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U.S. History/The Battle of the Alamo

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Question
QUESTION: Hi Mr. Troy,

My name is TJ, and I am a sophomore from Stoneham High School. This year we are doing a project called National History Day. For this project we must conduct an interview via e-mail with an expert on our topic. For this project I am explaining how the Battle of the Alamo was an important turning point in History. I was hoping to be able to e-mail you some questions on this subject in order for me to gather information to be used for my project.

Thank in advance you for your time and any information you can provide,
TJ

ANSWER: Hi TJ,

You can just send questions and follow ups to me through this site.  I'll be happy to answer your questions.

- Mike


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Mike,

Thank you for taking the time to help me out with my project. Below is a list of questions I have concerning The Battle of the Alamo.
1.) What do you think is the most important lasting effect from the Battle of the Alamo?
2.) What was the greatest weakness of the Texan soldiers who defended the Alamo?
3.) What delayed any reinforcements from also defending the Alamo, along with soldiers already stationed there?
4.) Why was it so important for the Texans to retain the Alamo?
5.) How was the Alamo used when the Spanish troops had taken control over it?

Thanks,
TJ

Answer
1.) What do you think is the most important lasting effect from the Battle of the Alamo?

The greatest impact of the battle was the inspiration of bravery of its defenders.  Their fight inspired other Texans to fight and defeat the Mexican Army.  It has also inspired generations of Americans as an example of American heroism.

2.) What was the greatest weakness of the Texan soldiers who defended the Alamo?

Most of the men defending the Alamo where brave and experienced fighters, but they were not professional soldiers.  Their greatest weakness was probably their refusal to obey orders of the officers above them.

3.) What delayed any reinforcements from also defending the Alamo, along with soldiers already stationed there?

The loss of the Alamo can be tied to two men who refused to work together.  Col. Travis was in command of the men stationed at the Alamo. He was ordered by Commander Sam Houston to abandon the Alamo and retreat back to the main group of Texas forces.  Travis refused to obey that command and instead demanded that reinforcements be sent.a group of 320 reinforcements under Col. James Fanin started toward the Alamo, but then almost immediately turned back. It is not clear why they did not proceed, but it appears to be because of some dispute between Fanin and his officers.  The time that the Alamo was being beseiged was the same time that Texas leaders were trying to meet to draft a declaration of independence, a constitution, and organize the Army.

4.) Why was it so important for the Texans to retain the Alamo?

The debate among the Texas officers at the time was whether it was important.  Houston thought it was not and that Texans should abandon the Alamo and pull back, drawing the Mexicans farther away from their lines of support.  Travis thought that the Alamo was a good defensive position and that pulling back would allow the Mexican Army to take control of rebel lands, possibly ending public support for the rebellion and seizing their property.

5.) How was the Alamo used when the Spanish troops had taken control over it?

Gen. Santa Anna left a token force at the Alamo, but was primarily focused on destroying the rest of the Texas Rebels.  He took his remaining army, divided it and sent them after the remaining Texas.  For a short time, the site was used to treat wounded Mexican soldiers. The Alamo was not considered a particularly valuable prize to be captured.  It was captured in order to kill the rebels that were holding it.  Forces occupied it for about two months, then after the defeat at San Jacinto, they destroyed its defenses and abandoned the site.

I hope this helps!
- Mike

U.S. History

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Michael Troy

Expertise

I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.

Experience

I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.

Publications
http://unlearnedhistory.blogspot.com

Education/Credentials
J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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