Who were the “Immortal 32?”

Historical reenactment of the Battle of the Alamo. [Feb. 23, 1836 to Mar. 6, 1836]

Remember The Alamo!

No doubt, you already know the history about the Battle of the Alamo. In 1836, Mexican forces were victorious in recapturing the Alamo in San Antonio and nearly 200 Texian defenders, including Davy Crockett, brutally died. The Mexican troops outnumbered the defenders by a long shot….as in more than 5,000 Mexican troops vs. less than 200 Texian defenders. Santa Anna showed no mercy.


The Ultimate Sacrifice

The year was 1836, William Barret Travis sent out a passionate plea for aid for the Alamo garrison. Thirty two men, which included boys, were the ONLY unit of Texian Militia from the Gonzales Ranging Company to answer the call. They saddled up with haste, and those men and boys headed to the Alamo. One of the 16 year olds, William Phillip King, convinced his father to stay with the family and that he would go in his place.

The Immortal 32 left in response from two courier letters sent by William B. Travis on February 22nd, who was the Commandant of the Garrison in the Alamo.  This was a last minute request because Col. Travis and others in the Alamo didn’t expect any Mexican troops to enter the area until the middle of March. He assumed that General Santa Anna’s army from Mexico would be delayed due to winter weather and wet ground. But, unfortunately the Mexican army made great time traveling and were close to approaching San Antonio from the southwest by late February. That was 3 weeks earlier than expected.

The dire plea for help, known as the “Travis Letter,” was delivered by Texas Ranger Captain Albert Martin, who was also from Gonzalez. Ranger Martin knew the area well and had no problem riding the 70 mile distance between Gonzales, the closest city, and San Antonio. At the same time a copy of both letters were also taken to Colonel Fannin in Goliad,Texas. There,  320 Texan men were preparing to also go to the Alamo and immediately respond to Col. William B. Travis’ plea for help. But that didn’t happen.

The Immortal 32 from Gonzales, under the leadership of George Kimble, were waiting to meet up with Col. Fannin, who was bringing the 320 men, with 4 cannons and supplies. However, Fannin had wagon problems and decided to turn back to Goliad within the same day.

So, the 32 men and boys left Gonzales, without Col. Fannin and his reinforcements. They rode day and night, approaching San Antonio on the 29th. It wasn’t until the middle of the night at 3a.m., on March 1st that they were able to fight and slip by the large Mexican army, not losing any of the 32.

Upon their arrival inside the Alamo walls, everyone’s morale was raised and a sense of relief was felt by their brothers-in-arms. They all assumed more reinforcements were on the way.

Unfortunately, this was the only substantial reinforcement that the Alamo received.

March 3rd, more Mexican troops arrive bringing the number up to 2400+ and ten cannons. March 5th, at 10p.m. the Mexican artillery ceased their bombardment. In the early dawn hours of March the 6th, in the bitter cold, 4,000+ Mexican soldiers began preparing for the final assault.

The Alamo defenders, which included the Immortal 32, were defeated within 90 minutes with the last group fighting inside the church.


Historical Note:

The first shot of the Texas Revolution was fired in Gonzales, Texas in October 1835.

100 Mexican calvarymen were sent to retrieve a loaned cannon which was to be used to ward off Indians. The Texans, some of whom were the same men who would later be the Immortal 32, refused to give up the cannon. Some shots were fired, the Mexican army left, but what came out of that episode was the creation of the famous flag, “COME AND TAKE IT!”

Interestingly, the original cannon was recast into a bell that hangs today in the belfry of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio, four blocks from the Alamo.