Alamo Cenotaph in 2013
|Location||Alamo Plaza at E. Houston St., San Antonio, Texas|
|Architect||Adams & Adams|
|Part of||Alamo Plaza Historic District (#77001425 )|
|Designated CP||July 13, 1977|
The Alamo Cenotaph, also known as the Spirit of Sacrifice, is a monument in San Antonio, Texas, United States, commemorating the Battle of the Alamo of the Texas Revolution, which was fought at the adjacent Alamo Mission. The monument was erected in celebration of the centenary of the battle, and bears the names of those known to have fought there on the Texas side.
San Antonio, officially the City of San Antonio, is the seventh-most populous city in the United States, and the second-most populous city in both Texas and the Southern United States, with more than 1.5 million residents. Founded as a Spanish mission and colonial outpost in 1718, the city became the first chartered civil settlement in present-day Texas in 1731. The area was still part of the Spanish Empire, and later of the Mexican Republic. Today it is the state's oldest municipality.
Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, and has a coastline with the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Although there had been previous plans for Alamo monuments, starting in the late 1800s, the Alamo Cenotaph was the first such erected in San Antonio. (There had been one previous monument in Austin, but it was lost in a Capitol fire.) During the 1936 Texas Centennial celebration, the state of Texas provided $100,000 for the monument, commissioned from local sculptor Pompeo Coppini. San Antonio mayor Maury Maverick held a dedication ceremony on November 11, 1940.
Austin is the capital of the U.S. state of Texas and the seat of Travis County, with portions extending into Hays and Williamson counties. It is the 11th-most populous city in the United States and the 4th-most populous city in Texas. It is also the fastest growing large city in the United States, the second most populous state capital after Phoenix, Arizona, and the southernmost state capital in the contiguous United States. As of the U.S. Census Bureau's July 1, 2017 estimate, Austin had a population of 950,715 up from 790,491 at the 2010 census. The city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin–Round Rock metropolitan statistical area, which had an estimated population of 2,168,316 as of July 1, 2018. Located in Central Texas within the greater Texas Hill Country, it is home to numerous lakes, rivers, and waterways, including Lady Bird Lake and Lake Travis on the Colorado River, Barton Springs, McKinney Falls, and Lake Walter E. Long.
Pompeo Luigi Coppini was an Italian born sculptor who emigrated to the United States. Although his works can be found in Italy, Mexico and a number of American states, the majority of his work can be found in Texas. He is particularly famous for the Alamo Plaza work "Spirit of Sacrifice" a.k.a. The Alamo Cenotaph, as well as numerous statues honoring Texas heroes.
Fontaine Maury Maverick was a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from Texas, representing the 20th district from January 3, 1935, to January 3, 1939. He is best remembered for his independence from the party and for coining the term "gobbledygook" for obscure and euphemistic bureaucratic language.
The shaft rises sixty feet from its base and is forty feet long and twelve feet wide. The monument was erected in grey Georgia marble and pink Texas granite. It was entitled The Spirit of Sacrifice and incorporates images of the Alamo garrison leaders and 187 names of known Alamo defenders, derived from the research of historian Amelia Williams.Later research has shown some listed on the cenotaph were not there, and the total of Alamo combatants has risen with newer research.
The marker on the cenotaph reads:
Erected in memory of the heroes who sacrificed their lives at the Alamo, March 6, 1836, in the defense of Texas. They chose never to surrender nor retreat; these brave hearts, with flag still proudly waving, perished in the flames of immortality that their high sacrifice might lead to the founding of this Texas.
After putting down resistance in other regions of Mexico, in the spring of 1836 Santa Anna led a Mexican army back into Texas and marched on San Antonio, intending to avenge the humiliating defeat of Cos and end the Texian rebellion. Texian leader Sam Houston, believing that San Antonio could not be defended against a determined effort by the regular Mexican army, called for the Texian forces to abandon the city.
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón, often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, was a Mexican politician and general who fought to defend royalist New Spain and then fought for Mexican independence. He greatly influenced early Mexican politics and government, and he was an adept soldier and cunning politician who dominated Mexican history in the first half of the nineteenth century to such an extent that historians often refer to it as the "Age of Santa Anna." He was called "the Man of Destiny" who "loomed over his time like a melodramatic colossus, the uncrowned monarch." Santa Anna first opposed the movement for Mexican independence from Spain, but then fought in support of it. He was one of the earliest caudillos of modern Mexico, and he "represents the stereotypical caudillo in Mexican history". Lucas Alamán wrote that "the history of Mexico since 1822 might accurately be called the history of Santa Anna's revolutions…. His name plays the major role in all the political events of the country and its destiny has become intertwined with his."
Sam Houston was an American soldier and politician. An important leader of the Texas Revolution, Houston served as the 1st and 3rd president of the Republic of Texas, and was one of the first two individuals to represent Texas in the United States Senate. He also served as the 6th Governor of Tennessee and the seventh governor of Texas, the only American to be elected governor of two different states in the United States.
A volunteer force under the joint command of William Barrett Travis, newly arrived in Texas, and James Bowie, and including Davy Crockett and his company of Tennesseans, and Juan Seguin's company of Hispanic Texan volunteers occupied and fortified the deserted mission and determined to hold San Antonio against all opposition.
William Barret "Buck" Travis was a 19th-century American lawyer and soldier. At the age of 26, he was a lieutenant colonel in the Texas Army. He died at the Battle of the Alamo during the Texas Revolution. Travis County and Travis Park were named after him for being the commander of the Republic of Texas at the Battle of the Alamo.
James Bowie was a 19th-century American pioneer who played a prominent role in the Texas Revolution, culminating in his death at the Battle of the Alamo. Stories of him as a fighter and frontiersman, both real and fictitious, have made him a legendary figure in Texas history and a folk hero of American culture.
David Crockett was an American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier, and politician. He is commonly referred to in popular culture by the epithet "King of the Wild Frontier". He represented Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives and served in the Texas Revolution.
The defenders of the Alamo thus included both Anglo and Hispanic Texans who fought side by side under a banner that was the flag of Mexico with the numerals "1824" superimposed. This was meant to indicate that the defenders were fighting for their rights to democratic government under the Mexican constitution of that year. It was only during the siege that the Texas Congress declared an independent Republic of Texas.
The Battle of the Alamo took place from February 23 to March 6, 1836. At first the battle was primarily a siege marked by artillery duels and small skirmishes. After twelve days Santa Anna, tired of waiting for his heavy artillery and eager for a glorious victory to enhance his reputation, determined to take the Alamo by storm.
Before dawn on March 6, he launched his troops against the walls of the Alamo in three separate attacks. The third attack overwhelmed the defenses of the weak north wall. The defenders retreated to the now famous Long Barracks and the Chapel and fought to the last man. Most historians agree that a few of the defenders were captured but were executed as rebels on the specific orders of Santa Anna. The deaths of these "Martyrs to Texas Independence" inspired greater resistance to Santa Anna's regime, and the cry "Remember the Alamo" became the rallying point of the Texas Revolution.
In 1982, Ozzy Osbourne, while wearing his future wife's dress because she had hidden his clothes, drunkenly urinated on the Alamo Cenotaph, which is across the street from the actual building. A police officer arrested him, and Osbourne was subsequently banned from performing in San Antonio for a decade.
The Texas Revolution was a rebellion of colonists from the United States and Tejanos in putting up armed resistance to the centralist government of Mexico. While the uprising was part of a larger one that included other provinces opposed to the regime of President Antonio López de Santa Anna, the Mexican government believed the United States had instigated the Texas insurrection with the goal of annexation. The Mexican Congress passed the Tornel Decree, declaring that any foreigners fighting against Mexican troops "will be deemed pirates and dealt with as such, being citizens of no nation presently at war with the Republic and fighting under no recognized flag." Only the province of Texas succeeded in breaking with Mexico, establishing the Republic of Texas, and eventually being annexed by the United States.
The Alamo Mission in San Antonio, commonly called The Alamo and originally known as the Misión San Antonio de Valero, is a historic Spanish mission and fortress compound founded in the 18th century by Roman Catholic missionaries in what is now San Antonio, Texas, United States. It was the site of the Battle of the Alamo in 1836. Today it is a museum in the Alamo Plaza Historic District and a part of the San Antonio Missions World Heritage Site.
Martín Perfecto de Cos was a Mexican Army general and politician during the mid-19th century. Born in Veracruz, the son of an attorney, he became an army cadet at the age of 20, a lieutenant in 1821, and a brigadier general in 1833.
The Battle of San Jacinto, fought on April 21, 1836, in present-day Harris County, Texas, was the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. Led by General Sam Houston, the Texian Army engaged and defeated General Antonio López de Santa Anna's Mexican army in a fight that lasted just 18 minutes. A detailed, first-hand account of the battle was written by General Houston from Headquarters of the Texian Army, San Jacinto, on April 25, 1836. Numerous secondary analyses and interpretations have followed, several of which are cited and discussed throughout this entry.
The Battle of the Alamo was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. Following a 13-day siege, Mexican troops under President General Antonio López de Santa Anna reclaimed the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de Béxar, killing the Texian and immigrant occupiers. Santa Anna's cruelty during the battle inspired many Texians, both legal Texas settlers and illegal immigrants from the United States, to join the Texian Army. Buoyed by a desire for revenge, the Texians defeated the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto, on April 21, 1836, ending the rebellion.
The Goliad Campaign was the 1836 Mexican offensive to retake the Texas Gulf Coast during the Texas Revolution. Mexican troops under the command of General José de Urrea defeated rebellious immigrants to the Mexican province of Texas, known as Texians, in a series of clashes in February and March.
The Battle of Coleto, also known as the Battle of Coleto Creek, the Battle of the Prairie, and the Batalla del encinal del Perdido, was fought on March 19–20, 1836, during the Goliad campaign of the Texas Revolution. In February, General José de Urrea led a branch of the Mexican army up the Gulf Coast of Mexican Texas toward Goliad, where a large contingent of soldiers from the Texian Army were garrisoned under Colonel James W. Fannin. Simultaneously, Mexican president Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna led a larger force into the Texian interior, where on March 6 his troops won the Battle of the Alamo. After learning of the Alamo's defeat, Texian general Sam Houston ordered Fannin to retreat from Goliad and join the rest of the army in Victoria.
Manuel Fernández Castrillón was a major general in the Mexican army of the 19th century. He was a close friend of General and Mexican President Antonio López de Santa Anna. During the Texas Revolution, Castrillón advocated for mercy for captured Texian soldiers. He was killed at the Battle of San Jacinto, despite attempts by Republic of Texas Secretary of War Thomas Rusk to save his life.
Juan Nepomuceno Seguín was a Spanish-Tejano political and military figure of the Texas Revolution who helped to establish the independence of Texas and signed its declaration of independence. Numerous places and institutions are named in his honor, including the county seat of Seguin in Guadalupe County, the Juan N. Seguin Memorial Interchange in Houston, Juan Seguin Monument in Seguin, World War II Liberty Ship SS Juan N. Seguin, Seguin High School in Arlington.
The Runaway Scrape events took place mainly between September 1835 and April 1836, and were the evacuations by Texas residents fleeing the Mexican Army of Operations during the Texas Revolution, from the Battle of the Alamo through the decisive Battle of San Jacinto. The ad interim government of the new Republic of Texas and much of the civilian population fled eastward ahead of the Mexican forces. The conflict arose after Antonio López de Santa Anna abrogated the 1824 constitution of Mexico and established martial law in Coahuila y Tejas. The Texians resisted and declared their independence. It was Sam Houston's responsibility, as the appointed commander-in-chief of the Provisional Army of Texas, to recruit and train a military force to defend the population against troops led by Santa Anna.
Susanna Wilkerson Dickinson and her infant daughter, Angelina, were among the few American survivors of 1836 Battle of the Alamo during the Texas Revolution. Her husband, Almaron Dickinson, and 185 other Texian defenders were killed by the Mexican Army.
Juana Gertrudis Navarro Alsbury was one of the few Texian survivors of the Battle of the Alamo during the Texas Revolution in 1836. As Mexican forces entered her hometown, San Antonio de Bexar, on February 23, Alsbury's cousin by marriage, James Bowie, brought her with him to the Alamo Mission so that he could protect her. Bowie, the co-commander of the Texian forces, collapsed from illness on the second day of the siege; Alsbury nursed him throughout the remainder of the siege. On March 4, Texian co-commander William Barret Travis sent her as an emissary to Mexican commander Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna to negotiate an honorable surrender for the Texian forces. She made no headway, and her visit likely increased Santa Anna's impatience to end the siege in a spectacular fashion. Santa Anna launched an early-morning assault on the Alamo on March 6.
Francisco Antonio Ruiz was the alcalde of San Antonio during the Texas Revolution and was responsible for identifying the bodies of those killed at the Battle of the Alamo.
Almaron Dickinson was a Texian soldier and defender during the Battle of the Alamo, fought during the Texas Revolution. Dickinson is best known as the artillery officer of the small garrison, and the husband of one of the only three non-Mexican survivors to live through the battle, Susanna Dickinson, as well as the father to their infant daughter Angelina, whose life was also spared.
The Siege of the Alamo describes the first thirteen days of the Battle of the Alamo. On February 23, Mexican troops under General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna entered San Antonio de Bexar, Texas and surrounded the Alamo Mission. The Alamo was defended by a small force of Texians and Tejanos, led by William Barrett Travis and James Bowie, and included Davy Crockett. Before beginning his assault on the Alamo, Santa Anna offered them one last chance to surrender. Travis replied by opening fire on the Mexican forces and, in doing so, effectively sealed their fate. The siege ended when the Mexican Army launched an early-morning assault on March 6. Almost all of the defenders were killed, although several civilians survived.
The Battle of the Alamo left a substantial legacy and influence within American culture and is an event that is told from the perspective of the vanquished.
The City of San Antonio is one of the oldest Spanish colonization of the European settlements in Texas and was, for decades, its largest city. Before Spanish colonization, the site was occupied for thousands of years by varying cultures of indigenous peoples. The historic Payaya Indians were likely those who encountered the first Europeans.
José Toribio Losoya, was a former Mexican soldier, a Texian military participant in the Siege of Bexar and Battle of the Alamo defender.
Andrew Jackson Sowell was a lifelong soldier and farmer in the 19th century. He was a participant in the Texas Revolution and a survivor of the siege of the Alamo. He continued his service during the years of the Republic of Texas, in the Mexican–American War, and the Civil War. He was a frontier defender, early Texas Ranger, and a friend and scout with Kit Carson.