|The CRYPT Mag|
The Alamo was captued by the Mexicans and was again under Mexican control. Santa Anna though wished to move his troops onward to Goliad, and quickly had his men clear up the dead. He had a victory which would boost the morale of his troops, albeit at a somewhat higher cost to men than he had wished. To further boost morale, he ordered the bodies of the defenders cremated, denying them a decent burial which he had afforded his own troops. Two pyres were made from wood, sprinked with oil and lit. The bodies were heaped on and the fires burned for two days. Before the pyres were burned out, Santa Anna had moved his troops out.
The cremated remains were left to the elements and wildlife to attend to. Some civilians found unburned fragments of bone which were buried in shallow graves, some of which were later said to have been moved to a cemetary but not marked, and the remaining ashes were collected by Col. Juan Seguin in November, put into a coffin to be used in a funeral procession to the church and back, where salutes were fired over each heap and a service was read at the larger heap. The coffin and the ashes were then buried, possibly where the large heap had been.
Other cremated remains unearthed on the ground of San Fernando Cathedral in this century are entombed near the front entrance. They were presumed to be those of the Alamo defenders, although the presence of military uniform buttons clouds this determination as the defenders were not wearing uniforms.
It is probably not possible to point to an accurate burial place for the defenders of the Alamo.
Without the battle of the Alamo and the death of it's defenders, there could have been no Battle of San Jacinto, and Texas as we now know it would not have existed. If the Texan rebellion had not been successful, Texas would probably still be Mexican, and America could not have developed into such a successful country. Without America's expansion and success, the world would not be as it is today. Not only do the Texans owe a great debt to those who fought and died at the Alamo that day, most of the world should remember them also.
Mexico had generously opened Texan lands to American settlers who, with their greed for land and the precious metals it contained, ignored the 1824 Mexican constitution which they had sworn to obey and then took advantage of Mexico’s political problems to revolt. The Texans demanded legalization of their practice of slavery, formed their own governing bodies that collected taxes but did not return any of this revenue to Mexico, continually demanded more and more land, and insisted on rights granted only to Mexico's sovereign nations.
General Santa Anna, who had taken control three years earlier, vowed that he would strike back in defence of the honour and rights of Mexico. Fired with patriotism, he formed an army and gave them an order: "The foreigners who are making war on the Mexican nation in violation of every rule of law are entitled to no consideration, and in consequence no quarter; no mercy and no prisoners are to be given them."
Unfortunately for Mexico, Santa Anna was answerable to no-one, and when angered he was uncontrollable. He set out to quell the rebellion by killing all who stood against Mexico and thus, himself. By the time he reached San Jacinto, he was overconfident and was easily defeated by American and Texans out for revenge.
Without Santa Anna, Mexico would not have had such a colourful history, nor perhaps such a reduced area of land. For, in 1812, Mexico held more land than America, Spain and France in the developing continent.
The Alamo, dwarfed by the city of San Antonio, is open every day of the year except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Three buildings - the Shrine, Long Barrack Museum, and Gift Museum - house exhibits on the Texas Revolution and Texas History. Visitors are welcome to stroll through the beautiful Alamo Gardens. Just a short walk from the River Walk, the Alamo is a "must see" for all who come to visit. Visitors today can enter the Alamo grounds from several directions. Five gates give access to the site. Many people, however, prefer to first enter the old church or modern Shrine. Inside the old church are exhibits displaying artifacts associated with the Alamo Heroes - Travis’ ring, Crockett’s buckskin vest, a flintlock rifle used in the battle, a period Bowie knife, and more. An arrangement of flags represent the states and nations from which the defenders came.
Exiting the Shrine, one has a choice of what to see next. To the right and over the footbridge are the Alamo Gardens with their carefully manicured lawns and flower beds. A turn to the left takes one past an outdoor exhibit called the Wall of History. Visitors who desire to learn more about the Alamo’s 300 year long history should plan to spend time at this unique outdoor exhibit. To the west of the Wall of History, across Convento Courtyard, is the Long Barrack Museum. Opened in 1968, the museum contains the Clara Driscoll Theater, where visitors may view a seventeen-minute film on the Alamo - a film produced by The History Channel exclusively for the site. The Long Barrack Museum also houses exhibits on the Alamo that explain its evolution from mission to fortress and finally to Shrine. Directly across from the Shrine exit is the Alamo Gift Museum. Built in 1936, the building contains exhibits on the Alamo and Texas History. These exhibits currently included Mexican military artifacts, long rifles, bowie knives, and Alamo archaeology. Gifts and books on the Alamo are available for sale inside the Gift Museum. Other points of interest are several cannon actually used in the famous battle located in Cavalry Courtyard and the scenic massive Live Oak Tree in Convento Courtyard, planted in 1914 to beautify the grounds.
More traces of the Alamo of 1836, although hidden by a modern urban landscape, still can be found if one only knows where to look. A significant portion of the battle took place in Alamo Plaza, which roughly retains the outline of the interior of the old mission and fort. A commemorative plaque marks the spot where the Low Barrack once stood, a one story building which served as the entrance to the compound and the quarters of James Bowie. One can see original foundation stones near the stairway leading down to the Paseo del Rio. The location of the Palisade, a section of the fort defended by David Crockett and the Tennessee Volunteers, is marked in the plaza with paving stones. The north wall where William B. Travis was killed now lies under the U.S. Post Office Building. Even with all its modern features, the historic Alamo compound is still recognizable to the educated eye.
Taken from the Alamo website www.thealamo.org
Ballad of The Alamo
Dimitri Tiompkin & P.F. Webster
In the southern part of Texas, in the town of San Antone,
there's a fortress all in ruin that the weeds have overgrown.
You may look in vain for crosses and you'll never see a one,
but sometime between the setting and the rising of the sun
you can hear a ghostly bugle as the men go marching by;
you can hear them as they answer to that roll call in the sky:
Colonel Travis, Davy Crockett and a hundred eighty more;
Captain Dickenson, Jim Bowie, present and accounted for.
Back in 1836, Houston said to Travis,
"Get some volunteers and go - fortify the Alamo."
Well, the men came from Texas and from old Tennessee,
and they joined up with Travis just to fight for the right to be free.
Indian scouts with squirrel guns, men with muzzle loaders
stood together heel and toe to defend the Alamo.
"You may never see your loved ones," Travis told them that day,
"those that want to can leave now, those who'll fight to the death, let 'em stay."
In the sand he drew a line with his army saber,
and out of a hundred eighty five, not a soldier crossed the line.
With his banners a-dancin' in the dawn's golden light,
Santa Anna came prancin' on a horse that was black as the night.
He sent an officer to tell Travis to surrender.
Travis answered with a shell and a rousin' rebel yell.
Santa Anna turned scarlet; "Play Degüello," he roared,
"I will show them no quarter, everyone will be put to the sword."
One hundred and eighty five holdin' back five thousand,
five days, six days, eight days, ten; Travis held and held again,
then he sent for replacements for his wounded and lame,
but the troops that were comin' - never came.
Twice he charged, then blew recall, and on the fatal third time,
Santa Anna breached the wall and he killed them one and all.
Now the bugles are silent and there's rust on each sword,
and the small band of soldiers lie asleep in the arms of The Lord.
In the southern part of Texas, in the town of San Antone,
like a statue on his Pinto rides a cowboy all alone,
and he sees the cattle grazin' where a century before
Santa Anna's guns were blazin' and the cannons used to roar,
and his eyes turn sort of misty, and his heart begins to glow,
and he takes his hat off slowly to the men of Alamo...
to the thirteen days of glory at the seige of Alamo.
Movies made on the subject (Hollywood style):
The Alamo (1960), John Wayne, Richard Widmark
Last Night at the Alamo (1983)
Alamo: The Price of Freedom (1988)
The Battle of the Alamo (1996) (Television)
The Alamo: Thirteen Days to Glory (1997) (Television), James Arness
Book : A Line in the Sand - Randy Roberts & James S. Olson (2001)
© RIYAN Productions