March 5, 1836: Santa Anna's Orders

After finalizing plans with his generals for the attack on The Alamo, Mexican President and General Santa Anna issues the following written orders to his troops:

To the Generals, Chiefs of Sections and Commanding Officers:

The time has come to strike a decisive blow upon the enemy occupying the Fortress of the Alamo. Consequently, His Excellency, the General in Chief, has decided that tomorrow at 4 o'clock a.m., the columns of attack shall be stationed at musket-shot distance from the first entrenchments, ready for the charge, which shall commence, at a signal given with the bugle, from the Northern Battery.

The first column will be commanded by General Don Martín Perfecto de Cos, and, in his absence, by myself. The Permanent Battalion of Aldama (except the company of Grenadiers) and the three right center companies of the Active Battalion of San Luis, will comprise the first column.

The second column will be commanded by Colonel Don Francisco Duque, and, in his absence, by General Don Manuel Fernindez Castrillon; it will be composed of the Active Battalion (except the company of Grenadiers) and the three remaining center companies of the Active Battalion of San Luis.

The third column will be commanded by Colonel José María Romero and in his absence Mariano Salas; it will be Composed of the permanent Battalion of Matamoros and Jimenes. The fourth column will be commanded by Colonel Juan Morales, and in his absence, by Colonel José Minon; it will be composed of the light companies of the Battalions of Matamoros and Jimenes and of the Active Battalion of San Luis. His Excellency the General in Chief will, in due time designate the points of attack, and give his instructions to the Commanding Officers.

The reserve will be composed of the Battalion of Engineers and the five companies of Grenadiers of the Permanent Battalions of Matamoros, Jimenes and Allama, and the Active Battalions of Toluca and San Luis. The reserve will be commanded by the General in Chief in person, during the attack; but General Augustin Amat will assemble this party which will report to him, this evening at 5 o’clock, to be marched to the designated station.

The first column will carry ten ladders, two crowbars and two axes; the second, ten ladders; the third, six ladders; and the fourth, two ladders. The men carrying the ladders will sling their guns on their shoulders, to be enabled to place the ladders wherever they may be required. The companies of Grenadiers will be supplied with six packages of cartridges to every man, and the center companies with two packages and two spare flints. The men will wear neither overcoats nor blankets nor anything that may impede the rapidity of their motions.

The Commanding Officers will see that the men have their chin straps of their caps down, and that they wear either shoes or sandals. The troops composing the columns of attack will turn in to sleep at dark; to be in readiness to move at 12 o'clock at light.

Recruits deficient in instruction will remain in their quarters. The arms, principally the bayonets, should be in perfect order. As soon as the moon rises, the center companies of the Active Battalion of San Luis will abandon the points they are now occupying on the line, in order to have time to prepare.

The cavalry, under Colonel Joaquín Ramirez y Sesma, will be stationed at the Alameda, saddling up at 3 o'clock a.m. It shall be its duty to scout the country, to prevent the possibility of an escape. The honor of the nation being interested in this engagement against the bold and lawless foreigners who are opposing us.

His Excellency expects that every man will do his duty, and exert himself to give a day of glory to the country, and of gratification to the Supreme Government, who will know how to reward the distinguished deeds of the brave soldiers of the Army of Operations.