The Siege and Battle of Bexar by Herman Ehrenberg
The Entry into San Antonio
Our guide, the Mexican lieutenant, moved on warily. Not a word passed his lips and his eyes were constantly turned toward the Alamo, as if the dense shadows about the fortress held the secret fate of our adventure. He wavered, perhaps fearing some unforeseen betrayal, an unexpected and disastrous breakdown of his plans. All of a sudden several rockets went up over the Alamo and lit up the darkness with their vivid glow. Our Mexican at last broke his long silence and asked us to look at the short-lived but brilliant illumination. Noticing our astonishment, he added that these fireworks were signals of distress to summon out of the city a part of the garrison. It meant, he said, that the road was free and that we were safe. He urged us to quicken our pace so as to be inside the city within the next ten minutes. As we started running, we noticed a small outpost in front of the city, with several soldiers standing around the fire. Our Mexican guide forbade our molesting them, saying that even though our shots might kill a few of them, the noise would bring upon us the rest of the garrison, who would delay or prevent our entrance. Speed and quietness were what we needed most if we wanted to effect our purpose. The men at the outpost fled as soon as they saw us. We dashed along behind them, for the Mexican lieutenant had warned us that it would be best for us to reach the center of the city as soon as they; he pointed out that the farther into the city we ran, the more stone houses we should be able to occupy.
No resistance held up our entrance into San Antonio. Our detachment consisted of two columns. The one to which I belonged was under the command of Breece, whose directions were to push his way down the road along the river. To play safe, we kept to the left. Sometimes our way lay across small Mexican gardens, which afforded us a good deal of shelter; sometimes over bare, exposed patches of ground close to the edge of the stream. We were in a hurry to reach the center of the city, because we were afraid that the enemy would soon get word of our arrival and would scour the streets with artillery so as to check our advance. Our fears were not groundless. We were barely within two hundred yards of our goal when a discharge of grape-shot flew past us. The pale light of dawn, slowly growing in the east, increased our risks, for it dispelled the gloom of the streets and left us exposed to the running fire of our foes. The increasing danger of our unprotected position compelled us to seek shelter in a massive stone building nearby, an old guard-house. When we got in, we stared curiously at the black outline of the square walls around us, for we had never seen buildings of this type before. The houses of the Mexicans are not unlike small fortresses, with walls whose thickness is as impressive as it is suitable; for this massive masonry keeps the rooms cool in summer and warm in winter. This explains why one seldom sees a fire lit in these apartments, which, I must add, are likewise unadorned by costly furniture.
It was quite early yet; most of the objects around us were still wrapped in the receding shadows of departing night, but in spite of this semi-darkness, we easily detected the enemy's position. The lurid glow of the explosions lit up the central quadrangle of the city, from which the Mexican artillery poured forth continuous volleys of shot. A dozen or more six-pounders seemed to have chosen our small fortress as a special objective, and one of them, which stood within eighty feet of us, gave us a good deal of anxiety. This intensive shelling fell mostly on the rear wall, which ran parallel to the quadrangle, and therefore lay open to the incessant fire of the Mexican guns. During the furious bombardment several of us stood behind that very wall and were busy setting up a fine, long six pounder with which we hoped to check the enemy's furious attack. Cannon-balls and bullets whizzed and crashed above our heads, leaving us frightened and bewildered.
A few men of our detachment who had taken their stand on the roof fared worse. The continued shooting made it dangerous for them to raise their heads above the low wall which bordered the roof and compelled them to keep quite still. Finally, an avalanche of cannon-shots dislodged them from their position. These projectiles came from the church roof, which was now used as a battery, and the guns of which dominated all the buildings within range of their fire. They commanded our roof also, and as soon as daylight showed the position of our sharpshooters a deluge of missiles sent the latter scurrying downstairs, where laughter greeted their dismay.
Friends, or Enemies?
The hours flew on without bringing us news from our comrades, and though it was eight o'clock now, we did not know where they might be. We felt sure they were not far from us, but we were unable to ascertain their exact location. In the end we found them only through an unfortunate accident. On our right and somewhat farther back than we were, little clouds of smoke were rising at intervals from. several stone buildings. Judging from the intermittent shooting that these were held by a small number of our adversaries, we promptly made up our minds to seize the houses and use them as part of our quarters. Just as our plans were completed, several discharges from these same houses informed us that they were in the hands of our friends, who likewise had mistaken us for enemies. While they were firing upon us, one of their bullets had hit a tall Mississippian named Moore, but fortunately it had glanced off a two-dollar piece which he had in his coat pocket. The second bullet struck another very tall fellow, also from Mississippi, tore off part of his forehead, and dashed its fragments on the flagstone and on those of us who stood around him.
When the clear report of the shot and the small size of .the bullet which had glanced off the piece of money had confirmed the suspicions of a few of my comrades that it was our own men who were firing from the building, several of us immediately went to Colonel Milam, who now commanded us, and asked him to let us go at once to our friends in the other houses in order to warn them of their mistake. The motion was agreed to and carried out without delay, but not before another man had fallen a victim to this blunder. This time it was a German, who was posted at another window and was preparing to fire at the central quadrangle. There was a detonation, smoke issued from the building of our friends, and at the same instant the German's rifle clattered to the ground. The wounded man, moved by an irresistible force, turned around automatically.
A gust of wind blew past him and blood gushed from his shoulder. White as a sheet, he looked around him in a daze, tapped his shoulder with his left hand, and remarked anxiously that he thought he must be hurt, although he felt no pain. He suffered terribly later on, and his fractured shoulder gave more trouble to the surgeon than the wounds of all the others on the casualty list. As soon as we had made ourselves known to our friends, the shooting stopped, and we all set to work to dig a trench between their building and ours. We also cut doors in the thick walls of the houses at each end of the passage, thus making it possible for the two detachments to communicate with each other promptly and safely. Crossing the street had become dangerous; the enemy was vigilant, and scores of lead and copper bullets greeted the appearance of volunteers bold enough to run the gauntlet of this well-sustained fusillade. One of our most urgent needs was a sheltered, convenient passage between our respective quarters.
As soon as we had attended to that matter, we turned our attention to another but no less pressing difficulty. Sound strategy required us now to disable the Mexican cannon which stood within eighty feet of our back wall and pelted us with its shot. Several of our best sharpshooters stationed themselves close to the loop-holes in our walls and mercilessly struck down every bluecoat who came near the artillery piece, which was very soon reduced to silence because the Mexican soldiers were unable to reach it. On the other hand, with our bright, slim six-pounder we inflicted no little harm on the row of houses which were opposite us. But our limited stock of ammunition prevented us from using this cannon as often and as effectively as we should have liked to use it; for, fearing to be left wholly unsupplied in case of an emergency, we drew sparingly upon our scanty stores.
As time passed, the temperature grew hotter and the atmosphere in the house closer, and thirst parched our throats. There was no well in the building; if we wanted a drink we had to go to the river, which was about fifty yards away. Palls in hand, we would hurry over this short distance, dip our vessels into the water, and fly back to shelter under a hail of bullets. The Mexicans soon became aware of our predicament and took position close to the spot where we ran to the water's edge. This stratagem greatly increased the peril of our short trips to the stream, until finally a man to be paid three or four dollars each time he filled up a pail of water. After a time an even larger sum failed to induce any one to undertake this dangerous errand.
There was in our present quarters a Mexican woman whom we had found there when we first came and had kept with us to cook our food and bake our bread tasks which she performed willingly enough. As soon as she saw our predicament, she offered to go alone to the river to get water for us all. Colonel Grant as well as the volunteers would not at first hear of her doing such a thing, for we feared that the Mexicans would show her no more mercy than they had shown the rest of us. But she laughed at our objections, saying that we did not begin to realize the fondness of the Mexicans for the fair sex. She added that since there was no danger it would be foolish to stop her, and was off before we had time to hold her back. She had filled the buckets and was preparing to go back when the enemy opened fire on her. Four bullets went through her body and she fell lifeless on the green grass. Our men, horror-stricken, gazed over the walls, and after a few moments several of them rushed outside and dragged in the well-meaning but unfortunate woman. While the Mexicans were reloading their rifles, a few others among the Greys, taking advantage of their' momentary disablement, ran down to the river, filled their vessels, and came back safe and sound, to the great disgust of the Mexicans.
Storming the Stone House
The evening came, but it brought us no respite. Sharper fighting went on, and greater danger on our right brought a call to our detachment for volunteers who would attack and seize a small building in our immediate neighborhood. This stone house stood on our right and a little closer to the center of the city than our shelter. Volleys of shot came from the interstices of its pallsaded windows and its nearness to our own quarters made this rifle-fire very dangerous. Thus its capture would yield a twofold advantage: it would rid us of undesirable neighbors, and it would bring us closer to the enemy's depot. Breece's volunteers, of whom I was one, determined to storm the house without the help of the second detachment, which had just conquered another building. This feat had put us on our mettle, for we wanted to emulate and, if possible, surpass the success of our comrades. But we came too late, for as we leaped out of the windows and rushed ahead with our crowbars, we met our tall and athletic allies, the Mississippians. Under the heavy blows of the crowbars, driven in by the muscular arms of our friends, the walls crumbled down. Hardly ten minutes had elapsed when the first stone rolled down. As it crashed on the ground we aimlessly discharged our rifles into the dark through the aperture. Terrified screams of women and children inside told us that the house was full of helpless people. We ceased our shooting immediately, but kept tearing down the walls. Soon the Mississippians had made a large opening through which a train of women, children, and men staggered. The latter gave up their rifles, no doubt imagining we would cast them into prison. Knowing quite well that we had hardly anything to eat and therefore could not afford to keep any prisoners, the Mississippians magnanimously told their captives that the colonists and their friends had no desire to interfere with the liberty of the citizens of Mexico. They therefore dismissed all the Mexicans who had fallen into their hands and let them go back to the houses which lay between our present quarters and the camp.
An Artillery Duel
Meanwhile, a third building had fallen into the hands of Cook's Greys. But not content with this victory, they intended in the early hours of the following day to seize another house which stood near a small canal, for they hoped through this new conquest to provide us with an abundant supply of good drinking water. On the next morning the pale light of a stormy dawn showed us a crimson flag floating over the church in the center of the city. The menacing color of the Mexican pennant seemed to us very appropriate, for was it not the fitting emblem of Santa Anna's cruel and treacherous tyranny? What was the meaning of this change in the enemy's flag? Did General Cos hope to intimidate or insult us by flaunting this new ensign over his army? Derisive laughter was our answer to this foolish notion of the Mexican commander. His innovation had one good point, however. It drew a clearer line of separation between our party and that of Santa Anna. Now that our foes were fighting under the blood-red banner of despotism, our own three colors would symbolize more forcefully the 'deals which inspired our enthusiasm and led us to battle. The enemy's new flag soon lost its claims to our attention, held by a more important object--a long twelve-pounder, with a larger caliber than any other gun in San Antonio. This cannon had been hauled to our walls during the preceding night, and our first occupation upon its arrival had been to cut a loophole for it in the masonry of our walls and set it up at an angle from which we could conveniently shell the enemy's position.
The day progressed favorably for us. Many stone buildings fell into our hands, and the rows of mesquite thickets which ran down to the river between the enemy's walls and ours caught fire. The blaze, which began in the late afternoon, lasted until eight o'clock and left nothing but smouldering ashes of the cover under which our foes had crept unnoticed to our line. When the second day was over, we had already connected by trenches the blocks of houses we had seized. That night the Mexicans kept up their shooting without interruption. Sheltered by the darkness, they bombarded us at close range with a six-pounder which stood exactly opposite our own walls. Yet our labors on the preceding day had been so strenuous that in spite of the noise and danger we slept as soundly as if we were residing in one of the large, peaceful communities of the Eastern states.
The third day brought on fiercer fighting and hostilities conducted on a larger scale. Our iron twelve-pounder was a most effective weapon of attack. Hurling its thunderbolts through the new loophole, it battered the roof of the church from which the enemy had been inflicting heavy losses upon us. A Brunswickian called Langenheirn was in charge of our artillery piece when its projectiles demolished part of the church dome. The terrific crash temporarily forced the Mexicans to vacate their position on the roof. Unwilling to destroy this venerable monument entirely, we ceased shelling it and directed our volleys toward a few buildings which we intended to take a little later on. It would be a mistake, however, to imagine that laughter and humor had altogether deserted us during this grim and unequal struggle with its unavoidable burden of death and suffering. We snatched a few moments of hilarious fun from the practical jokes which we played on our adversaries. One of these harmless tricks was the source of a good deal of merriment. This is how it came to my notice. On returning from my rounds, I was surprised to see several men who looked hale and sound although their caps were riddled with bullets. I thought it strange that such severe shooting should have left so many of my comrades unhurt. My curiosity was aroused, and I was eagerly seeking an explanation when at that very minute a volunteer set his cap on the ramrod of his rifle and raised it slowly over the wall. Hardly had it emerged from the edge when a shower of bullets whizzed around it until it sank behind the walls among the cheers of the Mexicans, who thought that they had dispatched another worthless heretic to Hades. A pause followed on our side, but the enemy kept up its firing, indifferent, as it seemed, to the waste of powder and ammunition which such random shooting entailed. Their bullets continued to hum in the empty air over our building although not one report came from our walls or 10'opholes. A few minutes later another enterprising cap rose above our wall, and as we had all expected, the enemy greeted its appearance with a loud rattle of musketry. Bullets flew right and left, above and through the daredevil that fearlessly faced this furious attack and seemed to defy the adversary's destructive rage. Soon, however, the fury of our opponents turned into amazement when they beheld their victim still in the same position and apparently impervious to their violence. The loud laughter of the Greys roused our foes from their stupefaction, and when one of my comrades exposed the empty cap to their bewildered gaze, understanding flashed through their minds. This was the end of our joke, and for some time after that the enemy would have nothing to do with our caps or broad-brimmed hats, nor would any attention be paid to our heads if part of our bodies were not also seen.
Our inventive wits soon fastened on another trick to spur on the interest of our Mexican audience. Setting up our caps on our bottle-gourds, we propped the latter against the wall so that part of this masquerade should be visible over the top of the masonry. Our success was immediate-our adversaries merrily resumed their firing, with the result that they wasted their powder and not infrequently exposed themselves to the view of the pioneers or Greys, who either shot them down or at least disabled their right arms. So far our heaviest losses of man power had been among the gunners, who, when they adjusted or fired their pieces, offered their whole bodies as targets for the bullets of the bluecoats. Their unprotected position made them such easy marks for the enemy that almost all the gunners had been severely wounded save a tall, good-looking Brunswickian, who until now had miraculously escaped the fate of his comrades. One of our best artillerymen, an.Englishman named Cook, was killed during the third day of our siege. This was a serious blow for us, for having served in the British fleet, Cook was an experienced hand and we greatly missed the skill of this well-trained marine. He was the first man to die while on duty at the twelvepounder.
The death of our valiant Colonel Milam on the same day was another and greater tragedy. He was struck in the head by a bullet while he was standing in the yard of the house occupied by the first detachment, and died instantly. We buried the two bodies quietly at night. Their funeral march was the loud, monotonous boom of the enemy's cannon, while the black and idle muzzles of our silent artillery were the only tokens of grief and esteem we could give to the two brave men who had died in action. The officers next to Milam in command were Major Morris and the two captains of the Greys, but they did not attempt to fill the Colonel's vacant post during the remainder of the siege. Even during these moments of stress and danger, strict military discipline did not exist within our ranks. No orders were given. Whenever special duties had to be performed, the call was sent out for men ready to offer their services, and tasks were entrusted to volunteers willing to discharge them. Yet the lack of authority and proper subordination was not injurious to our success, because we all firmly believed that victory would be impossible without close unity in our ranks, and this conviction insured cooperation and order among our resolute though untrained troops.
On the fourth day a reinforcement party of five hundred men under Colonel Ugartechea marched into the Alamo. They came from the other side of the Rio Grande and had escaped the vigilant eyes of our scouts by crossing the wild prairie of Tamaulipas. But the arrival of this fresh contingent did not frighten us, for we knew that no civic pride, no patriotic urge drove these men to the assistance of their fellow-citizens.
An Attack of the Volunteers
That evening at five o'clock the roll was called. Men were needed to storm and occupy several buildings which were now held by the bluecoats. This appeal met with a generous response, and before sunset those of us who had volunteered for this attack stood in random groups close to the doomed houses. Equipped with our tools and weapons, we waited for the men of the militia to complete with their crowbars the demolition of the walls. Although the soft stone crumbled down rapidly, we thought the time passed slowly, for the Mexicans harassed us from a small redoubt which they had dug on the other side of the river opposite our division. It was not long, however, before a small part of the wall fell, and a second later our rifles poured their fire into the house. These openings were enlarged, and as soon as we had loaded our arms, we sent in another volley. The enemy's bullets whizzed dangerously around us from the loopholes which the crowbars were ripping open. This brisk musketry fire, however, was ineffective, as during the pulling down of the walls the militiamen exposed only their tools to the foes' gaze. At last the gap in the masonry was large enough to admit us one by one, and after another volley from our rifles had chased the bluecoats away, we entered the now deserted room.
The door to the next room was stoutly barricaded, and in order to tear it down we had to use our axes. This we did with the greatest caution, for while we were smashing the wooden panels the Mexicans tried to shoot us and had already wounded two of our comrades though not seriously. The sun had set during our struggle and, as is usual in the South, night closed in upon us at once, so that when the door to the next room was forced open under our repeated blows, black, impenetrable darkness filled the apartment. It was empty, and as we could not see a thing, we groped our way along the walls. The sharp reports of the explosions and the flash of burning powder, visible through an aperture close to the ceiling, warned us that our adversaries still held the room adjoining ours. Their random shooting was harmless, for most of the bullets after hitting the ceiling fell dead at our feet with a little loosened plaster. We continued our blind search for an exit until we came to a door, which we had to batter down, for it was locked and bolted. This entrance gave us access to another vacant room, possession of which made us the sole masters of the house. This place was an important point, for it stood only ten or fifteen yards from the central quadrangle. Our next and last step would be to take one of the houses which formed part of the block of buildings surrounding the large square. This would enable us to gain control of the church depot in the middle of the square, and as this military magazine was the key to the city, if it fell into our hands San Antonio would be ours. But fatigue and the lateness of the hour prevented us from carrying out our scheme at once. Our friends from the backwoods shouted that they had had enough glory for one day, and wrapping themselves in their blankets, stretched out on the floor to rest.
The Fifth Day
The dawning sun of the fifth morning rising in crimson, autumnal splendor shed its warm rays over the bloody scene of our strife. An Indian-summer day spread its rich and serene brilliance over the immense prairie, no longer green, but bleached like a ripe cornfield rolling endlessly on until it merged in the distance with the blurred skyline. Fearful was the contrast between these peaceful and radiant grasslands and the empty streets and charred areas which surrounded our quarters. Blackened tree-stumps, battered walls, smoldering ash heaps gave to our immediate neighborhood a look of utter desolation. The enemy's cannon still shook the dilapidated houses, and muskets kept firing at the half-empty ruins. The stones crumbled, the men crouched under shelter, and fighting went on between Greys and Mexicans, who probably gave no thought to the mellow beauty of this magnificent autumn day. On this day both the enemy's artillery and our own were very active. Our mighty twelve-pounder did wonders, and its heavy projectiles shattered one wall of the building we had proposed to seize that evening. Unfortunately, the ammunition we had for our sixpounders gave out, and they would have remained silent for the rest of the siege if the Mexicans had not supplied us with the missing shot. This is how it happened. Each time the enemy's missiles hit the quarters of the Greys, the men immediately sprang over the walls, picked up the cannon-balls, and loaded our cannon.
At three o'clock in the afternoon the Mexicans made a sally, but nothing came out of it. With a great rattle of drums and flourish of trumpets, a detachment of five or six hundred bluecoats left the walls of the Alamo. They marched down the river in the direction of our camp as if they intended to assault and capture it. This was merely a feint, intended to draw most of the besiegers out of the city so as to give General Cos a chance of making a mass attack on the few left behind. Unafraid, we saw through the design of the Mexican general, and decided to remain where we were. Should the camp be attacked, then those who guarded it would defend it; if they could not do so, they would make a dash to the city and try to join us. This rounding up of all our forces would not be untimely, for during the night we should need all the hands and rifles we could muster in order to deal a final blow to the Mexicans and at last clear from the prairie the rabble of the central government. After the sallying party had paraded for a while with a good deal of swagger, but at a proper distance from the range of our guns, they returned, crestfallen and silent, to the Alamo, for it was evident now that their ruse had failed.
The field was now clear for the military operations we intended to carry out that night. My friends and I in the first division had planned to occupy a stone house near the quadrangle, and the men of the second detachment, who were staying in a house a little apart from ours, decided to help us in this undertaking. But a mass attack which the enemy launched against the first division at nine o'clock at night forced us at the last minute to do things differently.
The Mexican Offensive
This offensive of the Mexicans surpassed in vigor and persistence any of their previous attacks. The din and confusion which had harassed us in other encounters were trifling annoyances compared to what took place now. Our walls were shattered, almost leveled to the ground, and the best we could do was to seek refuge behind the crumbling stones or falling adobe. Crouching close to our ruins, we waited anxiously, expecting every minute to see the bluecoats scaling our battered barricades. With our guns at full cock, we were ready to shoot the first Mexicans who should venture close enough to us. Pioneers stood at the loopholes we had bored through the walls, and their unerring aim struck down every Mexican who came within their firing. Our opponents, however, aware of our decided advantage in marksmanship, kept at a safe distance, and as our expectations of a fierce hand-to-hand fight grew smaller, we began to tire of our inaction. Impatient of further delay, about twenty Greys decided to attack the enemy on one of his flanks. The numerical strength of our foes did not alarm us, and although we were only a handful against six or eight hundred men, we stormed the four walls of a dilapidated blockhouse which stood at a little distance from the scene of the main conflict. Darkness favored us; before the enemy could suspect anything, we had advanced almost up to the buildings occupied by the Mexican squadrons. Startled and unnerved by the sudden, simultaneous flashes and reports of our rifles and pistols, the Mexicans beat a hasty retreat to the buildings of the center, where, selecting our roofless conquest as a special target, they resumed their firing.
Cannon-shots and musket-balls boomed and rattled around the quarters of the second detachment, so that the predicament of our friends seemed even worse than ours. While we were speculating upon their luck, the central quadrangle rang out with a shrill call to arms. The bugles blew and the drums rolled, swelling the clamor which already arose from the enemy's ceaseless fusillade and blasphemous yells. At intervals a deeper note drowned this deafening noise as the flaming muzzles of the' Alamo's cannon bellowed out their wrath. Such a tumultuous uproar in the middle of the night had a kind of sublimity which gripped my heart. The strange exaltation which possessed me recalled to my mind the emotion which I had experienced when for the first time I saw a large towboat sailing up the Mississippi. This strong, heavily built tug hauled in its wake schooners, brigantines, and other ships with such a noise of hissing steam, puffing engines, and creaking machinery that it held me spellbound, and I remained listening to the loud gasps of the monster's panting breath long after it had vanished from sight.
The turmoil of the conflict lasted until eleven o'clock. At that hour the bombardment ceased; and now that quiet had been restored we left our four walls, for we wanted to find out our party's plans about the storming of the center. Imagine then our surprise when we found all the buildings of the second division empty. As we stood there, unable to explain the absence of our comrades and at a loss what to do, we discovered a wounded man lying in a corner. He told us that immediately after the enemy's assault against the first division, all the men of the second detachment had left their quarters to capture that section of the central quadrangle which, earlier in the day, we had decided to occupy during the night. The present circumstances, however, had greatly altered the situation of the besiegers. Therefore, the volunteers in charge of this expedition had attacked the center from a totally different direction and had taken the enemy completely off guard. Success rewarded their daring. They drove the Mexicans from two large buildings and spiked a cannon, which owing to its nearness to our building had worked terrible havoc among us during the siege.
The rash undertaking. which I have been describing above may justly deserve censure. Indeed, the surpr1se attack conducted by the men of the second detachment can hardly escape criticism, for they not only deserted us in our hour of danger, but gave up a safe position for the sake of a very uncertain gain. I have no excuse to offer except that we considered ourselves almost invincible, an opinion which later on brought us and our friends very near ruin. The fifth day, with its drastic events, likewise ended in victory; and we looked forward with excitement to the next day, which fell on the tenth of December. The enemy's firing had ceased; only the small redoubt on the other side of the river sent solitary volleys, the shots of which flashed like stray bullets through the empty space which during the preceding five days had been plowed up by thousands of cannon- and musketballs. The deafening explosions of the artillery no longer shook the earth, and only the groans of the wounded reminded us of the cruel sacrifices imposed upon us by the cause we served.
As the shadows of the night stole away in the east before a radiant December sunrise, the sixth day of our siege dawned and ushered in the downfall of our foes. A white flag, the meek token of surrender, floated over the ruins of the Alamo. It was nine o'clock before the two armies came to an agreement over the terms of the capitulation, which were as follows: The Mexican troops should depart at once from the city, with a hundred and fifty rifles as well as enough powder and lead to protect themselves against the Comanches. Furthermore, they were to take an oath never again to fight against Texas, to abandon the Alamo by the twelfth, and to cross the Rio Grande into Mexico as soon as possible. On the appointed day Cos marched off with his men and left in our possession the Alamo with its stores of ammunition. Forty-eight cannon, an important supply of powder, four thousand muskets, ready-made cartridges, and a large quantity of cannon and musketballs fell into our hands.
We also found in the depot many uniforms; they were not of the slightest use to us, however, for every Texan would rather have worn the hunting tunic and moccasins of the wild prairie Indians than put on the garb of the despised Mexican mercenaries. The losses of the Mexicans amounted to seven hundred and forty dead. Of their many wounded, those whose injuries were slight accompanied Cos; the others were put under the care of our doctor and given the same treatment as our own sick. Six of our men were dead; twenty-nine had been severely injured and put into the hospital; while a few others, not seriously hurt, found lodgings in the city. The disproportion between the respective losses of the two parties is enormous and seems hardly credible, but in almost every fight between the two forces, the number of men killed by the Texans was several hundred times greater than the casualties inflicted by the Mexicans.
Our management of the enemy was wise, and wise also our treatment of the citizens of San Antonio, although they had sided with Cos against us. At that time we still considered Texas and Mexico as one large unit, and for this reason, now as before, the three colors floated over the church. We hoped that in a brief lapse of time reports would carry to the other Mexican states the news of our success against the Usurper's troops, and that once more the whole nation would rise in revolt in order to overthrow Santa Anna and his administration.