Though closely associated with the Texas Revolution, the ‘COME AND TAKE IT’ or Gonzales Flag has a long history with roots in the American Revolution. In 1778, Fort Morris, small fort in Sunbury in the then Province of Georgia, was manned with a mere 127 Continental soldiers, militiamen and local citizens. The poor construction of the fort left it very vulnerable to any attack. Under the command of Colonel John McIntosh, the fort received a letter from a contingent of 500 British soldiers under the command of Colonel Fuser. The letter demanded the surrender of Colonel McIntosh and the fort. Though outnumbered, Colonel McIntosh responded to the demand with a defiant, “COME AND TAKE IT!”. Having limited intelligence about the status of the fort combined with Colonel McIntosh’s bravado, the British decided to withdraw rather than face defeat. While the British returned and captured the fort in 1779, Colonel McIntosh’s brave words and attitude reverberated through the Continental Army and was used as inspiration for soldiers as the war moved through the Carolinas and into areas in the north. For his bravery, the Georgia legislature awarded Colonel McIntosh with a sword engraved with the words, “COME AND TAKE IT!”.
In January 1831, Green DeWitt of the Gonzales colony wrote a letter to the highest political leader in Bexar, Ramon Musquiz. In the letter, he requested assistance with protecting the colony of Gonzales. In response to the request, Mr. Musquiz sent a small used cannon to the colony. The cannon arrived in March and was quickly mounted on a blockhouse. Four years later, the Mexican government demanded the return of the cannon. The colonists’ response was “COME AND TAKE IT!”. In 1835, Mexican forces were ordered to go to the colony and seize the cannon. The colonists were able to repel the forces. The minor skirmish became known as the Battle of Gonzales. It was the first conflict in the Texas Revolution against Mexico. The colonists created a flag with the cannon, a black star and the words “COME AND TAKE IT”.
The Gonzales flag was born out of open defiance. Since that time, it has become a symbol for second amendment rights. As the gun rights discussion has grown through the years, the flag is making a return to popularity. Advocates for the protection of second amendment rights have embraced the Gonzales flag to represent their stance. Replicas can be found throughout Texas and the United States. Most notably, the Gonzales Come and Take It flag is flown at the Texas State Capitol, the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum and the Marine Military Academy headquarters as a reminder of the bravery of many men and women.