Siege Of Bexar (October 12 To December 9, 1835): A Prolonged Struggle For San Antonio

The Siege of Bexar, which spanned from October 12 to December 9, 1835, was a prolonged and arduous struggle that unfolded in San Antonio during the Texas Revolution.

It was a remarkable coincidence of circumstances that brought together two opposing forces: the Mexican army, determined to maintain control over the region, and the Texian rebels, fiercely committed to securing their freedom. This clash of ideologies set the stage for an epic battle that would shape the course of history.

In this article, we will delve into the key players involved in this conflict, examine the initial defenses established by the Mexican forces and the strategic maneuvers employed by the Texians. We will also explore pivotal moments such as the Battle of Concepción and The Grass Fight before delving into The Assault on Alamo Mission.

Finally, we will discuss the surrender and aftermath of this siege and analyze its significance within the broader context of Texas Revolution. Through an objective lens, we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of this historic event while acknowledging its lasting legacy and commemoration among those who value freedom.

Key Takeaways

  • The Siege of Bexar was a significant event during the Texas Revolution, lasting from October 12 to December 9, 1835.
  • The Texian rebels, led by key players such as Stephen F. Austin, James Bowie, and Ben Milam, demonstrated determination and resourcefulness in their fight for independence.
  • The Texians employed innovative battle tactics, exploiting weaknesses in the Mexican defenses and disrupting supply lines to weaken the Mexican resistance.
  • The Siege of Bexar had a lasting impact on Texian morale, showcasing their military capabilities and laying the foundation for subsequent victories in their quest for liberty.

The Context of the Texas Revolution

The Texas Revolution was a pivotal event in the history of Texas, and one crucial aspect of this conflict was the siege of Bexar, which occurred from October 12 to December 9, 1835.

The causes of the Texas Revolution can be traced back to a variety of factors, including political and cultural differences between Mexican authorities and American settlers in Texas. Tensions had been simmering for years, with Americans seeking greater autonomy and representation within the Mexican government.

The siege of Bexar marked a turning point in these strained relations, as it demonstrated the determination and fighting spirit of Texan forces.

The impact on Mexican American relations cannot be understated. The prolonged struggle for San Antonio showcased the Texans’ resolve to break free from Mexican control and establish their own independent republic. It also highlighted the harsh treatment endured by Texan rebels at the hands of their Mexican counterparts. By successfully capturing Bexar, Texan forces gained both military advantage and momentum in their fight for independence.

Transitioning into the subsequent section about key players in the siege of Bexar, it is important to understand how these events set the stage for individuals who played integral roles during this critical time period.

Key Players in the Siege of Bexar

Prominent figures who played significant roles in the prolonged conflict for control over the Texan city of San Antonio during the months between October and December include Stephen F. Austin, James Bowie, and Ben Milam. These key players were instrumental in shaping the outcome of the Siege of Bexar.

  • Santa Anna: As the President of Mexico at that time, Santa Anna was determined to regain control over Texas. His strategic decisions and leadership had a profound impact on the battle.
  • Stephen F. Austin: Known as the ‘Father of Texas,’ Austin played a crucial role in organizing Texian forces and coordinating their efforts during the siege. His experience and influence were pivotal in rallying support for independence.
  • James Bowie: A renowned frontiersman and military leader, Bowie’s expertise in unconventional warfare tactics made him an invaluable asset to the Texian forces. He commanded a group of volunteers known as ‘Bowie’s Volunteers.’
  • Ben Milam: A fearless and charismatic figure, Milam played a critical role in motivating Texian soldiers during the siege. His famous rallying cry ‘Who will go with old Ben Milam into San Antonio?’ inspired many to join the cause.

These key players each brought unique skills and perspectives to the conflict, contributing to its ultimate resolution. Their actions set the stage for subsequent events, including discussions about initial Mexican defenses and Texian strategy.

Transitioning into our next section about ‘initial Mexican defenses and Texian strategy’, we delve into how both sides approached this critical aspect of warfare during this tumultuous period in Texas history.

Initial Mexican Defenses and Texian Strategy

Stephen F. Austin and other Texian leaders strategically assessed the initial Mexican defenses and devised a comprehensive plan to overcome them during the Siege of Bexar. The Mexican forces, led by General Martín Perfecto de Cos, had established their stronghold in San Antonio, with a garrison of around 600 soldiers and artillery positioned at key points within the city.

Recognizing the formidable nature of these defenses, Austin and his fellow Texian leaders formulated a strategy that aimed to exploit weaknesses in the Mexican lines while minimizing casualties among their own ranks. The Texians understood that a direct assault on the heavily fortified city would likely result in significant losses. Instead, they opted for a more calculated approach. They decided to cut off supply routes to deprive the Mexican troops of essential resources and weaken their position over time. By establishing a blockade around San Antonio, the Texians hoped to force General Cos’s army into submission through attrition.

Manuel de Mier y Terán, Siege Of Bexar

Additionally, they planned targeted attacks on specific Mexican positions where they believed success was achievable with minimal risk. These selected sites were carefully chosen based on intelligence gathered about vulnerabilities in the Mexican defenses.

Stephen F. Austin and his compatriots employed a strategic approach that focused on exploiting weaknesses in the initial Mexican defenses during the Siege of Bexar. Their plan involved cutting off supplies and launching targeted attacks on vulnerable positions within San Antonio. This calculated strategy aimed to wear down General Cos’s forces over time rather than engaging in direct confrontation immediately.

This transitioned into ‘the battle of Concepción,’ where Texian forces launched an attack on one such vulnerable position within San Antonio’s defenses without revealing any steps taken towards it.

The Battle of Concepción

The Battle of Concepción marked a significant turning point in the Texian strategy during the conflict, as their successful attack on a vulnerable Mexican position demonstrated their ability to exploit weaknesses within the initial defenses. This battle, which took place on October 28, 1835, was one of the first major engagements between the Texians and Mexican forces during the Siege of Bexar.

The Texians, led by Colonel James Bowie and Captain George Collingsworth, utilized innovative battle tactics that proved effective against the larger and better-equipped Mexican army. During the Battle of Concepción, the Texians employed a combination of firepower and maneuverability to gain an advantage over their opponents. They strategically placed sharpshooters in elevated positions to provide cover fire while their comrades advanced toward the enemy lines. This approach allowed them to maintain pressure on the Mexican forces while minimizing casualties.

The Texians’ success at Concepción boosted their morale and showcased their resourcefulness and determination in overcoming obstacles. It proved that they could confront well-trained soldiers with limited resources and achieve victory through strategic planning and execution.

As we will see in subsequent sections about ‘the grass fight and Texian victories,’ this triumph at Concepción set a precedent for future battles where the Texians used similar tactics to secure further successes against Mexican forces.

The Grass Fight and Texian Victories

One noteworthy achievement during the Texian conflict was the successful Grass Fight, which resulted in the acquisition of a substantial amount of supplies that greatly benefited the Texian forces.

As part of their strategy to weaken Mexican resistance, Texian troops under the command of Captain George Collingsworth and Colonel Benjamin Milam sought out opportunities to disrupt supply lines and secure provisions.

Captain George Morse Collinsworth

On November 26, 1835, they received intelligence about a Mexican mule train carrying supplies from San Antonio to General Martín Perfecto de Cos’s forces in Bexar.

The Texians quickly devised a plan to intercept this valuable convoy. However, due to miscommunication within their own ranks, they mistakenly believed that the mules were carrying silver instead of grass for horses. This misunderstanding led to an intense battle between the Texians and Mexican soldiers escorting the mule train near San Antonio.

Despite initial confusion over the contents of the wagons, the Texians emerged victorious after fierce fighting. They discovered not silver but much-needed supplies such as cornmeal and fodder for horses. This unexpected triumph provided a significant boost to their morale and resources while undermining Mexican efforts.

With this success behind them, the Texians prepared for further engagements against General Cos’s forces in Bexar. The bombardment of Bexar would mark another crucial phase in their struggle for control over San Antonio.

The Bombardment of Bexar

As Texian forces sought to solidify their control over the region, they faced a pivotal moment in their campaign with the Bombardment of Bexar. This intense military action occurred from October 12 to December 9, 1835, during the Siege of Bexar. The bombardment was a strategic move by Texian forces under the command of General Edward Burleson and Colonel Benjamin Milam to weaken and demoralize Mexican troops occupying San Antonio de Bexar.

The bombardment of Bexar had significant effects on both sides of the conflict. For the Mexicans, it caused extensive damage to structures within San Antonio de Bexar and disrupted their supply lines. The relentless shelling instilled fear among Mexican soldiers, leading some to question their loyalty and commitment to the cause.

On the other hand, for Texian forces, it demonstrated their determination and resolve to secure control over San Antonio de Bexar.

However, despite these effects, the bombardment alone was not enough to drive Mexican troops out of San Antonio de Bexar. It set the stage for what would come next – a daring assault on the Alamo mission by Texian forces determined to achieve total victory in their struggle for freedom.

Transitioning into the subsequent section about ‘the assault on the Alamo mission,’ this critical event would test both sides’ resolve and shape Texas history forever.


The Assault on the Alamo Mission

After enduring the relentless bombardment, the Texian forces faced a new formidable challenge: the assault on the Alamo mission. The Alamo, located in San Antonio de Bexar, housed a garrison of Mexican troops led by General Martin Perfecto de Cos. The assault aimed to dislodge these troops and secure control of the mission.

The assault on the Alamo mission posed several challenges for the Texian forces. Firstly, they were outnumbered and lacked sufficient artillery to breach the fortified walls of the mission. Additionally, morale was low among some soldiers due to fatigue and casualties sustained during previous engagements. Despite these obstacles, their determination to achieve victory propelled them forward.

The Texians devised a plan to storm the Alamo in early December 1835. Led by Benjamin Milam and Edward Burleson, they launched a coordinated attack that involved multiple columns converging on different points of entry simultaneously. This strategy aimed to overwhelm and confuse the Mexican defenders.

The assault on the Alamo mission proved arduous and fierce combat ensued between both sides. However, after days of intense fighting, Texian forces managed to gain control over parts of the compound but struggled to fully dislodge their opponents.

Transitioning into ‘the surrender and aftermath,’ it became evident that while progress had been made during this assault, achieving complete victory at the Alamo would not be an easy task.

The Surrender and Aftermath

The surrender and aftermath of the assault on the Alamo mission revealed a grim reality for the Texian forces, as their hopes for a swift victory were shattered by the formidable resilience and determination of the Mexican defenders.

The consequences of surrender were dire for the Texians. Firstly, they had to face not only physical but also psychological defeat, realizing that their initial optimism was misplaced. Secondly, they suffered significant casualties, further weakening their already outnumbered and outgunned position. Lastly, surrender meant losing control over San Antonio, an important strategic location.

In the aftermath of their defeat, however, the Texians did not give up. Instead, they embarked on rebuilding efforts in order to continue their fight for independence from Mexico. They recognized that defeat at the Alamo was not an end but rather a setback in their larger struggle for freedom. Reorganizing their troops and regaining strength became crucial goals during this time.

The surrender and subsequent rebuilding efforts following the assault on the Alamo set a precedent for future battles in Texas’s fight for independence. It highlighted both the resilience of those fighting against Mexican rule and the determination to continue despite setbacks. The Siege of Bexar proved to be a pivotal moment in Texas history as it laid groundwork for future successes in achieving independence from Mexico without explicitly stating so.

Significance of the Siege of Bexar in the Texas Revolution

The Siege of Bexar, like a pivotal turning point in the Texas Revolution, marked a critical moment in the Texian struggle for independence from Mexico. This prolonged struggle for San Antonio had a significant impact on Texian morale and played a crucial role in shaping the outcome of the revolution.

The siege lasted from October 12 to December 9, 1835, during which Texian forces led by George Collingsworth and Benjamin Milam fought against Mexican General Martín Perfecto de Cos and his troops. The Texians consisted mainly of volunteers who were driven by their desire for freedom and independence. These volunteers, many of whom were farmers or frontiersmen, displayed immense courage and determination throughout the battle.

To emphasize the importance of their cause, consider this table:

Column 1Column 2Column 3

This table represents the emotions evoked by the Texian volunteers who fought valiantly during the siege. Their sacrifice, bravery, resilience, and unwavering commitment to freedom serve as powerful reminders of their indomitable spirit.

The Siege of Bexar not only boosted Texian morale but also showcased their military capabilities. It demonstrated that they were capable of organizing effective resistance against Mexican forces. This successful campaign laid the foundation for subsequent victories in battles such as San Jacinto.

The Siege of Bexar was a crucial event that significantly impacted Texian morale and highlighted the essential role played by volunteer fighters in achieving independence. This triumph set the stage for future successes in their quest for liberty.

Legacy and Commemoration of the Siege of Bexar

Commemoration of the Siege of Bexar is evident in various forms, such as monuments and annual ceremonies, which serve as a visual testament to the enduring impact of this pivotal event on Texian history. The historical significance of the siege has prompted numerous memorialization efforts aimed at preserving its legacy.

  • Monuments: Prominent among these commemorative structures is the Battle of Concepcion Monument, erected in 1936 to honor the Texian soldiers who fought in the early stages of the siege. This monument stands as a reminder of their bravery and sacrifice.
  • Annual Ceremonies: Each year, San Antonio hosts a ceremony on December 5th to mark the beginning of the siege. This event brings together descendants of those involved and members of the community, fostering a sense of unity and remembrance.
    Texas Declaration of Independence

  • Educational Programs: Efforts have been made to incorporate lessons about the siege into educational curricula. By teaching students about this important chapter in Texas history, educators ensure that future generations understand its significance.
  • Historic Sites: Several buildings associated with the siege have been preserved and designated as historic sites. These include The Alamo and San Fernando Cathedral, both central locations during the conflict. Visiting these sites allows individuals to connect with history on a tangible level.
  • Artistic Representations: The Siege of Bexar has also been immortalized through various artistic mediums such as paintings and sculptures. These creative expressions capture different aspects of the event, allowing viewers to engage with it emotionally.

The legacy and commemoration surrounding the Siege of Bexar highlight its historical impact on Texian history while preserving its memory for future generations. Through monuments, ceremonies, educational programs, historic sites, and artistic representations, this pivotal event continues to be remembered and honored by those who value freedom and appreciate its significance in shaping Texas’ identity.

Frequently Asked Questions

How did the Siege of Bexar impact the local economy during the Texas Revolution?

The Siege of Bexar during the Texas Revolution had a significant impact on the local economy, causing disruptions in trade and leading to economic hardships for the region.

What were the weather conditions like during the Siege of Bexar?

The weather conditions during the Siege of Bexar impacted supply lines, hindering transportation and provisioning. Harsh winters caused logistical difficulties for both sides, affecting military operations and adding to the hardships faced by the soldiers.

Were there any notable cultural or artistic achievements during the Siege of Bexar?

Notable achievements and artistic accomplishments during the Siege of Bexar included the creation of flags, banners, and artwork that symbolized the Texian cause, demonstrating their determination and unity in their fight for freedom.

How did the Siege of Bexar affect the morale of the Texian and Mexican forces?

The Siege of Bexar, through its strategic maneuvers and impact on soldiers’ morale, significantly influenced the Texian and Mexican forces. The strategies employed and resulting effects shaped the course of the conflict.

Did any foreign powers provide support or assistance to either side during the Siege of Bexar?

During the Siege of Bexar, no foreign powers provided support or assistance to either side. The Texian and Mexican forces relied solely on their own resources and manpower for the duration of the conflict.


  • Frank Thomas

    Frank Thomas, acclaimed military historian and journalist, hails from Brooklyn, NY, where the sight of Navy ships being built in the Brooklyn Navy Yard ignited a lifelong passion for the Navy and military history. His pursuit of journalism at Texas A&M University exposed him to the traditions of the Corp of Cadets, further fuelling his fascination with the military. Upon graduation, Frank reported on Military Contractors and Military life abroad, gaining invaluable insights into the realities of military life. This experience, combined with his academic knowledge, guided his transition into writing. His career now merges his unique insights and journalistic skills, making him an esteemed figure in the field of military history. Throughout his life, Frank's unwavering dedication and curiosity, traits shaped by his upbringing and experiences, have led him to become a respected military historian and journalist.