13 Amphion is a small community about nine miles northwest of Pleasanton, the county seat of Atascosa County.
14 Santa Anna left Cuerrero on February 1 3, 1 836, and if Nuñez was "assigned to duty in that division ... under the immediate command of President Santa Anna" which is by no means certain he must have left about the same time. For more on the Mexican army's route of march see Richard C. Santos, Santa Anna's Campaign Against Texas: Featuring the Field Commands Issued to Major General Vicente Filisola (Waco: Texian Press, 1968), 40-56; for a useful study of the hardships suffered by the Mexican army during the Texas campaign see also James Presley, "Santa Anna in Texas: A Mexican Viewpoint," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, LXII (Apr., 959), 489-512.
15 The officer in question seemed not to have been a colonel, but rather Gen. Juan Arago, who was ill during much of the march. Although the heading of Vicente Filisola's chapter 23 (page 149) alludes to the "prostration and sad demise of General Arago," it is unclear when he died. Filisola wrote that he entered Bexar on March 8, 1836, with Arago, so he could not have succumbed before the Alamo fell as Nuñez claimed. Vicente Filisola, Memoirs for the History of the War in Texas, trans. and ed. Wallace Woolsey (2 vols.; Austin: Eakin Press, 19851987),11, 149, 156, 205. Col. José Enrique de la Peña talked to the ill Arago in Bexar where he was confined to his bed. Arago seemed to have been a favorite of the Mexican officers who visited him often and Colonel de la Peña recalled that even the "commander in chief himself would come occasionally." De la Peña, With Santa Anna in Texas, 94.
16 John W. Smith was married to Mexican citizen Maria de Jesus Curbelo, but the Señor Vergara to whom Nuñez refers does not appear to have been Smith's father-in-law. A carpenter by trade, Smith spent much of his time and money speculating in land. Among the earliest Anglo citizens, Smith was comfortable with the established Mexican families as well as the American newcomers and was later elected mayor. For more on Smith and early Bexar see the superb study by Paula Mitchell Marks, Turn Your Eyes Toward Texas: Pioneers Sam and Mary Maverick (College Station: Texas A& M University Press, 1989), 36, 37, 38, 4344, 46, 47, 52, 53, 55, 74, 84, 97, 104, 107, 1 28.
17 This Santa Anna-as-secret-agent story can only be dismissed as camp gossip. Santa Anna would have liked to have been in Bexar on the night of the dance; but he was camped twenty-five miles below the citystymied on the south bank of the flooded Medina River. In a letter to Minister of War José Maria Tornel y Mendivil, the general wrote:
"on the twenty-third of this month at three o'clock in the afternoon I occupied [Bexar] . . . My object had been to surprise [the Alamo garrison] at dawn the day before, but a hard rain prevented me from doing so."Filisola, The War in Texas, 168; see also Lord, A Time to Stand, 90.
18 In his famous letter addressed to the "People of Texas & all Americans in the world," Travis corroborated the cannon shot as an answer to the call to surrender: "The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is takenI have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls...." For an outstanding examination of this famous missive see Michael R. Green, "'To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World,"' Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XCI (Apr., 1988), 483508.
19 Travis described these Mexican probing attacks in one of his letters:
"Today [February 25, 1836] at 10 o'clock A.M. some two or three hundred Mexicans crossed the river below and came up under cover of the houses until they arrived within point blank shot, when we opened a heavy discharge of grape and canister on them, together with a well directed fire from small arms which forced them to halt and take shelter in the houses about go to 100 yards from our batteries. The action continued to rage about two hours, when the enemy retreated in confusion, dragging off many of their dead and wounded."Travis further explained how defenders Charles Despallier and Robert Brown "gallantly sallied out and set fire to houses which afforded the enemy shelter, in the face of the enemy fire." William Barret Travis to Sam Houston, Feb. 25, 1836, in Jenkins (ed.), Papers of the Texas Revolution, IV, 433 (1st quotation), 434 (2nd quotation).
20 The Mexicans did construct entrenchments around the Alamo. As Travis mentioned in a letter on March 3, "The enemy have been busily employed in encircling us with entrenched encampments on all sides...." Travis to Convention, Mar. 3, 1836, in Jenkins (ed.), Papers of the Texas Revolution, IV, 502 (quotation), 504. Although the Mexicans did attempt to block the acequias [water ditches], the well within the fort seemed adequate to supply the garrison's needs. Lord, A Time to Stand, 116.
21 Travis reported only "three Mexicans in the fort," but the Daughters of the Republic of Texas now recognize no less than eight of Juan Seguin's Tejanos who died alongside their Anglo comrades. Travis to Convention, Mar. 3, 1 836, in Jenkins (ed.), Papers of the Texas Revolution, IV, 504; Daughters of the Republic of Texas, "The Story of the Alamo, Thirteen Fateful Days in 1836," [pamphlet], San Antonio, undated. Enrique Esparza, son of slain Alamo defender Gregorio Esparza, survived the siege and as an old man was interviewed by a reporter for the San Antonio Daily Express. During that interview Esparza admitted that "quite a number" of the Tejanos abandoned the fort when given the opportunity to do so. San Antonio Daily Express, May 12, 1907. The name of one defender, Damacio Jimenes, has recently been discovered in the Bexar County Archives and has been added to the list of Alamo heroes. As. research continues more may well appear. San Antonio Express-News, Sept. 13, 1986. The members of Seguín’s company that the Daughters claim to have died at the Alamo include: Juan Abamillo, Juan Antonio Badillo, Gregorio Esparza, Antonio Fuentes, José Maria Guerrero, Damacio Jimenes, Andres Nava, and José Toribio Losoya. Still useful is Ruben Rendon Lozano, Viva Tejas: The Story of the Tejanos, the Mexican-born Patriots of the Texas Revolution, with new material added by Mary Ann Noonan Guerra (1936; reprint, San Antonio: The Alamo Press, 1985). A masterful overview is provided in David J. Weber, The Mexican Frontier, 1821-1846: The American Southwest Under Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1982); see also Andrew Anthony Tijerina, "Tejanos and Texas: The Native Mexicans of Texas, 1820- 1850" (Ph.D. diss., University of Texas, 1977).
22 Despite Nuñez's assurances, one group of reinforcements did manage to slip through the Mexican cordon. These were the volunteers from Gonzales who arrived on Mar. 1, 1836. Travis to Jesse Grimes, Mar. 3, 1836, in Jenkins (ed.), Papers of the Texas Revolution, IV, 504-505
23 The Indian fight that Nuñez mentions was the famous Council House Fight of March 19, 1840. J. W. Wilbarger, Indian Depredations in Texas: Reliable Accounts of Battles, Wars, Adventures, Forays, Murders, Massacres, Etc., Together with Biographical Sketches of Many of the Most Noted Indian Fighters and Frontiersmen of Texas (Austin: Hutchings Printing House, 1889), 2225; Rena Maverick Green (ed.), Samuel Maverick, Texan: 18031870 (San Antonio: Privately printed, 952), 106113
24 John W. Smith was at the Alamo. Because he was a longtime resident of Bexar and knew the surrounding terrain, Travis used Smith as a courier. It was, in fact, Smith who led the thirty-two Gonzales volunteers into the fort on March 1, 1836. Travis, however, called on the intrepid messenger once again. Smith testified before the Board of Land Commissioners for the Bexar Land District that Travis had sent him out "on the Friday night previous to the fall"March 4, 1836. As a result of this fortunate assignment, Smith was absent during the final assault on March 6, and later did become mayor of San Antonio de Bexar. Headright Records, Vol. 1, 97; Bexar County Archives, Office of the County Clerk, San Antonio, Texas. For more on Smith see M. L. Crimmins (ed.), "John W. Smith, The Last Messenger From the Alamo and the First Mayor of San Antonio," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, LIV (Jan., 1951), 344-346
25 De la Peña verified Nuñez's story about the council of war and also the allegation that many leading Mexican officers were opposed to the assault. De la Peña, With Santa Anna in Texas, 43-45
26 This is one of the account's most glaring errors. The siege lasted thirteen days and the final assault came on a Sunday. Even with the passage of fifty-three years, it is hard to imagine how any participant could have forgotten ten days of the siege.
27 Nuñez's statement that Santa Anna exercised much "personal supervision" is supported by the general's assault order of March 5: "The men will wear neither overcoats nor blankets, or anything that may impede the rapidity of their motions. The Commanding Officers will see that the men have the chin-straps of their caps down, and that they wear either shoes or sandals." Few generals have felt the need to concern themselves with such minutiae. Perhaps Santa Anna's preoccupation with such detailseven down to the chin strapssuggests not fastidiousness on his part, but rather that his recruits lacked the most fundamental training. On the more pragmatic side, shakos were expensive; the general did not want them knocked off and trampled on during the course of the assault. Santa Anna Order, Mar. 5, 1836, in Jenkins (ed.), Papers of the Texas Revolution,IV, 518-519. For an excellent study of the Mexican army during the Texas campaign see Presley, "Santa Anna in Texas: A Mexican Viewpoint," 489512.
28 This portion of the narrative is hopelessly garbled. On March 6 the Mexicans attacked in four columns. The officers who commanded these columns were Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos, Col. Francisco Duque, Col. José María Romero, and Col. Juan Morales. Santa Anna commanded the reserves. Italian-born Gen. Vicente Filisola was Santa Anna’s second-in-command, but he did not arrive in Béxar until March 9. Filisola, The War in Texas, II, 205.
29 Gen. Manuel Fernández Castrillón took command of Duque’s column when that officer received a wound that required him to quit the field.
30 Gen. Joaquin Ramirez y Sesma commanded the cavalry. He did not command a column.
31 Adrian Woll was a French soldier of fortune in the employ of the Mexican army. While he did participate in the Texas campaign of 1836, he did not arrive in Bexar until March 8. Filisola, The War in Texas, 11, 205. After San Jacinto, General Filisola sent Woll to reconnoiter the field and to discover the outcome. He was captured and was held during the negotiations between Texas and Mexico. Woll was best known for leading the expedition that occupied San Antonio for a brief period in 184Z. Walter Prescott Webb, H. Bailey Carroll, and Eldon Stephen Branda (eds.), Handbook of Texas (3 vols.; Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1952,1976),11,927-928.
32 0nce again Nuñez is in error. Gen. Joaquin Ramirez y Sesma served throughout the Texas campaign. Nuñez may, however, have mistaken him for another officer about whom Filisola wrote: "since the carts could not travel as fast as the pack mules, these remained behind escorted by Acting Colonel Julian Fuente, a detachment of infantry and sixty dragoons all from different troops. This chief [Fuente] had quarreled with the contractor for the carts and wanted him to move his carts faster than they could go. (consequently the latter complained. Since Fuente had been warned not to upset the contractor, the colonel said he was ill, remained in Rio Grande and then left for Mexico City without permission or higher authorization. He was dismissed from the army." Filisola, The War in Texas, H, 156.
33 Santa Anna took charge of the reserves, composed of the Zapadore Battalion and five companies of the Permanent Battalion of Matamoros, Jimenes, and the Active Battalion of Toluca and San Luis. Although the general-in-chief committed his reserves, he himself never came within rifle shot of the fort until all the defenders were dead. Santa Anna Order, Mar. 5, 1836, in Jenkins (ed.), Papers of the Texas Revolution, IV, 518519.
34 According to Filisola's figures and Santa Anna's attack order of March 5, there were only some 2,400 soldiers in Bexar and only about 1,800 committed to the actual assault, a far cry from Nuñez's total of 4,500. Filisola, The War in Texas, 11,14gIs6; Santa Anna to Tornel, Mar. 6, 1836, in Jenkins (ed.), Papers of the Texas Revolution, V, 1112. In this letter, written only hours after the final assault, Santa Anna claimed to have attacked with 1,400 infantry but excluded cavalry.
35 Santa Anna Order, Mar. 5, 1836, in Jenkins (ed.), Papers of the Texas Revolution, V, 11-12. This order specified the exact amount of equipment to be carried by the four assault columns: "The first column will carry ten ladders, two crowbars, and two axes; the second, ten ladders; the third, six ladders; and the fourth, two ladders."
36 It was Santa Anna's intention to surprise the sleeping garrison in the early morning darkness of March 6. Toward that end the four columns "moved forward in the best order and with the greatest silence, but the imprudent huzzas of one of them awakened the sleeping vigilance of the defenders." The bugles, therefore, were probably not sounded before the "huzzas" had already brought the bleary-eyed Texians to their posts. Antonio Lóz de Santa Anna, "Manifesto Which General Antonio Lóz de Santa-Anna Addresses to his Fellow-Citizens Relative to His Operations During the Texas (Campaign and His Capture 10 of May, 1837," in Carlos E. Castañeda (trans. and ed.), The Mexican Side of the Texas Revolution . . . (Austin: Graphic Ideas Inc., 1970), 14.
37 Nuñez has the walls knocked down by the time of the final assault and the fighting centered in the chapel. De la Peña, however, described much hard fighting in an attempt to mount the north wall. Once the Mexicans fought their way into the compound, most of the defenders seem to have fallen back into the long barracks, the scene of some of the bloodiest hand-to-hand fighting. De la Peña, With Santa Anna in Texas, 4752.
38 Nuñez may have been exaggerating the effects of the Texian cannon fire when he claimed that it opened a path through Mexican ranks "at least fifty feet broad," but there was no denying the horrible effects of grapeshot at short range. Loaded with metal scraps, the cannon had the effect of giant shotguns. De la Peña remembered that a "single cannon volley did away with half the company of chasseurs from Toluca." De la Peña, With Santa Anna in Texas, 47. General Filisola also reported that the Mexican soldiers were "hit by a hail of shrapnel [cannister?] and bullets that the besieged men let loose on them." Filisola, The War in Texas, 11, 177.
39 The defenders did not have to cut a hole in the chapel's roof, for it had long since fallen in. Dirt and debris were piled against the rear wall to create a gun platform and a ramp that must have extended almost to the front door. Although most of the roof had collapsed by the time of the battle, Charles Long, emeritus curator of the Alamo and author of a splendid booklet detailing its construction, believes that the roof toward the front of the chapel was probably intact. Charles Long, The Alamo: 1836 (San Antonio: Daughters of the Republic of Texas, 1981), 3, 6, 8-9. Others, however, contend that either the Mexicans during the siege of Bexar or Green B. Jameson, the engineer in charge of the Alamo's fortifications, constructed a scaffold from which soldiers could fire. On May z4, 1836, Dr. J. H. Barnard visited the fort, partially destroyed by the Mexicans prior to their retreat: "As soon as the troops left town in the morning, a large fire streamed up from the Alamo, and, as soon as they had fairly left, Dr. [Jack] Shackelford and myself, accompanied by Señor Reriz [Ruiz?] and some other of the citizens walked over to see the state in which they [had] left it. We found the fire proceeding from a church, where a platform had been built extending from the great door to the top of the wall on the back side for the purpose of taking up artillery to the top of the church. This was made of wood, and was too far consumed for any attempt to be made to extinguish it. The wall of the church being built of solid masonry, of course would be little injured by the fire." Hobart Huson (ed.), Dr. J. H. Barnard's Journal: A composite of known versions of the Journal of Dr. Joséph H. Barnard, one of the surgeons of Fannin's Regiment, covering the period from December, 1835 to June 5, 1836 (Goliad: Privately printed, 1950), 44; see also the H. Barnard account in Dudley G. Wooten(ed.), A Comprehensive History of Texas 1685 1897(1898; reprint, 2 vols.; Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1986), 1, 633-634. The existence of a gun platform inside the shrine was further supported in 1844 when San Antonio artist Theodore Gentilz took notes and made sketches after interviewing locals who remembered the battle. The fort had changed little since 1 836 and Gentilz's Battle of the Alamo, completed in 1 885, is the most accurate depiction of the battle by a contemporary. The painting clearly reveals Texians firing from atop the forward section of the shrine, though they were not forced to cut a hole in the roof to do so as Nuñez supposed. The original oil painting was destroyed by fire in 1906. Many copies, however, have survived. For a good reproduction of Battle of the Alamo see Dorthy Steinbomer Kendal with Carmen Perry, Gentilz: Artist of the Old Southwest (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1974), 70. In all likelihood, Nuñez probably described the chapel with a roof and centered the action in the shrine because he had never seen the building before the United States Army renovated it in 1849. Most of the fort (except the chapel and a portion of the long barracks that had been obscured by the Hugo and Schmeltzer mercantile concern) had been demolished by the 1880s, thus Nuñez seemed to hinge his version on the way the remodeled Alamo appeared at the time of his interview with Noel. For more on the Alamo structure after 1836 see Paul Andrew Hutton, "Continuing Battles for the Alamo," American History Illustrated (Mar., 1986), 5257; see also Stephen Gould, The Alamo City Guide. San Antonio, Texas. Being a Historical Sketch of the Ancient City of the Alamo, and Business Review; With Notes of Present Advantages, Together with a Complete guide to All the prominent points of Interest About the city and a compilation of Facts of value to Visitors and Residents (New York: MacGoowan and Slipper, Printers, 1882), 3132.
40 Rumors immediately after the battle and even some early histories held that the man in question was Almeron Dickinson. As early as March m Houston reported that Lieutenant Dickinson "tied a child to his back, leaped from the top of a two story building, and both were killed." Sam Houston to James W. Fannin, Mar. 11, 1836, in Jenkins (ed.), Papers of the Texas Revolution, V, 52-53. Reuben Potter, the first serious student of the Alamo, also related the story as fact. Reuben Potter, The Fall of the Alamo: A Reminiscence of the Revolution of Texas (San Antonio: Herald Steam Press, 1860), 14-15. The story was widely believed; around 1844 Theodore Gentilz painted a picture of the alleged incident. In the painting, however, the two have survived the leap and are pleading for their lives before a pitiless Santa Anna. Jean Louis Theodore Gentilz, Death of Dickinson now hangs in the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library at the Alamo, San A4tonio. Yet the Dickinsons only had the one child who survived with her mother and Susanna always denied the entire episode. She told John Sutherland that her husband died fighting at the battery on the east end of the Alamo chapel. John Sutherland, The Fall of the Alamo (San Antonio: The Naylor Company, 1936), 41. Even so, some father and child may have died in the manner described, for de la Peña also remembered the incident. De la Peña, With Santa Anna In Texas, 52. For a modern interpretation of the alleged episode see Susan Prendergast Schoelwer, Alamo Images, 117118 and plate 7.
41 Although it is difficult to tell from this convoluted description, the structure must be the gun platform about which Dr. Barnard wrote (see note 31). The supposition that it extended beyond the chapel walls is implausible.
42 Nuñez's ratio is ludicrous. If the odds had been "two hundred to one" the Mexican army would have had to number more than 37,000 troops.
43 De la Peña tells a different story: "Some [of the defenders] . . . desperately cried, Mercy, valiant Mexicans; others poked the points of their bayonets through a hole or a door with a white cloth, the symbol of cease-fire, and some even used their socks." De la Peña also said that some of the Texians abandoned the fort and tried to make their way across the surrounding plain, but "fell victims of the sabers of the cavalry, which had been drawn up for this purpose, but even as they Red they defended themselves." De la Peña, With Santa Anna in Texas, 51 (1st quotation), 5z (2nd quotation). The very human instinct of self preservation argues in favor of the de la Peña account, but should in no way sully the sacrifice of the defenders.
44 This is an obvious reference to the death of James Bowie, who was incapacitated throughout the siege. But the sentence might be read two ways. Does it mean that Bowie because of his illness did not shed any of his own blood when bayoneted or that he was too far gone to shed any of the blood of his enemies? 'l he movies and numerous works of fiction have fostered the notion that Bowie killed several Mexicans with pistol and knife before being overwhelmed. Texas folklorist J. Frank Dobie spoke for those of his ilk when he wrote, "Imagination and patriotic sympathy rebel at the ideal of Bowie's dying except in the climax of hand-to-hand combat." J. Frank Dobie, "James Bowie, Big Dealer," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, LX ( Jan., 1957), 353. Imagination and patriotic sympathy aside, it is not known how he died; there was no reliable witness to Bowie's last moments. It matters more where Bowie met his death than how. He had sworn that he had "rather die in these ditches" than surrender the post. Jim Bowie picked his place and kept his word. For more on the several versions of Bowie's death see Edward G.Rohrbough, "How Jim Bowie Died," in J. Frank Dobie, Mody C. Boatright, and Harry H. Ransom (eds.), In the Shadow of History (1934; reprint, Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1966), 4859.
45 NO other Mexican participant recalled that Santa Anna personally called a halt to the battle. Indeed, all others recorded that he did not set foot within the fort until it was secured.
46 Many would like to believe that the man described was David Crockett. Walter Lord implied as much when he employed the quotation, remarking that "Nuñez remembered one man who could stand for any of them, including Crockett himself.-' Lord, A Time o Stand, 161. But most primary accounts make it reasonably clear that the man could not have been Crockett. The theories surrounding Crockett's demise have been fully explored by Dan Kilgore in How Did Davy Die? De la Peña, in an account that generated much controversy when it was translated and edited by Carmen Perry in 1975, maintained that Crockett was captured and later killed on Santa Anna's orders. De la Peña, With Santa Anna in Texas, 53. Moreover, Nuñez never mentioned Crockett by name, only a "tall American." Crockett, however, only stood about five feet eight inches and was rather stocky of build. James Shackford, David Crockett, the Man and the Legend (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1956), z82283. Nor does it seem that the "King of the Wild Frontier" went to his reward wearing buckskins. Sgt. Francisco Becerra recalled that "the gentleman . . . called Crockett had on a coat with capes to it." According to the description the garment must have been a type of overcoat known as the "carrick" that had a cape draping over the shoulders. Francisco Becerra, A Mexican Sergeant's Recollections of the Alamo San Jacinto y Francisco Becerra, as told to John S. Ford in r87s (Austin: Jenkins Publishing Co., 1980), 24. Gen. Perfecto de Cós later remembered Crockett as a "good-looking and well-dressed man," which is at odds with the hunter's garb of Nuñez's "tall American." For the Cós quotation see W. Zuber to Charlie Jeffries, "Inventing Stories About the Alamo," in Dobie, Boatright, and Ransom (eds.), In the Shadow of History, 45. For more on Crockett's attire see Stephen L. Hardin, "Gallery: David Crockett," Military Illustrated Past and Present, XXIII (Feb./Mar., 1990), 2835.
47 Travis’s slave Joe was certainly among the survivors, as were at least ten local Tejanas. “Juana De Melto” is probably Juana Melton, the wife of defender Eliel Melton and sister of defender Toribio Losoya. “La Quintanilla” is a harder call. Historian Alan Huffines observes: “A quintilla is a metrical composition of five verses. Perhaps this was a nickname for one of the survivors.” That is as good a guess as any. Alan C. Huffines, Blood of Noble Men: The Alamo Siege & Battle, An Illustrated Chronology, Foreword by Stephen L. Hardin (Austin: Eakin Press, 1999), 33, 190. This is a splendid reference tool that was unavailable when this article first appeared a decade ago. The Foreword is especially erudite.
48 Here Nuñez did Santa Anna a serious disservice. The general's faults were legion, but brutality toward women and children was not among them. As de la Peña recalled, "the order had been given to spare none but the women and this was carried out...." de la Peña, With Santa Anna in Texas, 51-52. Survivor Susanna Dickinson, whom Nuñez failed to mention, stated that as the battle was winding down a Mexican of officer entered the room in which she and the other women were huddled. Addressing her in English, he inquired: "Are you Mrs. Dickinson?" Since the officer asked for her by name the Mexicans must have been instructed to be on the lookout for the Anglo woman Santa Anna knew to be within the fort. Santa Anna received her warmly and even offered to adopt her infant daughter. When she declined his offer, he gave her travel money, provided an escort, and allowed her to depart. J. M. Morphis, History of Texas From Its Discovery and Settlement, With a Description of its Principal Cities and Counties, and the Agricultural, Mineral, and Material Resources of the State (New York: Van Nostrand, 1874). 177.
49 Here the Nuñez account resembles closely that of de la Peña's description of the carnage after the battle, though De la Peña had less trouble distinguishing between the two forces: "The bodies with their blackened and bloody faces disfigured by a desperate death, their hair and uniforms burning at once, presented a dreadful and truly hellish sight. What trophiesthose of the battlefield! Quite soon some of the bodies were left naked by fire, others by disgraceful rapacity, especially among our men. The enemy could be identified by their whiteness, by their robust and bulky shapes. What a sad spectacle, that of the dead and dying! . . . Questions followed one after another, even while the bullets were still whistling around, in the midst of the groans of the wounded and the last breaths of the dying." De la Peña, With Santa Anna in Texas, 52 .
50 In his count of Alamo defenders, Nuñez is not far off the traditional figure. In 196 Lord stated that "the best estimate seems to be 183." Research since that time, however, has added several more names to the list. The recent discovery that Damacio Jimenes was present raises the total to 189 documented defenders. William R. Chemerka, "Damacio Jimenes: A New Name to the Alamo's Roll Call," The Alamo Journal (June, 1987), 10. De la Peña, however, reported the number of dead Texians at 253. De la Peña, With Santa Anna in Texas, 54. Many Alamo scholars now believe that further research will probably reveal the final count to be between 250 and 260 defenders. For a study of the Alamo's personnel see Phil Rosenthal and William Groneman, Roll Call at the Alamo.
51 The number of Mexican casualties varies widely from one report to another. Walter Lord wrote that the "best estimate seems about 600 killed and wounded." Lord, A Time to Stand, 209. Because of the sad state of the Mexican medical service the wounded continued to die for months after the assault. Dr. J. H. Barnard, spared from the Goliad executions in order to treat the Alamo wounded, was shocked by the condition of his Bexar patients. More than two months later, many had not received even the most rudimentary medical treatment. As Barnard recorded: "Yesterday and to-day we have been [a]round with the surgeons of the place to visit the wounded, and a pretty piece of work 'Travis and his faithful few' have made of them. There are now about one hundred here now of the wounded. The surgeons inform us that there were four hundred brought into the hospitals the morning they assaulted the Alamo, but I should think from appearances that there were more. I see many around the town, who were crippled there, apparently, two or three hundred such; and the citizens inform me that three or four-hundred have died of their wounds.... Their surgical departments are shockingly conducted, not an amputation performed before we arrived, although there were several cases even now that should have been operated upon from the first; and how many have died for the want of an operation is impossible to tell, though it is a fair inference that there have been not a few. There has been scarcely a ball cut out as yet, almost every patient carrying the lead he received on that morning." Huson (ed.), Barnard 's Journal, 3839; see also Barnard's account in Wooten (ed.), A Comprehensive History of Texas, 1, 630.
52 Even supposing that Nuñez did pick up a jacket, there is no evidence that it belonged to Travis. He would not have recognized Travis from any other Texian, and by his own admission he found the jacket "hanging on a peg" and could not have known who hung it there. In contradiction to De la Peña and other more reliable witnesses, Nuñez centered the battle in the Alamo chapel. He asserted that the entire garrison "had taken refuge inside the church" and Travis was firing a cannon just outside the main entrance. Other sources agree, however, that Travis was killed defending the north wall early in the assault. If Nuñez found the jacket where he saidnear the shrine-s front doorit is extremely unlikely that Travis left it there. The old veteran mentioned papers inside the jacket but never established a link between them and Travis. Finally, Nuñez conveniently claimed to have burned the garment without anyone else having seen it. There is, consequently, nothing in his story of Travis's "home made jacket of Texas jeans-' to recommend it for serious consideration. Based upon recent information, however, it does appear that the Mexicans did take papers from Travis's clothing. A letter to Travis from fellow attorney and close friend Robert M. Williamson, reportedly removed from the Travis corpse after the fall of the fort, was translated into Spanish and published in a Mexican broadside. Mexican Broadside, Mar. 3 1, 1836, quoted in Thomas Ricks Lindley, "James Butler Bonham, October 17, 1835 March 6,1836," The Alamo Journal (Aug., 1988), 5, 10. This broadside and the letter published therein proved a significant find as it provides new material concerning the role of James Butler Bonham during the siege.
53 Again Nuñez contradicts De la Peña who recalled that the soldados "turned the enemy's own cannon to bring down the doors to the rooms [of the long barracks] or the rooms themselves; a horrible carnage took place...." De la Peña, With Santa Anna in Texas, 51.