Gen. Mexia's appeal to
join Federalists MEXIA PROCLAMATION TO CITIZENS OF BEXAR
Burleson's report of an
assault on Bexar 11 Dec 1835 BURLESON TO AUSTIN
Surrender of Gen.
Cos to the Texians 11 Dec 1835 GENERAL COS CAPITULATION
Account of Col. Carlos
Sanchez-Navarro Dec 1835. La Guerrra de Tejas, Memorias de un Soldado. [Translation
from Spanish from Huson, Captain Phillip Dimmit's Commandancy of Goliad].
At 11:00 A.M. I went to greet el senor Comandante General and at 12:00, by his order, I went to familiarize myself with the fortifications we were to defend. El capitan Videgaray served as guide. 3:00 P.M. I withdrew after having witnessed many exchanges of fire and firing a few rounds myself (without effect I suspect) since the enemy concealed himself in sheltered streets and houses, and only the muzzle ends of rifles showed from cracks and embrazures and from where, in the small fort named after Santa Anna, the enemy wounded 3 of us with impunity. I mounted my horse, disheartened to see my ineffectiveness. I was not even noticed! Sad thoughts gave place to others that claimed by attention because they revealed that it was impossible to defend such an extended position with so few troops as were in the square and much less with troops in such a poor state as had arrived with me. Besides there were no provisions nor hopes that any help might come.
At 4:00 P.M. Videgaray gave me a light lunch of frijoles, arroz y tortillas de harina, and having eaten I became very sleepy. You see, for two days I had not dismounted from my horse. I slept so soundly that nearby cannon and rifle fire did not wake me and only el capitan Videgaray, shaking me vigorously, succeeded in waking me and said: 'We are lost. I am going to take care of the official records because the enemy has taken the plaza.' Immediately I agreed and thinking about what I had heard I seized my sword, opened a window facing the plaza, and jumped out it to join what appeared to a patrol firing furiously as it withdrew. I ordered them to halt and thereupon some other troops (I think cavalry) joined us. There must have been 20, among whom I recognized don Pedro Rodriguez, de la Compania de Rio Grande. I could not notice what might be happening to our rear because, having availed myself of rifle and cartridges, I began firing an approaching enemy platoon through the entrance way of the house of the priest.
I heard the voice of el coronel del Morelos, don Nicolas Condelle and with the presence of this official the scene quickened to the extent that we repulsed the enemy completely 3 times when they obstinately tried to possess the number 4 cannon that I brought from Lampazos, and from which they captured sundry parts along with a sergeant of artillery named 'el Tuleno' (who I understand defected to the enemy), a corporal and his soldiers who were guarding the plaza. Having recovered this piece we deployed it to cover the main sally point of the enemy. The howitzer from Matamoros was also positioned utilizing a stone from the cemetery and by order of el senor Condelle I took command. But the two field pieces did not have a full complement of men nor did I see at my side any to help me sustain them. At any rate el coronel stationed me to open fire on the main door of the house of the priest from where he told me that doubtlessly the enemy would come on us. I was in a tight spot and must become an artilleryman, corporal of cannon and commander of 2 field pieces.
I omitted to say that at the time of repulsing the enemy I heard several times the voice of el senor Comandante General don Martin Perfecto de Cos, and in the most advanced position I saw very near el teniente coronel don Dionisio who, sword in hand, was giving a good account of himself. I will never forget the bravery of don Antonio, teniente con grado de capitan del Batallon. This young man was gravely injured some days ago by a gunshot wound in the right shoulder and in that condition he arose and remained at the front in danger all that sad night. In order to sustain the position I have described they provided me with 10 men from Morelos and 80 replacements from those I had led here but as the aforesaid did not know even how to load they did nothing more than add to the confusion, of which fact I informed el coronel Condelle who ordered the withdrawal of such poor replacements and substituted them with las companias presidiales de Rio Grande, Agua Verde and others I could not identify.
A little after (it must have been 1:00 A.M.) the cavalry was ordered saddled up and I was left with only el capitan de la primera Compania Volante de Tamaulipas don Manuel Lafuente with something like 70 men of that company. Don Manuel acted with valor and confidence. Finally the force with which the plaza was maintained was reduced to some 15 or 20 soldiers from el Batallion Morelos and 30 men of la Primera Volante commanded by el alferez adding to the same don Remigio Pizana who, much to my satisfaction, undertook command of the no. 4 field piece until day break. Before don Remigio Pizana arrived I noticed that the supplies, such as artillery etc. were being retired to el Alamo which unsettled my men who were only pacified by my persuasions and I think more with the constant presence of don Condelle who repeatedly came to order me to defend the position at all costs. A thing which I was determined to do.
At 4:00 A.M. precisely rumour was heard that came near destroying us since it reported that 'El senor Comandante General is dead and 4 capitanes have fled with their companias.' Unfortunately, far from diminishing, such reports grew detailing that those that had fled were el ayundante Inspector de Coahuila y Tejas, don Juan Jose Elguezabal; el capitan don Ignacio Rodriguez, Comandante General de la escoltadel senor General; el capitan de Agua Verde, don Juan Josť Galan, y el capitan de Rio Grande don Manuel Barragan. They said these had gone because El comandante General had ordered them to attack the enemy flank on foot and that more than 400 men had followed them. Some even added all la caballeria presidial. To make matters worse, it was asserted that the enemy not only had us outflanked but had taken the rear guard and had cut off retreat, all of which could well be believed for all the firing we heard in all directions from the point we occupied, and that suddenly ceased at about 3:00 A.M. From that hour no more firing was heard except some fusilades from our position 30 varas (yards) from the enemy and the constant cannon fire I directed so that the enemy could not close with us.
Don Condelle repeatedly said that we might have to die there (we were located in a cemetery) but in no case were we to surrender the post. We remained there until 6:00 A.M. when we discovered that, now lacking the advantage of darkness, the enemy rifle fire was highly effective. In these circumstances upon firing the howitzer it jumped its mountings and I was making adjustments when don Francisco Rada approached and said to me: 'El senor Comandante General commands you to stop what you are doing and come to him.' To which I replied; 'I will not leave this place for el Comandante General is dead and I serve el Coronel Condelle, who commands this plaza.' Rada left and soon returned with el senor Condelle who told me; 'I insist that you respond to the order of el General for he isn't dead.' I replied: 'to whom are you handing the field pieces and the post?' and Condelle told me: 'myself.' Thus it was done.
I immediately followed Rada who told me that some soldiers had tried to kill el General and that it was true that the aforementioned officers had fled carrying with them lots of soldiers and that confusion and discouragement was general which I witnessed when I arrived at el Alamo where I had never been before, in whose interior I saw about 50 horses that were eating the capes of the troops and even the trails of the artillery. I also saw girls and women who had taken refuge there leaving their houses abandoned and open in Bexar; a few officials and squads of troops among whom I heard such things as; 'We are lost' and 'What shall we do?' I found out there were no supplies at all not even water, although there was a lot of mud indicating continual rains and the continual tramping of men and horses.
I was told where to find el General Comandante Cos, who upon my arrival wanted us to link up but failed, told me: 'Sanchez, by reason of cowardice and perfidy of many of our companions all is lost. How is the plaza? Has the enemy occupied it?' I reassured him and said the plaza was defended by about 70 men at whose head is el senor Coronel Condelle and His excellency said to me: 'Go save those brave men. I authorize you to approach the enemy and obtain the best terms possible.' And forcing himself he added: 'Save the dignity of our Government, the honor of its arms and honor, life and property of chiefs, officials and troops that still remain with me even though I myself perish.' I requested that they tell what credentials I was carrying in order to treat with the enemy and he answered me: 'The duty and authorization I give you suffices.' I requested two associates for the commission and don Ramon Musquiz and el teniente don Francisco Rada were assigned. I requested that in order to treat with the enemy el senor Condelle suspend his fire and it was so ordered, don Andres Videgaray carrying out the order.
Immediately we who were assigned started for Bexar and upon crossing the small bridge that is over the river that divides the city from el Alamo I heard distinctly the trumpet signal for the attack along with sustained fire. I alerted my companions and we ran to arrive before the flag of Morelos, her brave chiefs and officials and the handful of valiant troops should perish. I was astonished that upon entering the street all were withdrawing with the rear guard firing. I confronted Condelle and said to him: 'Sir, el Commandante General did not order you to abandon the plaza, only cease fire.' And el coronel answered: 'Do you want the enemy to shoot us without it gaining any advantage?' And he asked: 'And where are you going?' I told him where they were sending me and el coronel said: 'You will not go for el Batallon Morelos has never surrendered.'
This was overheard by the troops, el capitan, and don Juan Aguayo and by other officials, they surrounded me threatening me with arms and insults. Some louts (mainly don Juan Tello teniente segundo an addition to la Compania de Lampazos who resented it because I had surprised him committing errors in his work.) seemed ready to avenge themselves. Tello faced me with a gun (later they told me he fired and missed). I remonstrated regarding such processes and raising my voice I said: 'Gentlemen I am under command. As is known to you senor Coronel that against my will and only because you insisted I left part of this troop and the two cannon that were trusted to me and now I am insulted?' If those who esteem themselves brave truly are why are they abandoning the plaza? Let us return there and they will see if I am not the first to enter. Let them not be boasting, relying on their companions and opposing 3 defenseless men.'
Hearing this el coronel called his subordinates to order and commanded them to continue the withdrawal. He said to me: 'Go, the responsibility will be---' I heard no more and Musquiz, Rada and I remained not knowing what to do. Because if we were going to solicit some reasonable treaty with the enemy it was almost a requirement that the city be not abandoned but rather that there be some troops to support us and that we might require to withdraw. We thought about turning around but duty called us. Since the enemy could not understand the bugle signals of La Primera Compania Activa de Nuevo Leon that accompanied us, in place of a bugle we used a white flag and that way accompanied by a sergeant (I believe from la Compania El Alamo) we arrived at the town offices formerly occupied by el senor Comandante General fearing at each step to be shot because we saw rifles in all directions. Soon we were surrounded by a group of colonists, among whom the best known was a certain Smith, a neighbor to Bexar and who asked us a thousand questions in some language which because we did not understand we could not answer and there followed undue demonstrations of anger.
I should record that immediately the local priest, don Refugio de la Garza joined us. This worthy cleric has suffered a lot and the only thing he has left is the house which I almost leveled last night. He remained with us at all times. I stated definitely that I was commissioned to speak solely with the commander of the besieging forces and we were told he could come at 9:00 A.M. (it was 7:00 A.M.) and until 9:00 A.M. we were surrounded with crude bumpkins, proud and overbearing. (Whoever knows the character of North Americans may appreciate the position in which we found ourselves). At 9:00 A.M. the commander appeared and spoke through Smith. He was 'Eduardo Burlinsont' who was accompanied by an armed platoon but he entered where we were being held with only 3 men and shaking hands with us he introduced his companions as 'el Mayor General N. Thompson, Johnson el Mayor Morris y el Capitan Edeft (or some such) and he asked the reason of our visit. I told him I proposed a cease fire so that women, children and wounded may not perish. He asked me for credentials of my commission. I said I did not have any and that our words and persons were in his power. Upon this they separated somewhat and afterwards Tompson spoke through an interpreter:
I answered that if permitted I would send a companion to inform my General of the situation so that he might clarify the situation. They agreed and Rada went leaving el senor Musquiz and I as prisoners surrounded by armed and hostile men. The time passed slowly for us in such a position. About 11:00 A.M. we were told that there was a parley flag flying from el Alamo and we were then treated with more consideration. A little later Rada returned bringing an official letter through which el Comandante General told 'Burlensont' the reasons that motivated this step and assigned us to conclude the formalities giving us full license. 'Burlinsont' withdrew with his companions. In about half an hour they returned and handed us an open letter, written in Spanish, for el General in which they expressed the same sentiments as His Excellency and named Tornpson, Morris and Edelt authorizing them fully. Eduardo asked me under what terms we should conduct the treaty and I answered: 'Under the good faith and honor that men of arms......."
F.W. Johnson's battle report 11 Dec 1835 JOHNSON TO BURLESON
The last division was exposed for a short time to a very heavy fire of grape and musketry from the whole of the enemy's line of fortifications, until the guns of the first division opened their fire, when the enemy's attention was directed to both divisons. At seven o'clock, a heavy cannonading from the town was seconded by a well directed fire from the Alamo, which for a time prevented the possibility of covering our lines, or effecting a safe communication between the two divisions. In consequence of the twelve pounder having been dismounted, and the want of proper cover for the other gun, little execution was done by our artillery, during the day. We were, therefore, reduced to a close and well directed fire from our rifles, which, notwithstanding the advantageous position of the enemy, obliged them to slacken their fire, and several times to abandon their artillery, within the range of our shot. Our loss during this day was one private killed, one colonel and one first lieutenant severely wounded; one colonel slightly, three privates dangerously, six severely and three slightly wounded.
During the whole of the night, the two divisions were occupied in strengthening their positions, opening trenches, and effecting a safe communication, although exposed to a heavy cross fire from the enemy, which slackened towards morning. I may remark that the want of proper tools rendered this undertaking doubly arduous. At daylight of the 6th, the enemy were observed to have occupied the tops of houses in our front, where, under the cover of breastworks, they opened through loop-holes, a very brisk fire of small-arms on our whole line, followed by a steady cannonading from the town, in front, and the Alamo on the left flank, with few interruptions during the day. A detachment of Captain Crane's company, under Lieutenant W. McDonald, followed by others, gallantly possessed themselves, under a severe fire, of the house to the right, and in advance of the first division, which considerably extended our line; while the rest of the army was occupied in returning the enemy's fire and strengthening our trenches, which enabled our artillery to do some execution, and complete a safe communication from right to left. Our loss this day amounted to three privates severely wounded, and two slightly. During the night the fire from the enemy was inconsiderable, and our people were occupied in making and filling sand bags, and otherwise strengthening our lines. At daylight on the 7th, it was discovered that the enemy had, during the night previous, opened a trench on the Alamo side of the river, and on the left flank, as well as strengthening their battery on the cross-street leading to the Alamo. From the first they opened a brisk fire of small-arms, from the last a heavy cannonade, as well as small-arms, which was kept up until eleven o'clock, when they were silenced by our superior fire. About twelve o'clock, Henry W. Karnes, of Captain York's company, exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy, gallantly advanced to a house in front of the first division, and with a crowbar forced an entrance, into which the whole of the company immediately followed him and made a secure lodgment. In the evening, the enemy renewed a heavy fire from all the positions which could bear upon us; and at half-past three o'clock, as our gallant commander, Colonel Milam, was passing into the yard of my position, he received a rifle shot in the head, which caused his instant death, an irreparable loss at so critical a moment.
Our casualties otherwise during this day, were only two men slightly wounded. At a meeting of the officers at 7 o'clock, I was invested with the chief command, with Major Robert C. Morris (late captain of the New Orleans Grays) as second. At ten p.m. Captains Lewellyn, English, Crane and Landrum with their respective companies, forced their way into and took possession of the house of Don Josť Antonio Navarro, an advanced and important postion, close to the square. The fire of the enemy was interrupted and slack during the whole night, and the weather exceedingly cold and wet. The morning of the 8th continued cold and wet, with but little firing on either side. At nine o'clock the same companies who took possession of Don Josť Antonio Navarro's house, aided by a detachment of the Grays, advanced and occupied the Zambrano Row, leading to the square, without any accident. The brave conduct on this occasion, of William Graham, of Cook's company of Grays, merits mention. A heavy fire of artillery and small-arms was opened on this position by the enemy, who disputed every inch of ground, and who, after suffering a severe loss in officers and men, were forced to retire from room to room, until at last they evacuated the whole house. During this time our men were re-inforced by a detachment from York's company, under command of lieutenant Gill. The cannonading from the camp was exceedingly heavy from all quarters during the day, but did no essential damage. Our loss consisted of one captain seriously wounded, and two privates severely. At 7 o'clock p.m. the party in Zambrano's Row were re-inforced by Captains Swisher, Alley, Edwards and Duncan and their respective companies. This evening we had undoubted information of the arrival of a strong re-inforcement to the enemy, under Colonel Ugartechea. At half-past ten o'clock p.m. Captains Cook and Patton, with the company of New Orleans Grays, and a company of musketeers. Immediately after we got possession of the priest's house, the enemy opened a furious cannonade from all their batteries, accompanied by incessant volleys of small-arms against every house in our possession, and every part of our lines, which continued unceasingly until half-past six o'clock, a.m., of the 9th, when they sent a flag of truce, with an intimation that they desired to capitulate.
Commissioners were immediately named by both parties; and herewith I send you a copy of the terms agreed upon. Our loss in this night's attack, consisted of one man only (Belden of the Grays) dangerously wounded, while in the act of spiking a cannon. To attempt to give you a faint idea of the intrepid conduct of the gallant citizens who formed the division under my command, during the whole period of the attack, would be a task of no common nature, and far above the power of my pen. All behaved with the bravery peculiar to freemen, and with a decision becoming the sacred cause of liberty. To signalize every individual act of gallantry, where no individual was found wanting to himself or to his country, would be a useless and endless effort. Every man has merited my warmest approbation, and deserves his country's gratitude. The memory of Colonel Ben R. Milam, the leader of this daring and successful attack, deserves to be cherished by every patriotic bosom in Texas. I feel indebted to the able assistance of Colonel Grant, (severely wounded the first day), Colonel W. T. Austin, Majors S. Morris and Moore, Adjutant Brister, Lieutenant Colonel Franks of the artillery, and every captain (names already given) who entered with either division, from the morning of the 5th, until the day of the capitulation. Doctors Levy and Pollard also deserve my warmest praise, for their unremitted attention and assiduity. Dr. John Cameron's conduct during the siege and treaty of capitulation, merits particular mention; the guides, Messrs. Erastus Smith, Kendrick Arnold and John W. Smith, performed important service; and I cannot conclude without expressing my thanks to the reserve under your command, for such assistance as could be afforded me during our most critical movements. The period put to our present war by the fall of San Antonio de Bexar, will, I trust, be attended with all the happy results to Texas which her warmest friends could desire. I have the honor to subscribe myself, Your most obedient servant, F. W. Johnson, Commanding.
Inventory of Military Stores delivered in conformity with the
Capitulation entered into on the 11th of December, 1835, between General Martin Perfecto
de Cos of the Permanent Troops, and General Edward Burleson, of the Colonial Troops of
Bexar, December 13,1835. Delivered by JUAN CORTINA, J. FRANCISCO DE
RADA, FRANCISCO HERRERA.
report to government 14 Dec 1835 BURLESON TO SMITH
On the advance of the attacking division, I formed all the reserve, with the exception of the guard necessary to protect the camp, at the old mill position, and held myself in readiness to advance, in case of necessity, to assist when required; and shortly afterwards passedin to the suburbs to reconnoitre, where I found A going on prosperously, and retired with the reserve to the camp. Several parties were sent out mounted, under Capts. Cheshire, Coleman and Roberts, to scour the country, and endeavor to intercept Ugartechea, who was expected, and ultimately forced an entry, with re-inforcements for General Cos. Captains Cheshire, Sutherland and Lewis, with their companies were sent in as re-inforcements to Col. Johnson, during the period of attack; and Captains Splane, Ruth, and Lieut. Borden with their companies, together with Lieut.-Cols. Somervell and Sublett were kept in readiness as further assistance if required. On the evening of the 8th, a party from the Alamo of about fifty men, passed up in front of our camp and opened a brisk fire, but without effect. They were soon obliged to retire precipitately, by opening a six-pounder upon them, commanded by Capt. Hummings, by sending a party across, the river, and by the advance of Capt. Bradley's company, who were stationed above.
On the morning of the 9th, in consequence of advice from Col. Johnson of a flag of truce having been sent in, to intimate a desire to capitulate, I proceeded to town, and by two o'clock a. m. of the 10th, a treaty was finally concluded by the commissioners appointed, to which I acceded immediately, deeming the terms highly favorable, considering the strong position and large force of the enemy, which could not be less than thirteen hundred effective men; one thousand one hundred and five having left this morning with Gen. Cos, besides three companies and several small parties which separated from him in consequence of the fourth article of the treaty. In addition to a copy of the treaty I enclose a list of all the valuable property ceded to us by virtue of this capitulation. General Cos left this morning for the mission of San Josť , and, to-morrow, commences his march to the Rio Grande, after complying with all that had been stipulated. I cannot conclude this despatch without expressing in the warmest terms, my entire approbation of every officer and soldier in the army, and particularly those who so gallantly volunteered to storm the town, which I have the honor to command, and to say that their bravery and zeal on the present occasion, merit the warmest eulogies which I can confer and, the gratitude of their country.
The gallant leader of the storming party, Colonel Ben R. Milam, fell gloriously on the third day and his memory will be dear to Texas as long as there exists a grateful heart to feel, or a friend of liberty to lament his loss. His place was most ably filled by Col. F. W. Johnson, adjutant-general of the army, whose coolness and prudence, united to daring bravery, could alone have brought matters to so successful an issue with so very small a loss against so superior a force and such strong fortifications. To his shining merits on this occasion, I bore ocular testimony during the five days' action. I have also to contribute my praise to Major Bennett, quartermaster-general, for the diligence and success with which he supplied both armies during the siege and storm. These despatches with a list of killed and wounded will be handed to your Excellency by my first aid-de-camp, Colonel Wm. T. Austin, who was present as a volunteer, during the five days' storm, and whose conduct on this and every other occasion, merits my warmest praise. To-morrow I leave the garrison and town under command of Colonel Johnson, with a sufficient number of men and officers to sustain the same, in case of attack, until assisted from the colonies; so that your Excellency may consider our conquest as sufficiently secured against every attempt of the enemy. The rest of the army will retire to their homes. I have the honor to be, Your Excellency's obedient servant, Edward Burleson, Commander in Chief of the Volunteer Army.
Cos Report to Minister of War
Tornel 15 Dec 1835
Congratulations COUNCIL TO
ARMY AT BEXAR 15 Dec 1835
Other brave men have also mingled their blood with their country's sacrifices. Their honor is imperishable. That your first noble example may be followed is the ardent wish of your Representatives, whose efforts in their sphere have been anxiously directed for your aid and comfort; and had your country's means at command been equal to her generous gratitude your every want had been promptly supplied.
Citizen soldiers, many of you have long been in the, field of honor and of danger, separated from your families and your homes. A respite from your labors and your privations must be desirable; -and it is reasonable, in anticipation of this glorious event to be achieved by your arins. Your government has been solicitously engaged in organizing a regular army, upon a proper footing, together with provisions for an auxiliary volunteer corps, that you might be released and get rest among your families and friends, until the future calls of your country again place you in defence of her and your just rights. To such calls you have always proved your hearty response. We address you in much haste, but with feelings not be be repressed. Your joy is our joy, your sorrows, our sorrows; and with assurance of unabating sympathies with you, and all our fellow-citizens in the present glorious epoch in our country's annals, We are truly your FELLOW CITIZENS AND FRIENDS.
List of officers of the
Volunteer Army of Texas 17 Dec 1835 JOHNSON TO GOVERNMENT