Alamo Day 2, the Siege Continues

February 24, 1836

The Siege of the Alamo continued on February 24, 1836. On this day, William B. Travis took command of the Alamo, the two sides exchanged artillery fire, and Travis wrote his famous “Victory or Death” letter. Travis gave the letter to Captain Albert Martin and sent him to Gonzales.

Alamo Battle, 1836, Day 2

This detail from The Alamo: After the Fall by Joseph Musso depicts Mexican troops outside the walls of the Alamo.

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

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

Facts About Day 2 of the Alamo

  1. February 24 was the first full day of the Siege of the Alamo, and the first day of battle.
  2. Overnight, the Mexicans had constructed the “River Battery,” an artillery battery consisting of 2 8-pound cannons and a howitzer located about 400 yards west of the Alamo.
  3. The Texan patrol captured some mules and a Mexican soldier overnight. The Texans forced their prisoner to decipher Mexican bugle calls throughout the battle.
  4. That morning, Jim Bowie was so sick he was unable to leave his bed and the command was transferred to William B. Travis.
  5. Around 11:00 that morning, Santa Anna personally surveyed the Alamo and its fortifications.
  6. Mexican troops pillaged San Antonio and collected supplies that could be used by the Texans.
  7. Mexican artillery bombarded the Alamo, and the Texans responded with their own artillery fire.
  8. There were no casualties on Day 2.
  9. That night, Travis wrote his famous letter “To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World” asking for reinforcements and vowing he would never surrender.
  10. Travis used the phrase “Victory or Death,” which was also used by George Washington during his bold Crossing of the Delaware that led to victory at Trenton.

The Travis Letter Facts

  • William B. Travis wrote the letter on February 24, 1836.
  • Captain Albert Martin of Gonzales, a Rhode Island native, left the Alamo on the 24th with the letter.
  • On February 25, Martin passed the letter to another dispatch rider, Lancelot Smither.
  • Martin and Smither added notes to the original letter.
  • Despite harsh winter weather, Smither traveled to San Felipe, where copies of the letter were made.
  • Around March 2, newspapers started printing the letter.

The Travis Letter — Victory or Death

Commandancy of the Alamo

Bejar, Fby. 24th 1836

To the People of Texas & all Americans in the world

Fellow citizens & compatriots —

I am besieged, 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

Travis

Albert Martin’s Note

Since the above was written I heard a very heavy Cannonade during the whole day think there must have been an attack made upon the alamo We were short of ammunition when I left Hurry on all the men you can in haste When I left there was but 150 determined to do or die tomorrow I leave for Bejar with what men I can raise — [text unreadable ] — at all events— Col. Almonte is there the troops are under the Command of Gen. Seisma.

Albert Martin

Lancelot Smither’s Note

Nb I hope that Every One will Rondevu at gonzales as soon poseble as the Brave Solders are suffering do not neglect this powder is very scarce and should not be delad one moment.

L. Smither

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 2, the Siege Continues
  • Date February 24, 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 July 22, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update February 15, 2024

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