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Old November 10, 2002, 01:30 AM   #1
Jamie Young
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Was the Alamo a true test of the American Rifleman? A real SHTF scenario.

What kind of rifles were our guys using against the Mexicans?

Was the Alamo a riflemans battle?

Was the Alamo the test of the superiority of the American Rifleman? After all, wasn't it a bunch of "survivalists" in there? Daniel Boone, Davey Crockett, Art Eatman ect...


I picture it as a lot of shooting and pushing ladders over. I assume there were a few cannons? Or was it all just about who was behind a walled in fortification and who wasn't?
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Old November 10, 2002, 02:59 AM   #2
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Few people truly realize what time period the Alamo actually took place in. It indeed was a rifleman's battle, but we're talking flintlocks here... The Alamo was defended by a few hundred guys at most versus roughly 13,000 Mexican regulars. That they held out so long, especially when some of the defensive positions in the Alamo were pretty poor, is amazing. I don't believe the Texans had any cannon at all, but Santa Ana most certainly did.
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Old November 10, 2002, 11:29 AM   #3
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The Texans did have cannons and apparently dropped 2 or 3 of them into water wells that the back filled in order to keep the Mexicans from capturing them. What the Texans did not have was enough munitions for the cannons.

A true SHTF situation? Sort of... a true suicidal SHTF sitution. Then again, it was a military battle situation as well. The SHTF in lots of military battles.
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Old November 10, 2002, 11:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
especially when some of the defensive positions in the Alamo were pretty poor

Like what?
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Old November 10, 2002, 11:53 AM   #5
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"A hundred and eighty were challenged by Travis to die..." And Santa Anna--reputedly descended from a long line of bachelors--had some 4,000 men.

Today's Alamo is only the chapel portion. There were other buildings, back then. There was a wall around the entire complex. Defenders were spread pretty thin, and as observed above, didn't have all that much in the way of powder and shot.

Adobe doesn't survive cannon shot. Percentage losses of men from shrapnel or rifle shot were high on both sides, but eventually the walls were breached and the sheer numbers of the attackers won out. The walls were built against Indian attacks, not cannon fire.

From a strategic standpoint, the delay allowed Houston to gather up his forces for the battle at San Jacinto. From a tactical standpoint, the battle for the Alamo--and thus San Antonio de Bexar--was stupid. However, the Texicans were not trained cavalry troopers, with the ability to do coordinated hit and run raids on the Mexican rear.

What's not well known is that Santa Anna was a pretty smart tactician. He moved northward unexpectedly early, before the grass had started to grow. He carried wagon loads of hay with him, enabling early start and thus the surprise. The Texicans thought they had at least another month or two before his arrival.

The old effort: They did the best they could, with what they had. Never forget, they could have escaped, and they all knew that.

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Old November 10, 2002, 02:57 PM   #6
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Historically speaking, weren't the majority of Alamo defenders actually "Texians" -as they were then called, or legally, really "Mexicans" -since Texas was still part of Mexico at that time?

After the war, Texas was a soveriegn state for a few years before joining the Union.
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Old November 10, 2002, 04:19 PM   #7
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Contrary to popular belief, most long guns at the Alamo were smoothbore, flint lock muskets . Only some of the defenders had actual rifles. When the Mexicans launched the attack, the range closed so fast, that most shooting took place at musket ranges, so rifles played little part.

At the Alamo barracks you will find my wife's family cannon. This is a small Spanish naval swivel cannon.
The Fry cannon is one of a pair my wife's great-great grandmonther dug up in her garden, just before the turn of the 20th Century, while she was planting a tree. Her farm was on what was the North wall of the Alamo, where the old post office now stands.
One cannon was blown up by a bunch of drunken cowboys, who tried to fire it one 4th of July. The other was given to the Alamo in the 20's.
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Old November 10, 2002, 04:24 PM   #8
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And just for reference...

A few years ago some revisionist historians were suggesting that the story of the Alamo was mostly myth. In case one of you bumps into one of those idiots, invite him to actually visit the shrine.

Being a proud native Texan, I made one trip to the Alamo about ten years ago. What impressed me more than anything else about the place, was the exterior walls. There are tens of thousands of little round impact marks, from round balls striking the walls.

It is is obvious that a hell of a battle was fought there, the physical evidence is still present. It's also obvious, as Art said, they manned the fort despite the advance of a much larger force, held their ground, and died real heros.
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Old November 10, 2002, 05:36 PM   #9
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Unfortunately, they were not heroes because they died. They were heroes because they fought for independence. It is a shame we don't give the same honor to those who survived the campaigns in Texas. Sam Houston is remembered as a great hero as well, but that is in large part because he came to lead this great country we call Texas that is now called a state of the great county of the United States of America. Nobody gives much thought to those that served with him in battle, survived, but never held great offices after the fact.
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Old November 10, 2002, 10:46 PM   #10
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I must say that I think everybody should visit the Alamo at least once.
I didn't plan to go there when I was in TX, but am glad I did.

The displays, buildings and not the least the knowledgeable people there that tells the story of the Alamo.
They all make you realise how important the event actualy was for the US history.

I will surely go back there some time.

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Old November 11, 2002, 02:27 AM   #11
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CWL wrote:
Quote:
Historically speaking, weren't the majority of Alamo defenders actually "Texians" -as they were then called, or legally, really "Mexicans" -since Texas was still part of Mexico at that time?
Actually, they weren't Mexicans. We don't consider Patrick Henry, George Washington, and Co. to be British, they were American, even before we were actually a nation recognized as "independent" by Britain.
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Old November 11, 2002, 03:48 AM   #12
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Dan'l Boone wasn't there. b. 1734 - d. 1820

Battle of the Alamo fought in 1836.
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Old November 11, 2002, 07:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
Like what?
I don't remember all the layout features, but I know that one side was a low wall with a fence, basically. It was defended by a select group of sharpshooters picked specifically because that was the one truly weak point of the fort. I'm sure there's people here who know the names of the specific areas of the fort better than I do.
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Old November 11, 2002, 01:56 PM   #14
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Deleted in a rare show of good sense.

Last edited by MeekAndMild; November 11, 2002 at 06:38 PM.
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Old November 11, 2002, 06:41 PM   #15
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That's right, Boone wasn't there. Crocket was.
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Old November 11, 2002, 08:18 PM   #16
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Most of the weapons used by the Texans at the Alamo were smoothbore muskets but there were rifles, notably in the hands of Crockett and his companions.

Another rifleman of the Texas Revolution was Deaf Smith. He was probably responsible for killing more Mexicans than any other Texan during the Revolution. In the first engagement of the war that drew any appreciable blood, Mission Concepcion (10/28/1835), Smith was a scout for the 90 men commanded by Bowie. He killed the first Mexican infantryman at about 300 yards. Bowie's men routed the 400 Mexicans. He was with Ben Milam at the battle to capture San Antonio, standing next to him when Milam was shot. Smith hunted down and killed the soldire that had killed Milam. Smith was sent to command the force massing at Gonzales to relieve the Alamo but it was too late. His patrol found and rescued Susana Dickenson, the only adult Anglo survivor of the Alamo. Smith personally carried her baby back to Gonzales. Smith was in charge of the scout company covering the retreat of the Texas Army and most of the civilian Anglo population toward the Sabine and US teritory. He engaged the Mexican advance parties at every opportunity and his Kentucky rifle dropped many of the enemy.

The Texas Army stopped, of course, at San Jacinto. For days, dressed as a Mexican laborer, Smith roamed the Mexican Army camp passing intelligence to Sam Houston. At the beginning of the battle of San Jacinto, Smith burned Vince's Bridge, the only way out of the swamp where the two armies faced each other. With the Texans moving toward the Mexicans in a silent line, Smith rode a lathered horse to the front of the line shouting; "Vince's Bridge is down, fight for your lives." Then he turned his horse toward the Mexican lines. Many eye witnesses have said that Smith killed the first Mexican soldier during the battle, the bugler who tried to rouse his slumbering army. Smith was everywhere that day, He killed enemy soldiers with rifle, Bowie knife, saber and bare hands. He was probably out of control but no one tried to stop him.

His scout company shadowed the Mexican Army all the way back to the Rio Grande and, after the war, he served in the Texas Rangers.

There were riflemen at the Alamo and other areas of the Texas Revolution.

Drue


PS. This is a little long but I thought that many here would like the sotry of Deaf Smith.
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Old November 11, 2002, 11:12 PM   #17
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Quote:
Dan'l Boone wasn't there.
I always get Bowie and Boon mixed up. Just goes to show I'm not into knives.
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Old November 12, 2002, 12:06 AM   #18
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Boone wasn't there, but Davey Crockett was. So was Jim Bowie.
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Old November 12, 2002, 12:55 AM   #19
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A few points about the Alamo battle that strike me as very sad:

1. I've read in several histories that Travis and his defenders were actually ordered by Houston to abandon the Alamo, and to retire and join the main body of the Texas (for want of a better word - Texan? Texian?) army. He disobeyed his orders, and this led to the deaths of his entire command.

2. There were apparently survivors of the battle, but Santa Ana is reported to have ordered their execution, as he wanted to have no prisoners from the Alamo as a warning to other "rebels" of the fate that awaited them if they resisted him.

3. I have visited the Alamo twice - and to the shame of their illustrious ancestors, the curators of the Shrine have decided that no concealed weapons may be carried there, even if one has a legal permit for CCW. This is outrageous, IMHO, and a gross insult to the memory of those celebrated there.
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Old November 12, 2002, 01:21 AM   #20
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A Texas county is named for Deaf Smith, in his honor, as is Crockett county. Drue, thanks, I knew Deaf Smith was a hero of the Texas Revolution, hadn't heard his story in a long time.

Crockett County has some good deer hunting, which I expect old Davy appreciates, from wherever he's watching
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Old November 12, 2002, 01:27 AM   #21
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Can anyone recite the lyrics to the Davey Crockett song?
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Old November 12, 2002, 08:51 AM   #22
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I beleive the Wagon Box Fight was a more true test of the scenario---in that the defenders actually lived. This happened in 1870s i beleive. Hunters were surroned by natives and attacked--the hunters took refuge in wagons without wheels--hence wagon box and fought natives off with mostly Sharps rifles--heard of some long shots with that fight---something like 1000 yards and stuff--dont know facts--ill look it up and see some more.
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Old November 12, 2002, 12:40 PM   #23
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Jamie Young wrote:
"Can anyone recite the lyrics to the Davey Crockett song?"

You mean the one that begins, "Born on a mountain top in Tennessee,
Greenest state in the land of the free . . .?"

Sure. It's off topic for this thread, but you can do a google search for
Davy Crockett song lyrics, and probably find the whole song.


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Old November 12, 2002, 01:14 PM   #24
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There have been references to the Alamo being a fort. While it was used as a fort for this battle, the Alamo was actually Spanish mission. The walls were not designed to act as a stronghold for an army, thus did have weak points.
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Old November 12, 2002, 05:37 PM   #25
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A late but well known pistol man named Skeeter Skelton who wrote many an article in gun rags was sheriff of Deaf Smith County for a while. I always enjoyed his writings.

Boone was not at the Alamo, Crockett was, Art was, and contrary to popular belief I was not there.

I was born a while after Art.............he made the Alamo, I made the Mexican American War
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