Norwich alumnus honored at Alamo ceremony

Alamo Mission with wreathsEvery year since 1925, the Alamo Mission Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas has staged its annual Pilgrimage to the Alamo - a memorial tribute to the Alamo heroes and the heritage of Texas. On April 19th, during this annual tradition, a Norwich alumnus was honored with a wreath-laying ceremony.

Mission San Antonio de Valero, which later became famous as the Alamo, was established in 1718, the first of five Spanish missions founded in San Antonio to Christianize and educate resident Indians. Its mission role completed, the old buildings were abandoned by 1836 when the site, by then known as the Alamo, became the "cradle of Texas Liberty." Rebelling against repressions of Mexico's self-proclaimed dictator, Santa Anna, a band of 189 Texas volunteers defied a Mexican army of thousands for 13 days of siege (from Feb. 23 to Mar. 6). The Alamo defenders died to the last man, among them such storied names as William Travis, Davy Crockett, and Jim Bowie. Cost to Mexican forces was dreadful. While Santa Anna dictated an announcement of glorious victory, his aide, Col. Juan Almonte, privately noted: "One more such glorious victory and we are finished." The finish came April 21 when Sam Houston's Texans routed the Mexican army at the Battle of San Jacinto near Houston, and captured "the Napoleon of the West," as Santa Anna billed himself.

Norwich alumni attending Pilgrimage to the AlamoDuring the famous siege at the Alamo, Capt. Albert Martin, an alumnus of Alden Partridge's American Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy (the forerunner of Norwich University) was given the task by Colonel Travis to carry the message through the lines that read in part: "To the people of Texas and all Americans in the world - fellow citizens and compatriots ... never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country - victory or death." Colonel Travis summoned Captain Martin, age thirty, who was a hero of the Gonzales Texas battle the previous fall. Capt. Martin was known as a natural leader and the best horseman who could carry this message to seek military support. He knew that delivering the message required more caution than aggressiveness, and understood its importance. Capt. Martin completed his duty and rode back to the Alamo in San Antonio to fight and die with his comrades. To this day, he is remembered by the alumni of Norwich University as her first war hero, and we honor his memory as one of Norwich's distinguished alumni.

Norwich alumni in attendance during the April 19th ceremony included General Robert McDermott, Skip Molter, Johnny Lovejoy and Dawn Steingrube.

photos by Dawn Steingrube, NUCC'99
story by Mark Albury
April 2004

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