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The Siege of Bexar

Stephen F. Austin

Stephen F. Austin

Link - Letter from Austin to Bowie and Fannin

Letter from Stephen F. Austin to James Bowie and James Fannin

Mexican units were garrisoned at the Alamo from 1803 until Texan forces laid siege to Bexar (present-day San Antonio) from mid-October until December 1835.

Originally the army in the field served under Stephen F. Austin, popularly elected as commander in chief. Success on the battlefield led to his demanding surrender of General Martin Perfecto de Cos, the Mexican commander and brother-in-law of President Santa Anna. The demand was refused in words echoing the later defiance by Travis: "he would defend the place until he died, if he had only ten men left with him-" By mid-November, however, Austin had been sent as one of three commissioners to the United States, charged with obtaining recognition and support from other governments. The army was running low on supplies, and the various commanders were divided in their desire to take Bexar

Ben Milam

Ben Milam

Link - Ben Milam passport

Ben Milam's Passport

Edward Burleson proposed withdrawing to Goliad for the winter. However, new intelligence brought a change in plans and a decision to enter the town. Benjamin R. Milam and Francis W. Johnson, with some 300 volunteers, entered Bexar before dawn on December 5, while Burleson and another 400 men scouted, protected the Texan supply line, and forced Cos to divide his forces between the town and the Alamo.

Milam was killed by a sniper bullet on December 7, but the conflict continued from house to house until December 9, when General Cos, at last, asked for surrender terms. The capitulation was signed on December 11, 1835. Cos and his men were allowed to return to Mexico with the understanding that none would return to fight against the Texans. The retreat effectively removed the last Mexican soldiers garrisoned in Texas. Most of the volunteers returned to their homes, convinced that the war was over. General Cos later was captured at the Battle of San Jacinto.

Edward Burleson

Edward Burleson

Link - Letter from Milam and Burleson

Letter from Milam and Burleson to the president of the Provisional Government


Link - Texan Wounded at Bexar

List of the Texan wounded

Link - Cos's surrender

Surrender terms signed by General Cos and Burleson


Map of the Siege of Bexar

Map of the Siege of Bexar

(click for full size version)


Related Topics from Texas Treasures:

First-Hand Account: Joseph Lopez

Page last modified: June 17, 2011