Lights, Camera, Action:Re-enacting One of the Most Important Battles in World History


At 3:30 in the afternoon, in 1836 and on re-enactment day, General Sam Houston calls his troops to attention and the program begins. Spectators line the battlefield five or six deep, trying for the best view of the upcoming battle. A narration explains the history leading up to this event. In 1836 the events were spread out over three days and involved more than 2,000 combatants on a battlefield a mile long. The re-enactment is condensed to thirty minutes with 125 living historians on a field 200 yards long.

The brief battle of April 20 is re-enacted with sniper attacks and cavalry duels. That night in 1836, both armies waited restlessly for the other to makea move.


Early the next morning, Mexican General Cos arrived with re-enforcements for General Santa Anna. Realizing that the Texas Army was now outnumbered and it was late in the day, Santa Anna assumed that the Texas Army would not attack and gave his troops permission to eat and rest. He thought so little of the Texas Army, because they were undisciplined, untrained and constantly retreating, that he did not even post sentries.

General Sam Houston took advantage of the unguarded sleeping Mexican Camp and ordered his troops to approach stealthily to within 300 yards of the Mexican breastworks. Nearly 900 soldiers went undetected to the small ridge overlooking the Mexican Camp. On command, the soldiers leapt into action, yelling "Remember the Alamo!" and "Remember Goliad!" The surprise created confusion in the Mexican camp and before the troops could be put into formation and ordered to fire, the Texians breached the breastworks.