Captain Albert Martin is considered by many to be a hero in the 1836 Battle of the Alamo. It is widely believed that Martin attended the American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy (the precursor to Norwich University) during the 1820s when it was located in Middletown, Connecticut. No one has yet had success in proving this claim.
A native of Rhode Island, Albert Martin followed his father and brothers to Gonzales, Tex., where he ran a successful general store. On Feb. 23, 1836, approximately 1,500 Mexicans led by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, marched into San Antonio in a campaign to retake Texas. A small number of Texian citizen-soldiers including Captain Martin, occupied the Alamo Mission complex. Fearing that his garrison could not withstand an assault, Lt. Col. William Travis, commander of the Texan forces, sent Martin as an emissary to meet Gen. Santa Anna’s adjutant, Col. Juan Almonte. Almonte rejected Martin’s request to come to the Alamo and speak directly to Travis.
The following day, Martin traveled to Gonzales with Travis’ famous letter, titled “To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World” seeking reinforcements and supplies from supporters. Local publishers distributed over 700 copies. Martin’s father pleaded with him to not return to the perilous situation. In response, Martin reportedly said, “This is no time for such considerations. I have passed my word to Colonel Travis, that I would return, nor can I forfeit a pledge thus given.”
Martin raised a company and returned to the Alamo on March 1 with a relief force of 32 men. In the early morning hours of March 6, the Mexican Army advanced on the Alamo. After repulsing two attacks, killing or wounding an estimated 600 Mexicans, the Texians were unable to fend off a third attack. Martin was among the more than 200 Texians who died defending the Alamo.
News of the defeat and Santa Anna’s cruelty during the battle inspired many Texians—both Texas settlers and adventurers from the United States—to join the Texian Army. By then, Travis’ letter had appeared in the two largest Texas newspapers and was printed throughout the United States and Europe. Buoyed by a desire for revenge, men throughout Texas and the United States began to gather in Gonzales. They formed the nucleus of the army which defeated the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, and ended the revolution.
Curious to learn more? Read a Norwich University Archives blog post on Albert Martin >>