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What was the Mexicans' version of the Alamo attack?
SD ^ | CECIL ADAMS

Posted on 09/26/2002 12:00:32 PM PDT by Sir Gawain

What was the Mexicans' version of the Alamo attack?


Dear Cecil:

For years I have seen films and TV shows and have read magazines and books on the subject of the Alamo. And I can only seem to find the Texans' version of the attack. Since there was only one survivor (Ms. Dickinson, wife of the slain captain), how is it that so much detail from her story could work its way into the many other stories surrounding the battle? What do the Mexicans say about it? Did they have heroes equal to the legends of Bowie or Crockett in their ranks? Find that out, bub! --V.A., Washington, D.C.

Cecil replies:

Show some respect, pipsqueak, or I'll squash you like an insect. Let's straighten out a few facts first. There was not just one Texan survivor at the Alamo, but six: three women, two children, and a black male servant. In addition, sympathizers from the town of San Antonio across the river from the Alamo were sneaking in and out of the fort more or less continuously during the siege preceding the massacre, so there was no lack of Texan witnesses to the whole affair.

Still, the most detailed reports of the battle itself come from Mexican soldiers. It turns out that the stirring stories of heroic deeds so cherished by Texans were arrived at mostly by that creative process we call "making it up," the basis of much American history.

One of the longest and possibly most objective accounts of the Alamo's last stand was written by one Jose Enrique de la Pena, a lieutenant colonel with the forces of the Mexican president-general Santa Anna. He was critical of the leadership on both sides, particularly his own.

For instance, when Mexican forces first arrived at San Antonio on February 23, 1836, the Texans were sleeping it off from a rousing party the night before, and the Alamo (a converted mission) was guarded by only ten men. Rather than move swiftly, though, the Mexican commander dawdled, permitting the Texans to raise the alarm and scramble their forces into position.

As it happened, the defenders were about as disorganized as the Mexicans. They had a clumsy system of dual leadership, with the regular forces commanded by William Travis while the volunteers answered only to Jim Bowie. The Texans had not bothered to store much food or ammunition, and they had nowhere near enough men to defend their fort, a large, irregularly shaped compound whose walls were crumbling in places.

The Mexican troops, for their part, were poorly paid, ill-fed, and haphazardly trained, and had been exhausted by a grueling march over the desert. Even so, morale was reasonably high. The Mexicans with some justice regarded the Texans as murderous barbarians. Indeed, one of the reasons the Texans were so determined to win independence from Mexico in the first place was that the Mexican constitution outlawed slavery, which the Texans favored.

Having lost the advantage of surprise, Santa Anna could have done two things: simply bypass the Alamo altogether, since it was of little strategic value, or wait until his artillery arrived, which would simplify breaching the fort's defenses. He did neither, opting instead for a rash attack instead on March 6--according to rumor, says de la Pena, because Santa Anna had heard that Travis and company were on the verge of surrendering, and he didn't want to win without some battlefield heroics first.

The assault was a nightmare. Advancing on the fort, the Mexicans were ordered to commence firing while still out of range, with the result that they had to reload under the Texans' guns. Scaling ladders were inadequate, and the Mexican soldiers were forced to scrabble over the walls on the backs of their fellows. Once the Mexicans were inside, the battle degenerated into a melee, with soldiers shooting at their comrades as often as at the enemy.

When it was all over, seven captured defenders, including Davy Crockett, were brought before Santa Anna. He ordered them killed, and they were hacked to death with sabres. American losses are variously given as 182, 188, and 253, while the Mexicans lost more than 300, de la Pena says. All in all, it was not a heroic episode for anyone concerned.

--CECIL ADAMS


TOPICS: Culture/Society
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1 posted on 09/26/2002 12:00:32 PM PDT by Sir Gawain
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To: Sir Gawain
As far as Santa Anna was concerned, he didn't give a fig about Texas territory. It was a wag-the-dog action for him, a distraction from his fiscal mismanagment of the state coffers. There were so few people in Texas at the time that they couldn't have created a traffic jam if they all met at a single street intersection at one time.
2 posted on 09/26/2002 12:06:29 PM PDT by RightWhale
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To: Texasforever; WhyisaTexasgirlinPA; westexan
Texas Ping
3 posted on 09/26/2002 12:07:51 PM PDT by Texaggie79
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To: Sir Gawain
The other night, we were eating at this Mexican food place called "The Alamo." It's a small, family run dive. They had only one person working in the kitchen, and it took them 45 minutes to get our order out to us. At about minute number 40, in our famished state, we decided all those Texans died must have died at the Alamo not from an attack, but from starvation--the Mexicans were supposed to bring the food and never did.
4 posted on 09/26/2002 12:10:05 PM PDT by hispanarepublicana
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To: Sir Gawain
Santa Ana said "We would have had more than 6000 troops there, but we only had 3 cars."
5 posted on 09/26/2002 12:10:47 PM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: Sir Gawain
I just got through reading that, and was going to post it.

I'm glad you did.

6 posted on 09/26/2002 12:11:08 PM PDT by Constitution Day
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To: RightWhale
Santa Ana had a statue of himself erected in Mexico City, with one arm upraised, pointing northward towards Texas. Wags in the capitol noted that he was also pointing to the National Mint :o)
7 posted on 09/26/2002 12:13:14 PM PDT by Poohbah
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To: Sir Gawain
What was the Mexicans' version of the Alamo attack?

For the answer to that question, just wait until the ultra-commie pinkos at Disney (Walt's probably up to about 10,000 RPM these days) film and release their upcoming movie on the subject. I can't imagine it would be anything other than 100% anti-American, prospective director Ronnie Howard's platitudes notwithstanding.

DWG

8 posted on 09/26/2002 12:17:13 PM PDT by DownWithGreenspan
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To: DownWithGreenspan
You're not keeping up with the news. Disney only wanted a PG film, and Howard wanted accurate blood and guts--a definite R. Howard walked (or ankled, as they say in "Variety"). Whether the project stays with Disney or goes with Howard, and, if the latter, he can set it up someplace else, remains undetermined.
9 posted on 09/26/2002 12:25:42 PM PDT by Heyworth
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To: Sir Gawain
I don't see this as being any less slanted the american version. I think there were many reasons texans wanted indepenence. And I don't see how it isn't heroic for people to fight and dying facing greater odds in a hopeless battle. These details don't seem to conflict that much with what I was taught about the alamo. Besides the fact that I didn't know the mexicans screwed up that much.
10 posted on 09/26/2002 12:41:21 PM PDT by manx
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To: Sir Gawain
Battle of San Jacinto. So there.
11 posted on 09/26/2002 12:48:53 PM PDT by 3AngelaD
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To: manx
Also: Several days before the Battle, Colonel William Travis sent his immortal letter to the people of Texas -- and to all Americans. He knew the Mexican Army was approaching, and he knew that he had only a very few men at arms to help defend the San Antonio fortress.

Colonel Travis wrote:

"Fellow citizens and compatriots: I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna -- I have sustained a continual bombardment and cannonade for 24 hours and have not lost a man -- the enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken -- I have answered the demands 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 of 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 solder who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country -- Victory or Death. William Barret Travis, Lt. Col, Commander."

12 posted on 09/26/2002 12:55:13 PM PDT by 3AngelaD
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To: Poohbah
Santa Ana also lost a leg and then gave himself a very nice funeral for it!
13 posted on 09/26/2002 1:01:03 PM PDT by montomike
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To: WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
Ping

t
14 posted on 09/26/2002 1:28:18 PM PDT by P7M13
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To: Tijeras_Slim
On the morning of March 6, 1836, Travis looked over the wall, saw hundreds of Mexicans approaching and said " Hey! Are we pouring concrete today?"
15 posted on 09/26/2002 1:32:55 PM PDT by MAWG
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To: 3AngelaD
"All in all, it was not a heroic episode for anyone concerned.

I'd say this character somehow missed the point made in your #12.

This is usually what it takes.

Thanks.

16 posted on 09/26/2002 1:39:09 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: MAWG
ROFDLMAOTIPIMP!!
17 posted on 09/26/2002 1:39:55 PM PDT by ErnBatavia
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To: ErnBatavia
Thank You. I'm here all week. Try the veal and tip your waitress.
18 posted on 09/26/2002 1:42:18 PM PDT by MAWG
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To: Sir Gawain
"We won."
19 posted on 09/26/2002 1:43:27 PM PDT by tracer
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To: montomike
Talk about having one foot in the grave.....
20 posted on 09/26/2002 1:44:42 PM PDT by tracer
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To: Sir Gawain
Bull! The defenders of the Alamo stood against overwhelming odds knowing that they were fighting a hopeless battle. The very act of standing their ground under those circumstances was an act of heroism.
21 posted on 09/26/2002 1:45:54 PM PDT by Destructor
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To: Sir Gawain
There are a number of facts that most people don't know. The mission at the Alamo was virtually indefensible and part of this could be blamed on the Texicans who were trying to defend it. One wall had been seriously breached days by a cannon ball days before the actual assault; the defenders patched it by hammering boards together - with the ends sticking up and outward, essentially providing the Mexicans with a stepladder into the mission.

More important is the fact that Sam Houston had, days earlier, ordered the mission evacuated, the men there to join his own army further north; by defying his order the men of the Alamo were staging a sort of mutiny.

Although it is very common, north of the Rio Grande, to regard Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana as a deep dyed villain, but to Mexicans he is their George Washington. It was Santa Ana who played a vital role in ousting the Spanish and later Maximillan from Mexico. He was president, or generalissimo, of Mexico a number of times. In fact, it was Santa Anna who triggered the Texas War for Independence by abolishing slavery ... the defenders of the Alamo were defending the institution of slavery.

Despite the ugliness of the Siege of the Alamo, the US govt allowed Santa Ana to stay in the US in his two or three exiles between presidencies. One of his last US sojourns was on Staten Island, NY. He brought with him from Mexico a bitter root that he enjoyed chewing. He called it chickle ... his secretary, a man named Adams, used it to invent chewing gum.

22 posted on 09/26/2002 1:57:56 PM PDT by DonQ
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To: DonQ
Oh, that is most fascinating.

I look forward to seeing the new movie, when it's released in 2004.

www.alamothemovie.com
23 posted on 09/26/2002 2:06:52 PM PDT by TamiPie
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To: montomike
Santa Ana replaced that leg with a wooden one and we took it away from him at San Jacinto.

Sometime during the late 70's or eary 80's the state of Texas traded the leg for the Alamo battle flag that was kept Mexico.

24 posted on 09/26/2002 2:07:44 PM PDT by Deguello
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To: DonQ
"More important is the fact that Sam Houston had, days earlier, ordered the mission evacuated, the men there to join his own army further north; by defying his order the men of the Alamo were staging a sort of mutiny."

I was taught in High School Texas History that Col. Travis made the stand at the Alamo to buy Sam Houston's Army more time to assemble volunteers to face Santa Ana.

I'm left wondering about your motives in cheapening a great act of heroism by referring to it as "a sort of mutiny."

25 posted on 09/27/2002 5:34:17 AM PDT by Destructor
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To: montomike
Santa Ana also lost a leg and then gave himself a very nice funeral for it!

Somehow that leg is now in Illinois.

26 posted on 09/27/2002 5:46:04 AM PDT by FITZ
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To: Destructor
The usual story is that the stand at the Alamo was to "buy time" for Houston, but the Alamo was hardly an obstruction to Santa Ana's army. The Mexican Army could easily have skirted around it, leaving the Texans inside looking like deserters from Houston's forces. Exactly why Santa Ana made a point of stopping in San Antonio and laying siege to the mission is conjectural; he may have wanted a quick victory to encourage his troops, he may have wanted to make an example to intimidate other Texans, etc.

Yes, the Texans at the Alamo had received a direct order from Houston clearly instructing them to abandon the mission and join the main Texas forces, and they deliberately disobeyed it.

27 posted on 09/27/2002 6:02:19 AM PDT by DonQ
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To: DonQ
Small clarification: Chickle is the rubbery, gummy sap (not root) of a tree that grow in southern Mexico.
28 posted on 09/27/2002 6:46:30 AM PDT by 3AngelaD
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To: DonQ
"Yes, the Texans at the Alamo had received a direct order from Houston clearly instructing them to abandon the mission and join the main Texas forces, and they deliberately disobeyed it."

So what? The defenders of the Alamo died for the cause of freeing Texas from Mexico. Besides, there's no way of knowing at what point the defenders actually got the message from Sam Houston. It's not like they had radios, or cell phones in those days.

29 posted on 09/27/2002 9:56:42 AM PDT by Destructor
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To: FITZ
The Illinois leg was captured during the War with Mexico, when some guys from my hometown, on a patrol out behind the Mexican army, came across Santa Ana's camp. The general fled, leaving behind his dinner and his leg.
30 posted on 09/27/2002 11:22:05 AM PDT by Heyworth
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To: Deguello
I believe that Mexico still retains the Alamo battle flag. Perhaps you are thinking of another flag.

There are a number of historic artifacts that remain in Mexico. A painting of a siege in this region was given (back???) to Mexico a couple of years ago (it used to reside in the Houston MFA).

31 posted on 10/14/2002 9:34:56 AM PDT by weegee
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To: 3AngelaD
THE SAGA OF THE CHEWING GUM

The origin of the chewing gum may be traced since prehistoric times when man first chewed on gristle to the days when people chewed home-made spruce resin and beeswax gum. With the discovery that gum could be made from chicle, the elastic sap of the sapodilla tree, which Mayan Indians had been chewing for centuries, chewing gum quickly became a modern fad. However, there was a downside to this.

The habit of gum chewers of sticking wads of chewed gum on everything leaving a gooey mess in public places became irritating. In Singapore, when gum was found stuck on seats, doors and floors of the Mass Rapid Transit trains on which the state had made heavy investments causing headaches to the managers of public places and cleaners who had to scrape gum off, it was felt that something had to be done. It was compounded by the fact that most ordinary cleansing fluids were just incapable of removing chewing gum and this led to the drastic step of legislation to eliminate the problem.

On 1st December 1995, the Regulation of Imports And Exports (Chewing Gum) Regulations was enacted under the Regulation of Imports and Exports Act Cap. 272A prohibiting the import into Singapore of any chewing gum. Chewing gum is defined under the Regulations to cover any substance usually known as chewing gum, bubble gum, dental chewing gum or any like substance prepared from a gum base of vegetable or synthetic origin and intended for chewing. The penalty for infringement for a first offender is a fine up to $100,000 or to imprisonment up to 2 years or both.

Chewing gum can now only be imported for the purposes of transit to or from Malaysia or for transhipment and the importer for transit to Malaysia has to ensure that any consignment of chewing gum would be escorted to the Woodlands Customs checkpoint under lock and seal. With the recent opening of the second link to Malaysia, the rules for thus securing consignments for transit to Malaysia have since 2nd January 1998 been extended to those passing through the Tuas Customs checkpoint by an amendment to the Regulations.


32 posted on 10/14/2002 9:47:06 AM PDT by weegee
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To: Destructor
It is all part of the grand tradition of turning into heroes those senselessly killed in battle.

The Charge of the Light Brigade (immortalized in the Lord Tennyson poem) and the Alamo legend are similar in that they use heroic mythology to shield us from recognizing the waste of life that is war. There are innumerable other examples. The loss of 3000 of 5000 Canadian soldiers at Dieppe--a failed percursor to D-Day--has similarly been turned into a story of heroism because "so much was learned that made D-Day successful".


Rather than say: "These men were needlessly sacrificed largely due to poor decision-making by military leaders", we instead say "they died heroically fighting for a great cause" because it makes their loss more palatable.
33 posted on 10/14/2002 9:50:39 AM PDT by Pitchfork
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To: DonQ
I was at the Alamo two weeks ago and saw the "most historic" IMAX film of the six-day seige and final destruction. I spent about 4 hours at the museum learning, as I knew little of the history.

An order from Sam Houston to evacuate was not mentioned anywhere in the movie nor on any historical markers at the Alamo historical site. The letter from the fort commander asking for help was mentioned as one of two denied requests that he made for troops from a fort about two days journey away.

It also mentioned that all defenders were killed during the battle.

300 or so men were captured at a later battle and 10% were subsequently executed at the request of Santa Ana (chosen by drawing black beans or white beans from a hat)- against the pleadings of his commanders to not execute men who had surrendered. No mention was made of 6 defenders being executed.

34 posted on 10/14/2002 10:03:12 AM PDT by NorthGA
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To: Pitchfork
"Remember the Alamo"

"Remember the Maine"

"9/11 - never forget"

35 posted on 10/14/2002 10:21:50 AM PDT by weegee
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To: Pitchfork
Leftist propaganda aside- fighting for Freedom is always "a good cause." The defenders of the Alamo were all heroes that "died heroically fighting for a good cause!" That's it-that's that!!

If you're not willing to defend you're own country, then the least you can do is support those that are willing to defend it!

36 posted on 10/14/2002 10:35:08 AM PDT by Destructor
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To: weegee
They might still have the flag. I remember back in the 70's when we were using Santa Anna's wooden leg for leverage to to get the flag back. I'm not sure where the leg is now.
37 posted on 10/14/2002 11:05:46 AM PDT by Deguello
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To: Deguello
Maybe we traded the leg to another state for a Nolan Ryan rookie card and some early Dr. Pepper bottles.

You know, something important!

38 posted on 10/14/2002 12:08:28 PM PDT by weegee
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