Gonzales Ranging Company of Mounted Volunteers

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The Immortal 32, the Gonzales Ranging Company of Mounted Volunteers were a 19th-century group of Texian militia organized to range the Texas frontier protecting settlers, however they became the only relief force that reached the besieged men of the Alamo in early 1836, during the Texas Revolution.


The Come and take it flag that may have been carried into the Alamo by the Ranging Company

Background[edit]

The rangers were originally founded in 1823, when Stephen F. Austin employed ten men to act as rangers to protect the new colonists who arrived in Texas following the Mexican War of Independence. [1]

On February 4, 1836, Byrd Lockhart was named along with Mathew Caldwell and William A. Mathews as commissioners to raise a group of volunteers in Gonzales, Texas for a ranging company. When the Mexican army approached San Antonio, Lockhart and Andrew Jackson Sowell were serving as defenders of Bexar. Caldwell and Mathews remained near Gonzales.

Lockhart and Sowell were sent from the Alamo a short time before the Siege of the Alamo began, to obtain supplies for the garrison. They were delayed foraging livestock and supplies and were blocked by Mexican troops while trying to return.[2]

Rangers organized[edit]

Lockhart and Sowell promptly headed for Gonzales and on February 23, and began to organize recruits. The 23 member Gonzales Ranging Company of Mounted Volunteers were mustered into service by Lockhart. The company primarily consisted of family men from Gonzales and DeWitt's Colony, who had gathered when the call for support was issued.

Alamo Service[edit]

After receiving Travis's "To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World" appeal on February 25th, the Gonzales Rangers would leave the town of Gonzales on the evening of Saturday, February 27, led by commanding officer Lieutenant George C. Kimble and Captain Albert Martin, who had been the Alamo courier to deliver Travis's appeal at Gonzales. Of the 23 original members who were mustered into the Gonzales Ranger Company on the 23rd, a total of 12 are thought to have entered the Alamo with the final Relief Force on March 1 and all but one died there.[3] Lockhart, Sowell, John William Smith and others would accompany the 32 Rangers into the Alamo and later depart, at night, as other couriers left.[4]

According to one account, a group of 25 men left Gonzales at two in the evening on the 27th. As they passed through Green Dewitt's Colony toward the Umphries Branch community and on to the Cibolo Creek, the company would gain 8 more members, increasing the company to 32 men. The youngest member of the Alamo defenders, William Phillip King, only 16 years old, would become a part of this group. Due to family illness, he had substituted in his father's place. On the 29th, upon reaching the Cibolo, the group searched to find a way into the Alamo and through the Mexican lines. Then after the midnight hour, in the early morning of March 1st, they made a wild dash into the fort while being shot at by Alamo sentries. One man was slightly wounded and after a few rash words, the Alamo gates flew open for the Gonzales force to enter.[5]

The list of the 32 immortals are: Isaac G. Baker, John Cain, George Washington Cottle, David P. Cummings, Jacob Darst, John Davis, Squire Daymon (Damon), William Dearduff, Charles Despallier, William Fishbaugh, John Flanders, Dolphin Ward Floyd, Galba Fuqua, John E. Garvin, John E. Gaston, James George, Thomas J. Jackson, John Benjamin Kellogg II, Andrew Kent, George C. Kimble, William Phillip King, Jonathan L. Lindley, Albert Martin, Jesse McCoy, Thomas R. Miller, Isaac Millsaps, George Neggan, Marcus L. Sewell, William Summers, George W. Tumlinson, Robert White, Claiborne Wright.[6]

Although knowing their chance of survival was slim, the Gonzales Rangers remained in the Alamo, serving as possibly the only reinforcements to make it into the Alamo during the siege. They were all killed on March 6 at The Battle of the Alamo. For their heroic effort to support the besieged and outnumbered Texians, they are remembered as the "Immortal 32".[7]

Aftermath[edit]

Gonzales losses at the Alamo would amount to about 20 percent of the casualties suffered there by the Texian forces. The grief and loss of the Gonzales participants would contribute to the ensuing panic that would initiate the Runaway Scrape.[8]

Legacy[edit]

A Centennial Monument on the Gonzales Memorial Museum grounds was placed to honor these men in 1936. A large granite marker on the Alamo grounds, behind the long barracks depicts the men and honors their contributions.

A stone memorial on the Alamo grounds to the 32 man relief force from Gonzales who perished at the Battle of the Alamo


Also see:List of Alamo defenders
Battle of the Alamo

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cox, Mike, The Texas Rangers.
  2. ^ Lindley (2003), p. 90.
  3. ^ TAMU, Gonzales Relief Force[1]
  4. ^ Lindley (2003), p. 98.
  5. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 340.
  6. ^ Groneman (1990), p. 9-123
  7. ^ Todish (1998), p. 46.
  8. ^ TAMU, Gonzales Relief Force[2]

Citations[edit]

  • Cox, Mike (1998), Texas Ranger Tales: Stories That Need Telling, Republic of Texas Press, ISBN 1-55622-537-7 
  • Edmondson, J.R. (2000), The Alamo Story-From History to Current Conflicts, Plano, TX: Republic of Texas Press, ISBN 1-55622-678-0 
  • Groneman, Bill (1990), Alamo Defenders: A Genealogy, the People and Their Words, Austin, TX: Eakin Press, ISBN 978-0-89015-757-2 
  • Lindley, Thomas Ricks (2003), Alamo Traces: New Evidence and New Conclusions, Lanham, MD: Republic of Texas Press, ISBN 1-55622-983-6 
  • Todish, Timothy J.; Todish, Terry; Spring, Ted (1998), Alamo Sourcebook, 1836: A Comprehensive Guide to the Battle of the Alamo and the Texas Revolution, Austin, TX: Eakin Press, ISBN 978-1-57168-152-2 
  • Dahlqvist, Rasmus (2013), From Martin to Despallier: The Story of a French Colonial Family, North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace IPP, ISBN 978-1-49360-325-1