On March 2, 1836, Texas formally declared itself independent of Mexico. Earlier, a band of some 300 Texans captured Mexico's military headquarters in San Antonio and Santa Anna had begun to march north with 7000 soldiers (an army filled with raw recruits including many Indians who spoke and understood little Spanish). Sam Houston ordered Texans to abandon San Antonio, but a group of rebels decided to defend the town and make their stand at an abandoned Spanish mission, the Alamo.
For 12 days, Mexico forces laid siege to the Alamo. On March 6, four days after Texas declared independence, Mexican troops scaled the mission's walls; 183 defenders were killed, including several Mexicans who had fought for Texas independence, and their oil-soaked bodies were set on fire outside the Alamo.
[The Mexican] government has ceased to protect the lives, liberties, and property of the people, from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and for the advancement of whose happiness it was instituted; and so far from being a guarantee for their inestimable and inalienable rights [has] become an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression.... We, therefore,...DECLARE, our political connection with the Mexican nation has forever ended, and that the people of Texas, do now constitute a FREE, SOVEREIGN, and INDEPENDENT REPUBLIC.…