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William B. Travis, 1836
In 1831, William B. Travis, a middling lawyer and failed newspaper publisher, found himself in debt and headed for prison. Instead, he headed to Texas. He purchased land in Mexico’s Texas territory and helped start a militia to oppose Mexican rule. Settler uprisings in 1832 and 1835 led to secession from Mexico and the founding of the Republic of Texas. As a lieutenant colonel of the Legion of Cavalry in the new regular Texian army, he was ordered to reinforce the Texians at the Alamo Mission in San Antonio. James Bowie arrived at the Alamo with 30 men on 19 January 1836. On 3 February, Travis arrived with 18 regulars. The Alamo defenders numbered 260, the Mexican Army, estimated 6,000 strong. The situation was dire.
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