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Howard Payne University Historian discusses the fall of the Alamo on the 177th anniversary

Published On: Mar 06 2013 08:46:13 PM CST

The Battle of the Alamo in modern day San Antonio was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution.  

The Battle of the Alamo had two key defenders: Commanders James Bowie and William Travis.

"In disregard of the orders to evacuate the post, remove the cannon, basically Bowie and Travis both, independent of each other, stayed with their commands," said Howard Payne University Historian Dr. Robert Mangrum.

Then, between 2,000 and 5,000 Mexican forces showed up on February 23, 1836 led by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.

"The idea of moving large bodies of troops and animals in the winter time is very difficult, because they depend so much on the land and forage, so nobody was expecting Santa Anna to show up all the sudden on the 23 of February," said Mangrum.

"This prompts Travis to send his famous 'victory or death, I'm surrounded, send help or else we'll hold out regardless,'" said Mangrum.

The Texan defenders held out for 13 days against Santa Anna's army.

"In contrary to popular belief, the attack was actually carried out in the dark in the early morning hours, so by time dawn arrives the Alamo has fallen with all 180 of its defenders dead," said Mangrum.

To the defenders, the Alamo was the key to the defense of Texas, and were ready to give their lives instead of surrendering to the Mexican army.

Today, the Alamo in San Antonio is said to be the most popular tourist site in Texas.