The Alamo Flag

Questions & Answers

Dear Charlie,
After reading your article on the Alamo flag I have these thoughts. Men throughout the ages have rallied around some type of banner to either show alliegance to a cause or to show spite for others. The "Don't Tread on Me" flag of the American Revolution is a good example. Why would it not be possible that when Johnson and Grant left Bexar for Matamoros that the flag of 1824 was left behind by them. Now the men of the Alamo are left to take on the largest army in the west and it appears that they have been forgotten about by their government. With the possibility of supplies and reinforcements not arriving, I as a leader would be doing everything in my power to keep my mens's fighting spirit up and what better way than to rally them around a banner that they knew would outrage Santa Anna. It is a long shot I know, but the possibility is there.
The flag of the New Orleans Grays would have been of no interest to the whole, so why would it have been flown? Santa Anna would not have recognized this banner so I think the use of it would have been fruitless. Some still believe that this flag was captured at Goliad and brought to the Alamo from there. Santa Anna's use of it after the revolution was mostly political to show the world that the United States was engaged in land theivery and nothing more. As Santa Anna ordered the bodies of the Alamo defenders burned, I'm sure he would have had the flag of 1824 burned with them as a final gesture of disdain. The capturing of this flag would have served no purpose to him as a trophy of war.
Like I said at first, this is strictly my feelings on the matter after reading what I have about the times. Call me a stubborn old fool, but until my dying days I will always fly the flag of 1824 every March 6 to remember those who gave the supreme sacrifice for their country.


First of all thanks for your ideas and for taking the time to read the article. There is ample evidence and documentation to show that Grant and Johnson were fighting for the restoration of the Mexican Constitution of 1824. There is also ample documentation, as given by the men themselves, to prove the men of the Alamo were fighting for independence. The question is not why COULDN'T Johnson and Grant have left the 1824 Flag at the Alamo (if J&G ever had one), but why WOULD they? And why would the Alamo defenders want it? The Alamo defenders watched Grant and Johnson strip the Alamo of all the supplies, food, clothing and most of the men, along with most of the hope of any viable defense of the fortress. Why, on earth, would they want to have anything to do with a cause and its supporters they so reviled? I also doubt that flying the flag of a cause whose army had just deserted them would rally the troops to anything, except perhaps mutiny. As far as outraging Santa Anna is concerned, Mrs. Dickenson's bloomers flying from a flag pole would accomplish the same end and that scenario is equally possible....BUT equally not probable.
I, also, agree that the New Orleans Grey's Flag would have meant little to the whole garrison of the Alamo, except to remind them of the support they had back in the United States. The New Orleans Grey's Flag, however was a unit flag, just like Dimmit's Bloody Arm Flag or Culpepper's "Don't Tread On Me" Flag or Terry's Texas Rangers Flag, twenty five years later. It was never meant to have meaning to the whole. It was meant to have meaning to and be a rallying point for a specific military unit.
Santa Anna was, indeed, trying to show United States involvement in the revolution by sending the New Orleans Grey's Flag back to Mexico. There WAS US involvement in the revolution. A huge number of the volunteers and at least three pieces of artillery came from the US. There is even evidence that some members of the US Army stationed in Louisiana deserted to aid the Texian cause and then un-deserted, after San Jacinto, back into the army. The US Army never prosecuted any of them. Whether or not anyone considers this "thievery", I suppose, depends on "who's ox is being gored."
I, also, agree that Santa Anna probably burned the flags of the Alamo along with the defenders bodies. In Santa Anna's eyes, the Texians were all rebels and brigands and deserved no military honors, therefore their banners held no military honor. This subject, as well as, where and by whom the New Orleans Grey's Flag was captured will be included in the third installment of this series of articles, so stay tuned.
As I said at the beginning of the article, the 1824 Flag has long been a symbol of the heroic efforts at the Alamo. How it got to be the symbol is still a matter of misinformation, misunderstanding and conjecture. I never suggested that it should ever stop being a symbol of the determination and bravery of a small band of good men who gave their lives for what they believed in: Independence, Freedom and Self-determination. As a symbol of this, fly the flag proudly and often, but please remember that it is just that: a symbol. Remember that many of the Alamo defenders are looking down from above appreciative and proud of our remembrances, but not wanting to remembered for the idea that they would have given their lives for anything less than the total independence of Texas. As I stated in the last paragraph of the article, the truth makes the story of the Alamo defenders more sacred, not less. The truth of how the 1824 Flag became the symbol of the Alamo defenders makes for worthwhile lessons in history.
Again, I would suggest that you fly the 1824 Flag proudly at every opportunity as a SYMBOL of remembrance to the Alamo dead. I can assure you that I will.

Sic Semper Texanus,

TLA Homepage TLA Membership General Rules and Reg.s

Copyright © 1998 Texian Legacy Association