There are many symbols of Texas' pride and independent spirit, but the two that instantly come to mind for most people are the Gonzales "Come and Take It" cannon and the Alamo.

This week, we remember the final stand at the Alamo and commemorate Texas Independence Day, and one story that should not be forgotten is the courage and sacrifice of 32 men from Gonzales and DeWitt Colony who answered Col. William Barret Travis' call for reinforcements as the Alamo was under siege by General Santa Anna's forces.

They will forever be known as the Immortal 32.

On February 23rd, 1836, Santa Anna's forces surrounded the Alamo Mission in San Antonio. The next day, Travis penned an urgent letter addressed "To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World", in which he asked for reinforcements to help defend the Alamo at all costs.

The letter passed through Gonzales, which had been the site of the first battle of the Texas Revolution (though no one knew that at the time) on October 2, 1835, when Mexican forces attempted to retrieve a cannon that had been granted to the settlement in 1831.

Authorities in Gonzales had seen previous reports of the need for reinforcements in San Antonio, and were moved by Travis' latest letter and the urgency it conveyed. According to the Sons of DeWitt Colony Texas, the Gonzales Alamo Relief Force was organized and left the town on February 27. It originally consisted of 25 men, but had grown to 32 by the time it reached San Antonio on February 29.

They were the only reinforcements to arrive.

The Alamo had already been under siege for days when these men made their way to San Antonio, but around 3 AM on March 1 they managed to slip through Santa Anna's lines and make it into the fort to join the Alamo defenders.

When the final assault from Santa Anna's troops occurred on March 6, all 213 Alamo defenders were killed, including the Immortal 32.

These men ranged in age from 15 to 44, and laid down their lives in defense of the cause of Texas freedom and independence. Today, a monument in their honor stands at the Gonzales Memorial Museum.

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