While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Thomas Ricks Lindley, rev. by James Woodrick
Come and Take It Mural at the Gonzales Memorial Museum
Come and Take It Mural at the Gonzales Memorial Museum. Courtesy of the Gonzales Memorial Museum and J. Williams. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
The Old Eighteen
The Old Eighteen. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Portrait of Green DeWitt
Portrait of Green DeWitt. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

GONZALES "COME AND TAKE IT" CANNON. The Gonzales cannon of “Come and Take It” fame was a Spanish-made, bronze artillery piece of six-pound caliber. The gun was the object of contention in late September and early October 1835 between a Mexican military detachment from Bexar and American colonists who settled in Texas. The disagreement produced the battle of Gonzales, considered to be the first battle of the Texas Revolution

On January 1, 1831, Green DeWitt initiated the new year by writing Ramón Músquiz, the political chief of Bexar, asking him to make arrangements for a cannon to be furnished to the Gonzales colonists for protection against hostile Indians. On March 10, 1831, after some delay, James Tumlinson, Jr., a DeWitt colonist at Bexar, received one bronze cannon to be turned over to Green DeWitt at Gonzales, with a stipulation that it was to be returned to Mexican authorities upon request. The fact that the gun was not carriage mounted until about September 28, 1835, suggests that in 1831 it was probably swivel mounted in one of the two blockhouses that had been constructed at Gonzales in 1827. Thus mounted it would have served as a visual deterrent to hostile Indians.

The Gonzales cannon is was next mentioned in September 1835, when Col. Domingo de Ugartechea, the military commander at Bexar, sent Corporal Casimiro De León and five soldiers of the Second Flying Company of San Carlos de Parras to retrieve the cannon. The Gonzales colonists notified Ugartechea they were keeping the gun and took the soldiers prisoner. The cannon was then buried in George W. Davis's peach orchard and couriers were sent to the settlements on the Colorado River to obtain armed assistance. Ugartechea responded by sending 100 troops under Lt. Francisco de Castañeda to make a more serious request for the return of the gun. On September 29, Capt. Robert M. Coleman arrived at Gonzales with a militia company of thirty mounted Indian fighters. The gun was retrieved from its shallow grave, taken to John Sowell's blacksmith shop, and mounted on the fore-wheels of Albert Martin’s cotton wagon.  This cannon was fired twice in the third skirmish of the battle on October 2. 

DeWitt Colony
DeWitt Colony and surrounding areas. Image courtesy of Texas A&M UniversityImage available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Battle of Gonzalez Cannon
The "Come and Take It" cannon of the Battle of Gonzales (The cannon is the real thing, the carriage a reproduction) on display at the Gonzales Memorial Museum, Gonzales, Texas, United States. Courtesy of Larry D. Moore Photography. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Replica of the Come and Take It Flag
Replica of the Come and Take It Flag Hanging at the Texas State Capitol. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

The name "Come and Take It" refers to the motto adopted by the Texian rebels.  A few days prior to the battle, two young ladies from Gonzales, Caroline Zumwalt and Eveline DeWitt, hastily prepared a flag with an image of a cannon and the words “Come and Take It”.  This flag was raised above the Gonzales cannon during the battle on October 2, and later carried with the gun toward San Antonio, but was soon lost without a trace.

After organization of the Texian "Army of the People" under Gen. Stephen F. Austin at Gonzales, the cannon was assigned to Capt. James C. Neill's artillery company, hauled to San Antonio and used during the Siege of Bexar.  After the capture of Bexar in December 1835, the cannon remained at the Alamo, where it was one of twenty-one large artillery pieces commandeered by the Mexican army upon the recapture of the Alamo on March 6, 1836.

There was a second cannon at the Battle of Gonzales, a much smaller iron gun called an esmeril, the smallest of Spanish cannons of the first class, of one-pounder caliber or less. Several of these were recorded in Texas during Spanish colonial era.  Although never mentioned in American accounts of the battle, Lt. Castaneda’s two reports of the battle, dated October 2nd and 4th, clearly indicate that two cannons were used in the battle. The esmeril was the first one fired in the second skirmish. This type of small cannon was typically swivel-mounted or carried on the back of a mule during frontier campaigns.  Two other Mexican accounts mention both cannons in Gonzales. Noah Smithwick repaired the esmeril’s touch hole after the battle and it was mounted on a crude carriage made with sawn cross sections of a tree trunk.  Both guns left Gonzales with the Texian army headed for San Antonio, but the small gun’s carriage failed and it was abandoned at Sandies Creek. A major flood in 1936 uncovered the small gun leading to its rediscovery; it is now on display in the Gonzales Memorial Museum.

The bronze Gonzales cannon was buried with other captured Texan cannons inside the Alamo compound.  It was unearthed by Samuel Maverick in 1852, and sent to New York by his widow Mary Maverick in 1874, where it was recast into a bell that hangs in the belfry of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio.  


Jane Bradfield, Rx, Take One Cannon: The Gonzales Come and Take It Cannon of October 1835 (Shiner, Texas: Wagner, 1981). Thomas Ricks Lindley, "Alamo Artillery: Number, Type, Caliber, and Concussion," Alamo Journal, July 1992. Noah Smithwick, The Evolution of a State, or Recollections of Old Texas Days (Austin: Gammel, 1900; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983).  James Woodrick, The Battle of Gonzales and its Two Cannons (San Bernadino, CreateSpace, 2014).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Thomas Ricks Lindley, rev. by James Woodrick, "GONZALES COME AND TAKE IT CANNON," accessed July 09, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qvg01.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on January 26, 2018. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...