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SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- The iconic Victory or Death letter from the commander of the Alamo has returned for the first time since it was carried away on horseback at the start of the famous siege in 1836.

A police motorcycle escort Friday afternoon led a box truck from Austin to San Antonio, bringing the historic letter to the front of the Alamo grounds.

In the letter, Alamo commander William Barret Travis seeks help for his badly outnumbered rebel Texans at the old Spanish mission.

It failed to prevent their deaths. The Alamo fell two weeks later on March 6, 1836. The following month, Gen. Sam Houston defeated elements of the same Mexican army to win Texas independence.

The yellowing, single-page letter will be on display for 13 days in a specially built cabinet.

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