March 06

Published in On this Day listing

  • Above: The Battle of the Alamo (1836)—at least nine men born in Ireland fought and died in the siege.

    1836 The Siege of the Alamo ended when the forces of General Antonio López de Santa Anna overran the former Franciscan mission near San Antonio, Texas, which 184 settlers had heroically defended for thirteen days. The final assault by a Mexican army of between 1,800 and 6,000 men lasted less than an hour, and on Santa Anna’s orders no prisoners were taken. The commander at the mission, the youthful Col. William B. Travers (26), who had Scots-Irish connections, died fighting to the end, but the legendary slave-smuggler and frontiersman Jim Bowie (c. 40) saw little of the action. Bedridden in a fevered daze with typhoid throughout the siege, he still managed to fire a single pistol shot at the Mexican troops who bayoneted him to death. The fate of that other legend, Col. David ‘Davy’ Crockett (49), however, is still contested. A descendant of a family from Castlederg, Co. Tyrone, that had emigrated to America during the great, mainly Presbyterian, migration of the early eighteenth century, it was traditionally believed that he died in a heroic last stand, still wearing his racoon-tailed hat, surrounded by the corpses of seventeen Mexicans that he had killed, as portrayed by John Wayne in the movie The Alamo (1960). In recent years, however, new evidence has come to light that strongly suggests that he surrendered and was subsequently executed. What we do know is that at least nine men born in Ireland fought and died in the siege. In a museum on the battle site, where the flags of every state and country represented amongst the defenders are displayed, their names, most of which suggest an Ulster Presbyterian background, are inscribed under an Irish Tricolour (sic).

  • 1939 Thomas Casement (76), Boer War and First World War veteran and brother of Sir Roger Casement, was found drowned at Baggot Street bridge, Dublin.
  • 1988 Three members of an IRA active service unit were shot dead by the SAS in Gibraltar (see 16th).
  • 1987 The Herald of Free Enterprise, a roll-on-roll-off ferry, capsized moments after leaving the Belgian port of Zeebrugge, killing 193 passengers and crew.
  • 1918 John Redmond (62), leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party since 1900, died.
    John Redmond (62), leader of the Home Rule Party since 1900, died.

Copyright © 2022 History Publications Ltd, Unit 9, 78 Furze Road, Sandyford, Dublin 18, Ireland | Tel. +353-1-293 3568