Alamo Day 1, the Siege Begins

February 23, 1836

On February 23, 1836, Mexican forces arrived at San Antonio and demanded the surrender of the Texas garrison at the Alamo. The Texans responded by firing their cannons, signaling their refusal. The Mexican artillery returned fire, starting the Siege of the Alamo.

Alamo Battle, 1836, Day 1

This 1905 postcard depicts the exterior of the Alamo. Image Source: University of Houston Digital Collections.

What happened at the Battle of the Alamo on the first day?

This video from The Alamo in San Antonio Texas summarizes the events that took place on the first day of the siege, which was a key part of the Texas Revolution.

Facts About Day 1 of the Alamo

  1. Texan forces captured the Alamo in December 1835.
  2. In February 1863, during the Texas Revolution, a small group of Texans led by Colonel James C. Neill occupied the mission called San Antonio de Valero, also known as “The Alamo.”
  3. When Sam Houston learned General Antonio López de Santa Anna was moving toward San Antonio, he sent Jim Bowie and 30 men to remove the artillery and destroy the Alamo.
  4. Bowie and Neill decided the Alamo was too important to the defense of Texas, and decided to remain.
  5. The Alamo received reinforcements on February 3 when William B Travis arrived with 30 men and on February 8 when Davy Crockett arrived with another group of 20-30 men.
  6. The total garrison at the Alamo was around 150 men.
  7. On February 23, General Santa Anna and roughly 1,500 Mexican troops arrived outside of San Antonio.
  8. Around 1:00 in the afternoon, they were spotted by the Texan garrison from the Alamo.
  9. Two hours later, at 3:00, roughly 600 Mexican troops entered San Antonio.
  10. That afternoon, Bowie and Travis negotiated with Mexican Colonel Juan Almonte, who represented Santa Anna and demanded the surrender of the Alamo.
  11. Santa Anna had his men raise a red flag from the top of San Fernando Church, indicating to the Texans in the Alamo they would be given no quarter if they refused to surrender.
  12. The Texans answered Santa Anna by firing the Alamo’s cannons.
  13. Both sides prepared for battle the next day.
  14. Travis sent a request to Texan forces at Gonzales for help.
  15. The 13-day Battle of the Alamo was underway.

Timeline of the Battle of the Alamo — 13 Days to Glory

This timeline provides a summary of the siege and the battle. The name “13 Days of Glory” refers to 13 Days of Glory, a day-by-day account published by Don Tinkle in 1996.

Day 1, February 23 — Mexican forces arrive in San Antonio.

Day 2, February 24 — Colonel William B. Travis took command of the Alamo, the two sides exchanged artillery fire, and Travis wrote his famous “Victory or Death” letter.

Day 3, February 25 —  Mexican forces tried to occupy small huts on the southwest corner of the Alamo. A skirmish ensured and the Texans burned the huts. Mexican forces built more artillery batteries.

Day 4, February 26 — Winter weather slowed operations around the Alamo. A minor skirmish took place outside the walls of the Alamo when Texans went to collect water.

Day 5, February 27 — Mexican forces continued to build batteries and siege lines around the Alamo. Mexican forces cut off the water supply to the Alamo.

Day 6, February 28 — Mexican forces conducted a lengthy bombardment of the Alamo and moved closer to the walls.

Day 7, February 29  — General Antonio López de Santa Anna sent troops to block Texan reinforcements while Mexican forces surrounded the Alamo.

Day 8, March 1 — Texan reinforcements arrived from Gonzales as winter weather continued.

Day 9, March 2 — At Washington-on-the-Brazos, the Texas Provisional Government declared independence from Mexico.

Day 10, March 3 — Travis was notified reinforcements were on the way. Santa Anna received more than 1,000 reinforcements.

Day 11, March 4 — Mexican artillery batteries were moved closer to the Alamo and the bombardment continued.

Day 12, March 5 — Santa Anna announced to his officers that he intended to assault the Alamo the next day. William B. Travis drew a line in the sand and asked who would stay and defend the Alamo.

Day 13, March 6 — Mexican forces overwhelmed the Texan garrison. Despite the heroic efforts of the Texans, they were defeated after a bloody battle that lasted for 90 minutes.

Suggested Reading About the Battle of the Alamo

These are our suggestions for learning more about the Battle of the Alamo. This section contains links to Amazon.com.

13 Days of Glory

Lon Tinkle tells the day-by-day story of how 182 men fought a losing battle but won for their cause an almost unparalleled measure of fame in 13 chapters. 13 Days of Glory was published in 1996.

Texian Iliad: A Military History of the Texas Revolution

Stephen L. Hardin offers the first complete military history of the Texas Revolution, drawing on many original Texan and Mexican sources and on-site inspections of almost every battlefield. Texian Iliad was published in 1996.

Encyclopedia of the Alamo and the Texas Revolution

Thom Hatch’s encyclopedia provides thorough coverage of people, places, events, and issues from the pre-Revolution period and settlement of Texas by Americans to the forming of the Republic in 1836. The Encyclopedia of the Alamo was published in 2007.

The Blood of Heroes: The 13-Day Struggle for the Alamo — and the Sacrifice That Forged a Nation

James Donovan provides a detailed account of the battle, written from exhaustive research and using primary sources found in the U.S. and Mexican archives. The Blood of Heroes was published in 2012.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations, including APA Style, Chicago Style, and MLA Style.

  • Article Title Alamo Day 1, the Siege Begins
  • Date February 23, 1836
  • Author
  • Keywords Siege of the Alamo, Battle of the Alamo, William B. Travis, Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett, Antonio López de Santa Anna, Remember the Alamo, San Antonio
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date April 18, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update February 15, 2024

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