SAN ANTONIO – It was 180 years ago Wednesday that Col. William Barret Travis penned the famous letter containing the poignant words “victory or death.”
The letter was written as a plea for help from an outnumbered Texas army.
"If you don't come and help us, we'll probably die, but we're determined to stand our ground,” said Dr. Bruce Winders, curator of the Alamo, describing the Texan’s dire situation.
"Basically, it was alerting the colonies to the situation here,” said Scott McMahon, director of the Presidio La Bahia. “It was letting them know that they were surrounded by the Mexican army here, letting them know that they needed help."
The letter was delivered by courier Capt. Albert Martin to Gonzales, where he gathered 32 men to bring back to the Alamo and help fight. The eventually made it to San Felipe, alerting more Texans of the dire situation.
The historic event was commemorated Wednesday morning in front of the Alamo with a complete reenactment of the writing of the letter and Travis’ handing off of that letter to Martin. San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor was on hand, along with Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush.
"Texas doesn’t just have history, we have legend. And right here is where that legend was born; where flawed men were redeemed by their service to a cause greater than themselves,” Bush said.
The 180th anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo will be remembered over 13 days. Wednesday’s “Ride for Texas Independence” will continue all the way to Gonzales, reliving Martin’s entire ride with ceremonies along the way. The ride will commence at Washington on the Brazos on March 5.
Other events include the Alamo Movie Night on Saturday and the 3rd Annual Crockett Fiddler’s Fest on March 5. Texas Independence Day is celebrated on March 2.