Give Me Help, Oh My Country!
TRAVIS' FIRST official message from the Alamo was addressed to Judge Andrew Ponton and others in Gonzales, and was as follows:
Commandancy of Bexar
Feb. 23, 3 o!'clock p.m., 1836
To Andrew Ponton, Judge, and the Citizens of Gonzales:
The enemy in large force is in sight. We want men and provisions.
Send them to us. We have 150 men and are determined to defend
the Alamo to the last. Give us assistance.
W. B. Travis,
P. S. Send an express to San Felipe with the news -- night & day --
Governor Smith immediately had this letter printed as a handbill, followed by a strong "Appeal to the People of Texas" in which he gave his own summary of the desperate circumstances at the Alamo. He so far misjudged the situation, however, as to state that the men there might be able to hold out as long as thirty days. It is difficult to understand such an estimate because, by now, he must have been aware of their desperate lack of almost everything. In any event, he made a strong appeal to "all who are able to bear arms" to "rally without a moment's delay to the aid of your besieged countrymen." His handbill was dated February 27, 1836.
Reference has already been made to Travis' letter of February 28 to Colonel Fannin. Knowing that Fannin had a sizable force at his disposal at Goliad, he must have counted heavily on his help. According to Yoakum, Fannin received the dispatch on the 25th, and was able to set out on the 28th