March 6, 1836 - Battle of the Alamo.
Of all the battles fought in Texas over independence, the Battle of the Alamo is the most famous. The Texas army was composed of 189 men, who battled thousands of Mexican soldiers and their leader, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. The siege on the Alamo lasted for 13 days. It was during this time that William Barrett Travis, commander of the Texas Army, sent the famous letter on February 24, 1836, that begins 'To the people of Texas and all Americans in the world, fellow citizens and compatriots', words that would forever be considered the supreme example of the virtues of courage and self sacrifice. Late in the siege, Travis called all the soldiers together, drew a line on the ground and invited whoever wanted to "die with him" to cross over the line. On March 6, 1836, music from the Mexican army bands called el degueello was the signal that began the attack. The playing el degueello meant that no mercy would be given. The 189 men who died at the Alamo were fighting for freedom for the people of Texas. Although during the battle, all of the Texan defenders were killed, several non-combatants were spared, including Susanna Dickinson, the wife of one of the defenders, Susanna's baby, and a servant of Travis. Partly to reinforce his goal of terrorizing colonists in Texas, Santa Anna released this small party to inform Texans of the fate of the defenders. Although this was a terrible defeat for the Texas army, by tying up the Mexican army it nevertheless allowed the formation of a revolutionary government and the drafting of a constitution. The Battle of the Alamo made martyrs of the men who fought for Texas and inspired others to join in the fight for Texas' independence from Mexico. The phrase 'Remember the Alamo' along with 'Remember Goliad' became the battle cry of the Texas War for Independence.