The New Orleans Greys were actually two companies of American and European emigrant volunteers organized out of a public meeting held at Banks Arcade in New Orleans on October 13, 1835. The two companies were Captain Robert Morris' Greys and Captain Thomas Breece's Greys.
Both companies left for Texas in the latter part October 1835. Breece's Greys traveled to Texas up the Mississippi River. From there, they traveled up the Red River to Natchitoches, and on the Camino Real through Nacogdoches, and onto San Antonio.
Morris' Greys traveled via the Gulf of Mexico to Velasco. From Velasco, they traveled on to Goliad and then San Antonio. Both companies participated in the "Battle of Bejar" and the taking of San Antonio in December 1835.
A detachment of the Greys remained at the Alamo, while most of the original contingent merged with the Mobile Greys for the Matamoros Expedition.
The Greys joined Colonel James Fannin's forces at Goliad in early 1836. Many of the original members of the New Orleans Greys were either killed at the Alamo on March 6, 1836, or massacred along with the rest of Fannin's men on March 27, 1836. A few survived to tell their story, including young German emigrant, Herman Ehrenberg.
The ladies of Texas presented the Greys flag to Captain Breece's company at the Sabine River. This flag is believed to be the only one taken at the Alamo by General Santa Anna:
The bearer takes with him one of the flags of the enemy's Battalions, captured today. The inspection of it will show plainly the true intentions of the treacherous colonists, and their abettors, who came from parts of the United States of the North.
The flag has continued to be housed in various Mexican museums to this
day. In recent years, there have been several unsuccessful attempts to
reclaim the flag and return it to Texas and the Alamo.
What is the status of the negotiations to retrieve the flag from Mexico?
Edward L. Miller, "The Texas Revolution, Civilian Suits, Whiskey-loving Foreigners, and the New Orleans Greys," Military Collector and Historian, 48 (Spring 1996); Edward Miller and Peter Stine, "New Orleans Greys at San Antonio de Bexar, 1835," Military Collector and Historian, 48 (Spring 1996).
Herman Ehrenberg, Fahrten und Schicksale eines Deutschen in Texas (Leipzig:Verlog von Otto Wigand, 1845).
M.L. Crimmins, "The Storming of San Antonio de Bexar in 1835," West Texas Historical Association Yearbook, 22 (October 1946); Hobart Huson, Refugio, A Comprehensive History of Refugio County From Aboriginal Times to 1953 (Woodsboro, Texas; The Rooke Foundation, 1953), 234-235.
William G. Cooke to James Cooke, Houston, Texas, 7 August 1839, Davenport Papers, Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Santa Anna to José Maria Tornel, 6 March 1836, in John H. Jenkins, ed. The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835-1836(Austin: Presidial Press, 1973), 5:12.
Text & Photograph:Edward Miller, San Antonio, Texas. Exclusive to Alamo de Parras.