Alamo Mission in San Antonio
Overview
 
The Alamo, originally known as Mission San Antonio de Valero, is a former Roman Catholic mission and fortress compound, site of the Battle of the Alamo
Battle of the Alamo
The Battle of the Alamo was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. Following a 13-day siege, Mexican troops under President General Antonio López de Santa Anna launched an assault on the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de Béxar . All but two of the Texian defenders were killed...

 in 1836, and now a museum, in San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States of America and the second-largest city within the state of Texas, with a population of 1.33 million. Located in the American Southwest and the south–central part of Texas, the city serves as the seat of Bexar County. In 2011,...

.

The compound, which originally comprised a sanctuary and surrounding buildings, was built by the Spanish Empire
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 in the 18th century for the education of local Native Americans
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 after their conversion to Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. In 1793, the mission was secularized and soon abandoned.
Encyclopedia
The Alamo, originally known as Mission San Antonio de Valero, is a former Roman Catholic mission and fortress compound, site of the Battle of the Alamo
Battle of the Alamo
The Battle of the Alamo was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. Following a 13-day siege, Mexican troops under President General Antonio López de Santa Anna launched an assault on the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de Béxar . All but two of the Texian defenders were killed...

 in 1836, and now a museum, in San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States of America and the second-largest city within the state of Texas, with a population of 1.33 million. Located in the American Southwest and the south–central part of Texas, the city serves as the seat of Bexar County. In 2011,...

.

The compound, which originally comprised a sanctuary and surrounding buildings, was built by the Spanish Empire
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 in the 18th century for the education of local Native Americans
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 after their conversion to Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. In 1793, the mission was secularized and soon abandoned. Ten years later, it became a fortress housing the Mexican Army group the Second Flying Company of San Carlos de Parras, who likely gave the mission the name "Alamo."

Mexican
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 soldiers held the mission until December 1835, when General Martin Perfecto de Cos
Martín Perfecto de Cos
Martín Perfecto de Cos was a 19th-century Mexican general. He was married to Lucinda López de Santa Anna, sister of Antonio López de Santa Anna.-Background:Cós was born in Vera Cruz in the year 1800, the son of an attorney...

 surrendered it to the Texian Army
Texian Army
The Texian Army was a military organization consisting of volunteer and regular soldiers who fought against the Mexican army during the Texas Revolution. Approximately 3,700 men joined the army between October 2, 1835 during the Battle of Gonzales through the end of the war on April 21, 1836, at...

 following the siege of Bexar
Siege of Bexar
The Siege of Béxar was an early campaign of the Texas Revolution in which a volunteer Texan army successfully defeated Mexican forces at San Antonio de Béxar . Texians had become disillusioned with the Mexican government as President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna's tenure became increasingly...

. A relatively small number of Texian
Texian
Texian is an archaic, mostly defunct 19th century demonym which defined a settler of current-day Texas, one of the southern states of the United States of America which borders the country of Mexico...

 soldiers then occupied the compound. Texian General Sam Houston
Sam Houston
Samuel Houston, known as Sam Houston , was a 19th-century American statesman, politician, and soldier. He was born in Timber Ridge in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, of Scots-Irish descent. Houston became a key figure in the history of Texas and was elected as the first and third President of...

 believed the Texians did not have the manpower to hold the fort and ordered Colonel James Bowie to destroy it. Bowie chose to disregard those orders and instead worked with Colonel James C. Neill
James C. Neill
↔James Clinton Neill was a 19th-century American soldier and politician, most noted for his role in the Texas Revolution and the early defense of the Alamo. He was born in North Carolina.-Early life and career:...

 to fortify the mission. On February 23, Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón , often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, known as "the Napoleon of the West," was a Mexican political leader, general, and president who greatly influenced early Mexican and Spanish politics and government...

 led a large force of Mexican soldiers into San Antonio de Bexar and promptly initiated a siege
Siege of the Alamo
The siege of the Alamo describes the first twelve days of the Battle of the Alamo. On February 23, Mexican troops under General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna entered San Antonio de Bexar, Texas and surrounded the Alamo Mission...

. The siege ended on March 6, when the Mexican army attacked the Alamo; by the end of the Battle of the Alamo
Battle of the Alamo
The Battle of the Alamo was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. Following a 13-day siege, Mexican troops under President General Antonio López de Santa Anna launched an assault on the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de Béxar . All but two of the Texian defenders were killed...

 all or almost all of the defenders were killed. When the Mexican army retreated from Texas at the end of the Texas Revolution
Texas Revolution
The Texas Revolution or Texas War of Independence was an armed conflict between Mexico and settlers in the Texas portion of the Mexican state Coahuila y Tejas. The war lasted from October 2, 1835 to April 21, 1836...

, they tore down many of the Alamo walls and burned some of the buildings.

For the next five years, the Alamo was periodically used to garrison soldiers, both Texian and Mexican, but was ultimately abandoned. In 1849, several years after Texas was annexed to the United States, the US Army began renting the facility for use as a quartermaster's depot. The US Army abandoned the mission in 1876 after nearby Fort Sam Houston
Fort Sam Houston
Fort Sam Houston is a U.S. Army post in San Antonio, Texas.Known colloquially as "Fort Sam," it is named for the first President of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston....

 was established. The Alamo chapel was sold to the state of Texas, which conducted occasional tours but made no effort to restore it. The remaining buildings were sold to a mercantile company which operated them as a wholesale grocery store.

After forming in 1892, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas
Daughters of the Republic of Texas
The Daughters of the Republic of Texas is a sororal association dedicated to perpetuating the memory of Texas pioneer families and soldiers of the Republic of Texas. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas is best known for its role as caretakers of The Alamo. They also operate a museum in Austin...

 (DRT) began trying to preserve the Alamo. In 1905, Adina Emilia de Zavala and Clara Driscoll successfully convinced the legislature to purchase the buildings and to name the DRT permanent custodians of the site. For the next six years, de Zavala and Driscoll quarrelled over how to best restore the mission, culminating in a court case to decide which of their competing DRT chapters controlled the Alamo. As a result of the feud, Texas governor Oscar B. Colquitt briefly took the complex under state control and began restorations in 1912; the site was given back to the DRT later that year. The legislature took steps in 1988 and again in 1994 to transfer control of the Alamo to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is a Texas state agency that oversees and protects wildlife and their habitats. In addition, the agency is responsible for managing the state's parks and historical areas...

 but the attempt failed after then-governor George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 vowed to veto any bill removing the DRT's authority.

Mission

In 1716, the Spanish government established several Roman Catholic missions in East Texas
East Texas
East Texas is a distinct geographic and ecological area in the U.S. state of Texas.According to the Handbook of Texas, the East Texas area "may be separated from the rest of Texas roughly by a line extending from the Red River in north central Lamar County southwestward to east central Limestone...

. The isolation of the missions—the nearest Spanish settlement, San Juan Bautista, Coahuila
Guerrero, Coahuila
Guerrero is a city and seat of the municipality of Guerrero, in the north-eastern Mexican state of Coahuila. The 2010 census population was reported as 959 inhabitants.-History:...

 was over 400 miles (644 km) away—made it difficult to keep them adequately provisioned. To assist the missionaries, the new governor of Spanish Texas
Spanish Texas
Spanish Texas was one of the interior provinces of New Spain from 1690 until 1821. Although Spain claimed ownership of the territory, which comprised part of modern-day Texas, including the land north of the Medina and Nueces Rivers, the Spanish did not attempt to colonize the area until after...

, Martín de Alarcón
Martín de Alarcón
Martín de Alarcón was the governor of Spanish Texas from 1705 until 1708, and again from 1716 until 1719. He founded San Antonio, the first civilian settlement in Texas.-First term:...

, wished to establish a way station between the settlements along the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
The Rio Grande is a river that flows from southwestern Colorado in the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way it forms part of the Mexico – United States border. Its length varies as its course changes...

 and the new missions in East Texas. In April 1718, Alarcón led an expedition to found a new community in Texas. On May 1, the group erected a temporary mud, brush, and straw structure near the headwaters of the San Antonio River
San Antonio River
The San Antonio River is a major waterway that originates in central Texas in a cluster of springs in north central San Antonio, approximately four miles north of downtown, and follows a roughly southeastern path through the state. It eventually feeds into the Guadalupe River about ten miles from...

. This building would serve as a new mission, San Antonio de Valero, named after Saint Anthony of Padua
Anthony of Padua
Anthony of Padua or Anthony of Lisbon, O.F.M., was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. Though he died in Padua, Italy, he was born to a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal, which is where he was raised...

 and the viceroy of New Spain, Baltasar de Zúñiga y Guzmán Sotomayor y Sarmiento, Marquess of Valero. The mission, headed by Father Antonio de San Buenaventura y Olivares
Antonio de Olivares
Antonio de Olivares was a Spanish Franciscan known by officiate at the first Mass celebrated in Texas, for contributing to the founding of San Antonio and for his exploration in this city.-Biography:...

, was located near a community of Coahuiltecan
Coahuiltecan
Coahuiltecan or Paikawa was a proposed language family in John Wesley Powell's 1891 classification of Native American languages that consisted of Coahuilteco and Cotoname. The proposal was expanded to include Comecrudo, Karankawa, and Tonkawa...

s and was initially populated by three to five Indian converts from Mission San Francisco Solano near San Juan Bautista. One mile (two km) north of the mission, Alarcón built a presidio (fort), the Presidio San Antonio de Bexar
Presidio San Antonio de Bexar
Presidio San Antonio de Béxar was a Spanish fort built near the San Antonio River, located in what is now San Antonio, Texas. It was designed for protection of the mission system and civil settlement in central Texas...

. Close by, he founded the first civilian community in Texas, San Antonio de Bexar (now San Antonio, Texas).

Within a year, the mission moved to the western bank of the river, where it was less likely to flood. Over the next several years, a chain of missions
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park preserves four of the five Spanish frontier missions in San Antonio, Texas. These outposts were established by Catholic religious orders to spread Christianity among the local natives...

 were established nearby. In 1724, after remants of a Gulf Coast hurricane destroyed the existing structures at Mission San Antonio de Valero, the mission was moved to its current location. At the time, the new location was just across the San Antonio River from the town of San Antonio de Bexar, and just north of a group of huts known as La Villita.

Over the next several decades, the mission complex expanded to cover 3 acres (1.2 ha). The first permanent building was likely the two-story, L-shaped stone residence for the priests. The building served as parts of the west and south edges of an inner courtyard. A series of adobe barracks buildings were constructed to house the mission Indians and a textile workshop was erected. By 1744, over 300 Indian converts resided at San Antonio de Valero. The mission was largely self-sufficient, relying on its 2000 head of cattle and 1300 sheep for food and clothing. Each year, the mission's farmland produced up to 2000 bushels of corn and 100 bushels of bean; cotton was also grown.

The first stones were laid for a more permanent church building in 1744. The church, its tower and the sacristy
Sacristy
A sacristy is a room for keeping vestments and other church furnishings, sacred vessels, and parish records.The sacristy is usually located inside the church, but in some cases it is an annex or separate building...

 fell down in the late 1750s. Construction began again in 1758. The new chapel was located at the south end of the inner courtyard. Constructed of 4 feet (1.2 m) thick limestone blocks, it was intended to be three stories high, topped by a dome, with bell towers on either side. Its shape was a traditional cross, with a long nave
Nave
In Romanesque and Gothic Christian abbey, cathedral basilica and church architecture, the nave is the central approach to the high altar, the main body of the church. "Nave" was probably suggested by the keel shape of its vaulting...

 and short transept
Transept
For the periodical go to The Transept.A transept is a transverse section, of any building, which lies across the main body of the building. In Christian churches, a transept is an area set crosswise to the nave in a cruciform building in Romanesque and Gothic Christian church architecture...

. Although the first two levels were completed, the bell towers and third story were never begun. Four stone arches were erected to support the planned dome, but the dome itself was not built. As the church was never completed, it is unlikely that is was ever used for religious services.
The chapel was intended to be highly decorated. Niches were carved on either side of the door to hold statues. The lower-level niches displayed Saint Francis and Saint Dominic
Saint Dominic
Saint Dominic , also known as Dominic of Osma, often called Dominic de Guzmán and Domingo Félix de Guzmán was the founder of the Friars Preachers, popularly called the Dominicans or Order of Preachers , a Catholic religious order...

, while the second-level niches contained statues of Saint Clare
Clare of Assisi
Clare of Assisi , born Chiara Offreduccio, is an Italian saint and one of the first followers of Saint Francis of Assisi...

 and Saint Margaret of Cortona. Carvings were also completed around the chapel's door.

Up to 30 adobe
Adobe
Adobe is a natural building material made from sand, clay, water, and some kind of fibrous or organic material , which the builders shape into bricks using frames and dry in the sun. Adobe buildings are similar to cob and mudbrick buildings. Adobe structures are extremely durable, and account for...

 or mud buildings were constructed to serve as workrooms, storerooms, and homes for the Indian residents. As the nearby presidio was perpetually understaffed, the mission was built to withstand attacks by Apache
Apache
Apache is the collective term for several culturally related groups of Native Americans in the United States originally from the Southwest United States. These indigenous peoples of North America speak a Southern Athabaskan language, which is related linguistically to the languages of Athabaskan...

 and Comanche
Comanche
The Comanche are a Native American ethnic group whose historic range consisted of present-day eastern New Mexico, southern Colorado, northeastern Arizona, southern Kansas, all of Oklahoma, and most of northwest Texas. Historically, the Comanches were hunter-gatherers, with a typical Plains Indian...

 raiders. In 1745, 100 mission Indians successfully drove off a band of 300 Apaches which had surrounded the presidio. Their actions saved the presidio, the mission, and likely the town from destruction. Walls were erected around the Indian homes in 1758, likely in response to a massacre at the San Saba mission
Mission Santa Cruz de San Sabá
Mission Santa Cruz de San Sabá was one of the Spanish missions in Texas, established in 1757 in what is now Menard County. Located along the San Saba River, the mission was intended to convert members of the Lipan Apache tribe. Although no Apache ever resided at the mission, its existence...

. The convent and church were not fully enclosed within the 8 feet (2.4 m) walls. The walls were built 2 foot (0.6096 m) thick and enclosed an area 480 feet (146.3 m) long (north-south) and 160 feet (48.8 m) wide (east-west). For additional protection, a turret housing three cannon was added near the main gate in 1762. By 1793 an additional one-pounder cannon had been placed on a rampart near the convent.

The population of Indians fluctuated, from a high of 328 in 1756 to a low of 44 in 1777. The new commandant general of the interior provinces, Teodoro de Croix, thought the missions were largely a liability and began taking actions to decrease their influence. In 1778, he ruled that all unbranded cattle belonged to the government. Raiding Apache tribes had stolen most of the mission's horses, making it extremely difficult to round up and brand the cattle. As a result, when the ruling took effect, the mission lost a great deal of its wealth and was unable to support a larger population of converts. By 1793, only 12 Indians remained.Mason lists the number as 52. Mason (1974), p. 56. By this point, few of the hunting and gathering tribes in Texas had not been Christianized. In 1793, Mission San Antonio de Valero was secularized.

The mission was soon abandoned. Most locals were uninterested in the buildings. Visitors were often more impressed. In 1828, French naturalist Jean Louis Berlandier visited the area. He mentioned the Alamo complex: "An enormous battlement and some barracks are found there, as well as the ruins of a church which could pass for one of the loveliest monuments of the area, even if its architecture is overloaded with ornamentation like all the ecclesiastical buildings of the Spanish colonies."

Military

In the 19th century, the mission complex became known as "the Alamo". The name may have been derived from the grove of nearby cottonwood trees, known in Spanish as álamo. Alternatively, the complex may have taken the nickname of a company of Spanish soldiers. In 1803, the abandoned compound was occupied by the Second Flying Company of San Carlos de Parras, from Álamo de Parras in Coahuila
Coahuila
Coahuila, formally Coahuila de Zaragoza , officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Coahuila de Zaragoza is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico...

. Locals often called them simply the "Alamo Company".

During the Mexican War of Independence
Mexican War of Independence
The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the people of Mexico and the Spanish colonial authorities which started on 16 September 1810. The movement, which became known as the Mexican War of Independence, was led by Mexican-born Spaniards, Mestizos and Amerindians who sought...

, parts of the mission frequently served as a prison for those whose political beliefs did not match the current authority. Between 1806 and 1812 it also served as San Antonio's first hospital. Spanish records indicate that some renovations were made for this purpose, but no details are provided.

The buildings were transferred from Spanish to Mexican
Mexican Texas
Mexican Texas is the name given by Texas history scholars to the period between 1821 and 1836, when Texas was an integral part of Mexico. The period began with Mexico's victory over Spain in its war of independence in 1821. For the first several years of its existence, Mexican Texas operated very...

 control in 1821 after Mexico received its independence. Soldiers continued to garrison in the complex until December 1835, when General Martín Perfecto de Cos
Martín Perfecto de Cos
Martín Perfecto de Cos was a 19th-century Mexican general. He was married to Lucinda López de Santa Anna, sister of Antonio López de Santa Anna.-Background:Cós was born in Vera Cruz in the year 1800, the son of an attorney...

 surrendered to Texian forces
Siege of Bexar
The Siege of Béxar was an early campaign of the Texas Revolution in which a volunteer Texan army successfully defeated Mexican forces at San Antonio de Béxar . Texians had become disillusioned with the Mexican government as President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna's tenure became increasingly...

 during the Texas Revolution
Texas Revolution
The Texas Revolution or Texas War of Independence was an armed conflict between Mexico and settlers in the Texas portion of the Mexican state Coahuila y Tejas. The war lasted from October 2, 1835 to April 21, 1836...

. In the few months that Cos supervised the troops garrisoned in San Antonio, he had ordered many improvements to the Alamo. Cos's men likely demolished the four stone arches that were to support a future chapel dome. The debris from these was used to build a ramp to the apse of the chapel building. There, the Mexican soldiers placed three cannon, which could fire over the walls of the roofless building. To close a gap between the church and the barracks (formerly the convent building) and the south wall, the soldiers built a palisade. When Cos retreated, he left behind 19 cannon, including an 18-pounder.

Battle of the Alamo

With Cos's departure, there was no longer an organized garrison of Mexican troops in Texas, and many Texian
Texian
Texian is an archaic, mostly defunct 19th century demonym which defined a settler of current-day Texas, one of the southern states of the United States of America which borders the country of Mexico...

s believed the war was over. Colonel James C. Neill
James C. Neill
↔James Clinton Neill was a 19th-century American soldier and politician, most noted for his role in the Texas Revolution and the early defense of the Alamo. He was born in North Carolina.-Early life and career:...

 assumed command of the 100 soldiers who remained. Neill requested that an additional 200 men be sent to fortify the Alamo, and expressed fear that his garrison could be starved out of the Alamo after a four-day siege. However, the Texian government was in turmoil and unable to provide much assistance. Determined to make the best of the situation, Neill and engineer Green B. Jameson began working to fortify the Alamo. Jameson installed the cannons that Cos had left along the walls.

Heeding Neill's warnings, General Sam Houston
Sam Houston
Samuel Houston, known as Sam Houston , was a 19th-century American statesman, politician, and soldier. He was born in Timber Ridge in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, of Scots-Irish descent. Houston became a key figure in the history of Texas and was elected as the first and third President of...

 ordered Colonel James Bowie to take 35–50 men to Bexar to help Neill move all of the artillery and destroy the Alamo. There were not enough oxen to move the artillery someplace safer, and most of the men believed the complex was of strategic importance to protecting the settlements to the east. On January 26 the Texian soldiers passed a resolution in favor of holding the Alamo. On February 11, Neill went on furlough, likely to pursue additional reinforcements and supplies for the garrison. William Travis and Bowie agreed to share command of the Alamo.
On February 23 the Mexican army, under the command of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón , often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, known as "the Napoleon of the West," was a Mexican political leader, general, and president who greatly influenced early Mexican and Spanish politics and government...

, arrived in San Antonio de Bexar. For the next thirteen days, the Mexican Army laid siege to the Alamo
Siege of the Alamo
The siege of the Alamo describes the first twelve days of the Battle of the Alamo. On February 23, Mexican troops under General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna entered San Antonio de Bexar, Texas and surrounded the Alamo Mission...

. During the siege, work continued on the interior of the Alamo. After Mexican soldiers tried to block the irrigation ditch leading into the Alamo, Jameson supervised the digging of a well at the south end of the plaza. Although the men hit water, they weakened an earth and timber parapet by the low barracks; the mound collapsed, leaving no way to fire safely over that wall.

The siege ended in a fierce battle on March 6. As the Mexican army overran the walls and began gathering in the interior of the Alamo compound, most of the Texians fell back to the long barracks (convent) and the chapel. During the siege, Texians had carved holes in many of the walls of these rooms so that they would be able to fire. Each room had only one door which led into the courtyard and which had been "buttressed by semicircular parapets of dirt secured with cowhides". Some of the rooms even had trenches dug into the floor to provide some cover for the defenders. Mexican soldiers used the abandoned Texian cannon to blow off the doors of the rooms, allowing Mexican soldiers to enter and defeat the Texians.

The last of the Texians to die were the eleven men manning the two 12 lb (5.4 kg) cannon in the chapel. The entrance to the church had been barricaded with sandbags, which the Texians were able to fire over. A shot from the 18 lb (8.2 kg) cannon destroyed the barricades, and Mexican soldiers entered the building after firing an initial musket volley. With no time to reload, the Texians, including Dickinson, Gregorio Esparza, and Bonham, grabbed rifles and fired before being bayoneted to death. Texian Robert Evans was master of ordnance and had been tasked with keeping the gunpowder from falling into Mexican hands. Wounded, he crawled towards the powder magazine but was killed by a musket ball with his torch only inches from the powder. If he had succeeded, the blast would have destroyed the church.

Santa Anna ordered that the Texian bodies be stacked and burned.The only exception was the body of Gregorio Esparza, whose brother, Francisco Esparza, served in Santa Anna's army and received permission to give Gregorio a proper burial. Edmondson (2000), p. 374. All or almost all of the Texian defenders were killed, although some historians believe that at least one Texian, Henry Warnell, successfully escaped from the battle. Warnell died several months later of wounds incurred either during the final battle or during his escape as a courier. Most Alamo historians agree that 400–600 Mexicans were killed or wounded. This would represent about one-third of the Mexican soldiers involved in the final assault, which Todish remarks is "a tremendous casualty rate by any standards".

Further military use

Following the battle of the Alamo, one thousand Mexican soldiers, under General Juan Andrade, remained at the mission. For the next two months they repaired and fortified the complex, so that it could continue to serve as a major Mexican fort within Texas. No records remain of what improvements they made to the structure. After the Mexican army's defeat at the Battle of San Jacinto
Battle of San Jacinto
The Battle of San Jacinto, fought on April 21, 1836, in present-day Harris County, Texas, was the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. Led by General Sam Houston, the Texian Army engaged and defeated General Antonio López de Santa Anna's Mexican forces in a fight that lasted just eighteen...

 and the capture of Santa Anna, the Mexican army agreed to leave Texas, effectively ending the Texas Revolution. As Andrade and his garrison joined the retreat on May 24, they spiked the cannons, tore down many of the Alamo walls, and set fires throughout the complex. Only a few buildings survived their efforts—the chapel was left in ruins, most of the Long Barracks was still standing, and the building that had contained the south wall gate and several rooms was mostly intact.

The Texians briefly used the Alamo as a fortress in December 1836 and again in January 1839. The Mexican army regained control in March 1841 and September 1842 as they briefly took San Antonio de Bexar. According to historians Roberts and Olson, "both groups carved names in the Alamo's walls, dug musket rounds out of the holds, and knocked off stone carvings". Pieces of the debris were sold to tourists, and in 1840 the San Antonio town council passed a resolution allowing local citizens to take stone from the Alamo at a cost of $5 per wagonload. By the late 1840s, even the four statues located on the front wall of the chapel had been removed.
On January 13, 1841, the Republic of Texas
Republic of Texas
The Republic of Texas was an independent nation in North America, bordering the United States and Mexico, that existed from 1836 to 1846.Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S...

 passed an act returning the sanctuary of the Alamo to the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. By 1845, when Texas was annexed to the United States, a colony of bats occupied the abandoned complex and weeds and grass covered many of the walls.

As the Mexican-American War loomed in 1846, 2000 United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 soldiers were sent to San Antonio under Brigadier General John Wool. By the end of the year, they had appropriated part of the Alamo complex for the Quartermaster's Department. Within eighteen months, the convent building had been restored to serve as offices and storerooms. The chapel remained vacant, however, as the army, the Roman Catholic Church, and the city of San Antonio bickered over its ownership. An 1855 decision by the Texas Supreme Court
Texas Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of Texas is the court of last resort for non-criminal matters in the state of Texas. A different court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, is the court of last resort for criminal matters.The Court is composed of a Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices...

 reaffirmed that the Catholic Church was the rightful owner of the chapel. Even while litigation was ongoing, the army rented the chapel from the Catholic Church for $150 per month.

Under the army's oversight, the Alamo was greatly repaired. Soldiers cleared the grounds and rebuilt the old convent and the mission walls, primarily from original stone which was strewn along the ground. During the renovations, a new wooden roof was added to the chapel and the campanulate, or bell-shaped facade, was added to the front wall of the chapel. At the time, reports suggested that the soldiers found several skeletons while clearing the rubble from the chapel floor. The new chapel roof was destroyed in a fire in 1861. The army also cut additional windows into the chapel, adding two on the upper level of the facade as well as additional windows on the other three sides of the building. The complex eventually contained a supply depot, offices, storage facilities, a blacksmith shop, and stables.

During the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, Texas joined the Confederacy
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

, and the Alamo complex was taken over by the Confederate Army. In February 1861, the Texan Militia, under direction from the Texas Secession Convention and led by Ben McCullough and Sam Maverick, confronted General Twiggs, commander of all US Forces in Texas and headquartered at the Alamo. Twiggs elected to surrender and all supplies were turned over to the Texans. Following the Confederacy's defeat, the United States Army again maintained control over the Alamo. Shortly after the war ended, however, the Catholic Church requested that the army vacate the premises so that the Alamo could become a place of worship for local German Catholics. The army refused, and the church made no further attempts at retaking the complex.

Mercantile

The army abandoned the Alamo in 1876, when Fort Sam Houston
Fort Sam Houston
Fort Sam Houston is a U.S. Army post in San Antonio, Texas.Known colloquially as "Fort Sam," it is named for the first President of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston....

 was established in San Antonio. At about that time, the Church sold the convent to Honore Grenet, who added a new two-story wood building to the complex. Grenet used the convent and the new building for a wholesale grocery business. After Grenet's death in 1882, his business was purchased by mercantile firm Hugo & Schmeltzer, which continued to operate the store.

San Antonio's first rail service began in 1877, and the city's tourism industry began to grow. The city heavily advertised the Alamo, using photographs or drawings that showed only the chapel, not the city surrounding it. Many of the visitors were disappointed with their visit; in 1877 tourist Harrier P. Spofford wrote that the chapel was "a reproach to all San Antonio. Its wall is overthrown and removed, its dormitories are piled with military stores, its battle-scarred front has been revamped and repainted and market carts roll to and fro on the spot where flames ascended ... over the funeral pyre of heroes".

Ownership transfer

In 1883, the Catholic Church sold the chapel to the State of Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 for $20,000. The state hired Tom Rife to manage the building. He gave tours but did not make any efforts to restore the chapel, to the annoyance of many. In the past decades, soldiers and members of the local Masonic lodge
Freemasonry
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

, which had used the building for meetings, had inscribed various graffiti on the walls and statues. In May 1887 a devout Catholic who was incensed that Masonic emblems had been inscribed on a statue of Saint Theresa
Thérèse de Lisieux
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux , or Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, born Marie-Françoise-Thérèse Martin, was a French Carmelite nun...

 was arrested after breaking into the building and smashing statues with a sledgehammer.
The 50th anniversary of the fall of the Alamo received little attention. In an editorial after the fact, the San Antonio Express called for the formation of a new society that would help recognize important historical events. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas
Daughters of the Republic of Texas
The Daughters of the Republic of Texas is a sororal association dedicated to perpetuating the memory of Texas pioneer families and soldiers of the Republic of Texas. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas is best known for its role as caretakers of The Alamo. They also operate a museum in Austin...

 (DRT) finally organized in 1892; one of their main goals was to preserve the Alamo. Among its early members was Adina Emilia De Zavala
Adina Emilia De Zavala
Adina Emilia De Zavala was a teacher, historian and preservationist of Texas history. Her efforts led to saving the Alamo Long Barrack Fortress for future generations. She was born to Augustine De Zavala , son of Lorenzo de Zavala, the first Vice President of the Republic of Texas...

, granddaughter of Republic of Texas
Republic of Texas
The Republic of Texas was an independent nation in North America, bordering the United States and Mexico, that existed from 1836 to 1846.Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S...

 Vice-President Lorenzo de Zavala
Lorenzo de Zavala
Manuel Lorenzo Justiniano de Zavala y Saenz was a 19th-century Mexican politician. He served as finance minister under President Vicente Guerrero. A colonizer and statesman, he was also the interim Vice President of the Republic of Texas, serving under interim President David G...

. Shortly before the turn of the century, Adina de Zavala convinced Gustav Schmeltzer, owner of the convent, to give the DRT first option in purchasing the building if it was ever sold. In 1903, Schmeltzer announced that he wanted to sell the convent building to a developer so that it could be turned into a hotel. He offered to sell the building to the DRT for $75,000, which they did not have. De Zavala decided to ask for a donation from the owners of the Menger Hotel, hoping that they would be willing to pay so as not to have competition. On the day of her impromptu visit, however, the owners were away and de Zavala struck up a conversation with a hotel patron, Clara Driscoll. Driscoll was an heiress who was very interested in Texas history and especially the Alamo.
After their conversation, Driscoll joined the DRT and was almost immediately appointed chair of the San Antonio chapter's fund-raising committee. The DRT was able to negotiate a 30-day option on the property. The group would pay $500 up front, with an additional $4,500 due at the conclusion of the 30 days. On February 10, 1904, the group would owe $20,000, and the remainder of the cost would be paid in five annual installments of $10,000 each. On March 17, 1903, Driscoll paid the initial $500 deposit out of her personal funds. To raise the rest of the money, Driscoll's fund-raising committee sent tens of thousands of letters to Texas residents, asking each person to donate 50 cents. By the end of the 30-day option, the group had collected only $1,021.75 in donations.

On April 17, Driscoll paid the remainder of the $4,500 from her own pocket. At the urging of both Driscoll and de Zavala, the Texas Legislature approved $5,000 for the committee to use as part of the next payment. The appropriation was vetoed by Governor S. W. T. Lanham, who said it was "not a justifiable expenditure of the taxpayers' money". Undeterred, DRT members set up a collection booth outside of the Alamo and held several fundraising activities. Through these activities, they raised $5,662.23. Driscoll again agreed to make up the difference, and also agreed to pay the final $50,000. After hearing of her generosity, various newspapers in Texas dubbed her the "Savior of the Alamo". As news of her donation spread, many groups throughout the state began to petition the legislature to reimburse Driscoll. In January 1905, de Zavala drafted a bill to that effect that was sponsored by representative Samuel Ealy Johnson, Jr. (father of future US President Lyndon Baines Johnson). The bill was passed, and Driscoll received all of her money back. The bill also named the DRT custodian of the Alamo and convent, and they received official control on September 5, 1905.
Soon after the San Antonio chapter of the DRT gained custody of the Alamo, Driscoll and de Zavala began arguing over how best to preserve the building. De Zavala wished to restore the exterior of the buildings to a state similar to its 1836 appearance. As most of the defenders of the battle of the Alamo who died indoors had died in the convent (then called the long barracks), she wished to make that building a focal point of the site. She envisioned a museum and library on the ground floor, and a tribute to the defenders on the second floor. Driscoll, on the other hand, wanted to tear down the long barracks. According to Roberts and Olson, Driscoll wanted to create a monument similar to those she had seen in Europe, "a city center opened by a large plaza and anchored by an ancient chapel".

Unable to convince de Zavala and her supporters to agree to tear down the convent, Driscoll and several other women seceded from the San Antonio chapter of the DRT and formed a competing chapter they named the Alamo Mission chapter. The two chapters promptly began arguing over which had oversight of the Alamo. Unable to quickly resolve the dispute, in February 1908 the executive committee of the DRT decided to lease out the building. Angry with that decision, on February 10 de Zavala held a press conference and announced that a syndicate wanted to buy the chapel and tear it down. She then barricaded herself in the Hugo and Schmetlzer building for three days.

In response to the drama that de Zavala created, on February 12, Governor Thomas Mitchell Campbell
Thomas Mitchell Campbell
Thomas Mitchell Campbell was the 24th Governor of Texas from 1907 to 1911.-Biography:Campbell was born in Rusk, Texas, the son of Thomas Duncan and Rachel Campbell. He attended school at Rusk and entered Trinity University in 1873 to study law. He was unable to support himself and withdrew after...

 ordered that the superintendent of public building and grounds take control of the property. The two DRT chapters took their dispute to the courts, which eventually named Driscoll's chapter the official custodians of the Alamo. The DRT later expelled de Zavala and her followers.

Restoration

Driscoll offered to donate the money required to tear down the convent, build a stone wall around the Alamo complex, and convert the interior into a park. The legislature was asked to make the final determination of what should be done with the convent. Many members of the legislature saw no good way to end the battle; Robert and Olson commented that "regardless of what they decided, they were going to end up having a group of very angry, very politically active women aligned against them". The legislature thus postponed a decision until after the 1910 elections. Those elections gave the state a new governor, Oscar Branch Colquitt
Oscar Branch Colquitt
Oscar Branch Colquitt was the 25th Governor of Texas from January 17, 1911 to January 19, 1915. He was a member of the Democratic Party. Gov...

. On December 28, 1911, Colquitt held a meeting for "all persons interested, and who had any information they could give me, about the Alamo as it stood at the time of the butchery of Travis and his men". Both de Zavala and Driscoll spoke, and Colquitt toured the property. Three months after his visit, Colquitt removed the DRT as official custodians of the Alamo, citing the fact that they had done nothing to restore the property since gaining control. He also announced an intent to rebuild the convent. Shortly thereafter, the legislature paid to demolish the building that had been added by Hugo and Schmeltzer and authorized $5000 to restore the rest of the complex. The restorations were begun but could not be finished as the appropriation was not large enough to cover all of the costs.

Driscoll was livid over Colquitt's decisions and used her influence as a major donor to the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 to undermine him. At the time, Colquitt was considered running for U.S. Senate. Driscoll told the New York Herald Tribune
New York Herald Tribune
The New York Herald Tribune was a daily newspaper created in 1924 when the New York Tribune acquired the New York Herald.Other predecessors, which had earlier merged into the New York Tribune, included the original The New Yorker newsweekly , and the Whig Party's Log Cabin.The paper was home to...

that "the Daughters desire to have a Spanish garden on the site of the old mission, but the governor will not consider it. Therefore, we are going to fight him from the stump. ... We are also going to make speeches in the districts of State Senators who voted against and killed the amendment" to return control of the mission to the DRT. In a compromise and to save face, Colquitt left the state, ostensibly on state business. This left Lieutenant Governor William Harding Mayes in authority. In 1913, Mayes agreed to allow the upper-story walls to be removed from the convent, leaving only the one-story walls of the west and south portions of the building. The conflict over what to do with the buildings became known as the Second Battle of the Alamo.
Over the next several decades, Driscoll continued to work towards creating a plaza with the chapel as its centerpiece. In 1931, she convinced the state legislature to purchase two tracts of land between the chapel and Crockett street. The legislature appropriated most of the money necessary to buy the land, and Driscoll paid the remainder out of her own pocket. The legislature was later convinced to repay her. In 1935, she convinced the city of San Antonio not to place a fire station in a building near the Alamo; the DRT later purchased that building and made it the DRT library.

During the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, money from the Works Progress Administration
Works Progress Administration
The Works Progress Administration was the largest and most ambitious New Deal agency, employing millions of unskilled workers to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads, and operated large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects...

 and the National Youth Administration
National Youth Administration
The National Youth Administration was a New Deal agency in the United States that focused on providing work and education for Americans between the ages of 16 and 24. It operated from 1935 to 1939 as part of the Works Progress Administration . Following the passage of the Reorganization Act of...

 was used to construct a wall around the Alamo, to build a museum, and to raze several old buildings that were left on the Alamo property.

As recognition for their efforts in trying to preserve the Alamo, when Driscoll died in July 1945 and de Zavala died in March 1955, their bodies were laid in state in the Alamo Chapel.

The Alamo was designated a National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

 on December 19, 1960, was documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey
Historic American Buildings Survey
The Historic American Buildings Survey , Historic American Engineering Record , and Historic American Landscapes Survey are programs of the National Park Service established for the purpose of documenting historic places. Records consists of measured drawings, archival photographs, and written...

 in 1961, was added to the National Register of Historic Places when they were founded in 1966, and is a contributing propertly to the Alamo Plaza Historic District
Alamo Plaza Historic District
Alamo Plaza Historic District is a historic district in San Antonio, Texas that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.It includes The Alamo, a separately listed Registered Historic Place and a U.S. National Historic Landmark....

, which was designated in 1977. As San Antonio prepared to host the Hemisfair
HemisFair '68
HemisFair '68 was the first officially designated world's fair held in the southwestern United States. San Antonio, Texas hosted the fair from April 6 through October 6, 1968. More than thirty nations hosted pavilions at the fair. The fair was held in conjunction with the 250th anniversary of the...

 in 1968, the long barracks was roofed and turned into a museum. Few structural changes have taken place since then.

According to Herbert Malloy Mason's Spanish Missions of Texas, the Alamo is one of "the finest examples of Spanish ecclesiastical building on the North American continent".Mason believes that the remaining missions in San Antonio, as well as Presidio la Bahia
Presidio La Bahía
The Presidio Nuestra Señora de Loreto de la Bahía, known more commonly as Presidio La Bahia, or simply La Bahia is a fort constructed by the Spanish Army that became the nucleus of the city of Goliad, Texas, United States. Originally founded in 1721 on the ruins of the failed French Fort Saint...

 in Goliad, Texas
Goliad, Texas
Goliad is a city in Goliad County, Texas, United States. It had a population of 1975 at the 2000 census. Founded on the San Antonio River, it is the county seat of Goliad County. It is part of the Victoria, Texas Metropolitan Statistical Area. Goliad is located on U.S. Highway 59, named also for...

, are in a similar category to the Alamo building. Mason (1974), p. 71.
The mission, along with the others located in San Antonio, is at risk from environmental factors, however. The limestone used to construct the buildings was taken from the banks of the San Antonio River. It expands when confronted with moisture and then contracts when temperatures drop, shedding small pieces of limestone with each cycle. Measures have been taken to partially combat the problem.

Ownership dispute

In 1988, a theater near the Alamo unveiled a new movie, Alamo ... the Price of Freedom. The 40-minute long film would be screened several times each day. The movie attracted much protest from Mexican American activists, who decried the anti-Mexican comments and complained that it ignored Tejano contributions to the battle. The movie was re-edited in response to the complaints, but the controversy grew to the point that many activists began pressuring the legislature to move control of the Alamo to the League of United Latin American Citizens
League of United Latin American Citizens
The League of United Latin American Citizens was created to combat the discrimination that Hispanics face in the United States. Established February 17, 1929 in Corpus Christi, Texas, LULAC was a consolidation of smaller, like-minded civil rights groups already in existence...

 (LULAC). In response to pressure from Hispanic groups, state representative Orlando Garcia of San Antonio began legislative hearings into DRT finances. The DRT agreed to make their financial records more open, and the hearings were canceled.
Shortly after that, San Antonio representative Jerry Beauchamp proposed that the Alamo be transferred from the DRT and to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is a Texas state agency that oversees and protects wildlife and their habitats. In addition, the agency is responsible for managing the state's parks and historical areas...

. Many minority legislators agreed with him. However, the San Antonio mayor, Henry Cisneros
Henry Cisneros
Henry Gabriel Cisneros is a politician and businessman. A Democrat, Cisneros served as the 10th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the administration of President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997...

, advocated that control remain with the DRT, and the legislature shelved the bill.

Several years later, Carlos Guerra, a reporter for the San Antonio Express-News, began writing columns attacking the DRT for their care of the Alamo. According to him, the DRT had kept the temperature too low within the chapel, causing water vapor to form. The water vapor would then mix with car exhaust fumes and damage the limestone walls. These allegations prompted the legislature in 1993 to again attempt to transfer control of the Alamo to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. At the same time, State Senator Gregory Luna filed a competing bill to transfer oversight of the Alamo to the Texas Historical Commission
Texas Historical Commission
The Texas Historical Commission is an agency dedicated to historic preservation within the state of Texas. It administers the National Register of Historic Places for sites in Texas....

.

By the following year, some advocacy groups in San Antonio had begun pressing for the mission to be turned into a larger historical park. They wished to restore the chapel to its 18th century appearance and focus the complex on its mission days rather than the activities of the Texas Revolution. The DRT was outraged. The head of the group's Alamo Committee, Ana Hartman, claimed that the dispute was gender based. According to her, " "There's something macho about it. Some of the men who are attacking us just resent what has been a successful female venture since 1905."

The dispute was mostly resolved in 1994, when then-governor George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 vowed to veto any legislation that would displace the DRT as caretakers of the Alamo. Later that year, the DRT erected a marker on the mission grounds recognizing that they had once served as Indian burial grounds.

Modern use

As of 2002, the Alamo welcomed over four million visitors each year, making it one of the most popular historic sites in the United States. Visitors may tour the chapel, as well as the Long Barracks, which contains a small museum with paintings, weapons, and other artifacts from the era of the Texas Revolution. Additional artifacts are displayed in another complex building, alongside a large diorama that recreates the compound as it existed in 1836. A large mural, known as the Wall of History, portrays the history of the Alamo complex from its mission days to modern times.

Although the governor's office receives annual audits of the site's financial records, for at least a decade under Rick Perry
Rick Perry
James Richard "Rick" Perry is the 47th and current Governor of Texas. A Republican, Perry was elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1998 and assumed the governorship in December 2000 when then-governor George W. Bush resigned to become President of the United States. Perry was elected to full...

 the audits have not been examined. The site has an annual budget of $5 million, primarily funded through sales in the gift store.

In 2009 DRT commissioned the first land survey of the Alamo by Westar Alamo Land Surveyors, Inc. which was signed by Registered Professional Land Surveyor Jose A. Trevino in November 2009.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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