The Siege of Bexar

Stephen F. AustinImage: Stephen F. Austin - 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.

Mexican units were garrisoned at the Alamo from 1803 until Texan forces laid siege to Bexar (present-day SaAntonio) 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. Edward Burleson proposed withdrawing to Goliad for the winter. However, new intelligence brought a change in plans and a decision to enter the town.

Ben Milam Image: Ben Milam - 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.

Read a first-hand account of the Siege of Bexar from the Republic Pension Application of Joseph Lopez.

 

 

Link - Letter from Austin to Bowie and FanninClick on image for larger image and transcript.
Letter from Stephen F. Austin to James Bowie and James Fannin

 

 

 

 

 

Link - Ben Milam passportClick on image for larger image.
Ben Milam's Passport

 

 

 

 

Edward BurlesonImage: Edward Burleson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link - Letter from Milam and BurlesonClick on image for larger image and transcript.
Letter from Milam and Burleson to the president of the Provisional Government

 

 

 

 

 

Link - Texan Wounded at BexarClick on image for larger image and transcript.
List of the Wounded During the Storm of Bexar, December 5-10, 1835

 

 

 

 

Link - Cos's surrenderClick on image for larger image and transcript.
Surrender terms signed by General Cos and General Burleson at San Antonio, December 11, 1835

 

 

 

 

Map of the Siege of BexarClick on image for full size version.
Map of the Siege of Bexar

 

Page last modified: March 9, 2016