The thirteen-day siege of the Alamo ended on March 6, 1836, when the defenders were overrun and killed by Santa Anna’s troops. In this age of Twitter and cell phones, it is hard to imagine how slowly news traveled in 1836. If today news scampers, in 1836 news moseyed. News was disseminated by soldiers on foot, by riders on horseback, by passengers on steamboats. For days, even weeks after March 6 newspapers were slow to confirm the fall of the Alamo and continued to print reports that the siege was continuing, that a victory by the outnumbered Alamo defenders was still hoped for.
This report of March 17 by a New Orleans newspaper was reprinted April 6 in a Connecticut newspaper. It reported that the Mexican army had retreated, that reinforcements were being rushed to the Alamo as the siege continued.
The following two reports appeared in the National Banner and Nashville Whig on April 8, more than a month after the fall.
Even for Commander in Chief Sam Houston, writing from Gonzales, just sixty miles from San Antonio, on March 11 news of the fall was not confirmed, although Houston feared the worst.
The Nashville newspaper in that same edition of April 8 rewrote the March 29 report of a New Orleans newspaper confirming the death of Tennessee native son Davy Crockett. (Crockett technically was born in the state of Franklin, but that’s another story.)
To remember the Alamo 177 years later, here is more Spanish mission architecture seen around town:
The Charles Davis house (1914) on College Avenue.
Apartment house on Lipscomb Street.
Building in Heritage Park downtown.
Immaculate Heart of Mary Church on Thornhill Drive.
Babcock Building (1925) on Florence Street downtown.
Tomorrow: On This Date in History: The Fall (Part 2)