the country should be lost and I should perish, he will have nothing but the proud recollection that he is the son of a man who died for his country."

March 4, 1836: In the early evening Santa Anna calls a meeting of his officers to discuss whether the time has come to take the Alamo by force.

March 5, 1836: By 2 pm Santa Anna completes his plan to attack the Alamo at 4 am on March 6.

March 5, 1836: Mexican fire breaks off about 5 pm and several columns of Mexican troops are seen leaving town. It is on this afternoon that Travis is said to have drawn his line in the sand, according to Mrs. Dickinson.

March 6, 1836: Just after 5 am Santa Anna's troops charge the Alamo. Twice the attacks are repulsed. Santa Anna calls in his reserves, Deguello is sounded and the North Wall is breached. Travis dies on the North Wall. Crockett falls defending the Pallisade on the South side. Bowie dies inside the main structure or the low barracks. The last of the fighting is fierce hand-to-hand combat in the long barracks. Whether or not prisoners are taken, all defenders are killed. The noble stand of these brave men becomes the rallying cry for the Texas Revolution as the cry of "Remember the Alamo" will echo across Texas in the days to come.

* * *

March 11, 1836: News of the fall of the Alamo reaches Gonzales.

March 16, 1836: News reaches New Orleans of Travis' dispatch of Feb. 24.

March 30, 1836: News reaches Charleston of Travis' dispatch of Feb. 24.

March 31, 1836: News reaches Boston and Washington of Travis' dispatch of Feb. 24.

April 21, 1836: Santa Anna is defeated at the Battle of San Jacinto.

Last revised March 5, 2000

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