The Travis Letter of February 24, 1836
Among the original ink on paper war documents that have survived to our time, the Travis Letter from the Battle of the Alamo has no comparable equal in textural content and value to future generations of Texans and Americans. The Letter not only records Lt. Colonel William Barret Travis' appeal to "The People of Texas and all Americans in the world", but also carries two additional signed postscripts.
The first is from Captain Albert Martin and is located on the right hand side of the second page of Travis's Letter and appears in a darker color ink that has not transformed to the brown color on the rest of the Letter caused by water evaporating from the ink. The martin postscript could also have been written in pencil. Captain Martin was selected by Travis to carry this to Gonzales his hometown. He arrived in Gonzales on February 25th with the postscript already added as follows:
"Since the above was written I heard a very heavy
When I left there was
Col Almonte is there the troops are
True to his word Albert Martin returned to the Alamo with a small relief force on or about March I, 1836 and died in at the Alamo on March 6, 1836. There are few accounts in military history of personal dedication that surpasses Captain Martin's brave ride through the Mexican Armies lines and a return to almost certain death with his fellow patriots at the Shrine of Texas Liberty.
The second is from Lancelot Smither. He had been sent by Travis the day before Martin left with an estimate of the growing strength of the Mexican troops. Martin gave the February 24th Letter to Smither to carry out the order of the Letter shown on the extreme left hand side of the first page to take to San Felipe "by express day and night." Smither added a note to the back of the Letter located running at a ninety degree angle below Martin's postscript as follows:
"Nb...I hope Every
Smither carried the Letter to San Felipe after forty hours of hard riding and delivered the appeal to a citizens' committee. Printed copies of the Travis Letter were made which were not faithful to the original Letter. At some point after the war the Travis Letter was returned to his family. Smither lived until 1842 having served as a city treasurer of San Antonio and as mayor pro pro-tem for a short period. He was killed by invading Mexican troops at Sutherland Springs in September of 1842. The final courier would also die at the hands of Mexican troops.
The Travis Letter is shown as follows
Commandancy of the Alamo------
Bejar Fby. 24th 1836
To the People of Texas &
Fellow citizens & compatriots------
I am besieged, by a thousand
Then, I can on you in the
with an dispatch ----- The enemy is
P. S. The lord is on our side-
There were other letters sent out of the Alamo by Lt. Colonel Travis. However, the originals of these documents have vanished and most likely have not survived. The sources for these letters come from John H. Jenkins set of books entitled "Papers of the Texas Revolution". Mr. Jenkins cites his sources for these letters as having been taken from newspapers and books. The fact remains that the only original document written from the Alamo is the February 24th Letter and it must remain as the only authentic source on the thoughts and actions of the Commander of the Alamo.
The Travis Letter and the Alamo are forever linked together and they continue to provide Texans and all Americans with a sense of pride and respect for sacrifice, honor and dedication to country. In this regard, the Travis Letter continues to be a treasure for our time and a beacon from a distant past, which inspires all those who fight against tyranny, and oppression in the world.
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