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The Travis Letter



William Barret Travis, a young lawyer, in his 20's, from South Carolina, was ill-prepared for the monumental task he had at hand. With only limited military experience, his rank of "Colonel" was more honorary than anything else. Seemed everyone was a colonel in the fledgling Texas Army. Yet, he faced the overwhelming odds he found himself staring at with a grim - and bold - determination. It is not often in life that someone, with all on the line, gets to practice what they preach. In his plea for assistance, Travis sets down the rules for exactly that ... and then, he lived it! In this most powerful letter, one of the truly moving documents of our storied past, Travis gets to say what everyone would love to be able to have the opportunity to say. They are not mere words - stirring though they are - for they foretold his destiny. It would not be long before "victory or death" would be at hand.

Read this letter slowly ... savor every word ... it is the stuff of legend!

Commandancy of the Alamo
Bexar, Feby. 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 & cannon-
ade 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 nev-
er surrender or retreat.
Then, I call on you in the name
of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the Amer--
ican 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 coun-
try --
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 bush-
els & got into the walls 20 or 30 heads of Beeves.
Travis

Travis' Ring
Col. Travis' Ring (above) ...
In another glimpse into his sense of the magnitude of the moment, Travis tied his ring about the neck of a baby - that of fellow defender, Almeron Dickerson - in the Alamo chapel shortly before his death!

"Victory or Death!" ... the Gateway to Texas || Alamo Photo Gallery || Alamo Recommended Reading & Viewing


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