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    William B. Travis military document written fifty days before the Battle of the Alamo

    William B. Travis Autograph Document Signed "W. B. Travis / Lt. Col. Comdt." One page, 7.75" x 5", San Felipe, Texas, January 22, 1836, requesting payment for supplies as he prepared to depart San Felipe for the Alamo. Travis died a the San Antonio mission just fifty days after writing this request. Penciled notations in the lower margin read, "to be credited Provisional Govt. when paid on San Felipe Books." Toned throughout, though darker around the edges due to mat burn. Some ink bleedthrough. Smoothed folds. Travis writes in full:

    "The paymaster of the Legion of Cavalry will pay to the order of John R. Jones or [illegible] Townsend - one hundred & Eighty one Dollars & forty six cents for supplies for the army - San Felipe January 22nd 1836 -
    [Signed] W. B. Travis
    Lt. Col. Comdt.
    To Lt. McHenry Winburn."

    Earlier in January, Henry Smith, the governor of Texas' provisional government, had ordered Lieutenant Colonel Travis to recruit troops in San Felipe in preparation for an impending invasion by the Mexican Army. The day before this document was written, Governor Smith ordered Travis to collect those recruits - a mere twenty-nine - and march 150 miles to reinforce the small Texan army at the Alamo mission at San Antonio, a likely early target for the invasion. For the next few days, Travis was in a rush to buy supplies from the locals of San Felipe for his march. This pay request was for some of those supplies, which Travis and his men certainly took with them when they left three days later. Interestingly, Travis was given a mere $100 by the Texas government to pay for the trip to San Antonio. That money quickly ran out and Travis spent $143 of his own money.

    Travis' small force reached the Alamo on February 3. Only three weeks later, Santa Anna's large Mexican Army arrived and Travis, desperate for help, wrote his famous letter "To the People of Texas & all Americans in the world." In that letter, Travis asked for help and stated that he would "never surrender or retreat" from the Alamo. Help never arrived and William Travis, only twenty-six years old, died at the Battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836.

    Virtually all important Travis letters are in public institutions. His autograph is rare in any form, whether they be documents, letters, or even a simple clipped signature. Seldom is anything bearing Travis' autograph offered for sale, much less a military document written only weeks before his death.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    23rd Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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