13 Days

Ronald Reagan

In the early 1800s a feeble man made his way  from St. Louis down to San Antonio, Texas.  He had been wealthy, but bad investments left him broke. He discovered a lead mine and did very well until he began making mistakes.  He had one more dream.  He would come to Texas and talk the Mexican government in to letting him bring in 300 families to settle on land not being used by the citizens.  His name was Moses Austin.  Moses met with the mayor of San Antonio, who also served as the governor of northern Mexico. At the time San Antonio was located in the northern part of Mexico.  Moses pitched his plan and the mayor immediately kicked him out, giving him three days to get out of Mexico.

On his was through the plaza he ran into an old friend, The Baron De Bastrop. Bastrop was wanted for crimes in Belgium and Baltimore.  He had moved to San Antonio, Mexico to avoid being arrested and taken back to those places to stand trial for his crimes.  Austin and Bastrop had met in New Orleans years earlier.  Moses told Bastrop of his disappointment. Bastrop grabbed his arm and marched him back to the mayor’s office.  Bastrop and the major were good friends.  After a short conversation the mayor granted Moses’ request to bring in the 300 families, now known as the original 300.

Moses returned to Missouri and died before he could return. He made his oldest son, Stephen F.  fill his pledge. That was the last thing young Stephen Austin wanted to do. He had just purchased property in Arkansas where Little Rock was going to be built. But being an obedient son he sent out flyers and brought in 298 families. All were honest, honorable people. Less than 10% could read or write.  Frontiermen they were, immediately starting to build cabins and remove stumps on their properties.  The Mexican Constitution of 1824 gave them the right to own their land.  They had one rule to obey.  They had to convert to the Catholic church when they came over the border from the United States.  Most crossed their fingers behind their backs when they signed the document.

Meanwhile a charismatic young leader flashed on the scene in Mexico.  Tall, thin and handsome he charmed the Mexican people.  He then seized power, doing away with the constitution and declared himself El Presidente…but more than that he became a dictator.  The American agreement under the 1824 constitution was made null and void.  He began demanding high taxes from the new Texans.   By 1835 the number of Americans living in Texas had grown to several thousand.  The independent Texans said they would obey the 1824 Mexican Constitution, but not the new regulations set down by the dictator Santa Anna.

Santa Anna felt he needed to teach the Texans a lesson.  He marched 6,000 soldiers north from Mexico City to San Antonio.  The Mexicans living in Texas didn’t want Santa Anna as a dictator. They sided with the Americans.  Tejanos (Texas Mexicans) scouted the border and found it was true, Santa Anna was heading north with a massive number of men. Word spread and a young 26 year old lawyer named Travis began to build an army to protect San Antonio. If San Antonio fell then the rest of the area known as Texas would as well.  When he got to San Antonio he discovered an old Spanish Mission that had been converted into a fort.   Jim Bowie, the famous knife fighter, was already in San Antonio.  The old Mission was nicknamed The Alamo, because of the big cottonwood trees on the property.  Alamo is the Spanish word for Cottonwood.

Bowie and Travis built an army of 189 men.  In that bunch were 17 Tennesseans led by David Crockett. Crockett had been in town less than a week when he found himself in preparation for a battle.  To Travis’ credit he was expecting 400 men to join them from Goliad.  With an army of 600 and 18 cannons he could have put up a tremendous fight.  For reasons not fully known the commander of Goliad refused to march his men to help at the Alamo.  Most think it was fear.

By February 21, 1836 Santa Anna and his 6,000 well trained soldiers were camped in San Antonio.  Travis kept writing desperate letters for help.  Over in Washington on the Brazos General Sam Houston and a group of Texans met in a house with no windows during freezing weather to hammer out the Republic of Texas’ Constitution.  When it was signed Houston headed toward San Antonio.  As he got near the Alamo all was silent, the cannons had stopped.  He knew he was too late.

The morning of March 6th, after 13 days of siege, the Mexican army swarmed the old Mission and killed all the men inside.  Two slaves and a few women and children were spared.  The men’s bodies were piled up like timber and burned.  Only one man was buried, a Mexican who was the brother of one fighting for Santa Anna.

At Goliad, south of San Antonio  400 men surrendered.  Under the orders of Santa Anna they were marched into a field and shot down like mangy dogs.  My seven times, great grandfather was 18. When he saw the killing he broke and ran. The black powder smoke was so heavy he made it to the trees.  He and about seven others escaped.

Houston let Santa Anna chase his army across Texas. It was rainy season and all the little creeks and rivers were over flowing. The mud slowed down the Mexican army and their supply train. When Houston found the right spot he stopped and waited for Santa Anna.  When the fighting began it was almost over before it began. The entire battle lasted 18 minutes.  The Texans shouted, “Remember The Alamo, Remember Goliad.” Several hundred Mexican soldiers were killed. Santa Anna, dressed in a private’s uniform, was discovered when the Mexican men began bowing to him.  Houston traded Santa Anna his life for Texas and ten years later we became a state.

We are part of the United States today because 189 men said no to a dictator who wanted to do away with the constitution.  None of us will be asked to defend an Alamo, but we are needed to defend our constitution.  We don’t need our current president to declare our country’s constitution invalid and appoint himself dictator for life.  Instead of bullets we need to drag people kicking and screaming to the voting booth next year.  We need to clean house of Democrats and liberal Republicans.  We need a majority of conservatives like Ronald Reagan back in Washington.

I could write 5,000 words on the Alamo and just be getting warmed up.   We have it easy. No one is asking us to die, we just need for you to get involved and work to save what we have. What men like Travis, Crockett and Bowie gave their lives for.  That word is FREEDOM.       Will Cooper <><


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