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How The Alamo Was Lost Essay

3881 words - 16 pages

How Texas Lost the Battle of The Alamo

Charles Cox
Intro to Historical Research-HIST 3300
July 21, 2008

The Battle of The Alamo is believed to have been lost solely to lack of manpower. It was a significant aspect in defeat for the Texians, but hardly the entire cause. The real loss of the battle is to be blamed on James Bowie, William B. Travis, Frank Johnson, and James C. Neill. These mistakes led to the loss of men, lack of material use, as well as unfinished work. Many doubts existed within the defenders of the Alamo and other Texians. They were very laid back, though sent to the Alamo to defend it and the people of San Antonio de Béxar, they did not think Antonio López ...view middle of the document...

The work would prove to be more difficult than anyone had imagined. As the weeks dragged on, tempers began to flare and several men deserted. According to George S. Nelson in The Alamo: An Illustrated History, A group of United States volunteers refused to do any more manual labor. “We’s soldiers not field hands,” they shouted.
1On December 21, 1835, Sam Houston sent orders to Lieutenant Colonel James C. Neill to “take command of the Post of Béxar and make such disposition of the troops there as you may deem proper for the security and protection of the place.” Houston also ordered Neill to “immediately detail some capable officer to assist in fortifying the place in the best manner possible.” 2Later, Sam Houston orders the Alamo “demolished, as it will be impossible to keep up the Station with volunteers.” 3James Neill writes to Governor Henry Smith and the provisional legislature some two weeks later speaking of the things he needs or is lacking and requests more men, provisions, and money for the men who have not yet deserted his command. 4He then writes Sam Houston a letter entailing the same requests and stating his situation, “with only about 80 efficient men, there are at Laredo three thousand men under the command of General Ramirez.”
Much of the blame for conditions in Béxar goes to Colonel Frank W. Johnson, Dr. James W. Grant, and others responsible for the ill-conceived Matamoros expedition, which soon resulted in disaster for the participants. With the encouragement of the General Council, Johnson took three artillery pieces, about two hundred small arms, ammunition, a large quantity of food and other supplies, as well as some two hundred badly needed volunteers and departed south on December 30th. “I have left in garrison at Béxar 100 men under Command of Lt. Colonel Neill,” Johnson wrote to the Council. “This force I consider to be barely sufficient to hold the post and it will require at least fifty additional troops to place it in a strong defensive position. I have ordered all the guns from the town into the Alamo and the fortifications in the town to be destroyed.” Given that Johnson and his comrades expected to take Matamoros with only a few hundred Texans, it may well be said that he underestimated the number of troops needed to defend the Alamo.
James C. Neill continued to press Houston and the disorganized Texas government for assistance, seeming to be more interested in obtaining payment for himself as well as his men than in provisioning the fort. After informing Sam Houston and the provisional government of his status at Béxar, he still had not taken any kind of action, and was yet to requisition supplies, nor did he order the evacuation of Béxar. Instead of taking matters into his own hands, Neill set a disastrous precedent for his successors in command. He wasted precious time, personnel, and resources, including much needed horses, in unsuccessful appeals...

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