During the Rand Paul filibuster of John Brennan's appointment as CIA chief, US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas read the stirring letter of William Barret Travis as he was under siege at the Alamo. (Full text follows video).
Again, from Texas Heritage Society:Commandancy of the The AlamoBejar, Feby. 24th. 1836To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World—Fellow Citizens & compatriots—I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna — I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man — The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken — I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls — I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch — The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country — Victory or Death.William Barrett Travis.Lt. Col. comdt.P. S. The Lord is on our side — When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn — We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels and got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves.Travis
The Travis letter is dated February 24, 1836. Some have mistakenly referred to this as Travis' last letter from the Alamo. He wrote at least four more letters. Travis wrote a letter to General Sam Houston dated February 25, 1836 and three letters dated March 3, 1836. One of Travis' letters dated March 3, 1836 which urgently requested aid for the Alamo was received by the Convention at Washington, Texas on March 6, 1836. The delegates to the Convention at Washington had declared the independence of Texas four days before on March 2, 1836.The original letters are below:
Travis never did surrender or retreat. After a thirteen day siege by thousands of Mexican soldiers under the command of Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the Alamo fell on March 6, 1836. All of the Alamo's 189 defenders, including William Barrett Travis, were killed. The country he and the others died for, the Republic of Texas, was only four days old.The original "Victory or Death" letter written by William Barrett Travis on February 24, 1836 is located in the Texas State Library and Archives in Austin, Texas.