The War Room

Which Flag Flew Over the Alamo
on March 6, 1836 and Why?

March 1999

From: Jay Riley
Date: 03/02/99

The 1824 flag is what I have always thought...I was guessing, mostly due to Fehrenbach and a few more, just opened my little home town newspaper and witnessed the front page picture of the 1824 flag being carried by a Travis school boy. If had been there I would have wanted the cannon flag ["Come & Take It!"]Austin and Milam seemed to have like it a few months prior. I still travel with the old Bob Wills Playboy Band and have had the pleasure of visiting all these shrines many times. The Alamo is very special to me and you are right, its contribution to history started years before March 6 1836. Keep breathing life into the lungs of historical Texas...thank you

From: Wallace McKeehan
Date: 03/12/99

This issue has been recently covered by Texian Web author, Charlie Yates who concludes "...the idea that the defenders would have considered flying the 1824 Flag from the walls of their fortress is, at the very least, farfetched and, at the most, demeaning to their cause and their memory. "Which banner flew on the Alamo raises the great issue of the timetable of opinion, motivation and spirit in Texas supporting a complete break to an independent Republic or an independent State within a democratic and Federalist Republic of Mexico.

I disagree with Charlie and believe that it is possible that a significant number of Alamo and also Goliad defenders (victims of the massacres) were fighting for the Constitution of 1824, if not within the Republic of Mexico, its principles. One should not forget that ironically, the principles espoused in 1834, 1835, but not implemented, actually subverted, by the "Chameleon of the West," Santa Anna, and the legislature of the State of Coahuila y Texas was the most promising and hopeful for colonists to that date, e.g. freedom of religion, justice and economic reforms, more representation in the state legislature, etc. Thus, it is not unlikely that one or both banners shown above were flown, at least as guidons by factions within the fortress.

It is interesting to trace the move away from unique Mexican symbolism in evolution of the Lone Star flag of today as the last remnants of hope for influence over a democratic Federal Republic of Mexico died with the tyrannical racist dictatorship and vice-regalism that kept a great people enslaved to almost into the 20th century. I believe strong opinions lasted longer than most think even among Anglo Mexican-Texians.

Baker's flag of San Felipe retaining the Lone Star on Mexican green along with the Anglo Union Jack symbol, may have flown at San Jacinto. Austin's "Lux Libertas" design also with the Union Jack, although never flown, retained the Mexican red, white, green vertical stripes in early1836, although Mexican green was gone forever in his proposed "In His Example There is Safety" banner with George Washington's picture in the center. Although often drawn in another color, Burnet's naval flag of April 1836in some renditions retained a green field backing the lone star. The Burnet Lone Star Flag of Dec 1836 is shown in near green (or aquamarine) in the Julia Lee Sinks Scrapbook. In the final Lone Star which retained no remnant of Mexican green, was retained the wide red, white stripes of our Mexican roots although they were rotated to horizontal as the 13 stripes of the United States of the North. (See Flags of Independence and DeWitt Colony Flags ).

How long into 1836 were there still incidents of loyalty and concern for the Federalist Republic out of which Texas was born?I have been intrigued by the story that Bowie was mutilated on his deathbed because of cursing the "Chameleon of the West" for his traitorous course and subversion of the Constitution of 1824. The most intriguing is the narrative of Lt. José Enrique De La Peña's referring to the execution of Col. Fannin at Goliad on 27 Mar 1836 "when he [Fannin] was informed of the order for his execution, he received it calmly and merely asked for enough time to write a farewell letter to his wife and another to General Santa Anna, in which he declared that he was not for the independence of Texas and that had died a victim of his love for the Constitution of 1824, under the auspices of which he had come to the country and for which he went to the sacrifice gladly."

From: Jim Shea
Date: 03/12/99

I think the flag with the two stars and the colors of the Mexican flag flew over the Alamo. Because I think the Texans invaded and took over the Alamo and made a new flag from the first flag that was there and put two stars on it. Because in school, my teacher said that the Texas [flag] had two stars to symbolize freedom from Spain and Mexico.