The Battle of the Alamo (Cornerstones of Freedom)
What I Learned Section 1 -- Answer
the Following Questions:
1. In what city is the Alamo located?
San Antonio. The Alamo is a Spanish mission located in San Antonio,
Texas. In 1836, Texas was a part of Mexico, and the American settlers
of Texas were fighting for Texas' independence. The battle of
the Alamo was fought on March 6, 1836, between the Mexican army
and the American settlers living in Texas.
The American settlers were led by William
Travis, and the Mexican army was led by Antonio Lopez de Santa
Anna. For almost two weeks, the Mexican army consisting of thousands
of troops surrounded the 184 American settlers who defended the
2. True or False: The
original name of the Alamo is San Antonio de Valero.
True. Between 1716 and 1718, Franciscan friars founded a mission
called San Antonio de Valero. The purpose of the mission was to
bring Christianity to American Indians. Did
you know a Franciscan friar is a friar associated with
St. Francis of Assisi? In 1793, the mission was abandoned.
In the early 1800's, Spanish troops occupied
the mission and renamed it the Alamo. Did
you know the name Alamo came from the cottonwood trees
growing in the area? The Spanish used the Alamo and other missions
to maintain Spain's claim to land in North America. When the American
colonies gained their independence in 1783, Spain thought the
United States may try to expand its western borders.
In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson purchased
the Louisiana Territory from France. The deal was called the Louisiana
Purchase. The territory which became part of the United States
stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada, and from the Mississippi
River to the Rocky Mountains.
There was no boundaries dividing Texas
and the Louisiana Territory just north of Texas. This posed a
problem. The United States claimed Texas as part of the Louisiana
Purchase, and Spain claimed Texas as its territory. This area
remained in dispute.
3. What year did Mexico
win its independence from Spain?
1821. From 1810 to 1821, Mexico fought Spain for its independence.
Only three towns emerged from the Spanish colonial era. They were
San Antonio de Béxar (later called San Antonio), La Bahia
del Espiritu Santo (Goliad), and Nacogdoches.
In the eastern part of Texas, American
settlers contracted with Spain and then Mexico to settle a colony.
They were led by Stephen F. Austin. Other settlers came to Texas
and squatted (or settled) on public land they did not own.
In 1824, Mexico's constitution made Texas
a part of the state of Coahuila y Texas. This state provided people
good land at affordable prices. Americans were welcomed as long
as they became Mexican citizens. By 1834, about nine thousand
people lived in Texas.
Conflicts began to arise between the newly
arrived Americans and the Mexican government. The Americans spoke
a different language, came from a different culture, and belonged
to different religions than the Mexicans.
In 1833, General Santa Anna was installed
as Mexico's president, and he began ruling as a dictator. He restricted
the immigration by Americans and had the military occupy Texas.
4. What year did the
Texas War for Independence begin?
1835. In the summer of 1835, disputes
flared between the American settlers and the Mexican government.
American settler William Travis and twenty-five men drove a Mexican
garrison out of Anahuac.
In September, 1835, Mexico ordered the
town of Gonzales to surrender a small cannon used to defend the
city. The townspeople refused, and they buried the cannon in a
peach orchard. When Mexican soldiers tried to take the cannon,
they were imprisoned. The Mexican cavalry with a force of 100
men approached Gonzales and were met by 160 Texas volunteers.
The Texas volunteers forced the Mexican cavalry back to San Antonio
which was located 50 miles to the west of Gonzales. This was the
beginning of Texas War for Independence.
Did you know
the Texans marched at Gonzales under a flag with a cannon and
the motto "Come and Take It?"
A week later, the Texans captured a Mexican
fortress at Goliad. Goliad was located 85 miles southeast of San
Antonio. This fortress was unmanned, but well stocked. The Texans
recovered hundreds of muskets, rifles, bayonets, and cannonballs.
In November, 1835, a group of Texans met
in San Felipe, Texas, to discuss Texas' independence. They decided
to publish a Declaration of Causes guaranteeing their right to
live on Mexican soil. They also named General Sam Houston the
commander-in-chief of the Texas army. Did
you know Houston was a veteran soldier and associate
of U.S. President Andrew Jackson?
On March 2, 1836, the Texas convention
signed a Declaration of Independence from Mexican rule. This was
four days before the battle of the Alamo, and the defenders of
the Alamo never knew it had been signed.
5. What happened on
March 6, 1836?
The battle of the Alamo.
The previous year, on December 5, 1835,
the Texas forces were laying siege to the Mexican army in San
Antonio. Three days later, the Mexican army withdrew into the
confines of the Alamo mission. After two days, the Mexican soldiers
surrendered and were allowed to return to Mexico.
Winter was approaching, and many of the
Texas volunteers returned home. Fewer than 100 Texans remained
in San Antonio. On January 17, 1836, General Houston sent Jim
Bowie and twenty-five men to San Antonio to determine if the Alamo
could continue to be defended.
Bowie decided to defend the Alamo, writing
he had "come to the solemn resolution that we will rather die
in these ditches than give [the Alamo] up to the enemy."
On February 2, 1836, William Travis and
thirty men arrived at the Alamo. Bowie and Travis shared the command
of the 140 men. They were unable to attain additional supplies,
munitions, men, and money from the governor of Texas. Then Bowie
fell ill, and Travis took over full command.
On February 9, 1836, Davy Crockett and
fourteen volunteers from Tennessee arrived at the Alamo to provide
assistance. Crockett was a legend, and his arrival boosted morale.
On February 23, 1836, General Santa Anna
and 5,000 Mexican troops arrived in San Antonio. Two days later,
the Mexican army attacked, and then fell back.
On March 1, 1836, thirty-two volunteers
from Gonzales joined the Texans fight to defend the Alamo. This
addition increased the number of defenders to 184.
On March 5, 1836, the Mexican cannons were
within 200 yards of the Alamo. As these cannons bombarded the
Alamo, the Texas defenders were running low on ammunition.
The next morning, March 6, the Mexican
infantry, artillery, and cavalry prepared for battle. On the third
charge, the Mexican troops reached the walls of the Alamo. All
of the defenders of the Alamo were killed, and approximately 1,500
Mexican soldiers were killed. The Alamo belonged to Mexico.
What happened at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836?
Sam Houston's army defeated Santa
Anna's army and won the Texas War for Independence.
After the Alamo, General Santa Anna continued
to overrun Texan forces. On April
21, 1836, just six weeks after the Alamo, Sam Houston's army met
Santa Anna's army at the Battle of San Jacinto. By
this time, Houston's men had heard about the Alamo and shouted,
"Remember the Alamo!" Houston's army defeated the Mexican army,
captured Santa Anna, and won independence for Texas.
In 1836, Texas became an independent country
and was called the Republic of Texas.
What I Learned Section 2 -- Define the
Artillery: Mounted guns, such as cannons
of troops stationed in a fortified place
Louisiana Purchase: Territory purchased
from France by the United States in 1803, extending from the Mississippi
River to the Rocky Mountains and from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada
Munitions: Materials used in war,
such as weapons and ammunition
Reinforcements: Additional troops
Veteran: A person who has done
long service in an occupation or activity
Bonus Questions (Answer 1 of the
Following Questions for Your FREE
a. What year did Texas become a state?
1845. From 1836 to 1845, Texas was an independent country called
the Republic of Texas. In 1845, Texas joined the United States.
Did you know Texas was the
twenty-eighth state in the Union?
b. Describe ONE of the
B. Travis: He was a colonel for the American settlers at the
battle of the Alamo, and he shared command with James Bowie. Travis
had moved to Texas in 1831.
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna: He was the Mexican president
and the leader of the Mexican army during the battle of the Alamo.
Davy Crockett: He was a colonel for the American settlers
at the battle of the Alamo. Previously, he had been a frontiersman
and U.S. Congressman.
James Bowie: He was a colonel for the American settlers at
the battle of the Alamo, and he shared command with William Travis.
During the battle, Bowie was ill and confined to a cot. Bowie
was also an adventurer and duelist. He used a foot-long knife
with a curved blade and a handle guard. Did
you know this knife is called a Bowie knife?
René-Robert Sieur de La Salle: He was a French explorer
who traveled up and down the Mississippi River in the late 1600's.
Stephen F. Austin: He was an American who settled a colony
in Texas. He was imprisoned for two years when he traveled to
Mexico City to negotiate with Santa Anna regarding Santa Anna's
policies towards Texas. He was released two years later, and he
believed only war would resolve the differences between the American
settlers and Santa Anna.
Sam Houston: He was a veteran soldier who was named commander-in-chief
of the Texas army. Did you know
Houston was an associate of U.S. President Andrew Jackson?
Use five of the words in Section 2 in a sentence.
Answers will vary. Here are sample sentences from our young readers:
civil war artillery when I
visited Gettysburg last summer.
The garrison at the Alamo
tried to protect the mission.
The Louisiana Purchase doubled
the size of the United States.
The Texans at the Battle of the Alamo ran out of munitions.
William Travis did not receive reinforcements
at the Alamo.
My great-grandpa is a veteran
and fought in World War II.
d. Have a parent or friend give you
a spelling test with EACH of the words in Section 2.
More Valuable Information about the
Missions National Historic Park (NPS)
and Battle of the Alamo (Lone Star Junction)
of San Jacinto (Lone Star Junction)
Declaration of Independence (Lone Star Junction)
Houston (Lone Star Junction)
F. Austin (Lone Star Junction)
Bowie (Lone Star Junction)
Barret Travis (Lone Star Junction)