A critical study of the siege of the Alamo and of the personnel of its defenders




Williams, Amelia Worthington, 1876-1958

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title





For almost a hundred years the story of the siege and fall of the Alamo has been told and retold; the theme has so often been woven into poetry, legend and romance that practically all the world has heard of this dramatic and tragical episode in the war of Texas independence. But the very completeness of the Mexican victory, the utter despoliation of the fort, the burning of all Texan muster rolls, gave rise to a number of puzzling problems concerning this event, problems that have never been satisfactorily solved. How many Texans died at the Alamo? Who were they and whence had they come? How many Mexicans died there? When did David Crockett arrive at Bexar? Was he accompanied by a band of his Tennessee friends, or did he come practically alone? Who were the brave men from Gonzales who went to Travis's aid on March 1? Where were the ashes of the Texans finally buried? Questions such as these have remained unanswered for almost a century, and this study was begun with the aim of investigating all documents and accounts which could be found that would shed light on these dark spots in the Alamo story. The majority of the questions have been answered with a fair degree of certainty, but others will probably remain unsolved for all time. The materials for the study are voluminous. There are several great collections of official documents. Both at the State Library and at the General Land Office, there are two or three large collections of manuscripts; there are in the University Archives memoirs, reminiscences and records left by contemporaries and the Mexican participants, besides the many histories that have been written concerning the Texas Revolution, of which the fall of the Alamo was an event. Moreover, there are the newspaper accounts of various phases of the story. All this material was carefully investigated, brought together, compared, paralleled. Where it has seemed possible or wise to do so, conclusions have been drawn and brief statements made, but throughout the pages of the study, an effort has been maintained to present the original document if it would carry forward the narrative. Appendices are added at the end of the paper in order to give a clearer understanding of the subject matter of the study proper, and in order to present relative material that could not find a place in the main narrative