1824 Alamo flag

Discussion in 'American Flag History' started by Union Jack, Aug 5, 2017.

  1. Union Jack

    Union Jack Member

    l have just enjoyed the classic movie 'The Alamo' starring John Wayne and Richard Widmark. The Alamo defenders flew a green, white and red tricolour with 1824 emblazoned upon it. I liked the flag but was it actually flown by the defenders? I checked wiki but didn't get a conclusive answer. Is there anybody out there in flagland whom could shed some light on whether it was or wasn't flown.?

  2. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    The "1824" tricolor was adopted by the Texas provisional government in 1835 as an ensign for their privateers that raided Mexican commerce. The date referred to the Mexican Constitution of 1824, which established a federal government; at that stage the Texans still hoped for a peaceful resolution of their differences under that constitution. From a historical standpoint, the flag was comparable to the Continental Colors created by the American Congress in 1775, when they established the Continental Navy.

    Early Texas historians thought that this flag was flown over the Alamo. which is probably why it was used in the film. However, it is not mentioned in any period accounts of the battle. Recent writers also have pointed out that the Texans had abandoned hope of reconciliation with Mexico by the time of the Alamo battle, which would make it illogical for them to fly a flag referring to the Mexican constitution. (Concerning the latter point, I suppose it's worth noting that the Continental Colors (with the British union in the canton) remained the US flag for almost a year after the Declaration Independence.)

    This info is from Robert Mayberry's excellent book "Texas Flags," which is a well documented and illustrated reference. Dr. Mayberry quotes the actual language of the ordinance that created the flag: "All vessels sailing under licenses as Letters of Marque and Reprisal . . . shall carry the flag of the Republic of the United States of Mexico, and shall have the figures 1,8,2,4 cyphered in large Arabics on the white ground thereof." Apparently everyone assumes that the date replaced the Mexican arms; I don't know if there any period illustrations of the flag that would confirm or dispute this.
  3. Union Jack

    Union Jack Member

    Thanks Peter for your reply. At least the props department were on the ball regarding historical authenticity.
  4. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    As I recall, the more recent Alamo movie (with Billy Bob Thornton as Davy Crockett) used the Gonzales flag, with the cannon and the "Come and Take It" motto. I don't think there's any evidence that that flag was used at the Alamo either.
  5. Union Jack

    Union Jack Member

    I'll keep an eye out for that movie. Perhaps a whole rich vein of flag observation has been unearthed.
    Cinematic entertainment and flag accuracy/inaccuracies.
  6. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    Learned something NEW today!

    Thank You, Peter!


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