William Barret Travis

August 9, 1809 - March 6, 1836

William Barret Travis was born in Red Banks Church, South Carolina on August 9, 1809. On October 28, 1828, at the age of 19, he married Lucinda Rosanna ( or Rosanna E.) Cato. Soon in April, 1831, Travis set up a law practice, but because of his fiery temper, the business soon failed.  He inexplicably left his pregant wife and young child in 1831 to move to Texas. There, he began to associate with pro-independence groups and took part in the taking of a Mexican post at Velasco in 1832.  Just weeks before the revolution began, Travis' wife showed in Texas, demanding a divorce, which she promptly received. She returned to Alabama with their daughter Susan Isabelle and immediately remarried while Travis kept custody of his son, Charles Edward Travis   The son was boarded with a friend named David Ayres (or Ayers).  Travis's last courier carried, among other items, a message to Ayres:

"Take care of my little boy. If the country should be spared I may make him a great fortune. But if this country should be lost, and I should perish, he will have nothing but the proud recollection that he is the son of a man who died for his country."

In 1835, William joined the Texas Army and was a major of artillery. He soon resigned his position and joined the cavalry where he was soon appointed lieutenant colonel. He was then sent to Bexar with thirty men. This was not a lot of men for a man of his stature. He felt he should have had a better assignment because he had the highest rank in the cavalry.

Travis arrived in Bexar on February 2, 1836 and was shortly placed in command of the whole garrison when Colonel Neill left to try to obtain money for the imperiled command. Problems also arose between Travis and James Bowie when they argued over command of the volunteers at the post. This problem, however, was resolved on February 14, 1836, when they agreed to a joint command. On the 23rd of February, Travis led his men into the Alamo. On the next day he took full command when James Bowie fell ill. He issued letters to people outside of the Alamo to tell how everything was going.

In late February of 1836, General Antonio de Santa Anna arrived in San Antonio with about 5,000 Mexican soldiers. The Texans at this point in time had only 150 volunteers behind the walls of the Alamo. On February 24, the Texans received 32 men from Gonzales, bringing their total to 182 men.

On March 5, Travis ordered everyone to the center of the mission. Then he said he was willing to die but he wouldn't force any man to do so. Then he drew a line in the sand and asked everyone who was willing to die to cross the line. Only one man didn't cross the line. He then was asked to gather his things and leave.

On daybreak of March 6, 1836 the Mexicans surrounded the mission and warned the Texans that no mercy would be shown. When the bugles sounded, the Mexican soldiers attacked. They used ladders to climb over the wall. Once the Mexican army was over the walls, the Texans were helpless. The battle only lasted about 30 minutes. All were killed in the fighting except Susan Dickerson, her baby, their Mexican nurse, and a Negro boy. Santa Anna ordered his soldiers to bring all the dead bodies to him. Once they were all gathered, Santa Anna ordered the bodies to be cremated. The battle had lasted 13 days.  William Barret Travis was killed at his post by a bullet only minutes into the Battle of the Alamo.