The Story of The Old Cannon

| April 8, 2012

Throughout the United States, the “Gonzales Flag” is more commonly referred to as the “Come and Take It Flag.”  It is a pervasive symbol of Second Amendment supporters, simple in both image and statement.

The history behind the flag, its relation to the Texas batle for independence, and the significance of the cannon itself can be found in various history books.  For a brief overview, the Wikipedia entry on the Battle of Gonzales is a good starting point.

Somewhat lost to history, however, is that the flag was originally called “The Old Cannon Flag.” The residents of Gonzales literally had in their posession an old cannon that was likely discarded from earlier wars, and even lacked cannonballs. Thus the cannon itself had little military value, but stood as central icon that literally started the Texas war of independence, as it was the Mexican Army’s formal demand for the surrender of the cannon that touched off a war that would end with Texas’ independence.

Noah Smithwick, whose personal accounts of the early history of Texas are detailed in his story, “The Evolution of a State,” had this to say about the flag, “[It] consisted of a breadth of white cotton cloth about six feet long, in the center of which was painted in black a picture of the old cannon, above it a lone star and beneath it the words, ‘Come and take it,’ a challenge which was lost on the Mexicans. It was not called the Lone Star, however, but the Old Cannon flag.”

While its relevance was great, its value at the time as a military piece was very low. A volunteer militia attempted to transport the cannon from Gonzales to Bejar (San Antonio), but the transport trundle fell in disrepair, and the cannon was ordered abandoned near the Sandies Creek. Through a twist of fate, the cannon resurfaced, literally, 100 years later on that same creek, and is now displayed at the Gonzales Memorial Museum. It should be noted, however, that the rightful history of the cannon may never be known, as some accounts claim the cannon was successfully transported to Bejar (San Antonio).  A detailed account can be found in the article, Fate of the Gonzales Cannon.

Category: General

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