During March of 2023, a wreath-laying ceremony was held at the Alamo. I was invited to represent the families who descended from members of the Gonzales Alamo Relief Force. It was for that Alamo event that I wrote the poem presented in my new book.
On February 25, 1836, the town of Gonzales got notice of the desperate situation in the Alamo. Travis was pleading for help. He ended his plea with the words, “Victory or Death.” I believe that was a statement intended to describe his desperation, and not to predict his demise. He wanted to live – if he could.
In less than forty-eight hours, Gonzales men and boys recruited their neighbors, gathered their gear, and bid their families goodbye. By two o’clock in the afternoon of February 27th they began their seventy-five-mile journey through the woods to bring help to their comrades.
Twenty-five men mustered up in the DeWitt Colony. Seven more men joined them when they camped near Cibolo Creek on the 28th. The year 1836 was a Leap Year, giving February twenty-nine days. It was the last day of February when the thirty-two men found themselves lurking in the brush around the old mission, evading the Mexican scouts. They maintained secrecy until they could benefit from the cover of the night. At three o’clock on the morning of March 1st they entered the gates of the Alamo.
The battle at the Alamo ending on March 6th was a massacre. None of the defenders survived. But their determination was contagious. The loss of the Alamo only served to embolden the citizens of Tejas, the militia, and Sam Houston. It was a testimony to what Texans would sacrifice for independence. It was fuel for victory – and it worked at San Jacinto.
Because of their sacrifice, the men of the Gonzales Alamo Relief Force have been called The Immortal Thirty-Two. The poem was written to fulfill Travis’ wish that his men would be remembered for their contribution to the creation of The Republic of Texas.
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