|Exposure of the origin of some of the myths related of the fall of the Alamo shows how easily the lies of idle talkers may find their way into history; but the truth alone is vastly wonderful.|
William P. Zuber
Previous to this investigation, I considered the Dolson execution report invalid because of three anomalies: the identification of Col. Juan N. Almonte as the informant; placement of the executions outside of the Alamo at Santa Anna's tent, a site that did not exist; and Santa Anna's "interpreter" knowing David Crockett on sight. After many years of having accepted the account as valid and believing it verified the de la Peña account, serious reconsideration (because of Bill Groneman's work inDefense of A Legend,etc.) of Dolson's errors convinced me that the description was not a true eyewitness report of the Alamo executions. Otherwise, I was not sure what the missive was supposed to be or why it was written. Thus, I began the research that I hoped would answer the who, what, when and where of the Dolson report and reveal its historical reality. Unfortunately the result is long and complex in its presentation.
Now that my research is at a point where I must finish the third article, I will state my beliefs and present the evidence and analysis that directed me to my conclusions. Can I prove what I believe in a conclusive manner, beyond a reasonable doubt? Probably not, as the evidence for the most part is circumstantial. Nevertheless, the research and analysis are worthy of consideration. In the end, each reader will have to judge the information and come to his or her own conclusion about the Dolson's letter's validity.
I believe that the Dolson letter was written as propaganda, aimed at two goals: (1) to drum up support for the trial and execution of Santa Anna and (2) to promote recruitment of volunteers in the United States for Thomas Jefferson Green's Texas command. Also, I believe that Dolson based his execution description on a previous execution account, a report that because of its probable author and internal characteristics is part truth and part fiction.
My investigation started with an investigative question: given that the Dolson missive appears to be partly fiction, what result or goals does the document appear to be designed to accomplish? In other words, what was the writer trying to obtain by creating a communication that appears to be a mixture of truth and fiction? The answer is obvious when one opens his or her mind to the possibility that the document might not be just a simple letter sent home to a brother.
Dolson, after detailing the alleged account of the execution of Crockett and the other defenders, wrote with an inflammatory pen: "Such an act I consider murder of the blackest kind. Do you think that he can be released? No - exhaust all the mines of Mexico, but it will not release him. The one half, nor two thirds, nor even the whole of the republic, would not begin to ransom him. The combined powers of Europe cannot release him for before they can come to his release, Texas will have released him of his existence; but I coincide with the secretary of war, as to the disposal to made of him, that is, to try him as a felon. Strict justice demands it and reason sanctions it."1
Clearly, the previous quotation calls for the trial and execution of Santa Anna.
Next, Dolson painted a profitable picture of life in the Texas army. Suggesting that opportunities for war booty awaited the volunteer, he claimed he had paid thirty dollars for some of Santa Anna's silverware and had the chance to make $100 for its resale. Then, he promoted bounty land for military service: "With regard to the value of bounty lands here, I am informed that General Green's brigade of four hundred men, previous to their leaving Natchetz [sic],were offered one dollar and twenty-five cents for every acre they should draw in Texas; the money to be deposited in the Natchez bank, and paid to the soldiers as soon as they should give up their discharge." In other words, join Green's unit and your reward was already in the bank.2
To reinforce the bounty land enticement and to counter the Texas government's attempts at turning back unneeded volunteers, he wrote: "I understand that land speculators are putting notices in the American papers that there are no more volunteers wanted here, and that the war is at an end, their reason for doing so is, that they fear that they will lose their large tracts of land, knowing that old Sam Houston will never disband the army dissatisfied."3
If the letter was propaganda, the question is: Why would Dolson have written it? The total answer is probably out of history's reach, but one can still grab at it. The one person in Dolson's life that would have profited from such propaganda was Thomas Jefferson Green, Dolson's brigade commander, who needed men for his command and who wanted to prevent Santa Anna's return to Mexico. Green may have had Dolson write the letter or Dolson may have penned it to curry favor with Green.
On March 19, 1936, Green received a commission as a brigadier general of the volunteer army of Texas. The rank, however, was conditional. he had to enlist and transport a brigade to Texas. Also, he was given the authority to secure a loan of $50,000 for Texas.4
Green arrived in the United States as word of the Alamo defeat was spreading eastward. According to historian Marilyn McAdams Sibley: "Green had only the most general plans for the organization of his brigade. He began distributing commissions freely with the understanding that each officer would be responsible for recruiting the men of his command....He promised land bounties freely but in vague terms and suggested that the recruits take their own horses and equipment for which they would later be reimbursed.5
By early April, 1836, David G. Burnet, president of Texas, had come to realize that Green, a former West Point student, was a loose cannon. On April 3, Burnet issued a proclamation that declared that no commission would be honored until the required soldiers were actually in Texas and on army muster rolls. Thus, Green had to enlist and bring to Texas one thousand volunteers before he would receive a general's star. 6
A number of obstacles hindered Green's efforts. James W. Fannin's defeat, Houston's retreat and ship loads of Texas refugees chilled his ability to recruit men and money in New Orleans. Thus, Green was forced to mortgage his personal property to finance the command. The would-be-general, however, remained hopeful and continued to hand out officer commissions in violation of the April 3 proclamation. After the San Jacinto victory, Burnet wrote Green: "Texas is too poor to issue her military commissions for the mere purpose on enumerating gentlemen of high and chivalric character among her friends."7
One of the "gentlemen" was Robert J. Chester, who accepted command of Green's first regiment. Chester's home was in David Crockett's former district in Tennessee. Green was expecting a full regiment from the area. Just how many men volunteered to avenge Crockett is unknown. However, it was probably not as many as Green needed.8
On May 14, when Green departed for Texas he was in debt and needed 770 men to complete his brigade. On landing at Velasco on June 1, Green found a situation ripe for increasing his political influence in Texas. The shipInvincible,anchored offshore, was preparing to sail for Veracruz with Santa Anna, Almone, Col. Gabriel Nuñez Ortega and Ramon Caro.9
The release of the Mexicans had met massive citizen disapproval and had fractured Burnet's cabinet. Green believed that if Santa Anna returned to Mexico, he would revitalize the Mexican army, return to Texas and reclaim the country, an act that would have prevented United States land speculators from getting rich on Texas land.
Also, Green would have probably lost everything he owned in the United States because he had used it to finance his Texas expedition. Green quickly organized a public meeting to protest the release. Then he and his volunteers, in open sedition, boarded the vessel and convinced the captain to remain in port.
Green described Santa Anna with these words: "...we found the prisoner in a state of extreme agitation, lying in his berth upon his back, alternating raving like a madman and crying like a child; now denying that he had any agency in the massacre at Goliad; anon, threatening to take away his own life sooner than go ashore, to be delivered up to what he called thenewarmy from the United States, which he believed to be bent his destruction. The prisoner continued to act this strange part for about two hours; stating, meanwhile that he had taken largely opium, and would soon die...."10
Burnet, not having the forces the counter Green, validated the man's actions by having Santa Anna and his staff ordered to shore. Green and his men, however, were quickly sent up the Brazos River to "repel an Indian incursion," which prevented additional trouble.11
Historian Sam W. Haynes described Green's actions with these words: "Green's conduct at Velasco beach also gave ample evidence of the kind of role he envisioned for himself in the new republic. Lacking an entrenched elite, Texas was a place where careers and reputations could be made literally in a couple of days. Many of the Republic's prominent young men were newcomers to Texas, and Green lost no time in positioning himself among the front rank of the nations' leadership."12
With his name established in Texas, Green continued to search for the volunteers he needed to complete his brigade. He found many of the soldiers by getting previously organized units to join his command. In early July, 1836, Alonzo B. Sweitzers's Cincinnati Volunteers joined the brigade. Like Green, Sweitzer was a former West Point student. Most of Sweitzer's men had entered the service on May 18, 1836, independent of Green's recruiting efforts. One of the men was George M. Dolson, who, on a July 12, 1836 muster roll, is listed for three months service as a private. At that time, Dolson does not appear to have been the unit's orderly sergeant. Nine days later, however, Dolson identified himself as the company's chief clerk.
Undoubtedly, Green and Dolson wanted Santa Anna imprisoned/dead, but does that mean they were part of some conspiracy that created the Dolson letter? Perhaps. There is some evidence that appears to link Green to the Dolson missive. Admittedly, the evidence is thin, but nevertheless it exists.
There is the claim that Santa Anna was under the influence of opium while on board theInvincible.Dolson wrote: "The prisoner [Santa Anna] was accordingly remanded to shore, when, I am told by the officers of the schooner, he swallowed a large quantity of opium for drowning his feelings of remorse, cried like a child, and acted in every manner as though his last ray of hope and deserted [sic] him."14
The Dolson letter and Green's account are two of only three primary sources this writer has been able to locate that claim Santa Anna was using opium during the time surrounding his removal from theInvincible.Green claimed the general had taken the drug previous to his removal. Dolson says the narcotic was taken after Santa Anna was back on shore. Also, it is possible that Dolson (as he claimed) learned of the opium allegation from some one other than Green.
Dolson may have obtained the opium story from a newspaper. One such article dated June 26, Texian armed schoonerInvincible,reported: "We could not persuade him that his life was safe. He rushed below, and like a Turke[sic ],took opium to drown his sorrows. As soon as the effects of the drug were over, we hurried him over the side of the vessel into the long boat - and as he went, the tears trickled down is pusillanimous cheeks,..."15
Secondly, in regard to Texas land and United States volunteers, Dolson wrote: "I understand that land speculators are putting notices in the American papers that there are no more volunteers wanted here, and that the war is at an end, their reason for doing is, that they fear that they will lose their large tracts of land, knowing that old Sam Houston will never disband the army dissatisfied. If the Texans have got the volunteers into a scrape, the volunteers will work themselves out of it. Upwards of 2000 volunteers have entered the country since April last ...
"I shall have land enough when the war is over, if we gain our independence and if I am not killed or otherwise disposed of, .... So if I happen to get popped of, I want my name sake to have it, and you see that he gets it. The enlistment roll of Capt. . B. Tweetzers's [sic] company of volunteers, from Cincinnati, will always show that George M. Dolson is orderly sergeant of that company.16
Nine days later on July 29 1836, Green wrote President Burnet about Santa Anna's release and the turning back of volunteers from the United States. He claimed that any release of Santa Anna would "destroy the liberty of Texas." Then he complained: "...Gen. F. Huston & myself have received numerous letters from the U.S. stating the fact that your agents in [New] Orleans had disbanded 8 prevented from coming to Texas many hundred volunteers by saying the war was at an end, 'That Santa Anna had treated with the Cabinet,'...."17
Then two days later Green wrote Sam Houston: "...The Army when about 2000 strong voted with solitary exception to bring Santa Ana [sic]to the Army for safe keeping & future disposition, why it has not been done my subaltern situation does not entitle me to esquire officially - I hope and trust you will order him forthwith to the army not only for safe keeping, but that the whole operation of the Texas Government will not be absorbed and controlled by Santa Ana [sic] Sovereign will and pleasure."18
Thus, there are four similarities between the Dolson letter and the Green documents. Both men wanted to prevent Santa Anna's return to Mexico. Dolson wanted him imprisoned with a future trial that would result in a death penalty. Green appears to have wanted the same, but never used explicit words to that effect. Both men wanted the flow of volunteers from the United States to continue to flood Texas. There is no obvious reason why Dolson, except to support Green, would have wanted the men to continue coming. Green, however, needed them to meet his quota of 1,000 men in order to receive his general's star and be reimbursed for his expenses, which were great. In writing of the volunteers both men mentioned that there were 2,000 volunteers in Texas. Both men claimed that in the incident where Santa Anna and his officers were taken from theInvinciblethe general was under the influence of opium. Both men complained that notice was being given in the United States that Texas did not need more volunteers, which was causing men to turn back.
The similarities found in the Dolson missive and Green documents, Dolson's membership in Green's brigade, and the Dolson letter's factual errors are not the only evidence that suggests the Dolson execution description is not legitimate. A second investigative question demands another comparison, which reveals additional evidence. The question is: Given that the Dolson execution description appears to be a mixture of truth (execution of a number of defenders) and fiction (location of Santa Anna's tent, Almonte as informant, and the interpreter knowing Crockett), how was it created?
The answer comes from the first execution report that contained three key elements that appear in the Dolson description: Crockett's identification as one of the captured and executed defenders, the count of six defenders killed, and Gen. Castrillon's intervention with Santa Annaonthe behalf of the prisoners in ordertosavetheir lives.
This account is found in a letter written on June 9, 1836, at Galveston by the correspondent of the New YorkCourier and Enquirer.19This is the account that writer Walter Lord attributed to Ramon Caro, Santa Anna's civilian secretary. Therefore, for identification, let us call the report the "Alleged Caro" or AC account. It reads: "The fall of the Alamo and the massacre must be fresh in the memory of every American. But I will relate one circumstance detailed by aneyewitness,not before known, the blood thirsty cruelty of the tyrant, Santa Ana [sic].After the Mexicans had got possession of the Alamo, the fighting had ceased, and it was clear day light, " Americans were discovered near the wall yet unconquered, and who were instantly surrounded and ordered by General Castrillon to surrender, and who did so under a promise of his protection, finding resistance any longer in vain indeed, perfect madness - Castrillon was brave and not cruel, and disposed to save them. He marched them up to the part of the fort where stood "his Excellency," surrounded by his murderous crew, hissycophantic officers[italics added].DavidCrockettwas one of the six. The steady, fearless step, and undaunted tread, together with the bold demeanor of this hardy veteran - "his firmness and noble bearing," to give the words of the narrator, had a most powerful effect on himself and Castrillon.
Nothing daunted, he marched up boldly in front of Santa Ana [sic],looked him steadfastly in the face, while Castrillon addressed "his Excellency, Sir, here are six prisoners I have taken alive; how shall I dispose of them? Why do you bring them to me?" At the same time his brave officers drew and plunged their swords into the bosoms of their defenseless prisoners!!! So anxious and intent were these bloodthirsty cowards to gratify the malignity of this inveterate tyrant, that Castrillon barely escaped being run through in the scuffle, himself. Castrillon rushed from scene, apparently horror-struck - sought his quarters, and did not leave them for some days, and hardly ever spoke to Santa Ana [sic] after. This was the fate of poor Crockett, and in which there can be no mistake. Who thefiveothers were, I have not been able to learn. Three wounded prisoners were discovered and brought before "his Excellency," and were ordered to be instantly shot. There are certain reasons why the narrator of these events should not be known. I will only repeat he was aneyewitness.
"I may tell you more about the Alamo yet, that Travis' boy, Joe, and Mrs. D. [Dickinson] had not an opportunity of seeing or knowing."20
In total, the AC execution account simply has too many problems to be considered a valid report of the Alamo executions. Firstly, there is the subject of the informant, who the account's reporter defended with these words: "There are certain reasons why the narrator of these events should not be known. I will only repeat that he was an "witness." The statement does not inspire confidence in the account. As discussed in Part Two of this series, if Caro, Santa Anna's civilian secretary, was the source of the tale, it is invalidated for two reasons: elements of the AC description are at odds with Caro's authentic 1837 report and Caro was probably threatened with imprisonment or death to obtain the story. On the other hand, if Caro was the source of the tale, he surely would not have wanted his confession known to Santa Anna.
Secondly, there is the problem of the account's author not being identified. Investigation, however, strongly suggests that the author was a Texas soldier named William H. Attree, a former police reporter for theCourier and Enquirer.Attree departed New York on or about March 4, 1836, to join the Texas fight. He carried a letter of introduction from Billings Hayward, owner of the New YorkTranscript.Hayward wrote that Attree was a strong advocate of the "cause of Texas," that in the previous months he had traveled through the States recruiting volunteers for Texas. Also, Attree, while serving in the Texian army, would "have the control of the columns" for theCourier and Enquirer,the Star and theTranscript.21
In June 1836, when the AC was written, Attree was serving the Texas cause as an express rider for "Brig. Genl. Thomas J. Green." Given that Attree was theCourier and Enquirer'sTexas correspondent, it is reasonable to believe that he wrote the letter containing the AC description of the executions.22
In regard to Attree, there is the question of his honesty and objectivity as a reporter. Isaac C. Pray described Attree with these words: "...William H. Attree, ... is employed as a Police reporter being facile with his pen, and sufficiently indifferent (after the fashion of the press generally, of that day) to the feelings of the poor creatures left to its mercy... Enough! That an innocent man, because he is poor and , may be caricatured, and consigned to the infamy of a day, and even to the loss of employment, is of little consequence. The people must be amused, in all nations and in every country, sometimes by battles of wild beasts, and sometimes by the cutting off of human heads by thousands with the gillotine [sic],till the gutters of the public streets are washed with blood! When man is dressed in a little brief authority, why should he not use it?"23
Oliver Carlson, inThe Man Who Made News: James Gordon Bennet,reported: "One of Bennett's many nameless critics of that day charged that the editor employed a number of the needylitterateursabout town to write many of the fantastic tales, which in the guise of news, adorned the pages of theHerald;and that he paid them 'not in proportion to their length or merit, but according to their degree of lasciviousness.'
"'I don't mind lasciviousness,' Bennett is reported as having said to one of the employees, 'be as lascivious as ever you like, Attree, but damn it, don't be vulgar!'"24
One gets the impression that if "reporter" Attree was alive today he would be working for theNational Inquireror theStar.Ironically, Frank M. O'Brien inTheStoryof the Sunwrote that Attree penned "horribles" for the Courierand Enquirer.Thus it appears that Attree was more concerned with a good "blood and guts" story that would sell. The AC article's lead element, the death of David Crockett, reflects such a belief as the bloody tale is one guaranteed to grab the reader's attention.25
Additionally, the AC narrative is condemned by some of its content. Firstly, the story alleges that Castrillon took the men under his protection to save them. Secondly, the general, who was "brave and not cruel," and influenced by Crockett's "firmness and noble bearing" was supposed to have expressed that desire by taking the men to Santa Anna, with the foolish question: "Sir, here are six prisoners I have taken alive; how shall I dispose of them?' Then as the killing commenced, the account says: "Castrillon rushed from the scene, apparently horror-struck - sought his quarters, and did not leave them for some days, and hardly ever spoke to Santa Ana after that."26
There is no doubt that Castrillon took five prisoners to Santa Anna. However, Castrillon's reason for taking the men to Santa Anna has never been established with an unquestionable source. Even the de la Peña narrative does not give Castrillon's reason for not executing the men where he found them. After all, the order of the day for the Mexican soldiers was: Take no prisoners! Also, Susannah Dickinson reported that as she was escorted from the Alamo, Santa Anna's troops were hard at work thrusting bayonets into all the Texian bodies to ensure that every defender was dead.27
The entire Castrillon intervention description appears to be a tabloid device to make Santa Anna appear extremely cruel and evil. Castrillon, one of Santa Anna's top generals, is described as admirable and charitable. Thus, a perfect contrast to "the blood thirsty cruelty of the tyrant" Santa Anna and "his murderous crew, his sycophantic officers."
Then, the reporter closes the execution paragraph with an allegation that works to reinforce his report of "the blood thirsty cruelty of the tyrant, Santa Ana [sic]." he wrote: "Three wounded prisoners were discovered and brought before 'his Excellency,' and were ordered to be instantly shot." Thus, the article details two separate executions: A group of six and a group of three, an allegation that is not supported by any other evidence.
Attree's reputation as a reporter and three sentences from the AC account throw additional light on how the account was probably put together. The first and second sentences read: "The fall of the Alamo and the massacre must be fresh in the memory of every American. But I will relate one circumstance, detailed by aneyewitness.not before known, that will at once establish if not before established, the blood thirsty cruelty of the tyrant, Santa Ana." The third sentence reads: "I may tell you more about the Alamo yet, that Travis's boy, Joe, and Mrs. D. [Dickinson] had not an opportunity of seeing or knowing."
In sum, Attree, the writer of "horibles" and "fantastic tales,...in the guise of news," was going to give his readers a detailing of "one circumstance" of the Alamo that his letter would reveal for the first time, a story that even Travis's slave and Susannah Dickinson did not know about. The "one circumstance" was an "eyewitness"report of Gen. Castrillon's intervention on the behalf of six defenders, the inclusion of and description of David Crockett as one of the group, and the men's execution by Santa Anna's "sycophantic officers." The claim that Joe and Mrs. Dickinson did not have "an opportunity of seeing or knowing" about the AC description was important to its credibility. Previous to the AC account there appears to have been six execution stories floating about Texas.
There is the Tejano report given to Sam Houston on March 11,1836, at Gonzales, which stated that seven defenders had asked for quarter, but were refused and killed. The account is conspicuous for what it does not report: names, participants, time, location and circumstances.28
Recently a Tejano account surfaced that suggests that the "seven" group was not the body of "five" that Castrillon found hiding someplace inside the Alamo compound and subsequently escorted to Santa Anna.
In the summer of 1907, Mrs. María de Jesus Buquor reported in theSan Antonio Daily Expressthat as a 10-year-old living with her parents (Jose María Jesus Pedro Delgado and Juana Curbeo) on the San Antonio River she had witnessed the death of seven Alamo defenders. The article noted: "She is well preserved, in spite of this numerous posterity, and her memory is wonderful considering her age. Save that she is a little confused as to dates, her memory is very clear. She related yesterday the death of seven Texans who tried to make escape from the Alamo and were killed on the river bank near her house as vividly as if it were an event of the past few days."29
Buquor's report also explains why San Antonio citizens (the two who reported it to Sam Houston) would have known about thesevendefenders who had asked for quarter and were killed. With the seven killings occurring on the river's east bank in first daylight, any number of citizens could have witnessed the event.
Second, there is the account that reported that Susannah Dickinson saw two young boys executed who were from a group "of five, who for a moment, survived their companions, and threw themselves on the victor's clemency,...." Crockett was not identified in this account. The account verifies the Caro report of five defenders executed inside the walls of the Alamo.30
The third account is one attributed to Joe, Travis's slave, who reported that one defender, "...a little weakly man named Warner, who asked for quarters[sic ].He was spared by the soldiery, but on being conducted to Santa Anna, he ordered him to be shot, and it was done,..."31
Thus, it is obvious why the AC writer had to claim that Dickinson and Joe did not know about the executions as told in the AC narrative. The stories told by Dickinson and Joe conflict with the AC description. Also, Joe's identification of Warner conflicts with the AC writer's claim that he could only identify Crockett. Joe's story was most likely the one best known across Texas as he told it to members of the Convention and it appeared in the March 24, 1836 issue of theTexas Telegraph and Register.
Fourth, there is the authentic Caro report of Castrillon finding five men hiding after the attack and taking them to Santa Anna who had them killed. None of the defenders were identified by Caro. There is no conclusive evidence that shows that Caro made this report to his captors after the Battle of San Jacinto. Still, there is the possibility that he shared the information with the Texian leaders.
Fifth, there is the first newspaper report that identified Crockett as one of the executed. It appeared in the March 28 issue of theLouisianaAdvertiser and reads: "The Alamo his fallen into the hands of the Mexicans under Santa Anna, and its garrison have been massacred in cold blood after their arms were surrendered, Col. David Crockett is among the slain,..." The problem with this account is that it identified all of the defenders as having "surrendered."32
The last account that was probably traveling through the Texas grapevine in May and June of 1836 was one that appeared in the March 29, 1836 edition of the NewOrleans True American.Allegedly, the story came from passengers that arrived in New Orleans on board the schoonerComanchethat had sailed from Velasco on March 14, 1836. The relevant part of the story reads: "On the 6th of March, about midnight, the Alamo was assaulted by the entire force of the Mexican army, commanded by Santa Anna in person. The Mexicans fought desperately until daylight, when 7 only of the garrison were found alive. We regret to say, that Col. David Crockett and his companion, Mr. Benton, also the gallant Col. Bonham of South Carolina, were of the number who cried for quarter, but were told there was no mercy for them. They then continued fighting until the whole were butchered."33
While the entire article is not included here, it is important to note that in total the story contains eleven errors of fact. In regard to the Alamo executions, this report identifies Crockett, Benton and Bonham as among the seven men who asked for quarter. Benton was not even at the Alamo; however, in March many believed that he was a member of Crockett's company. Also, Bonham is not identified in any other accounts as one of the defenders who was executed on the order of Santa Anna. The final assault of the Alamo occurred between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. on the morning of March 6, not on the "6th of March, about midnight,..." Other errors in the article are 2,000 to 3,000 Mexicans killed and wounded and that Houston, after burning Gonzales, had retreated to the Colorado River with 1,000 men. In further condemnation of its accuracy, the article, after claiming Benton was killed with Crockett, reports in its last sentence: 'Col. Crockett was in the garrison of San Antonio, and Col. Jesse Benton it was also feared was in the engagement, and one of the victims."34
In total, the evidence shows that previous to the AC account, there were various execution descriptions reported in Texas and the United States. Susannah Dickinson, Joe and Bexar Tejanos reported three different execution incidents: five prisoners taken to Santa Anna, one man named Warner taken to Santa Anna and seven defenders killed on east bank of the San Antonio River as they attempted to escape. Then there are the execution stories that included Crockett, which are best described as unsubstantiated rumor spread by distant newspapers.
At this point it is important to remember what the creator of the AC description said in his lead sentences: "The fall of the Alamo and the massacre must be fresh in the memory of every American. But I will relate one circumstance, detailed by aneyewitness,not before known, that will at once establish, if not before, established the blood thirsty cruelty of the tyrant, Santa Ana [sic]."
While I have no evidence, other than the previous presentation and analysis, to prove it, I believe: Given Attree's reputation, his role as Green's express rider, the characteristics of the AC description, and Attree's failure to identify the informant, that Attree combined the basic Dickinson execution story with the Crockett identification rumor or perhaps a forced Crockett identification from Caro to Green in early June 1836 (five plus one equals six) and embellished them with appropriate tabloid language and structure ("sycophantic officers," a "brave but not cruel" Gen. Castrillon, and Crockett with "firmness and noble bearing") to produce the AC narrative. Of course, at this point, one must ask: How does this all relate to the validity of the Dolson account?
The following comparison of elements from the Dolson and AC accounts suggests that the Dolson report, as it speaks to Crockett and the executions, appears to be a rewording of the AC description. Therefore, Dolson is only as good and reliable as the AC description, which does not appear to be trustworthy.
|[ 1 ]|
|AC:||The tall of the Alamo and the massacre must be fresh in the memory of every American. But I will relate one circumstance, detailed by aneyewitness,not before known, that will at once establish, it not before established, the blood thirsty cruelty of the tyrant, Santa Anna....This was the fate of poor Crockett, and in which there can be no mistake[italics added].|
|DO:||This shows thefate of Colonel Crockett[italics added] and his five brave companions there have been many tales told, and many suggestions made, as to the fate of these patriotic men: butthe following may be relied on[italics added] being from an individual who was an eye witness to the whole proceedings.|
|Both accounts refer to the status of Alamo information prior to their presentation of new knowledge about Crockett's death - facts that will resolve the question. Both tales stress that their data comes from an eye witness and that there is no doubt about its correctness.
|AC:||After the Mexicans had got possession of the Alamo, the fighting had ceased, and it was clear day light six Americans were discovered near the wallyet unconquered[italics added], and who were instantly surrounded and ordered by Gen. Castrillon to surrender, and who did so,...finding resistance any longer in vain - indeed perfect madness[italics added]....David Crockett as one of the six.|
|DO:||On the morning the Alamo was captured, between the hours of five and six o'clock, General Castrillon, who fell at the Battle of San Jacinto, entered the back room of the Alamo, and there found Crockett and five other Americans,who had defended it until defense was useless[italics added], ...|
|Except for the time period and location of discovery, the two descriptions are very similar. Also, both make sure to claim that the defenders did not surrender, but only stopped fighting after it was "perfect madness" and "useless." Surrendering Americans might have been offensive to American readers.
|AC:||Castrillon was brave andnot cruel,anddisposed to save[italics added] them.|
|DO:||.. thehumane[italics added] General ordered his men to keep out, placing his hand on his breast, said, "here is a hand and a heart to protect you come with me to the General-in-Chief, and youshall be saved[italics added].|
|In this case both accounts present Castrillon as a benevolent Mexican officer. In the AC story the characteristic is simply stated. In the Dolson account the trait is demonstrated with a description of certain actions and dialogue. The narratives are different, yet the same in effect.
|AC:||He [Castrillon] marched them up to that part of the fort where stood "His Excellency," surrounded by his murderous crew, his sycophantic officers.|
|DO:||The brave but unfortunate men were marched to the tent of Santa Anna.|
|Both accounts have the menmarchedto Santa Anna.
|AC:||David Crockett, ... the steady, fearless, step and undaunted tread, together with the bold demeanor [sic] of this hardy veteran - "his firmness andnoble bearing[italics added]," to give the word of the narrator,...|
|DO:||Colonel Crockett was in the rear, had his arms folded [demonstrating firmness] andappeared bold as the lion[italics added] as he passed my informant (Almonte.).|
|In this comparison, Dolson's "appeared bold as the lion" certainly seems to equal AC's "the steady, fearless step, and undaunted tread, ... his firmness and noble bearing." After all, the noble and fearless Lion was long ago crowned the King of Beasts.|
|AC:||Castrillon addressed "His Excellency," "Sir here are six prisoners I have taken alive; how shall I dispose of them?"|
|DO:||Castrillon said to him, "Santa Anna, the august, I deliver to you six brave prisoners of war."|
|Except for the titles given Santa Anna, the adjective "brave" and the question in the AC account, the two statements are almost similar.
|AC:||Santa Anna,...replied, "Have I not told you how to dispose of them. Why did you bring them to me?" At the same time [italics added] his brave officers draw and plunged their swords into the bosoms of their defenseless prisoners!]|
|DO:||Santa Anna replied, "who has given you orders to take prisoners, I do not want to see those men living - shoot them." As the monster uttered these words each officer turned his face the other way, and the hell-hounds of the tyrant dispatched the six prisoners in his presence, and within six feet of his person.|
|Both accounts have Santa Anna questioning Castrillon as to why he failed to kill the prisoners on the spot. Both have a statement that in effect orders the defenders to be killed immediately.|
Furthermore, both accounts use Castrillon's alleged altruistic behavior as a contrast to enhance Santa Anna's cruelty in killing the prisoners. The AC account makes the contrast by claiming, in an outrageous and unbelievable way, that: "Castrillon rushed from the scene apparently horror-struck sought his quarters, and did not leave them for some days, and hardly ever spoke to Santa Anna after." Whereas, Dolson said it: "Such redeeming traits, while they ennoble in our estimation this worthy officer, yet serve to show in a more hedious [sic] light the damning atrocities of the chief."
The accounts have another difference that suggests that Dolson probably had access to another Mexican account in creating his letter. The AC report refers to Santa Anna as "his Excellency," and is done in a way that appears to be sarcastic over-kill. A review of Mexican documents and accounts shows that Santa Anna was referred to as the "President" and "His Excellency." Dolson, however, referred to Santa Anna as "General-in-Chief." As far as this writer has been able to determine, that usage is found only in one other document of the period: the translation of Col. Juan N. Almonte's journal that appeared in the New YorkHeraldin June, 1836.
In the journal's section that speaks to the Alamo siege and assault, Almonte twice mentions actions by the "General in Chief." In English translation, the term is very similar to "Commander-in-Chief"" and a superficial reading of the Almonte journal gives the impression that Almonte was using the term to refer to Santa Anna. A careful reading of Almonte, however, shows that 'General-in-Chief" does not refer to Santa Anna. The term appears to speak of an "Officer of the Day," an "Officer-in-Charge" or a "Commanding or Senior Officer' of a specific operation or group. Thus, it appears that Dolson's reference to Santa Anna as "General-in-Chief" is yet another factual error that helps to destroy the account's authenticity. A Mexican officer would have known that the term did not refer to Santa Anna. Dolson, however, in reading Almonte's journal could have easily mistaken the term for "Commander-in-Chief," which he would have incorrectly believed referred to Santa Anna.35
Yes, there are differences between the two accounts, but they are not many. The AC account says the defenders were found "near the wall," which is not an exact location. What wall? An exterior wall or an interior wall? The north, south, east or west wall? The Dolson report says the men were found in a "back room" of the Alamo. Again the location is not specific. A back room in the Long Barracks or the chapel? The AC story has the prisoners "marched to that part of the fort where stood" Santa Anna. The Dolson tale has the men "marched to the tent of Santa Anna." The AC account identifies the killers and method of murder. Dolson does not identity the killers or weapons. All of these examples are relatively unimportant details in relation to the story's main point which is that Santa Anna was a "blood-thirsty" tyrant who had David Crockett and five other Alamo defenders executed after kindhearted Gen. Castrillon had promised the men he would save their lives. These minor features are exactly the kind of element that a forger would alter to hide the act of plagiarism.
One question remains to be answered: Does any of the information found in the AC article and the Dolson letter support Bill Groneman's allegation inDefenseofa Legendthat the de la Peña diary is a forgery? The answer is yes, and I suppose I am changing the Dolson horse for the de la Peña horse in the middle of a raging river, which might confuse some readers. Nevertheless, I think discussion of this question is important because the answer unites the AC account, the Dolson report and the de la Peña description in a way that points to de la Peña being a forgery. However, before presenting that analysis, some evidence about the diary that Dr. Crisp ignored must first be discussed.
Evidence, independent of the alleged de la Peña manuscripts, shows that de la Peña claimed that the had maintained a diary during the Texas campaign and that he was going to publish the diary with additional "observations" on the war. He made that claim several times between February 1837 and November 1839, a period in which he wrote and published two other pamphlets, which suggests that the diary publication was not his number one antigovernment project. Perhaps the allegation that he had kept a diary and was going to publish it to expose the incompetence of senior Mexican army officers was nothing more than an empty threat to keep those same officers from having him executed. Remember, there is no evidence independent of the alleged manuscripts that proves that de la Peña wrote acampaigndiary. No such diary exists today.
Dr. Crisp claimed that the de la Peña manuscripts contain a rewritten diary (RW), a final draft and pages that might have been de la Peña initial field notes. The documents that Dr. Crisp believes are field notes are actually copies of material that is found in the final draft, which suggest that at one time there may have been two versions or copies of the final draft. The rewritten diary was supposed to have been created between July 21, 1836 and September 15, 1836 at Matamoros. Dr. Crisp wrote: "In this first draft of the rewritten diary, de la Peña proceeds to summarize the major events and movements of the Texas campaign, to indicate where documents are later to be inserted, and to make notes to himself about what should be mentioned in the finalResena."36
The RW manuscript says that its entries report events that began on Oct. 8, 1835 and that de la Peña, however, did not start maintaining a written journal until March 10, 1836. Therefore, everything in the diary between October 8, 1835 and March 10, 1836 was written from memory or from other source material.37
Dr. Crisp, however, in his rush to validate de la Peña, failed to point out that the RW manuscript contains no mention of the Alamo executions. The RW manuscript does not include a description of David Crockett and six other defenders being taken to Santa Anna and quickly executed on his order at the battle's end. The RW manuscript contains no entries for the dates of March, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, 1836. Also, the dale in the RW manuscript and the final draft from February 23, 1836 to March 2, 1836 comes from an unknown diary that the RW manuscript claims de la Peña had access to in the summer of 1836.38
Furthermore, the authenticity of the de la Peña execution account is compromised by the work of Mexican military historian Miguel A. Sanchez Lamego. He identified de la Peña as one of the sapper officers wounded in the final assault on March 6. Lamego wrote:"Los otros Oficiales heridos fueron: el Teniente Jose Enrique de la Peña, que recibio un golpe contuso,..."According to Dora Guerra, head of Special Collections at the University of Texas at San Antonio, "un golpe contuso"means a concussion, which would suggest a blow to the head. Dr. Jesus F. de la Teja, history professor at Southwest Texas State University, however, said the term translates to contusion. Whatever, the evidence points to de a Peña being seriously wounded enough in the final attack for it to have been reflected in his service record or in some other official document. The wound is not reported in the alleged diary. If de la Peña received a serious wound in the final assault, he most likely would not have been in a position to have witnessed the executions.39
Therefore, if the de la Peña manuscripts are authentic, the evidence suggests that the execution scene had to have been written between 1837 and 1839 when de la Peña was in prison. Also, the final draft page that contains the execution report is not in the handwriting that is alleged to be de la Peña's handwriting and the page appears to have been inserted in the final draft after its completion.40
The evidence suggests that if the de la Peña manuscripts are genuine then de la Peña probably composed the execution description from memory or more likely from written source material. Of course, if de la Peña is a forgery, then it had to have been based on written source material. The use of written accounts is supported by a comparison of the de la Peña description with other execution accounts. However, because of this paper's length, only a few comparisons will be discussed.
There is de la Peña description of the Mexican troops who killed the captured soldiers. The account alleges: "Santa Anna answered the intervention of Castrillon with a gesture of indignation, and addressing himself immediately to the sappers, which was the soldiery he had nearest, ordered that they shoot them. The junior and senior officers became indignant at this action and did not repeat the command, hoping that with the passing of the first moment of fury, those men would be saved; but different officers who were around the President and who perhaps had not been there in the moment of danger, made themselves conspicuous by a despicable act; surpassing the soldiers in cruelty, they pushed themselves forward to them, in order to flatter the [cruelty] of their commander, and sword in hand they threw themselves on the unhappy defenseless men, in the same way that a tiger leaps upon its prey. They tortured them before killing them, and these miserable ones died moaning,..."41
The assertion that "junior and senior" sapper officers would have disobeyed a direct order from their president and commander-in-chief is not credible. It is absurd since the order of the day was: no prisoners. Santa Anna had been flying a blood red flag of "No quarter" for almost two weeks from the tower of the San Fernando church. The officers would probably have been as surprised as their President was that Castrillon had failed to kill the men where he had found them.
Next, there is the claim that Santa Anna ordered the nearest soldiers the shoot the prisoners, an order the sapper officers allegedly refused to repeat. Thus, "officers who were around the President" killed the men with swords. That sequence suggests that the de la Peña writer took information from two other execution accounts for the construction.
There is the alleged Fernando Urissa account, which claims the officer said: "...I observed Castrion [sic],...leading a venerable-looking old man by the hand; he wastall[italics added],... The President stopped abruptly, when Castrion, leaving his prisoner, advanced some four or five paces towards us, and, ...said: 'My General, I have spared the life of this venerable old man, and taken him prisoner.' ...Santa Anna replied, 'What right have you to disobey my orders I want no prisoners,' and waving his hand to a file of soldiers, he said, 'Soldiers, shoot that man,...'" In addition to the "shoot" order Urissa appears to be the source for de la Peña's claim that Crockett was "... one of great stature,..." Sam Houston was a tall man or one of "great stature," not Crockett.42
The next account that appears to be reflected in the de la Peña description is the AC account. This account describes the executioners with these words: "He [Castrillon] marched them up to that part of the fort where stood 'his Excellency,'surrounded[italics added] by murderous crew, his sycophantic officers....Soanxious and intent"[italics added] were theseblood thirsty cowards to gratify the malignity of this inveterate tyrant[italics added],...43
Considering that a sycophant is a "servile self-seeking flatterer," and that the "sycophantic officers" in the AC description "surrounded " Santa Anna, take another look at the de la Peña description, which reads:"different officers who were around the President[italics added] and who [AC's "blood thirsty cowards" perhaps had not been there in the moment of danger, made themselves conspicuous by a despicable act; surpassing the soldiers in cruelty,they pushed themselves forward to them, in order to flatter the [cruelty] of their commander[italics added",..." The separate statements are identical in meaning. No doubt about it. What are the odds that de la Peña, while in a Mexican prison, would have access to the AC article by Attree, plus a translator? Not very high in this writer's opinion.44
On the other hand, one can argue that de la Peña may have seen the alleged David Crockett Texas diary,Col. Crockett's Exploits and Adventures in Texas, Written byHimself,that was published in the summer of 1836. Still, he would have needed a translator. Just days before its printing an embellished version of the AC description was included in the book. This telling of the story is faithful to the AC account except for its ending, which reads; At the same time his brave officers plunged their swords into the bosoms of their defenseless prisoners. Col. Crockett, seeing the act of treachery, instantlysprang like a tiger[italics added] at he ruffian chief, but before he could reach him a dozen swords were sheathed in his indomitable heart; and he fell anddied without a groan, a frown on his brow, and a smile of scorn and defiance on his lips[italics added]. Castrillon rushed from the scene, . . .45
The Crockett diary execution ending has some elements in common with de la Peña. In de la Peña, however, those elements are reversed. De la Peña reads: "...sword in hand they threw themselves on thoseunhappy defenseless men, in the same way a tiger leaps upon its prey [Italicsadded",..." They tortured them before they killed them, and thesemisearable ones died moaning[italics added ],..."
A capable plagiarist will not steal even word that appears in the work he is exploiting. The word thief will change minor details or as it appears in this case reverse minor elements, while leaving the main feature alone, except for rewording. Otherwise the cheat, in time, would be easily hung with his own thin line of ink. Thus, the living sprang like a tiger Crockett, and the smiling, defiant, and "died without a groan Crockett are transformed in de la Peña to a Crockett that the Mexicans threw themselves on,...in the same way a tiger leaps upon its prey,...and he died as one of the U...miserable ones,...moaning,...
Furthermore, the de la Peña description is compromised by its claim that the executioners used swords to kill the defenders. Caro, Santa Anna's secretary,, said that the men were killed by soldiers who "stepped out of their ranks and set upon the prisoners until they were killed. The two boys that Susannah Dickinson saw executed were killed with bayonets. Bayonets makes more sense than swords. The long knives would have required close contact with the victims and that could have been dangerous to the Mexican soldiers - one could always loose his sword and then be killed with it.46
One can argue, no matter how illogical, that de la Peña could have had access to the AC description or the Crockett diary and a translator. The Urissa account, however, is a different matter. It did not come into existence until its publication in the 1859 issue of theTexas Almanac,20 years beyond de la Peña s alleged work on his diary, and observations. On the other hand, the similarities between de la Peña and Urissa are not that pronounced and one can argue that they may be coincidence. However, there is one other element in the de la Peña description that eliminates coincidence and suggests that the de la Peña manuscripts are forgeries.
The de la Peña account alleges: Among them [prisoners] was one of great stature, well-formed and with regular features, in whose face was stamped the pain of adversity, but in which could be obsessed a certain resignation and dignity which spoke well of him. It was naturalist David Crocket[sic],very well known in North America for his novel adventures [suggests exposure toCol. Crockett's Exploits and Adventures, Written by Himself ],who had come to examine the country, and who, happening to be in Bejar in the moments of surprise, had confined himself in the Alamo, fearful of not being respected in his capacity as a foreigner.47
The first part of the de la Peña description is similar to a descriptive element in the Urissa account. The Urissa report describes Crockett as a venerable-looking old man. Veneration means: respect or awe excited by personal dignity or consecration. Again, consider what the de la Peña account says: ...in whose [Crockett's] face was stamped the pain of adversity, but in which could be observed acertain resignation and dignity" which spoke well of him"italics added]. Thus, the de la Peña account describes a state that fits the term "venerable-looking."
Lastly, there is the de la Peña noncombatant identification of Crockett, an allegation that is unbelievable and wrong. There is no evidence to support the claim as the truth or as erroneous data given to de la Peña by a San Antonio Tejano. 48 The ridiculous description, however, is similar to an identical in meaning to a description of Crockett found in the Martin Perfecto de Cos execution account. Both reports even spell Crockett wrong, with only one t. The Cos story alleges: "When we thought that all the defenders were slain, I [Cos] was searching the barracks, and found, alive and unhurt, a fine-looking and well-dressed man, locked up, alone, in one of the rooms, and asked him who he was. He replied: "l am David Crocket [sic ], a citizen of the State of Tennessee and representative of a district of that State in the United States Congress. I have come to Texas on a visit of exploration; purposing, if permitted, to become a loyal citizen of the Republic of Mexico. I extended my visit to San Antonio, and called in the Alamo to become acquainted with the officers, and learn of them what I could of the condition of affairs. And here I am yet, a noncombatant and foreigner, having taken no part in the fighting.49
The BIG problem with the Cos account is that William P. Zuber, an old veteran of the revolution, did not write it until August 17, 1904, and the tale did not appear in print until 1939, a hundred years beyond de la Peña's "lastclaimthat he had written a diary and was working on his observations to accompany the journal s publication. Zuber only reported the story to demonstrate that the Alamo execution stories involving Crockett were not true. Also, given Zuber's reputation for creating Alamo tall tales, the Cos account is most likely his fiction written to support his main point about the execution reports. He is known to have done just that in regard to his most famous tale: the MOSES Rose escape from the Alamo. In regard to the Cos story, Zuber wrote: "This story by Cos though a gross falsehood, shows what Santa Anna would have done if it were true. Exposure of the origin of some of the myths related of the fall of the Alamo shows how easily the lies of idle talkers may find their way into history; but the truth alone is vastly wonderful. Some of our historians seem reluctant to tell the whole truth from fear of being discredited."50
If one accepts that the de la Peña noncombatant description has no basis in truth or honest error, then the only explanation for it being in the de la Peña account is that the creator of the de la Peña description obtained the element from the Cos account. That belief is reinforced by all the other evidence that indicates the de la Peña manuscripts are 20th century forgeries. Or, at the least, the evidence shows, as Bill Groneman has claimed, that the de la Peña Alamo execution account is most certainly not an eyewitness report by the famous Mexican army malcontent, Jose Enrique de la Peña .
1. Dolson letter, July 19, 1836, Galveston inDemocratic Free Press(Detroit), Sept. 7, 1836.
4. Marilyn McAdams Sibley, "Thomas Jefferson Green: Recruiter for the Texas Army, 1836"Texas Military History, Ill:129.
7.Ibid.,136 and 139 for Burnet quote.
9. Ibid., 140; Gen. Thomas J. Green, Journal of the Texian Expedition Against Mier,edited and introduction by Sam W. Haynes (1845; reprint, Austin: W. Thomas Taylor, 1993), ix.
12. Ibid., x.
13. Sibley, "Thomas Jefferson Green," 141-142; "Muster Roll, Capt. Sweitzer's Co., 12 July 1836 Muster Rolls, p. 75, Archives, Texas General Land Office, Austin, Texas.
14. Dolson letter.
15. Unknown newspaper article, #3538, John H. Jenkins, ed.,The Papers of the Texas Revolution1835-1836, (10 vols.; Austin: Presidial Press, 1973), Vll: 276-277.
16. Dolson letter.
17. Thomas J. Green to David G. Burnet, July 29,1836, Jenkins, ed.,Papers, Vll:59.
18. Thomas J. Green to Sam Houston, July 31, 1836, Jenkins, ed.,Papers, Vll:69.
19. [William H. Attree account] Correspondence of the N. Y. Cour. & Enq., Galveston Bay, June 9, 1836, in theFrankfort Commonwealth,July 27, 1836.
21. Billings Hayward to David G. Burnet, New York City, March 4, 1836, Jenkins, ed.,Papers, IV:511-512.
22. William H. Attree file, Audited Military Claims collection, Archives Division, Texas State Library, Austin, Texas. This file contains two documents that verify Attree's service with Green's brigade. One is an expense record for Attree's express service. The second is a receipt showing that on August 30, 1836, Green purchased Attree's equipment, including pistols and holsters, for use in the Texas army. Both documents were written and signed by Green.
23. Isaac C. Pray,Memoirs of James Gordon Bennett(1855; reprint, New York: Arno Press, 1970), 182-183.
24. Oliver Carlson,The Man Who Made News: James Gordon Bennett(New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1942), 179.
25. Frank M. O'Brian,The Story of the Sun(New York and London: C.D. Appleton and Company, 1928), 84.
26. Attree account.
27. Annie E. Cardwell interview,Gonzales Daily Inquirer,June 9, 1911.
28. Sam Houston to James W. Fannin, Jr., March 11, 1836, Gonzales, Jenkins, ed.Papers,V: 52-53.
29. María de Jesus Buquor interview,San Antonio Daily Express,July 19, 1907. Some individuals might argue that too many years had passed after the event for Buquor to have remembered correctly. If that is the case, then those persons must also discount everything that Enrique Esparza reported in his old age. Buquor's childhood home was on the east bank of the San Antonio River, about 1,000 yards from the Alamo.
30. William Parker to editor, April 29, 1836, Natchez, Jenkins, ed.,Papers, Vl:121-122; Charles W. Evans interview of Susannah (Dickinson) Hannig, March 14, 1878, Austin in theSan Antonio Express,February 24, 1929.
31. William Fairfax Grey, From Virginia to Texas, 1835-36 (1009; reprint, Houston: Fletcher Young Co., 1965), 137;Telegraph and Texas Register,March 24, 1836, San Felipe.
32. A. Briscoe letter inThe Louisiana Advertiser,March 28, 1836, New Orleans.
33.The New Orleans True American,March 29,1836.
35. Samuel E. Asbury, ed., "The Private Journal of Juan Nepomuceno Almonte,"The Southwestern Historical Quarterly,XLVIII: 17, 27, and 28.
36. James E. Crisp, "The Little Book That Wasn't There: The Myth and Mystery of the de la PeñaDiary," The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XCVIII:276.
37. "Rewritten Diary," P. 1, Jose Enrique de la Peña Papers, Special Collection, the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Library, San Antonio, Texas. This is a manuscript section of 109 pages that begins with "Matamoros, July 21, 1836. On this date I begin to put my diary in clean form." Of course, it is in Spanish. February 23, 1836 starts on p. 13 and ends on p. 16.
39. Miguel A. Sanchez Lamego,Apuntes Paras La Historia Del Arma De Ingenieros En Mexico Historia Del Battalon De Zapadores,(Mexico: Secreteria De La Defensa Nacional, 1943), I: 72. Lamego was an authentic military historian who had researched Jose Enrique de la Peña before the alleged diary surfaced. He failed to cite a source for de la Peña's final assault wound, but it is reasonable to believe that he obtained it from de la Peña's service records or some other official document.
40. "Final Draft: de la Peña manuscript," pp. 35-36, de la Peña Papers, UTSA. According to Dr. Crisp "Little Book," 276) this section is: "There are 105 of these consecutively numbered quartos, and although a few of these are one or two-page inserts, the final narrative is about four times the length of the rewrite begun in July 1836."
41. Crisp, "Little Book," 288-289.
42. N. D. Labadie, "Urissa's Account of the Alamo Massacre," in James M. Day, ed.,The Texas Almanac, 1857-1873(Waco: Texian Press, 1967), 174.
43. Attree account.
44. Crisp, "Little Book," 288-289.
45. Richard Penn Smith,Col. Crockett's Exploits and Adventures in Texas, Written by HimselfinThe Life of David Crockett(New York: A. L. Burt Company, 1902), 405-406.
46. Ramon Martínez Caro, "A True Account of the First Texas Campaign," in Carlos E. Castañeda (trans.),The Mexican Side of the Texas Revolution(1928; reprint, Austin and Dallas: Graphic Ideas Incorporated, 1970), 105-106; William Parker to editor, April 29, 1836, papers, Evans interview,San Antonio Express.
47. Crisp, "Little Book," 288-289.
48. Bexar Land District Clerk returns, Certificate #499, Archives, Texas General Land Office, Austin, Texas. In 1837 when Robert P. Crockett probated his father's estate in San Antonio, Ambrosio Rodriguez, one of Juan Seguin's men at San Jacinto, who had served with William B. Travis in the Siege of Bexar, furnished an affidavit placing David Crockett in the Alamo.
49. W. P. Zuber to Charlie Jeffries, Iola, Texas, August 17, 1904, found inIn The Shadow of History,J. Frank Dobie, Mody C. Boatwright and Harry H. Ranson, editors, (Austin: Folk-Lore Society, 1939), 45-46.
[Author's note: Special thanks to Bill Groneman for his research assistance. Bill located all of the New York data about reporter William H. Attree. Also, thanks to Austin-based writer Stephen Harrigan for his quick read of the paper and his editorial advice.]