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Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing) 1 1 Browse Search
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Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing), Alamo, Fort, (search)
93, when, on account of the great strength of its walls, it was converted into a fort. In the struggle by Texas for independence, the most sanguinary and heroic conflict of the border warfare, which merged into the Mexican War, occurred there — a conflict which for years was familiar to Americans as the Thermopylae of Texas. The fort was about an acre in extent, oblong, and surrounded by a wall 8 or 10 feet in height by 3 feet in thickness. A body of Texans, under the command of Col. William Barrett Davis, retired into the fort early in 1836, upon the dismantling of San Antonio by Sam Houston, and then Santa Ana, with a large force, invested the fort Feb. 23. The Texans numbered only 140 men, while the Mexican army was 4,000 strong. The enemy took possession of the town, then erected batteries on both sides of the river, and for twenty-four hours bombarded the fort, during which, it is stated, over 200 shells were discharged into it, but without injuring a man. The attacking force