Sunday, June 05, 2011

Victory or Death

One of our more prominent classmates chided me for writing something about her that sounded to her like words from the middle of the last century. I replied that I wouldn’t deny that I am a product of my time and that my notions of things are rooted from the time she mentioned—they have not morphed with the changing times. I think some things simply needn’t be changed to fit current convenience or fashion.

If I recall correctly, Texans of our generation were taught a full year of Texas History…about 7th grade. I don’t know if that history is still being taught…if not, it should be. There are some current day interpretations of William B. Travis’ words that can be found in the Wikipedia. Maybe they are accurate, maybe not. When forming my own opinions I prefer original source documents such as the letter pictured and contemporary first hand reports as references.

Travis’ words, in his own hand, survived to tell their own story.

Commandancy of the Alamo------

Bejar Fby. 24th 1836

To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World:

Fellow citizens & compatriots—I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna—I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & 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 demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls. I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch—The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & 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 & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country—Victory or Death.

William Barret Travis

Lt. Col. comdt

P.S. The Lord is on our side—When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn—We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels & got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves.


Travis was buying time for Sam Houston to marshal his forces to stand against the Mexican Army under Santa Ana. Travis and his fellows sacrificed themselves in this effort at the Alamo.


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