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Alamo Flag (U.S.)


Last modified: 2020-07-31 by rick wyatt
Keywords: united states | alamo | texas |
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[Alamo Flag - (1824)] image by Rick Wyatt

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This flag was the Mexican tricolor (red, white, and green), with the Mexican coat of arms (eagle holding a serpent and standing on a nopal (cactus)) replaced by the year 1824 to signify allegiance to the 1824 Mexican federal constitution. I don't know the origins of the flag, but it was adopted by the pre-independence, provisional government of Texas in November 1835 as the civil ensign and as the privateer flag. In my opinion, the 1824 civil ensign was replaced by the December 10, 1836 adoption of the first Texas national flag, the David G. Burnet flag (gold star on a blue field), and the 1824 privateer flag was replaced by the April 9, 1836 adoption of the Texas national flag for the naval service (white lone star in a blue union with thirteen red and white stripes).
I don't know to what extent the 1824 flag was used on land. It's pretty clear that the flag disappeared from use once the independence faction won out over the pro-Mexican federalist sympathizers, which was led by Stephen F. Austin, the so-called "Father of Texas."
Charles Spain, 5 June 1996

This flag was also known as the flag of Texas Conservatives because it was used by those conservative Texans who wished for peace with Mexico. This flag flew over the Alamo in San Antonio in 1836.
Chris Pinette, 23 March 2000

In San Antonio they acknowledge a variety of flags which either flew over or were at the Alamo. The Conservative Party Flag (A pro-Austin group, this may have been the so-called 1824) They concede that is unlikely that this was the main flag. The Texas-Coahuila Militia Flag (Col. Bowie's group - Mexican civil flag with two stars (either blue or brown), centered vertically on the white stripe. The New Orleans Grays - (Currently at the artillery museum in Mexico.) The Gonzales Flag - (The "Come and Take it flag, but without the star! -see below.*) A conjectural pro-Houston flag (see below.**) and The Mexican Flag (This was the last flag to fly over the Alamo!)

*Several Texas vexillologists feel that the original Gonzales flag did not have the star. It is likely that it was added after independence and possibly after statehood, so that Gonzales could claim to be the "original" lone star flag.

**At the NAVA meeting in San Antonio there was a Tejano historian who spoke on his theory that there was a blue lone star flag with a pro Houston inscription flying from Col. Travis' HQ. He reminded us that Travis' HQ was captured intact and these records were shipped along with the flag of the New Orleans Grays. The theory is that because references are made to flags in the plural, that more than just the Grays flag was sent back to Mexico as booty. He feels that there is information in the archives in Mexico City which might shed more light on the subject, but that these records have never been examined by a "gringo" historian!
James J. Ferrigan III, 15 May 2000

I have very serious doubts about the flag with the "1824" ever flying over the Alamo. That flag was one of conciliation while Austin negotiated with Santa Ana and the 1824 date represented the Mexican constitution that the Texians still obeyed and Santa Ana did not. Hence, once Austin was jailed, there is no logical reason that the Texians would ever use that flag for the next phase was war.
Greg Biggs, 25 April 2005

Alamo Flag Variants

[Alamo Flag variant by H.A. McArdle]     [Alamo Flag variant by H.A. McArdle]
images from Pete Loeser, based on the work of H.A. McArdle, 31 July 2010

The Alamo flag, also known as the flag of Texas Conservatives because it was used by those conservative Texans who wished for peace with Mexico, is traditionally presented as the flag that flew over the Alamo when Santa Anna's army attacked the fortified mission in 1836, although there is no real evidence to prove that this was the flag used that day at the Alamo. The actual flag was not captured and preserved by the victors nor recorded in the military accounts of the day. But often tradition replaces fact.

As in all cases like this, there are different possibilities in the design of the flag. One version of the "Alamo Flag," is used by Artist H. A. McArdle who shows the numerals written vertically on the white bar. McArdle did extensive research into all details of the era before painting "Dawn at the Alamo," which now hangs in the Texas Legislature. He actually did two versions of the painting and on the earliest one he painted the numerals horizontally in gold.

Whatever version of the flag used at the battle, the three day Battle of the Alamo became legendary in Texas and American history. On March 6, 1836, on the final day, the Mexicans attacked before dawn, and all 188 defenders of the Alamo perished. After the Battle, General Santa Anna asked to see the corpses of Bowie, Travis, and Crockett, and Bexar Mayor Francisco Ruiz identified the bodies for him. Their names became immortal in the annals of Texas history. The cry of "Remember the Alamo" became the battle cry of the Texas army and eventually led to Santa Anna's ultimate defeat and Texas independence.

The only actual flag to survive the battle was a company flag, that of the New Orleans Grays. It represented a small group of defenders who fought and died on a section of the wall. It was hauled down by a Mexican officer and later presented to Santa Anna, who sent it back to Mexico City with his dispatches. It is now on display at the Mexican National Museum of History in Mexico City. (source)
Pete Loeser, 31 July 2020