The Travis Letter returns to the Alamo

View the famous letter on display at this World Heritage Site

Capture of the Alamo on a cloudy day.

Fun fact — the “Alamo” is thought to have been named after a cottonwood tree.

Photo by Eric Francis via Unsplash

How could you ever forget the Alamo? The site of the former mission + church turned World Heritage Site is welcoming back a familiar object, The Travis Letter. This is the first time the letter will return to it’s original site since 2013. On the heels of the Alamo’s 300th anniversary, let’s explore the origins of the letter and what to know about the exhibit.

What’s the Travis Letter?

Let’s travel back to the Texas Revolution. During the siege of the Alamo on February 24, 1836, the Texas Army was surrounded by the Mexican Army lead by Santa Anna. Running out of options, William B. Travis (a 26-year-old commander at the Alamo), penned this famous letter pleading for assistance + aid for the roughly 150 defenders there. Travis ended the letter with “Victory or Death.”

The letter was taken to the town of Gonzales by Captain Albert Martin, and on March 1, 1836, help arrived which included 32 men from the town. By the 13th day of siege (March 6, 1836), the Battle of the Alamo began and lasted for about 90 minutes. By daybreak, the battle was over and the men of the Alamo had perished.

Fun fact: John G. Davidson, Travis’s great-grandson, sold the letter for $85 in 1893 to the Texas State Library and Archives.

Exhibit info

Ready to experience this famous letter in person? Plan to make a trip out to the Alamo starting Friday, Feb. 23. to view Travis’s letter. Currently on loan from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, visitors can view this piece of history inside the Ralston Family Collections Center through Sunday, March 24. This is a paid experience but select Monday + Tuesday afternoons from 1-5 p.m. are free — not including Monday, March 11 and Tuesday, March 12. Plan your visit today.

Can’t wait for the opening? Check out the Travis Letter Sneak Preview on Thursday, Feb. 22 for the Friends of the Alamo. If you can’t make it to the exhibit, the Alamo has created an at-home activity.

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