Two Alamo Cannons Reveal Secrets of the 1836 Battle

Archaeologists at Texas A&M University have completed a major renovation of two of the cannons that were used by the Alamo defenders during the 1836 battle, and have uncovered what may be a key factor which fatally handcuffed the outnumbered defenders, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Research Associate Jim Jobling says the two latest cannon that his team examined date back to the 1770s, and researchers have concluded that the cannons were built 'for the commercial market' and were not built for military use.

Generally, military cannons were much heavier, because they were made to fine constantly, not occasionally, Jobling said.

"For example, cannons of the size and weight of the those most recently conserved might have been stowed away on a merchant ship sailing long voyages in the 18th century," he said.  "Ship captains purchased insurance for their cargos to guard against losses, and the insurance premiums were higher without cannons on board.  They wanted the guns to be as light as possible because every pound of cannon replaced a pound of cargo the ship could carry."

So the cannon that the Alamo defenders were using against the powerful and very well armed Mexican Army were built not for use in battle, but to scare off pirates.

The Alamo cannon were buried by Santa Anna's victorious forces on property later owned by the Maverick family northwest of the Alamo, what is now the northwest corner of Houston and Alamo Streets.  A total of nine cannons where were uncovered from the acequia where the cannons were buried are now being restored by teams at Texas A&M.

One of the latest cannons investigated by the A&M team is of English design, the other is believed to have come from Spain. Five more Alamo cannons have yet to be investigated. The plan is to put all of the restored cannons on display at the Alamo.


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