The Battle of the Alamo
The battle of the Alamo is a significant event in the history of the Texas Revolution in the American/Mexican history. Looking at it from the perspective of the Mexican country and the then president Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, it was a tale of holding up the central government through determination and setting principles. From the American or Texan perspective, it was the tale of liberation with democracy and the right to choose the type of governance they want. While the tales had little remnants to reveal the information, it will be known as a horrific massacre lasting 13 days that saw the battle of a large Mexican army against an unexpectedly insurmountable Texan garrison force who tried to fend off the Mexicans. Even with the determination of the Texan soldiers to fight and seek for help, they lost the war because of poor leadership that lacked vision, lacked proper organization of its affairs and one that did not have an eye for the future.
The Battle of Alamo
Background of Alamo
In 1978, Spanish Settlers built the Mission San Antonio on the banks of River San Antonio. The mission housed missionaries and Native Americans converts for more than 70 years when Spanish authorities secularized the five missions located on river Antonio and distributed the land among the residents. In the early 1800s, Spanish military was stationed at the abandoned mission, and they renamed the fort “El Alamo” (Snow and Margaret 10). The place was occupied by different military troops starting with the Spanish, rebel troops then later Mexican troops. After Mexico’s independence from the Spanish in the 1820s, US families settled in the Alamo region, around Texas and more immigration followed after that. There was conflict in the early 1930’s because of the settlements and at one [point the Texans drove all the American troops out of Mexican Texas, and about 100 Texans took over garrison at Alamo (Cox 276).
Reason for War
The leadership style of President Antonio shifted from the federalist model that had been previously there and adopted a more dictatorial position in the management of the affairs. Such actions included the constitution revocation in 1835. The people within the border regions were more accustomed to the federalist approach and therefore were vocal about the shift to centralism. There were previous attempts of America to buy off the Mexican Texas and thus with the newfound vocalism the government suspected American influence (Cox 276). A rebellion started, and therefore the President started a mission to restate order within that region. The Texans had defeated the Mexican armies in the region and chased the last army out. Most of the Texan army was done by new people especially American adventurers.
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When the Mexican army left, the Texans took over the Alamo and occupied it. As of January 1936, the Texan army only had 100 soldiers remaining, they were underprovisioned, and the Alamo was only able to support an attack from the locals, not an army (Buenger 3). When they asked for support from the Texan government, they could not support their claim. The army commander at the moment, Sam Houston realized that he could not conduct even heist with the army and commanded the chief engineer James Bowie to take down the station. The engineer could find the necessary tools to carry out the task and so take to convince the commander that they could survive the battle (Snow and Margaret 10). Bowie then took over the command of the Alamo. They later only received 30 men as reinforcement. Within the ranks of the Alamo, there were five other commanders and confusion grew within the ranks. As the Texan army continued their search for men and supplies, the Mexican president grew his army to 6,019 soldiers. Many of them were new recruits, and the training was a bit slow.
The Mexican Army began the siege in February 23rd morning, and by the afternoon the Alamo was occupied by 1500 soldiers. Two of the Texan commanders; Bowie and Travis initiated the cannon blowing, but the Mexican army took a slow start onto the war. The war continued for weeks, and at some point, the Texan commander became ill leaving Travis in the sole command of the Alamo. The war continued until March 1st, and as of that date, the Mexican causalities were 9 and 1 Texan. The Mexican army called in for reinforcements of 600 soldiers making the total above 200 (Cox 276). The Texan commander, Travis sent a letter for reinforcement, and an army of 350 people was sent to his, but upon arrival into the city, they aborted the mission and went back. The commander sent out 34 men to go seek out reinforcements, but in the dusk, they confused them for Mexican soldiers and shot at them (Buenger 3). In 3rd of March, another 1000 soldiers joined the Mexican army (Snow and Margaret 10). Santa Anna organized an assault to take place on March 5th at night when the final assault of the war occurred.
The final battle witnessed confusion from both sides. The Mexican army marched in subdivided troops by with the mayhem upon entering the Alamo, the armatures in the middle of the groups fired anyhow killing the ones in front of them. The Texans filled their guns with any types of metals they could find and fired. Finally, the Mexican army managed to enter the Alamo through the gates and the walls, and they killed all the Texans inside the Alamo and also the fleeing ones.
The war left many causalities (Levy and Susanna 12). Accounts show that about 7 Mexicans survived the battle, but the President ordered for their execution leaving the number of Texan army survivors at zero. The accounts prove some about182-257 Texans who died on that day. Historians place the number of dead Mexican soldiers at between 400 and 600 with about 250 others injured (Curtis 314). The Texan Army commander Travis was speared by President Santa Anna who wanted them to support him in taking over the whole of Texas (Buenger 3). He further spared all the con combatants and gave the women blankets and two silver pesos.
Synthesis of Leadership within the Battle of the Alamo
Several problems led to falling of Alamo. However, what stands out significantly is the leadership during the preparation and the attack. The following are some of the issues with the leadership of the Texan Army;
The leaders Lacked proper Vision
Every task or mission requires knowing where it is headed. Therefore the work of the leader is to articulate the vision and help the followers to synthesize it. A proper vision bears clarity regarding comprehensiveness and should have a reward to all of the efforts of the team players (Gale 458). Moreover, it should stipulate the role of each team player within the whole framework as they work towards achieving their target. When Stephen Austin came into Mexico in 1822, he was followed by other American immigrants, and they accepted a land grant and fulfilled the requirements to be citizens (Levy and Susanna 12). His vision for the people was for them to lay a good foundation for settlement in the region. It was an example of a vision; it was however not achieved.
When the Texan army commanders started off the war and chased out the Mexicans, it was against the Vision of Stephen Austin. They packed themselves in the Alamo and hoped to fight the Mexicans without any vision (Gale 458). The leadership of the army including Bowie and Austin had no vision for the army. They know that they did not have supplies to last during the war, they did not have a good army or a good station, but they still convinced themselves to fight on. When the army of reinforcement was sent to the Texan army, they went back because they did not see a reason to fight because there was no proper vision set by the Texans (Curtis 314).
The leaders lacked Leadership Qualities
James Bowie was known as a swindler. When he was sent by his commander Houston to take out the soldiers and supplies from the camp because they could not survive a siege, he went there and took over command. He then led the army to believe that they could win. He was also known for being a land swindler and getting involved in the slave trade. Sam Houston was also an alcoholic after his wife deserted him (Gale 458). Travis, on the other hand, had left his wife back in the US and came for his adventures in Texas only to get into the war. Another most significant point about the leadership was that they were all new into the region. It was another factor that led to the local army deserting the fight (Snow and Margaret 10).
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Leaders are supposed to lead from the front having impeccable moral authority. It inspires the followers to mirror their character, and they, therefore, inspire a following. When losers therefore lead a group, it is, therefore, hard to inspire a win. All the commanders had lost in their previous lives and were seeking redemption in the newer region (Levy and Susanna 12). It was also hard for them to acquire reinforcement from any of the regions because they did not have any good following.
Critical Thinking for Decision Making
When faced by trouble, it is of importance to take time to review the information, evaluate possibilities, assimilate information then make a decision. No assumptions should be used in such a case as it would lead to misjudgment of the situation. James Bowie took to the decision to continue with the attack even when he knew that the Alamo could not survive a siege from an immense army (Levy and Susanna 12). He also understood that there were not enough supplies and the numbers were against him. Based on that decision, it would have been a better option if he considered falling back.
Proper Communication for Proper Leadership
Leadership should adopt proper communication between the leaders, and the subjects. The leaders should communicate the mission, vision, values, instructions, inspiration and many more to the followers. He should also get feedback from the people before undertaking significant decisions. Moreover, leaders should consult among themselves before reaching a verdict. In the Alamo war, Bowie did not listen to the scout reports telling him of the approaching Mexican army (Snow and Margaret 10). At the start of the war, Travis released canons without consulting with Commander Bowie. When the battle had overwhelmed the Texan’s, the letter sent out by William Trav9is seeking for reinforcement did not communicate a great vision, and therefore he did not get any support.
Leadership is a vital paradigm in any organization involving more than two people. It determines the focus and vision and directs the people towards a common goal. Proper leadership bears fruits, but the contrary leads to the destruction of the team. Therefore, a great lesson of leadership is accrued from the battle of Alamo, and it significantly addressed the pitfall of poor leadership. After the Alamo, better leadership is witnessed when they fight for their freedom.
Snow, Marianne, and Margaret Robbins. “How Should We Remember the Alamo? Critical Analyses of Four Graphic Histories.” Social Studies Research & Practice 10.2 (2015).
Levy, Janey, and Susanna Keller. A Primary Source Investigation of the Alamo. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc, 2015.
Cox, Jeremy. ““They Died the Spartan’s Death”: Thermopylae, the Alamo, and the Mirrors of Classical Analogy.” Advances in the History of Rhetoric 19.3 (2016): 276-297.
Curtis, Michael. Mass atrocity, collective memory, and the law. Routledge, 2017.
Buenger, Walter L. “Texas and the South.” Major Problems in Texas History (2016): 3.
Gale, Cengage Learning. A Study Guide for Emily Dickinson’s” Success is counted sweetest”. Gale, Cengage Learning, 2016.