Does anyone know exactly how many cannons the Mexicans had and how powerful they were? I´ve been wondering why the Mexicans just did´nt shoot the Alamo to pieces! I mean, it was adobe walls, I think, so it should have been easy. Was their guns too far away or what? I remember something about they would´nt wait for their most powerful cannon to arrive, but still, one would think that the ones they had was enough to get the job done...
Seguin, Basically, the Mexican army spent every night pounding the Alamo walls to rubble. Only during the day did they stop while the defenders (short on rest) filled in the walls with the broken pieces. Some even making a clay substance and using that. As for the number of Mexican cannons, I would think around fifty but I'm sure the exact number will never be known.
"I'll leave this rule for when I'm dead-- be always sure you're right, then go ahead."-David Crockett
About fifty? I see. Seen from a Mexican standpoint they could have saved many soldiers life by keeping on bombarding them till the Alamo was one big crater, but I guess in was a different time then and Napoleonic warfare was the trend of the day.
Post by grislyexponent on Jul 16, 2007 1:21:01 GMT -5
â€œFrom the 25th to the present date, the enemy have kept up a bombardment from two howitzers (one a five and a half inch, and the other an eight inch) and a heavy cannonade from two long nine-pounders, mounted on a battery on the opposite side of the river, at a distance of four hundred yards from our walls. During this period the enemy has been busily employed in encircling us with entrenchments on all sides, at the following distance, to wit -- in Bexar, four hundred yards west; in Lavilleta, three hundred yards south; at the powder-house, one thousand yards east by south; on the ditch, eight hundred yards northâ€¦I have so fortified this place, that the walls are generally proof against cannon-balls; and I shall continue to entrench on the inside, and strengthen the walls by throwing up dirt. At least two hundred shells have fallen inside our works without having injured a single man; indeed, we have been so fortunate as not to lose a man from any cause, and we have killed many of the enemy.â€ Col. William Barret Travis, March 3, 1836 in a letter to the President of the Convention. i dont think the mexicans had a dozen cannon, 9 lbs and smaller. seems as tho 400 yds was the closest until last day or two when the northern battery was moved to within 200 yds. half of the generals wanted to wait on final assault until after the 7th when 2 12 lbs ers were to arrive. 200 shells over 10 days does average out to less than 1 shot an hour.
Yes, thanks a lot Grisly! So, two Howitzers and two long nine-pounders cannons and about one shot pr. hour on average. That does´nt seem like a heavy bombardment. Travis writes that he has made the walls generally proof against cannonballs. Was´nt the walls made out of adobe (clay)? I still doubt that the walls could withstand a real heavy bombardment. It seems like the bombardment was "moderate", although the defenders probably would´nt view it as such...
Thanks for the info, Grisley. By March 5th, Santa Anna had 8 small calibre artillery pieces around the Alamo. His staff officers argued that Santa Anna should wait until March 7th before assaulting the Alamo as two twelve pound siege guns would be arriving with Gaona's troops on that day. With two twelve pounders, the Mexicans could open a legitimate breach, forcing the defenders to surrender. But, as you know, Santa Anna would have none of that. "Without blood and tears, there is no glory."
There were supposed to be 24 guns on the Alamo's inventory, although at least three were unmounted.
The guns presently on the Alamo grounds were dug up during excavations of the Alamo grounds, ditches and in the nearby river. A tell-tale sign that places them there during the time of the siege---and after the battle---is that the guns have all had their trunions cut off to prevent them from being remounted. This is just the sort of thing that the retreating Mexican army would've done to the guns.
(Also, when you visit La Villita, the two guns at the entrance are also verified Alamo guns. (a la Tom Lindley's research.)
Right! Or if they could have postponed the battle ´till the end of the year, when the first Colt revolver came on the market, but even Colt revolvers probably would´nt have made any great difference as to the outcome of the battle, I think...
For all you Navy history guys, some more grist for the mill...
It was necessary to keep a good supply of cannon balls near the cannon on old war ships. But how to prevent them from rolling about the deck was the problem. The best storage method devised was to stack them as a square based pyramid, with one ball on top, resting on four, resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon.
There was only one problem -- how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding/rolling from under the others. The solution was a metal plate with 16 round indentations, called a Monkey. But if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make Brass Monkeys.
Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannon balls would come right off the monkey. Thus, it was quite literally, cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. And all this time, you thought that was a vulgar expression, didn't you?
Here´s two definitions of "Freeze The Balls Off A Brass Monkey". The first one is the same as yours, Nef, but the second one claims it should correctly be "Freeze The Balls ON A Brass Monkey" and that "Off" is a curruption of the original expression, in order to hint at an association to male testicles. Anyway, it´s a funny expression. I, for one, did´nt know it´s origin...