The American Army was at the Alamo? How strange. Somehow all the history books missed that.
In 1836 some 145 men occupied the mission (church) known as the Alamo. At the time the building was a partial ruin and covered several acres. Later, reinforcements brought the total number of defenders to 189.
When Mexico achieved it's independence from Spain in 1821, the northern province of Texas was sparsely populated and remote from Mexico City. To cause settlement, the government invited Americans to settle. Lead by Stephen Austin, many took the offer. By 1835 there were some 30,000 former Americans, plus some 5000 slaves, living in Texas. Concerned, the central government of Mexico, tried to accomplish three things: Free the slave, bring Texas under direct rule from Mexico City and halt immigration from the United States. Rather then submit, the colonists revolted and declared independence.
The defenders of the Alamo were lead by William Travis and James Bowie, They were later joined by famed backwoodsman and former member of Congress Davy Crockett. The Mexican government, determined to restore order sent General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, and over 6000 soldiers north to San Antonio and the Alamo. The army reached San Antonio on 23 February 1836. At this time Bowie was quite ill and Travis lead the defense. For the next 13 days, Santa Anna and his army remained outside the Alamo. Finally in the early morning of 6 March his forces attacked. Never meant to be a fort the Alamo fell by 8:00 AM. Angered at the resistance, Santa Anna had ordered that there be no quarter and no mercy. Those defenders taken alive were killed outside the mission and all the defenders bodies were burned.
The only survivors were Susan Dickerson, wife of one of the defenders, her children, and a young African American. While there are claims that Crockett was taken prisoner and then killed, Mrs Dickerson reported that she had seen his body inside the Alamo at the fighting position he'd been assigned.
Santa Anna had lost about 600 soldiers in the siege and attack. After the Alamo he marched on the garrison a Goliad and massacred it's defenders.
On 21 April 1836, 46 days after the Alamo fell, General Sam Houston lead 783 men against Santa Anna's army of 1,500. Striking while the army rested, the Texans routed the enemy and captured Santa Anna. The Battle of San Jacinto resulted in Texas independence. The Texans battle cry was "Remember the Alamo."
Today, the Alamo has been restored as a shrine. The city of San Antonio has grown to enclose most of the area that was the battlefield. The delay achieved by the defenders of the Alamo allowed the Texans to organize themselves into an effective fighting force. The fall of the Alamo and the treatment of it's defenders angered most Texans.