On Friday, March 4, 1836, Generalissimo Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna Perez de Labron ordered a staff conference at his headquarters near San Antonio’s Military Plaza. The Mexican Army was in the midst of besieging a handful of Anglo-Americans and Tejanos (Mexican Texans) that were bottled up in a broken-down old mission locals called the Alamo. The rebels had held out for 11 days now, and His Excellency’s patience—never great when his prestige was at stake—was wearing decidedly thin.
Santa Anna had actually stepped down as president of Mexico to assume this command, but so far he had failed to win fresh laurels. His Excellency had envisioned a lighting-fast campaign that would throw the norte-americano “land pirates” off Mexican soil once and for all. After a promising start, he found himself bogged down before a ramshackle mission and the sheer frustration was starting to tell on his nerves.