The Battle of Gonzales
The first or opening scrap of the War it could hardly be called a battle---occurred at Gonzales, on October 2, 1835; and in this way. Some time previously the Mexican Comandante at Bexar had loaned or given to the settlers of that exposed outpost an old brass cannon for protection against the Indians. This old gun, as I afterwards learned, had been spiked and the spike bored out, leaving a touch hole as large as an ordinary gun barrel and as a weapon of defense was almost worthless other than to make a loud noise when fired and that was quite effective when used upon a bunch of prowling redskins. The Mexican authorities knew that the gun was practically worthless, but they wanted a pretext for beginning hostilities, and so they sent Captain Castenado with a company of soldiers, over to Gonzales with a preemptory demand for the surrender of the cannon, and the threat to take it by force if necessary. Captain Albert Martin was the spokesman for the citizens; and he resorted to a bit of strategy by parleying and playing for time until he could send out fast riding messengers, calling on the settlers of the surrounding country to hasten to his aid. Well do I remember the incident when a rider on a foaming steed dashed up to our house, told of the trouble at Gonzales town, and then spurred on to spread the news. And everywhere men volunteered and hastened forward to help their friends. The war was on, and "tall men with long rifles" were hastening forward ready for the fray.
At Bastrop a small company was organizing with the noted Ranger chief, Robert Colemen, as Captain and John Tumlinson as First-Lieutenant, and I promptly enlisted. I was now a real soldier. Recruits came in rapidly, and in a very short time our company had its full complement of men. Marching out with much pomp and pride, we reached the seat of war, Gonzales, on the last day of September, and found there a force of about one hundred men and boys, all volunteers, who had hurriedly responded to the call to arms and were eager to fight. With recruits arriving almost hourly, things began to take on a war-like appearance. "Tall Men with Long Rifles" were in evidence everywhere and ready to fight at the drop of the hat. Early the next morning the restless volunteers were ordered to parade for inspection. They presented an appearance strangely in contrast with the gaily uniformed "dude" soldiers one may see on dress parade at fairs and military reviews of the present day. Every man carried a long flintlock, muzzleloading rifle, with shot pouch and powder born. Most of the men wore buckskin breeches and bunting shirts or jackets, and these garments, from wear and exposure, presented a variety of colors, from a bright yellow to a glossy black, and as to headgear every style was in evidence, from the coonskin cap to the high-crowned "sombrero." Nearly all wore shoes, some moccasins, and these were handmade from hometanned leather. Boots were then not much in vogue, and I believe I am safe in saying there was not a pair in the army at Gonzales; in fact, the only pair of boots I remember seeing during the campaign were worn by General Houston when he visited the army on the Cibolo. All the men carried large knives in a sheath attached to their belts and some carried pistols of various patterns, fashioned after the ideas of local gunsmiths, of that day. Occasionally one would see a double-barrelled pistol, but these were rare, nearly all being of the single-barrelled type and were either carried at the belt or in a holster at the horn of the saddle.
When the boys were drawn up in line the old pioneer preacher, W. P. Smith, made a patriotic and rousing speech, reciting the wrongs we had suffered, as he would point to the smoke ascending from the camp of the Mexicans just across the river. This speech aroused the boys to such a pitch that it required the restraint of older heads to prevent them from making an immediate onslaught upon the invaders. They were at a high pitch and anxious for a fight. One man in the throng was especially conspicuous and, if possible, be seemed more eager for the fray than any other. This was old Martin Palmer, "the ring-tailed panther"---a soubriquet be acquired while serving as a member of the territorial legislature of Missouri, during a free-for-all fight among members on one occasion. The "Panther," as he was called, was a Virginian, and a typical backwoodsman, who had spent most of his life along the frontiers of Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas, and had much notoriety throughout the southwest as a fighter and hunter. But some of his wonderful exploits must have been exaggerated, if not pure fabrications. As a hunter, he was, perhaps, the equal of Davy Crockett, and in stealth and cunning be must have been a close second to Daniel Boone or the Wetzels. It is said that when his favorite bear dog died Palmer much grieved, actually had a minister come fifty miles through the wilderness to deliver a funeral oration over the grave of the canine. Another story illustrates his way of meting out justice. An Osage Indian had wantonly slain a white man, a friend of Palmer's, and had cut out and eaten the heart of his victim---from which fact he was called "Two Hearts." The "Panther" planned revenge, and feigning friendship, invited the fiendish savage to a feast and bidding him partake freely, stood over his guest with a drawn bowie-knife compelling him to eat until be actually died. Palmer was one of the leaders of the Freedonian Revolt, signing that compact and commanding the small force of about fifty militia that rallied to the support of the forlorn movement. It was said that Palmer supplied historian Yoakum with the data for his account of this affair. Palmer was also one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence of March 2, 1836, a true patriot, and he took part in all the revolutionary movements of that early period and rightly his memory is perpetuated in the name of one of the counties of Texas.
Though illiterate and rough mannered Palmer was a man of more than ordinary parts, of most extraordinary strength of mind and body and brave as a lion. He was of large stature and bronzed of feature, always dressed in buckskin hunting shirt and leather trousers, with a panther skin cap, wore his hair long and plaited in Indian style, and was indeed a unique figure. I first saw the "Panther" at our home on Taylor's Bayou an he impressed me as a most extraordinary character. As a boy I was fascinated with the marvelous stories of his exploits and adventures with red men and with wild animals. On this occasion the "Panther" was well mounted and armed, and in high glee, eager for a brush with the enemy; as he expressed it, "just itching and clawing for a scrap with the cowardly greasers." Of leaders on this occasion there was no dearth. John A. Wharton, John H. Moore, William H. Jack, James Fannin, Albert Martin, J. E. W. Wallace, John Hensley, Captain Alley, and others whose later achievements gave them immortal renown, were present and were willing to lead us to victory or to a shallow grave. There seemed to be considerable rivalry among these heroes as to who should have the leadership of the little army, and when the vote was taken that morning, while on parade, Col. John H. Moore, the old Ranger Chief and Indian fighter, was elected to the chief command, and J. E. W. Wallace was made second in authority. I well remember the fine martial appearance of our commander, looking every inch a soldier. He was one of the "Old Guard" Ranger chiefs and had won his spurs as a gallant fighter in numerous fierce combats with Indians on the frontier.
It is said that Colonel Moore first visited Texas about the time the redoubtable Dr. James Long made his unfortunate venture into the province, declaring Texas a free Republic and setting up his ephemeral government at Nacogdoches. That bold stroke occurred back in 1818-1819, and grew out of the Aaron Burr scheme, and was really the first attempt to make Texas a free Republic. The bold gesture forms one of the glamorous chapters of early day Texas history. We know that Colonel Moore came as one of Austin's "Original Three Hundred" in 1821, settling permanently at a point on the Colorado River, where he later founded the beautiful town of La Grange. He was born in Tennessee on the first day of the nineteenth century. His father was a son of the "dark and bloody ground," and his mother was a native of the "Old Dominion," so it was but natural that the son should become a famous border fighter. He was a staunch patriot, and one of the earliest and most zealous advocates of Texas independence, being one of the proscribed leaders whose arrest was ordered by General Cos in 1835. He was truly one of the "tall" men who helped to make Texas. During the years of the Republic be commanded a company of Rangers. His great battle and victory over the Comanches on the Red Fork of the Colorado, and far out on the frontier in October, 1840, virtually broke the backbone of that powerful and warlike tribe in Texas. After the selection of our commander, we were ordered to our quarters and told to hold ourselves in readiness for action upon a moment's notice. It may be in order to state just here that our little army was organized for fighting, but nothing else. We had no commissary, no quartermaster, no medical corps, although there were several physicians present, and this matter was spoken of but as being unimportant, no baggage train and not even a flag, but this latter was provided a few days later, as we shall relate. The ammunition, rifle balls with bullet moulds, an extra flint or two, gun wiper and "bullet patchin" were carried by each man in his "shot pouch" made of leather or dressed skins and worn at the side suspended by a broad strap that went over the shoulder. Attached to this pouch was the powder horn. Thus, on the morning of October 1, 1835, was accoutred that little army, the hope of a new nation. It was not formidable in numbers and it may not have had a very martial appearance, but it was our army and to all intents and purposes it was as invincible as Caesar's legions or the "Old Guard" of Napoleon.
Of rations we had an abundance. Corn was plentiful, the gardens were full of fresh vegetables, while fat cattle were to be found on the prairies. All of these things were freely offered to us by the citizens of Gonzales, and during our stay of nearly two weeks we fared as well as the best appointed army of modern times. The Mexican force lay in camp on the opposite or south side of the river and their picket guards could be seen from the town. Castenado was all this while waiting a reply from Captain Martin as to whether be would give up the cannon. Martin had shrewdly evaded a final answer under one pretext or another, in order to gain time in which to rally the Texans to his relief. This accomplished, on Thursday evening Colonel Moore ordered us into line and in a few words told us that he considered our force sufficient to defeat the enemy and that be proposed to attack at once. He stated that in order to ascertain the approximate strength of the Mexican forces he decided to advance a company of men in the direction of the Mexican camp as a feeler. To this end fifty mounted men crossed the river, followed by the main command as infantry, leaving their horses in town under strong guard. The Gonzales men, with the aid of the others, had constructed a rude sort of fort with a trussed top upon which was mounted the coveted cannon, a small company under Lt. Almaron Dickenson, who afterwards fell in the Alamo, being appointed to serve the piece. Of course we all felt proud of our "artillery," mainly for two reasons: it was the bone of contention; the Mexicans came for it and had said they were not going back without it, and by placing it in a conspicuous place in the battle line we thought it would serve to nerve them on and by that means give us a chance to humble their pride in open fight. We also cherished the idea that loaded as it was, with slugs and scrap iron, when once fired at close range it would carry slaughter into the ranks of the enemy, and those not killed outright would probably be scared off the field.
When the mounted men crossed the river they were balted a short distance from the crossing and held in position until the remainder of our forces had crossed, after which they pushed forward until they came within full view of the Mexicans. Their pickets fired upon the advancing column and it was only through an effort on the part of the officers that those men were held in check. They wanted to charge the "greasers" and teach them a lesson then and there. This was about sundown on the first of October and instead of advancing upon the enemy as we had expected, we were ordered to rest on our arms until morning. This was entirely "against the grain" with most of us as we had left our blankets in town and only a few of the boys had brought rations. There was a cornfield nearby, and in order to give our artillery a better sweep at the enemy's position, a section of the fence of this field was pulled down and our gun placed in position. Our "artillerymen" slept by their gun while the rest of us found repose on the bare ground. I slept but little that night. It was my first experience in anything like organized warfare and the excitement of the occasion banished sleep. Although we had orders to remain still and quiet, yet, at all hours of that long night the low hum of conversation was heard through the encampment. It was a clear, still evening, and the stars seemed to shine with an unusual brilliancy, but a little after midnight gulf clouds overspread the sky and by morning a dense fog settled down upon the earth. On account of this fog daylight seemed a long time in coming and before it was good light we were all in line and ready for the fray. It was then discovered that during the night the Mexicans had fallen back a short distance and taken position on a mound. While reconnoitering our scouts were fired upon and as they fell back upon our line the Mexicans, about twenty-five or thirty in number, charged toward our position. Colonel Moore directed Lieutenant Dickenson to open on them with his "artillery" and this order was instantly obeyed. The shock caused by the fire of that old brass cannon seemed to jar the very earth and the sound seemed sufficient to awaken the dead. It awoke the echoes for miles around and, figuratively, it continues to reverberate around the earth as the gun that sounded the death knell of Mexican tyranny in Texas.
At the discharge of the cannon the Mexicans wheeled and fled with all speed to their main line, while their flight was greeted with a round of cheers such as only exultant Texans could give. I don't think a man or a horse was hit by the missiles fired from the old gun but the sound was the agency that checked their course and sent them pell-mell back to a place of safety. A very few moments after this occurrence Captain Castenado advanced to a point within hailing distance and asked to have a talk with "el Comandante." Colonel Moore approached him and after an exchange of civilities, beckoned Captain Coleman to come forward. At this time Castenado called to one of his men who in response joined the group. History records the conversation that took place between Colonel Moore and Captain Castenado. I did not hear it. I bear record only to what I saw on that occasion. Both armies were in full view and the intensity of impatience that pervaded our ranks was only relieved when Colonel Moore and Captain Coleman were seen to wheel their horses and dashed back at full speed toward our lines, Colonel Moore shouting as he came up: "Charge 'em, boys, and give 'em hell." Instantly our "artillery" belched forth a volume of flame and smoke, slugs, and sound, and with a yell that still rings through the halls of my memory, that little army of determined Anglo-Saxons rushed upon the enemy with an impetuosity that brooked no resistance. The Mexicans fired one volley, then took to their heels. We lost not a man nor was one wounded. We captured a few escopetas which the Mexicans had dropped or thrown away in their stampede, and also a few blankets, and two or three swords, besides a lot of other articles of which we stood in need. By two o'clock we were back in Gonzales, safe and without a scratch. The citizens had prepared a bounteous meal, a great feast of cornbread and barbecued beef, and a dance in the open air was kept up nearly all night amid joyous revelry and frequent hurrahs for Texas.
As to the number of Mexicans killed in the skirmish, there have been several statements, nearly all of which vary. I can only vouch for what I saw. I saw two of the soldiers lying dead within thirty feet of each other only a few yards from the hillock or mound they held when we charged them. From the number of blood stains on the ground there must have been several wounded and carried off by their comrades. A few days after the fight a squad from Fannin's company, with John Tumlinson and one of two of my company, while out a few miles from town examining a trail supposed to have been made by Indians, came upon a newly made grave, and over this grave three rude, wooden crosses. Evidently there were three bodies buried there, and they must have been Mexicans, as the grave was in line of Castenado's retreat, and besides, Indians in those days did not place crosses above graves of their dead. While matters were thus occurring in and about Gonzales, the spirit of war and a desire to fight spread, and events of moment were transpiring (though without concert of action) in other sections of the country.
On the tenth the cheering news came that Capt. Geo. M. Collingsworth, with a hastily assembled party of about fifty "neighbors and citizens" had determined, coincidentally as it were, to march upon and capture the Mexican garrison at Goliad. On the way a thrilling incident occurred. While groping their way in the dark the party accidentally came upon a lone traveller, who proved to be no less a person than Col. Ben Milam. The old hero, having recently escaped from prison in Mexico, was returning to his countrymen in Texas, and had halted by the wayside to rest. This incident is related as quite a dramatic one, and the addition to their ranks of such a brave soldier and intrepid leader gave the little band of volunteers much joy and a marked degree of boldness. Pushing forward, the party made a strategic night attack, and after a short but brisk engagement, took the fort, killing three and wounding seven Mexicans. The surprise was complete and the victory an easy one. With axes the door to the room where Colonel Sandoval slept was hewed down and the officer made a prisoner. As the Texans rushed upon the place a sentinel hailed, and fired. A rifle ball laid him dead upon the spot. The discharge of firearms and the tumult of human voices now became commingled. The Mexican soldiers fired from their quarters, and the blaze of their guns served as targets for the colonist's riflemen. One of the colonists who spoke Spanish called upon the garrison to surrender. The Mexicans asked for terms. "No, and I cannot hold my men back longer. Come out quick if you wish to save your lives. If you resist further my men will massacre every one of you. Decide quickly. I cannot hold my men back longer." "'Oh! For God's sake keep them back," answered the Mexicans. "We will come out and surrender immediately." And they poured out and laid down their arms. Thus was Goliad taken, and the victory was an easy one, the only casualty on the part of the Texans being the wounding of Samuel McCulloch, who received a musket ball in the right shoulder, and which be carried for fifty years. This was the first blood drawn from the Texan side in the war.
The occasion was a happy one for Colonel Milam, and when the fight was over he is reported to have said: "I assisted Mexico in gaining her independence, I have spent more than twenty years of my life in her service. I have endured the heat and cold; hunger and thirst; I have bourne losses and suffered persecution; I have been a tenant in every prison betwe this, place and the City of Mexico, but the events of this night have compensated me for all my losses and all my sufferings." The Mexican soldiers were paroled and sent out of the country, and Capt. Phillip Dimmitt, a very chivalrous soldier, with a small company of volunteers, was left in charge of La Bahia. While the engagement at Goliad was an insignificant affair of arms, the capture of the place proved of much importance in the campaign that followed, since it broke the communication between Bexar and the Gulf, which the Mexicans were never able to restore, and one of our historians says the attempt to do so lost Santa Anna the battle of San Jacinto. A few weeks later, on November 5, the wood and dirt fortifications at Lapantitlan, some twelve miles above San Patricio on the Nueces, were captured. The Comandante, Captain Rodriguez, with a company of Mexican bandits was holding the place and robbing all traders and travellers who chanced to pass, going east or West, and it was determined to oust the thieving gang. Its capture was quietly effected by Adj. Ira Westover, a very fearless young officer who had been detailed for that purpose by Captain Dimmitt at Goliad. The "fort," with a small company of soldiers, surrendered without firing a gun. But the main force of eighty or ninety mounted men, was out on a raid and did not return until the afternoon of the next day. The Texans kept a sharp lookout, and intercepted the band of cutthroat marauders a short distance out on the Nueces where a very spirited fight ensued, in which several of the Mexicans fell, including Captain Garcia. Finally the enemy fled leaving the Texans masters of the field. The fortifications at Lapantitlan were demolished and the artillery, consisting of two four-pound cannons, was consigned to the channel of the Nueces River.
History tells of the trend of affairs and of the movements of the colonists precedirig the actual outbreak of the Texan War; of how they met in popular convention at San Felipe town in April, 1833, praying for redress of grievances and drafting a constitution for separate statehood as a member of the Mexican Federation; of how they sent Stephen F. Austin as Commissioner to the City of Mexico, begging due favors of the supreme government; and of how their beloved leader and counsellor was arrested and thrown into prison where be languished for more than two long years. During Austin's enforced absence at the Mexican capital affairs moved slowly in the Texas colonies. But the spirit of revolt and the determination to be free did not diminish. Austin's final release and return to Texas was the spark that set the smoldering fires ablaze. Everywhere the beloved man was hailed with great delight by the colonists. The gladsome news spread from cabin to cabin and from settlement to settlement, and joy overspread the land. The noble peace-loving Austin had been convinced that war was now the only course to pursue; and he at once took his proper place as a controlling spirit in the approaching crisis.
Austin's return to his home town was heralded as a gala event; and it was my good fortune to go with my brother and some of the neighbors to the colony capital on that occasion and hear his address to the settlers. I will always remember meeting the great impressario and I thought him one of the noblest and most striking figures of a man I had ever beheld. I was forcibly impressed with the eloquent appeal to his beloved people, urging them to diligently prepare for the defense of their homes and their liberties. He declared that he had been greatly deceived by the glowing promises of Santa Anna; that events during the past year or two had convinced him that henceforward, no reliance whatever could be placed in the pledges of the Mexican dictator, that if Texans tamely submitted to the impositions and demands of this two-faced tyrant their vassalage would be no less galling than that so recently imposed upon the patriotic but helpless people of Zacatecas. I regret that I cannot recollect Austin's fine patriotic speech on that occasion; and it seems strange that so far as I know, our histories make no mention of this address at San Felipe. He closed by saying, "I will wear myself out by inches, rather than submit to Santa Anna's despotic rule."
On our return from San Felipe, I found that the people of our section along the Guadalupe were of the same mind as those at the "Capitol" and "war with Mexico" was all the talk. In a few days a messenger came in post-haste calling upon all able-bodied men to go at once to the relief of the people of Gonzales. who it was reported were besieged by a strong force of Mexicans. How the settlers responded has already been told. We will return to Gonzales and the "seat of war." The war was on. Our "Lexington" had been fought, and the ball of revolution was now in motion---to gain momentum in its onward course. Austin's return to Texas and his noble and patriotic stand seemed to have been the signal for action; the spark that set ablaze the war spirit and caused a more united action among the Texans. The news of the first clash flew over the country as if borne on the wings of the wind. The people were now aroused to a sense of their serious situation. Meetings were held in every town and settlement from the Guadalupe to the Sabine and volunteers were being hastened forward. The slogan everywhere was "On to San Antonio," and drive every band of armed Mexicans across the Rio Grande. These men began coming in on the fourth and continued to arrive for a week. They came in squads and small companies, armed with such weapons as each person was able to furnish. Generally, they were well mounted, but of provisions they had none other than that procurable by the slaughter of beeves, and bread from corn gathered from the field and pestled into meal. During this time Gonzales was the scene of much activity and preparation. Among the volunteers there was a number of men who were "jack-of-all-trades" and their services were utilized. There were blacksmiths, saddle makers, and gunsmiths. These were the most useful men in the army at that time. A detail was sent out to bum charcoal for the forges, and every settler was called upon to bring in all the scrap-iron and implements be could spare. The response was evidence of the patriotism of the Gonzales people. Women brought in their flatirons, pots, and skillets. One lady removed the spindle of her spinning wheel and brought it in to the shop. Men brought their farming tools, hoes, plows, etc., and freely gave them to the service of their country. The common expression from these patriotic people was, "If we whip the Mexicans we can get more tools; if the Mexicans whip us we won't need any more tools."
Old man Asa Sowell conducted the principal blacksmith and wood-working shop in town and it was now a very busy place. All around the shop rude workbenches were improvised for the workmen. The fires in the few forges were kept up almost day and night, while the mechanics worked unceasingly. Lancebeads were turned out by the score, and when our army set out for San Antonio we had a full company of lancers. But the men soon tired of these weapons and threw them away. We had provided ammunition for our "artillery" of course, and all the old castings obtainable were broken up and stored away to be used instead of grape and canister. Men were set to work on a gun carriage. They felled a large cottonwood tree in the river bottom, and sawed from its trunk four sections for as many wheels, these being about four inches thick and were strengthened by strips of timber nailed on transversely. When the vehicle was finished and the old cannon mounted thereon it provoked a sbout of laughter among the boys, but it was our "artillery" and we were proud of it.
Among those patriots who labored apparently without rest, I clearly remember Noah Smithwick. He was a natural mechanic and could get more work out of the men under his supervision than any other man in the army. He was a giant in strength, a humorist, always jolly, and a general favorite among the boys. The last time I ever saw Smithwick was about the beginning of the Civil War. I understand he moved to California and spent the remainder of his life there. While all this preparation for an early advance was being made, the question of a flag came up. Some of our leaders wanted to march and fight under the Mexican national colors; others wanted the eagle, cactus, and snake, eliminated from the flag and in their stead a star. But it was soon ascertained that the boys wante nothing that bore the slightest resemblance to the flag of Mexico. At a meeting of the officers a committee of five were appointed to select the design for our flag. This committee was to report by three o'clock the next day. And this gave the occasion for the loftiest display of patriotism on the part of the women of Gonzales. They knew that material for a flag was scarce. Before ten o'clock the committee in council was overwhelmed with offers of material of all shades, textures, and fashions. A few silk dresses that had doubtless been worn on state occasions "back in the states" and were now faded and tattered-but religiously treasured as sacred mementoes of happier days--were brought forward and freely offered. One heroic mother whose sons went down in the Alamo the following March, brought her only pair of green window curtains. It was finally decided by the committee that it was the duty of the Consultation to design and adopt a flag of the new nation; that any action in regard thereto would be premature and not binding; but in view of the present conditions it would be right and proper for the army to have a banner under which to march during the present campaign, and that in keeping with the simplicity that characterized the general make-up of the army the said emblem be as follows: a white field without border, in the center a picture of a cannon, unmounted and without any fixtures whatever, directly over the cannon a five pointed star. Under the cannon and near the lower margin in large letters extending nearly the length of the flag, this inscription: "COME AND TAKE IT."
The flag committee's report was received and its recommendations accepted, and the following day we had a flag raising, when, for the first time, the Lone Star was flung to the breeze. I know that to Miss Troutman, a young lady of Georgia, is conceded the honor of having designed the first Lone Star flag of Texas, and that a Georgia company first waved that flag at Velasco, in 1836; and while I would not deprive that girl of any honors due her sacred memory, yet I must bear witness to the fact that the "cannon flag" designed and hoisted at Gonzales on October, 10, 1835, was the first Lone Star that was ever caressed by a Texas breeze unless that honor should be given to the Dawson company standard, made by Mr. Dawson of Harrisburg, Texas, in September, 1835, and presented to Captain Andrew Robinson's little volunteer company, of which her husband, A. B. Dawson, was First Lieutenant. As I remember, this Dawson flag was of ordinary solid color "calico- tri- colored, red, white and blue, and emblazoned with a five-pointed white star, set in the red background, the three color bars being set perpendicular, or upright, the red, with the star next to the flagstaff." The flag was of rather small size and was never recognized by the army as their flag, but as a company standard. It was highly prized by the Harrisburg men, and was much in evidence on the march from Gonzales to San Antonio, being borne by Second Lieutenant Jim Ferguson, I remember seeing this flag at our camp on the Cibolo, and I think it was carried on to Conception. What its fate was I do not know. I have heard it was left in the Alamo when most of the volunteers went home during the Yuletide of 1835, and the fragments of the precious little banner were found among the ruins after the fall of the fortress, March 6, 1836. But whether or not this Lone Star flag was ever hoisted by Travis and his gallant comrades to wave over the doomed fortress, will never be known. I believe that it is generally conceded that the Alamo men battled and died under the Mexican tri-colored flag of 1824---the emblem of constitutional liberty in Mexico. It would have nerved these resolute patriots in their dying hour had they known that Texas had declared its independence and was floating a flag of its own---the Lone Star. Such is the irony of fate.
SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS