Fight for Independence

Mike Hirsch , Guest Writer

February 23, 1836, a day I—despite my efforts—would never forget. I was rudely awakened by the sound of yelling and running. I heard the dreadful noise of our men shouting,“They’re coming, they’re coming!” In a daze, I jumped out of bed and was immediately faced with the reality of what had happened. In a hurry, I joined the small group of around two hundred frontiersman, settlers, and plantation owners gathered to protect the Alamo. As the overwhelming Mexican army marched closer, I heard my father say, “Go now, run! You’re only a kid !” But by now I had made up my mind, like everyone else, I was prepared to fight to the death.

*          *         *

“Happy birthday!” I heard as I walked down the stairs of our newly built house.

Although it was in fact, January 24, 1834, my sixteenth birthday, it somehow didn’t feel like it. My family did their best to keep a positive attitude but there was a heavy tension in the air. With the New Mexican policies in action it became evident that there was going to be a conflict. As my father said, “We ain’t bout to just let em push us outta Texas, everything we have is here.” It seemed that all American settlers shared that mindset as there were many raids and attacks on General Lopez de Santa Anna’s Mexican Army. I to, against my parents advice, joined a band of untrained soldiers with intentions of making our point of independence clear to the Mexican forces. These violent raids continued without much progress for roughly a year.

In December of 1835, our group of Texan rebels saw an opportunity to seize the Alamo. Our rebel leader, George Collinsworth, shouted, “Charge, take the Alamo!” Without hesitation our group of volunteer soldiers overwhelmed the Mexican garrison at the Alamo and took control of the fort and San Antonio. Although, it was indeed a victory, it was bittersweet. The soldiers knew General Lopez de Santa Anna’s Army would retaliate, and the Alamo gave them a clear target. The General quite frankly said,“Just you wait kid, they’re comin and its gonna be bloody!” Only 17 years old, I could not wrap my mind around death, especially my own. I pondered what would be worse, death or abandoning my family and the fight for independence.

This dreadful question would continue to linger in my head as a restless year of waiting dragged on.

*          *          *

Dum-da-da-da-dum, Dum-da-da-da-dum, the overwhelming sound of the Mexican battle drums tore through the air. Filled with terror, I reconsidered taking my fathers advice but it was done, I had made my decision. It felt unreal, but as I pushed cold steel into the Springfield percussion musket I began not to feel at all. I drowned out the noise, held my breath, and squeezed, bang! The sound left a ringing in my ears, a ringing I would get used to as it was all I would hear for the rest of that dreadful day. To my surprise the firing faded into a faint cheering as the Mexican forces fell back.

“Did we win? Did we win?”

“For today we have, but they’ll be back.”

The general’s words brought me back to reality, the reality that we had merely postponed our inevitable fate. The relentless Mexican force continued to return day, after day, each battle ending worse than the last. By the twelfth day of gruesome battle, our forces were thinning along with our chances of survival. With less than half our men standing and fresh out of ammunition, we resorted to throwing horse shoes, bottles, and anything we could grab.

It was the dawn of the thirteenth day and against all odds we rose to fight one last time. “No,” I screamed as I saw my father drop to the ground. My face turned white and my body felt limp as I tried to get to him. The noise and chaos faded and my own heartbeat seemed louder than the gunfire, I dropped to my knees by his body but it was too late. I rose to my feet filled with rage and charged into the enemy forces taking out anything in my way. Soon, what was left of the rebellion force accepted that it was indeed a fight to the death and followed my lead. We tore through the Mexican army like savages, until all but myself and two others were left standing. The Mexican General, Lopez de Santa Anna, approached us and, to my surprise, did not slaughter us but sent back to the United States. He sent us as messengers to tell of the Alamo and to place fear in the hearts of Americans.




“Antonio L.” Antonio Lpez De Santa Anna,

Editors, “The Alamo.”, A&E Television Networks, 4 Mar. 2010,                 

Fight to the Death at the Alamo, 1836,

Jackson, Ron, et al. Joe, the Slave Who Became an Alamo Legend. University of Oklahoma Press, 2015. 10 April 2019.