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1836 Letter Readings Bring Alamo Battle To Life


This week is the 181st anniversary of the siege and battle of the Alamo. Each day historians in period garb read letters and discuss what was happening 181 years ago to the day.


A crowd gathered Tuesday in front of the Alamo chapel. They listened to letters, like this one, written by J. W. Fannin on February 28, 1836. It was day 6 of the siege.

“What must be the feelings of the volunteers now shut up in Bexar? And what those of this command if a sufficient force of the enemy should appear and besiege us here without provision? Will not the curses be heaped on the heads of the sluggards who remain home with the knowledge of our situation?”

Bruce Winders is the curator and historian at the Alamo. Today he’s dressed in 1830’s pale tan loose fitting clothes with a black cloth tie around his neck. Winders says the readings make the events 181 years ago more real.

Credit Louisa Jonas / Texas Public Radio
Texas Public Radio
Bruce Winders, Curator and Historian for the Alamo


“I like it because it gives people a reason to remember the Alamo,” Winders says. “And what I have found in the time I have been here is that people remember the Alamo, but if you really start talking to them, part way into the conversation, they’ll say, ‘I remember the Alamo, but I really don’t know what I’m supposed to remember.’”

Siege readings take place in front of the Alamo everyday through March 6th at 10am and 2pm.


To commemorate the 180th Anniversary of the siege and battle of the Alamo, the historic site is hosting daily events for the 13 days leading up to March 6.


Daily events

Historic re-enactors will read a daily overview of events including letters and historic speeches at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in front of the Alamo Church. Living History demonstrations will also take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the grounds of the Alamo.


Special Events

  • March 3 — An Evening of Heroes — Alamo enthusiasts will witness a recreation of what was happening inside and outside the walls of the Alamo just before the big battle. Expect historical conversations and seven scenarios that will take participants back in time. Tours will depart every 10 minutes beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are required. Tickets range from $10 to $20 and children under seven are free with a paid adult
  • March 4 — Annual Crockett Fiddler’s Fest — The Crockett Fiddler's Festival begins at 10 a.m. and runs through 5 p.m. This free event features western swing, bluegrass, and old time country music from world renowned artists Jason Roberts (Asleep at the Wheel, Van Morrison), Rick McRae (George Strait), and Ron Knuth (Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Jr.). Tennessee Valley Authority, RJ Smith, Mario Flores and the Celtaire String Band. Pack a blanket for chairs. Local food trucks will be parked along Crockett Street.
  • March 6 — Dusk at the Alamo — On the eve of March 6, 1836, General Antonio López de Santa Anna ordered soldiers to light three funeral pyres on which rested the Alamo’s defenders.  A brief ceremony in front of the Alamo Church will commemorate the lighting of the funeral pyres.  The event begins at 6 p.m. and is open to the public.


More information about the daily events and tickets can be found at www.thealamo.org