176 years ago today, William B. Travis wrote the following letter requesting aid for the Alamo:
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 deter mined 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
While the Alamo has become one of the most infamous battles in American history, Phillip Thomas Tucker author of Exodus from the Alamo: The Anatomy of the Last Stand Myth has written a new analysis that rejects the stories that have been passed on for over 150 years.
In regards to the events on February 24, 1836, he writes:
“While Travis’ eloquent letters and defiant cannon shot [had] proclaimed his fiery determination to hold the Alamo to the bitter end, the common soldiers in the ranks felt differently about such a needless sacrifice for no strategic or tactical sense. Unlike Travis and other officers, the average man in the ranks – especially the volunteers whose dependability was questioned by their Alabama commander – were not seeking glory or immortality, or pursuing personal ambition at any cost. Most of all, these soldiers wanted to survive and fight another day, and this was not possible if they remained inside the Alamo by either fighting or surrendering.” (p. 262)
To further discuss this controversial book, we asked Phillip Thomas Tucker a few questions:
When did you first realize that you wanted to become a writer?
Writing was something that I always wanted to do. The desire to write goes back as far as I can recall.
What is it about writing that appeals to you?
Having an opportunity to set the historical record straight when it has been long distorted or overly-romanticized, and to give voice to those people who have not been heard before, especialy when they desire equal recognition and acknowledgement.
How much research did you conduct on Exodus from the Alamo?
I spent more than 25 years in collecting research and developing original ideas and new themes seldom explored before.
What do you like most about the book, and why did you write it?
The fact that the forgotten voices and views of the Alamo have been presented, and that the true story of the Alamo has been presented without the romance or mythology.
Having the opportunity to present a good many new views, ideas, and perspectives about the Alamo and the Texas Revolution, while breaking much new ground in the field. And I enjoyed presenting a special focus on the common soldiers of both sides, telling their personal stories in great detail.