Day 6 of the Convention of 1836
Day 6 everything in Washington changes. Lt. Col. Travis’s letter of March 3rd arrived in the hands of Convention President Richard Ellis (Pecan Point) who called the Convention out of recess to read it into the record. The same day that Travis wrote the letter to the Convention he also wrote a letter to delegate Jesse Grimes (Washington) whose son, Alfred Calvin Grimes, was then serving under Travis inside the besieged Alamo. That letter read:
“Do me the favor to send the enclosed to its proper destination instantly. I am still here, in fine spirits and well to do, with 145 men. I have held this place for ten days against a force variously estimated from 1,500 to 6,000, and shall continue to hold it till I get relief from my country or I will perish in its defense. We have had a shower of bombs and cannon balls continually falling among us the whole time, yet none of us has fallen. We have been miraculously preserved. You have no doubt seen my official report of the action of the 24th ult. in which we repulsed the enemy with considerable loss; on the night of the 25th they made another attempt to charge us in the rear of the fort, but we received them gallantly by a discharge of grape shot and musquertry, and they took to their scrapers immediately. They are now encamped in entrenchments on all sides of us.
All our couriers have gotten out without being caught and a company of 32 men from Gonzales got in two nights ago, and Colonel Bonham got in today by coming between the powder house and the enemy’s upper encampment….Let the convention go on and make a declaration of independence, and we will then understand, and the world will understand, what we are fighting for. If independence is not declared, I shall lay down my arms, and so will the men under my command. But under the flag of independence, we are ready to peril our lives a hundred times a day, and to drive away the monster who is fighting us under a blood-red flag, threatening to murder all prisoners and make Texas a waste desert. I shall have to fight the enemy on his own terms, yet I am ready to do it, and if my countrymen do not rally to my relief, I am determined to perish in the defense of this place, and my bones shall reproach my country for her neglect. With 500 men more, I will drive Sesma beyond the Rio Grande, and I will visit vengeance on the enemy fighting against us. Let the government declare them public enemies, otherwise she is acting a suicidal part. I shall treat them as such, unless I have superior orders to the contrary.
My respects to all friends, confusion to all enemies.
God Bless you.”
This letter illustrates the conviction Travis and the Alamo defenders had for the cause of Texas Liberty. Tension rose sharply among the delegates after Travis’ first letter was read; the military situation had become far more tenuous than previously understood. Sam Houston (Refugio), then the duly appointed Major General and Commander-in-Chief of the Texas Army, addressed the convention. He explained his actions previously taken as de facto leader of Texian forces and reaffirmed his commitment to the authority of the Convention and the future Government. After thanking the delegates for his re-appointment, he departed the Convention for Gonzales to gather the Army to begin operations against the Alamo besiegers.
Robert Potter (Nacogdoches) then arises and proposes that the Convention adjourn and reconvene elsewhere. “That the safety of the country is threatened in a manner which makes it the duty of all her citizens to hasten to the field (…) the members of this Convention, while they keep steadily in view the organization of the government, will, in the present emergency, adjourn to meet in the camp of our countrymen, there or elsewhere to complete the business of the convention.” This motion was opposed by James Collinsworth (Brazoria), George Childress (Milam), and Thomas Rusk (Nacogdoches) and failed adoption. A standing committee on the military is formed and the delegates appointed to it were: Collinsworth, Rusk, James Power (Refugio), James Gaines (Sabine), and Samuel Fisher (Matagorda). Several more delegates arrive and are seated and Samuel Fisher (Matagorda) is officially seated after a ruling from the committee on privileges and elections from the dispute on March 4th. All delegates who were absent previously were given leave to add their signature to the Declaration of Independence.
Meanwhile, in Bexar, the attempts to muster a force to relieve Travis and his men is no longer necessary. Before dawn that very morning, the Army under Santa Anna launched what became their final assault upon the besieged Texians. By 6:30am, the Alamo had fallen and all of its defenders had been put to the sword. The Mexican Army would now turn it’s sights upon Colonial Texas and, presumably, the rebel Government at Washington.
Photo was taken at the Alamo this morning to remember the anniversary of the fall, 185 years ago.