The thirteen day siege of the Alamo

Created Tuesday, 06 March 2007 23:27

The thirteen day siege of the Alamo ended after a bloody final battle which resulted in the deaths of all the defenders and the capture of the mission. Two hundred men inside the mission had no hope to hold out against the six thousand besiegers. It was the siege at the Alamo that managed to stall the Mexican Army to give General Sam Houston thirteen days to rally his forces and gather his troops for the final battle to come. The fall of the Alamo and the massacre at Goliad became the inspiration for the battle cry for Houston’s Republican Army at the battle of San Jacinto.

Texas declared independence on March 2, right during the siege at the Alamo. The defenders likely had no idea of this event. David G. Burnett was elected Provisional President and Lorenzo G. Zavala as Vice President. Sam Houston was still supreme commander of the Texan military.
On March 6, Houston left the convention and went to oversee the relief of the siege at the Alamo, only arriving ton March 11 to find that it had already fallen. Houston that called for a general retreat eastward, gathering men along the way. On April 20, Houston learned that Santa Anna was ahead of most of his army, leaving the main bulk of his army behind. Houston decided to attack Santa Anna’s camp while he was vulnerable.

On April 21, General Sam Houston faced Santa Anna with half as many men in San Jacinto. Houston had an army of 910 men compared to Santa Anna’s 1250 men. In only eighteen minutes Mexican losses numbered 600, with 650 men captured. The Texans lost about 18 men, with nine men wounded. It was at this battle that the Texans used the battle cry “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!”

Santa Anna escaped the battlefield, but was caught the next day while dressed as a common soldier. His identity was found out when the other captured Mexicans saluted him as “El Presidente”. He then ordered his troops to retreat into Mexico. With Santa Anna as their captive, the Texans were granted their independence by the Treaty of Velasco in exchange for safe passage into Mexico for Santa Anna. The Mexican government, however, refused to acknowledge any agreement he made with the Texans. Santa Anna was then sent to Washington DC.
The battle of San Jacinto halted the Mexican government’s campaign in Texas, and Texas eventually joined the Union to become the 28th state.

Now, the church of the Alamo mission and its surrounding area is in the middle of downtown San Antonio. Anyone can now visit the place where the besieged defenders of the mission fought and died. The word ” Alamo” is known throughout the world as a place where men fought and died for freedom.

In the words of a defender of the Alamo, Daniel William Cloud of Kentucky, , en route to San Antonio, dated Dec. 26, 1835: “If we succeed, the country is ours. It is immense in extent, and fertile in its soil and will amply reward our toil. If we fail, death in the cause of liberty and humanity is not cause for shuddering. Our rifles are by our side, and choice guns they are, we know what awaits us, and are prepared to meet it.”


The Siege and the final battle

Created Tuesday, 06 March 2007 23:25

The Siege and the Final Battle

Written by Randy Watson

When Santa Anna Arrived to besiege the Alamo, Lt. Col. Travis managed to send out dispatch riders with requests for assistance before but the Republicans didn\’t have the capacity to send a large relief force.   Among Travis\’ requests included one to Col. James Fannin, commander of nearly 400 men 100 km away at Goliad. 320 Goliad men set off, but the haphazard expedition was not well organized. The Republicans at Goliad were massacred, leaving only 28 survivors.

On the 8th day of the siege, 32 Texians led by Captain George Kimbell and John W. Smith from the town of Gonzales slipped through the Mexican lines and joined the defenders inside the Alamo , bringing the number defending the Alamo to nearly two hundred. These 32 men were known as the \”Immortal 32\”, and were the only ones to arrive in response to Travis\’ requests for help. The defenders held out against the Mexican forces of Santa Anna, even though they were vastly outnumbered. They managed to defend the Alamo for thirteen days before it fell.

The final assault came before daybreak on the morning of March 6, 1836, as columns of Mexican soldiers emerged from the predawn darkness and headed for the Alamo\’s walls. Cannon and small arms fire from inside the Alamo beat back several attacks.

The determination of the Alamo defenders is evident in Lt. Col. Travis dispatches, where he wrote: \”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 their demand with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the walls — I shall never surrender or retreat.\”

Regrouping, the Mexicans managed to breach the weak north wall, where Travis was killed after being shot in the head. A column of invading Mexicans entered through the breach while the others maintained their assault. Once inside, they turned a captured cannon on the Long Barrack and church, blasting open the barricaded doors. The defenders were spread too thin as they could not push back the advancing column and defend the walls. This desperate struggle continued until the defenders were overwhelmed. Jim Bowie was reportedly bayoneted while he lay sick and injured in his cot. By sunrise, nearly all the defenders had been killed in hand-to-hand combat. The battle had ended and Santa Anna entered the Alamo compound.

15 women and children were spared by the Mexicans, along with Bowie \’s slave Sam and Travis\’ slave Joe. Reports as to the number of casualties on both sides are contradictory.  Santa Anna reports that he had 70 men who died and 300 who were wounded, while some Texan reports claim of 1,500 Mexicans dead. Historians agree that Santa Anna\’s claim is unrealistic, and the Texan claim of 1,500 Mexicans who died in the final battle is also unrealistic. However it is very probable that 1,500 Mexicans died during the entire 13 day siege.   183 to 200 Texan and Tejano bodies were found after the battle, although Santa Anna claims to have found 600 bodies. Historian believe that the defenders of the Alamo really numbered around 200-250 men.


Prelude to battle

Created Tuesday, 06 March 2007 23:23

Prelude to Battle of the Alamo

Written by Randy Watson

In the heart of downtown San Antonio lies an old church with a bloody history.  It is a history of a battle that wrote history as we know it, and redrew the map of North America. It was a battle where the defenders of the mission died to the last man, but held on long enough for their general to gather enough troops and eventually win the war. It was the war that won the independence of Texas from Mexico, forming the Republic of Texas.

The Alamo, as it is now known, was the Mission of San Antonio de Valero Mission. It was one of several sites established by the Spanish to colonize Texas, convert the natives to Christianity and prevent the French from encroaching in through Louisiana. In the 1800s, the Spanish stationed a cavalry unit at the mission. The soldiers referred to the place as the Alamo, in honor of their hometown of Alamo de Parras, Coahuila.

When Mexico became independent in 1824, Texas became the northern part of the state of Coahuila y Tejas. 1n 1835, Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna abolished the Mexican Constitution of 1824, and proclaimed a new one that dismissed the state legislatures, diminished the powers of the individual states and increased the powers of the central government. Several Mexican states went into open rebellion, but of these states only   the portion of Coahuila y Tejas that will become the Republic of Texas formally voted to separate from Mexico. The other states only wanted to return to the old constitution of 1824, and not to form independent republics.

Hostilities in Texas began with the Battle of Gonzales on October 1, 1835, after which the Texian rebels quickly captured Mexican positions at La Bahía and San Antonio.

In December 1835, Ben Milam led Texan and Tejano volunteers against Mexican troops quartered in the city. After five days of house-to-house fighting, they forced General Marín Perfecto de Cós and his soldiers to surrender. The victorious Texans then occupied the Alamo.
Santa Anna had personally quashed Zacatecas state\’s rebellion in May 1835, and then marched into Texas the following winter to reclaim the renegade state. Santa Anna\’s arrival almost caught the Republican Texans and Tejanos by surprise, and the prepared to defend the Alamo. Santa Anna\’s army arrived in San Antonio de Béxar in February 23 1836.

The Alamo defenders were commanded by Lieutenant Colonel William Travis, who was sent by General Sam Houston to destroy it. The defenders of the Alamo included men from all over, native Tejanos, Texan settlers, volunteers from Tennessee which included David Crockett, another group of volunteers led by Jim Bowie, a group called the New Orleans Greys, Indians, and other men from a total of 28 different states and countries. All these men were willing to sacrifice themselves in defense of the Alamo, for they knew that the Alamo was crucial to the defense of Texas. It was the only thing standing between Santa Anna\’s invading forces and Sam Houston who was still regrouping the Republican Army.


Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan

Created Monday, 05 March 2007 21:22

Written by Randy Watson

He was the number one overall draft pick of the 1997 NBA draft, and was named NBA rookie of the year. He was the Most valuable Player of the 200 NBA All Stars, and the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in 2002, 2003 and 2005. He is an Olympic Medalist, playing for Team USA in the 2004 Olympics. He played alongside David Robinson as one of the San Antonio Spurs\’ \”Twin Towers\”. He lead the Spurs to three National Basketball Association Championships. He was ranked # 55 in Slam Magazines\’ top NBA players of all time in 2003. He is Tim Duncan.


Tim Duncan is arguably one of the best power players in the league today. He consistently delivers each game, and is one of the best all-around players in the NBA. He was two blocks away from a quadruple-double in the last game 2003 NBA finals, where the Spurs won the NBA Championships.

He is also an unselfish player, dominating the game but letting his teammates shine and have their time in the spotlight. He has also been named in the NBA All Stars and the NBA ALL Defensive teams for his first five seasons, being the second player in the league to do so (after former teammate David Robinson). Tim also averages twenty points or more per game. He is known for his amazingly accurate bank shots and his passes.

Tim has difficulty with free throw shooting though, averaging around 65%. Still, Tim is one of the greatest players in the league today. Tim is also involved in several charitable organizations, and runs the Tim Duncan foundation along with his wife. The foundation funds nonprofit organizations in San Antonio and South Texas, Tim\’s hometown of St. Croix the US Virgin Islands, and North Carolina where Tim attended college, in the areas of youth sports and recreation, education, and health awareness and research.

The foundation also supports the Tim Duncan\’s Character Program in San Antonio schools, a program which recognizes students that demonstrate strong character values and civic responsibility.Tim didn\’t star out as a basketball player though. He was a nationally ranked swimmer when he was younger, only switching to basketball in his ninth grade when Hurricane Hugo wrecked the pool in his school in the US Virgin Islands.

He played basketball in Wake Forest college, graduating with honors in Psychology before being selected by the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA draft. Tim has been named a starting forward in the Western Conference lineup of the 2007 NBA All Stars game. He has been selected to play in the All Stars game every year since joining the league. Playing alongside other players like Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker, Tim could very well lead the Spurs to another NBA title this year. The Spurs are determined enough to again play their way to the NBA finals for another shot at the title.

We\’ll see what happens in the playoffs.


Zoos and Theme Parks

San Antonio Zoo and Theme Parks

Created Sunday, 04 March 2007 19:12

Written by Randy Watson

Popular destinations during family vacations usually include zoos and theme parks.Both are considered to be the most enjoyable part of the trip for grownups and most especially, for kids.If you\’re planning a vacation in San Antonio this summer, here are some places, which should definitely be on your itinerary.


The San Antonio Zoo is open everyday from 9AM to 5PM, even on holidays, rain or shine. There are over 3500 animals representing 750 species in the zoo including lions, leopards, wild bears, different kinds of reptiles and birds, and much, much more. The zoo caters to classes on field trips, families on vacations, and other events on request. The staff promotes the education and participation of its visitors in understanding and protecting endangered species.

For this purpose, the zoo encourages its visitors to participate in its special educational programs like Breakfast at a Beastly Hour, where zookeepers demonstrate how they interact with the wild, and Roars and Snores, where people are allowed to tour the zoo at night. Members of the zoo are admitted free for an annual fee of $40 per person, $60 per family. Sea World San Antonio is the world’s largest marine life adventure park.

It operates from March to December. Some of the park’s attractions include exciting rides (like the Lost Lagoon water slide, and the new Journey to Atlantis, which is both a roller coaster and a water ride), guided tours like the Ultimate Seafari Adventure, their animal interaction activities with beluga whales, sea lions, whale sharks, and dolphins (where people slip into wetsuits and literally swim with the fishes, sounds fun, huh), and their shows like the Viva, Rockin’ Ski Party, the Cannery Row Caper, and the new Believe, a high energy water presentation of whales and their trainers, which literally splashes with excitement. Ticket options include single day and multiple day visits, group tickets, and season passes.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas is a theme park based on the state’s southwestern heritage. It operates from March to October. The park’s best rides include \”Tornado\” (a new tube ride which is among the most popular), \”Poltergeist\” (a twisting, spiraling roller coaster), \”The Rattler,\” (the classic roller coaster), \”Superman Krypton Coaster,\” (the largest steel and floorless coaster in the southwest), \”Scream\” (a 200 foot turbo drop ride), and \”Lone Star Lagoon\” (a giant wave pool shaped like the state of Texas). The park also presents shows like \”Country Homecoming,\” \”Teatro Fiesta,\” \”Rockin\’ at Rockville High, and \”Lone Star Spectacular\”. There are also themed areas like Los Festivales (a Hispanic village), Crackaxle Canyon (an early western town), Spassburg (a German town), the Fiesta Bay Broadwalk, the Armadillo Beach Waterpark, the 50\’s style Rockville, and animal parks, which showcase exotic animals around the globe.

In this fun park, every day is a fiesta, and kids celebrate with their favorite cartoon characters. Daily tickets are at $47, but a season pass for $50 gets you in for free unlimited at any of 18 parks across the country. Check them out and take your pick. Or better yet, don’t pick, go for all of them!


Eva and Tony to Marry

Eva Longoria and Tony Parker are getting married!

Written by Randy Watson

So much for all those breakup theories we\’ve been hearing last year. The San Antonio Spurs point guard and the Desperate Housewives star are going to tie the knot at the Chateau de Chantilly, a castle North of Paris. I guess Eva\’s plans of a small, low key wedding are thrown out the window. Now Eva wants a ceremony that is \”big and beautiful\”, with lots of family and friends. Rumor has it that they are getting married on July 7 th, being the lucky triple seven date of 07-07-07. Tony is very superstitious and thinks this day is the luckiest day to get married on.

Tony proposed to Eva last year after a game with the Utah Jazz. He surprised Eva by flying to Los Angeles and was at house when she got home from work around midnight. The couple then called the Ryan Seacrest radio show to announce their engagement.

A wedding in France isn\’t that far fetched for Eva and Tony, since Tony grew up in France and his mother, Dutch model Pamela Firestone and other family members are living in France. Eva is headed to France next month with wedding planner Mindy Weiss to meet with Tony\’s mom and to plan out the wedding.

She has also started to learn French, her fiancée\’s native language. Eva has accompanied Tony to Paris last year when their breakup rumors were at its peak. Eva reportedly dumped Tony because he was flirting with another woman, but a representative of the couple has said that they were simply going through a rough time in their relationship. I guess they have smoothed over their differences, as it would take a major disaster for them to call off this wedding.

Eva and Tony are also listed as one of the top ten hottest NBA relationships on ESPN. (They keep a list???) Seem that the only qualification for a couple to be included in the list is that it involves an NBA player and a celebrity or a high profile athlete.

Eva also has a tattoo of Tony\’s initials somewhere on her body. She\’s not saying where, except that her three other tattoos are on public display but the one with Tony\’s initials are seen only by him. Her words:
\”I\’m not saying where it is – but let\’s just say he gets to view it on a very regular basis!\”

We all remember Eva\’s claims of being the more experienced one in the bedroom, as she was previously married to General Hospital star Tyler Christopher and is seven years older than Tony. Well, what happens behind closed doors is their business. Although Eva could keep their private lives private instead of airing out their dirty laundry for everyone to see. We don\’t really need to know about their bedroom habits and secret tattoos…. But if it\’s all right with Tony, who are we to complain?

Their fans will have to just look forward to this wedding in a fairy tale castle. Will they live happily ever after? Let\’s keep our fingers crossed.

Created Sunday, 04 March 2007