Sunday, February 13, 2011

Alamo Surrenders to Texas Troops

Reenactment of Twigg's surrender at Alamo
Martha Cerna
February 12, 2011

(Presented by The Alamo Rifles Living History Organization, Co.K, 6th Texas Infantry and the Texas Department of the Sons of Confederate Veterans)

It's possible that the Civil War could have started on the doorsteps of the Alamo. That is what Texas historians say and that is why this reenactment in front of the Alamo is so significant. The story begins in 1860 when talk of secession spooked military leaders...apparently on both sides.

The Texans didn't want the weapons housed there would ever be used against them in a war. So, on February 15, 1861, 150 years ago, about 1,000 Texas militiamen (they are the ones depicted in rough and rugged garb - there were no uniforms at the time...yet) surrounded the Alamo demanding the weapons inside. At the time there were only 200 soldiers within the walls. They were trapped.

The commanding officer, U.S. Army General David Twiggs was en route to those historic walls, when he was circumvented and treated to a confrontation of Texas military leaders. They issued Twiggs an ultimatum: Surrender the gear, or fight. 200 vs. 1,000? The general negotiated terms wherein his soldiers would be allowed to depart with their own weapons, leaving the arsenal in tact. Twiggs had to withdraw all 2,500 soldiers who were in Texas then.

Needless to say, U.S. Army bigwigs didn't look to kindly on this move. Twiggs was booted out of the Army, but he soon took up post as a Confederate general.

That's the story, and this is its 150th anniversary.

Authentic reenactors from all over Texas participated in the event held Saturday morning at Alamo Plaza. They each paid their own way, and provided their own attire. Some of the participants said they do reenactments 3 to 4 times each year. Others say they dress up for historic 'performances' once a month. Next time you have a chance to catch one of these reenactments, step forward and talk to these fascinating folks. They have stories to tell. Like the woman who described her eight layers of clothing, and how she sometime 'cheats' during hot summer months. I also heard from one characteristically charming gentleman who revealed that his genuine, non-replica spectacles were actually specifically designed for syphilis patients. How extraordinary!