believed that when you try to acquire information about events that
happened years ago; the best thing to do is look for eyewitness
accounts first and foremost. It makes no difference to me what some
would-be modern day historian thinks or says about any historical
event, I want to hear it from the ones that were actually there
There were eyewitnesses to the Battle
of the Alamo. Letters were written; daily diaries and journals
were kept. Certain individuals in both armies saw fit to write down
in some form or another what they saw and experienced during this
It is interesting to look at this battle through the eyes of the
Mexican soldier. The men in the Texas Army were fighting to defend
their families, land, and rights as they felt were guaranteed to
them by the Mexican Constitution of 1824. The Mexican soldier was
defending his country.
We get an observation
of Colonel William B. Travis by a Mexican officer as he witnessed
Travis' actions during the battle. In his book With Santa Anna
in Texas, Jose Enrique de la Pena, a Lieutenant Colonel in the
Mexican army, described Travis as follows: "He would take a few
steps and stop, turning his proud face toward us to discharge his
shots; he fought like a true soldier. Finally he died, but he died
after having traded his life very dearly. None of his men died with
greater heroism, and they all died."
Another letter was written by a Mexican soldier as he waited to
attack the Alamo in the final assault on the morning of March 6,
1836. This letter is printed as it appears in Wallace O. Chariton's
book, 100 Days In Texas - The Alamo Letters. The soldier
is not identified in the book. His letter is as follows...
Soldier to brothers of the heart - San Antonio de Bexar:
The attack was made in four columns, led by General Cos, General
Morales, Duque de Estrada, and Romero. I marched under the immediate
command of General Cos and tell you what I saw. After a long wait
we took our places at 3 o'clock A.M. on the south side, a distance
of 300 feet from the fort of the enemy. Here we remained flat on
our stomachs until 5:30 (Whew! it was cold) when the signal to march
was given by the President from the battery between the north and
Immediately, General Cos cried "Foreward" and placing himself at
the head of the attack, we ran to the assault, carrying scaling
ladders, picks and spikes. Although the distance was short the fire
from the enemy's cannon was fearful; we fell back; more than forty
men fell around me in a few moments.
One can but admire the stubborn resistance of our enemy, and the
constant bravery of all our troops. It seemed every cannon ball
or pistol shot of the enemy embedded itself in the breasts of our
men who without stopping cried: "Long live the Mexican Republic!
Long live Santa Anna!" I can tell you the whole scene was one of
extreme terror ... After some three quarters of an hour of the most
horrible fire, there followed the most awful attack with hand arms
... Poor things - no longer do they live - all of them died, and
even now I am watching them burn - to free us from their putrification
- 257 corpses without counting those who fell in the previous thirteen
days, or those who vainly sought safety in flight.
Their leader named Travis, died like a brave man with his rifle
in his hand at the back of a cannon, but that perverse and haughty
James Bowie died like a woman, in bed, almost hidden by the covers.
Our loss was terrible in both officers and men.
year on the anniversary of that historic struggle, various historians
and writers give their opinion of what happen at the Battle
of the Alamo. Regardless of what they say, the fact remains that
this was a horrible battle and many brave men in both armies died
for a cause they believed in.
I think we owe it to those brave Texans and Mexicans who fought each
other so long ago, to keep their honor and memory alive by telling
their story as accurately as possible.
Lone Star Diary
September, 2001 Column