Mr. Speaker, February 1836: Texas was in the heat of the fight for our independence. A small volunteer band of 180 patriots stood defiant at the Alamo, fighting tooth and nail against Santa Anna’s massive army.
They were outnumbered, 10 to 1. Col. William Barrett Travis, a 27-year-old lawyer from South Carolina, led the Texians into battle, ready to defend the Alamo. Surrounded by the enemy, Col. Travis put pen to paper, composing his immortal letter, seeking aid for the defense of Texas.
He wrote: BEJAR, FEBY. 24TH. 1836. Commandancy of The Alamo, TO THE PEOPLE OF TEXAS & ALL AMERICANS IN THE WORLD— Fellow Citizens & compatriots—I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna—I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man—The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken—I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls—I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch. The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country—Victory or Death. WILLIAM BARRETT TRAVIS, Lt. Col. Comdt, The Alamo
Mr. Speaker, Col. Travis and his group of tenacious volunteer soldiers were killed at the Alamo, defending Texas’ freedom. No more than sixty days later, outnumbered, General Sam Houston and his ‘Texians’ triumphed over Santa Anna and his professional army in the marshy plains of San Jacinto, winning independence from Mexico.
Still to this day, remarkable and inspirational statement for freedom and the spirit of liberty. Col. William Barrett Travis is one reason my oldest grandson is named Barrett Houston.
And that is just the way it is.