“Thermopylae had her messenger of defeat, but the Alamo had none.”
My post yesterday which featured a You Are There video clip about the Alamo, reminded me about that battle, the American Thermopylae. I have always been deeply moved by the letter of Lieutenant Colonel William Barret Travis asking for aid from “all Americans in the world”:
To The People of Texas and
All Americans In The World –
February 24, 1836
Fellow citizens & compatriots –
I am beseiged, 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, & every thing 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 –
No aid was forthcoming. Travis and his men died at the Alamo, fighting to the last and winning victory in death.