From the Annals of the Revolution – In 1836, the siege of the Alamo began. The Texian defenders of San Antonio de Bexar were unaware of the impending arrival of the Mexican Army. After hearing some reports, Col. William B. Travis place a sentry in the bell tower of the San Fernando church. Advance scouts of the Mexican Army were surprised to find the town entirely undefended and the Texian troops were not alerted until the first columns of the Mexican Army were within about one mile of the town. The Texians were unprepared for a long siege and scrambled to find food and supplies as they retreated to the Alamo compound. By midafternoon, the town was filled with over 1500 Mexican troops who quickly surrounded the crumbling mission and began the 13 day siege. When they raised the red flag of “no quarter”, Travis fired a cannon shot in response. Jim Bowie thought this was a foolish response and sent an emissary in an attempt to negotiate an honorable surrender. When it became clear that Gen. Santa Anna would only accept unconditional surrender, the fate of the Alamo defenders was sealed.