Henry C. Dance to the Editors of
?? 25 Apr 1836
Milam .[illegible] private in Yorks comp with whom got 300 volunteers after making the necessary arrangements we were .[faded] taking hold together by Milam who was chosen as our leader organized and ordered to take a great . . . [faded] every thing still as death there on the morning of 5 Decr 200 of us with 2 pieces of artillery going to storm of strong fort of 1100 men 100 of our men having backed out we marched in and divided in two divisions fired on only by 4 sentinels one of them with our guide shot on entering we took possessions of 2 large stone house which the ocupants left to us one was Verrimendas the other I do not know the public square was surounded with large stone buildings covered with cement such as no combustable could set on fire extending from the enterence of one St to another in this was a large stone church surounded by a strong wall well fortified at the entrence of each street was a dich 9 feet deep and 15 wide and imbankment throwed on sides a Breast work and mounted cannon to rake every St and cannon 18 in number about the time we entered these houses their cannon were discharged together with other small guns which seamed to set fire to earth and skie kiling every beast in the Sts and one old mexican who ran accross panic struck was ridled . . . [faded] in about 20 minutes before daylight as we could see them We fired on them. the 2nd division was very much exposed until the first engaged part of the enemy's fire we made port holes diclies & Breasts works and preparing to paly on them with our cannon the walls of the house extend above the Roof som of the N O Grays ascended one of them to shoot through the trap hole but found themselves so exposed they had to decend through by making a hole with their Bowie knives one of them being larger than the Rest was shot in the foot while pulling him through. The tremdious fire of the Mexican would have been alarming had it not been for the composed contenance of Milam and Johnson and several Brave captains
Edwards York Landrum Peacock Ms. volunteers Morris & Cook N. O. grays Col Nail & Franks of the Artilery who were the little Band that had Resolved to obtain a glorious conquest Drive Genl Cos and his army from the Borders of Texas or leave our Bones to Bleach on the plains of San Antonio the Battle now Raging Almost to desperation about 8 oclock after much toil and danger we built a small Breast work in the St. with Bags of dirt &c and marched . . . [faded] I was then ordered with 6 or 7 other soldiers to effect if posible a communication with the Camp ¾ miles and bring in the balance of the balls for the .[faded] this was a very hazardous undertaking but we were with those that I did not wish to shear the honors with out the danger we shouted the mustek balls came after us as soon as we were out of cover of our position as far as they could Reach and a cross fire of grape from the Alamo the whole Rout we Returned takeing about forty men with us this was still greater indusement for the enemy they semed determined to Rake us of the face of the earth with canister and grape again meeting the .[faded] town we went through all with only a few cuts with splinters [faded] and portions of Rock by falling into our faces at every discharge of the cannon the Reserve left at camp was commanded by Col Sublett and Capt Roberts during the storming of the walls were Reinforced by 150 men from camp and other parts of the country the cannonading of the Alamo by Capt Roberts to draw the attention of the enemy did not have the desired affect the first 2 days we suffered very much for provisions and water being to much ingaged to get it we did get some beef &, Bread we had none for a week previous, all the water Running through town was commanded by the enimys guns we bought 2 buckets full of milk which brout through the fire this we had to guard til each subscriber got his portion . . . .[faded and illegible] during the first day we had 4 men shot one of them died afterwards on the morning of the 5 Oct. still warm and doubtfull we Rendered usless some of their cannon by shooting them away from them. there were a great manay kild frequently puting across their guns 6 Oct. this day a young man by the name of . . . .[faded] from Mi was shot without . . . [faded] Died instantly Several wounded whose names I do not Recolect I never have been a . . . [faded] on 3d day of the Battle we kept our positions. this day several were wounded & Col Milam fell Dead Shot through the Brains with a Rifle while walking about encouraging his men. covered over with the Dust from plastered walls this loss of him put a considerable damper on the army we buried him in a dich frome which he was taken on the 12th Dec after the surrender and Returned for with this illustrious man we are determined Revenge the Death Col Johnson took the command during this day and at night we took some new positions to which the enemy . . . [faded] and Receded a little they already had sustained great loss we every minute expected their Reenforcements on our breastworks 8th we sustained little or no injury the morning of the 9th we asertained they were .[faded] this morning it apeared we were to be sweap of by a general charge by the Cavilry infantry and lancers playing more music than I ever heard they were in a great stir Sallying and charging this day a black flag hung on their main Breastworks Several wounded to day among which was capt Peacock who afterwards died they are the most expeditious shooters I ever saw but our boys were all sharp shoters. and their Rifel told well we continued to progress on them with axes crobars mat axes & cutting through walls of houses 3 or 4 feet thick and taking posesion of them some time finding articles that were some service to us particular some powder we very much needed and corn bread or the wounded in the eve their cavilry massed across the River and fired on our camps at a distance of 300 yards and Retreated with out doing any very great injury fired on only twice and a six pounder by Capt Parrot we had one man by the name of Graham wounded in the act of spiking a cannon with the face of calmness we continued to approximate on them from our first position about 30 yards we were covered with dirt geting walls and what thev shot down more.
We shot only when we thought it would take effect owing to scarceity of powder we some times had conversation with the Mexicans being in joining houses during the night we broke into the walls of a Row of building that commanded the square first making port holes. Shooting the Mexicans out in diging through the partition to the next Room they met us their crobar came through first which was returned back by a Riffle and one after another the Mexican left their Dead 5 of them was kild they were commanded by Condaio they left them . . . [faded] their Dead leaving some of their guns which they tryed to get by putting sticks in the muskets as we could not turn our guns on them we shot the muskets to pieces now 3 oclock A. M. they mounted on top in mases and commenced cutting the Roof in on thirty of us the weight of which would of crushed us but as soon as the dirt began to pour down we commenced shooting through the holes and silenced them the fire was still kept up by them and as well as I could Judge they were Retreating about Sun Rise Dec 10th their fireing sudently ceased it was foggy and we could not See distinctly being anxious to learn the cause we looked in the Squar and could See no Soldiers on examining the church the flag was---they had left behind Some Dead and wounded and Retreated across the River to a fort cald the Alamo in the South part of the Squar. we discovered there their war flag was gone and one in its place we took to be a white one and on coming to us this was born by a Soldier with a letter from Genl Coss praying a cessation of hostilities & a further difusion of blood until 10 A M and wish to cappitulate---which was Respected upon the prest pledging his life his fortune and honor that Coss & Ugatachear was Acting in good faith our army was then formed and a guard placed Round the Squar where they had left all their cannon most of which was spiked commissioners were now appointed by Martin perfecto de Coss of the Mexican an Edward Berlison of the Volunteer army of Texas. They commenced the treaty which after various consultations concluded on the 11-10 A M containing 18 Articles Signed by the commissioners on the eve of the 10th our army quartered in the Squar and were permited to go where they pleased without their guns so were the Mexican we were soon a midst multitude this was very consoling to me as I had been confine to a gun better than 2 months---for for 2 days & nights they did not cease firing 2 hours after after drove them from their camp we now belived all danger was over and commenced Rambling about hunting Something for our selves and horses to eat we found plenty honey some beef and corn and turtiers a bread made of boild corn ground on a stone by the weman we also found some cordials & wine all of which was eageraly sized by our devouring apatites we then slept sound the Balance of the night in the morning of 11th every man went about his business some hunting horses no ashy faces now all a good humoured dirty long bearded set at 10 we were cald together formed in a Squar with Col Johnson in the center after addressing us in a very candid maner on the nature of the treaty and of our unfit condition to carry on war without powder & Co
he then Read the articles which you have no dobut Seen in Substance as follows Genl Coss & his army Surender as prisoners of war give up their commisions take an oath never again to take up arms against the Republican principles of the federal constitution of 1824 & Coss binding himself to go on parol of honor to take the 400 convicts across the Rio Grande the Balance permited to go with their Genl. Remain or go where they pleas arms amunitions & inventoryes & and delivered to our commissioners on the 13. all private property delivered to its proper owners genl Coss to leave with the convicts in 6 days to take with him one 4 pounder and some small arms to protect themselves Genl Berlison to fournish him with beef at the customarly price we were then dismissed and each captain ordered to take the vote of his company on the Ratification of the Cappitulation the Return was made in a few minutes with a small majority for it wich caused some new troubles while we that voted for it was contented it was now signed by the 2 generals this being confirmed on both sides we was quite Rejoiced that Texas as desirable a country as ever faced the . . . [illegible] now clear of enimys we now had a splendid Spanish fandango a great deal more mite be said but as I did not expect to publish the battle I cannot detail all the particulars I Served in the Second division under Capt Edwards him and his leutinent Carter merit great praise for their bravery to much cannot be said in favor of the unfortunate Milam who managed with great judgement to him Texas owes her Independence and the praise of the greatest victory that now exists on the Page of history we had 6 Kild and 25 wounded while from all the information I could gether the mexicans lost near 300 Kild and wounded his signal for a charge was a horn blown and a large bell Roung for a Retreat. from his situation with his glasses he was constantly in possession of a full knowledge of our Situation HENRY B DANCE
Genl Austin sent a communication with Genl Coss before the attack & got for reply if be sent another flag he would fire on it we were Rebels & he would treat us as such & he observed all things wld be ready for us. C the Lieutenant that deserted and came to us informed us that Genl Coss being told that the Texians had been diging in the field in advance of their camps is it posible the Rebels are coming up out of hell after us the dich was to try the 12 pounder on the posts we frequently amoused our selves by crouding on a canal wall to induce the Mexicans to shoot cannon balls at us falling down at the smoke of the flash then springing up after them as they bounded over the field. it would be in vain to attempt to discribe the dificulties we had to encounter traveling uninhabited camps through swamps, swimming rivers living 3 or 4 days on Venison and bufaloe the distress situation of our Camps Dangers and Sufferings almost unknown in civalized life those that Remained and took Sanantonio were generaly men that owned no land in the Country the offices, being closed for some time we were left almost without the means of subsistence to carry on the defence. on being asked why by some of the great men of the country who was leaving previous to the attack if I was going, I observed it would stimulate the enimy in Ruin the county. He said if you Remain here you will be slaughtered or drove off in disgrace to which I Replyd I will not be more disgraced than than those that leave before me, if you publish this you will oblige meny that wish to se a full exposee the writer has an enventory of the arms &c taken and other official documents which you can have by calling on him through your paper besides a general knowledge of the country having spent the last 6 months there up to 20 march Texas has Sacraficed the blood of her Citizens her treasur yet she is detsined to triumph from the conflict. I will shortly Return & see her through the Struggle if these facts be good enough to publish with any other Retions or Ramarks you like A North American Pioneer
Dr. Joseph E. Field Charlemont,
Massachusetts, 2 Sep 1836
The village of San Antonio stands on the west bank of the river of the same name, at a place where the stream by a sudden turn leaves a point of land in shape resembling a horse shoe. Upon this peninsula it is said that David Crockett killed the first Mexican soldier, at the distance of two hundred yards. It was here that Crockett and Dickinson burned some houses that stood in the way of their artillery [at the Battle of the Alamo later in Mar 1836]. That part of the town, which is more particularly important to be understood on account of its having been the centre of the military operations, is a square, enclosed on all sides by stone houses, with streets running from all the corners parallel and at right angles with the sides of the square. At the entrance of every street, with the exception of that leading to the Alamo, a ditch was dug ten feet wide, five feet deep, raised on the inner side, so as to make an elevation of ten feet. Over this was erected a breast-work of perpendicular posts, with port-holes for muskets, and one in the centre for cannon. These slight outlines may be a sufficient introduction to the details which are to assist the reader in tracing the contest, which ended in the evacuation of San Antonio by the Mexicans, and its occupation by the friends and defenders of Texas.
After the battle of Conception, several weeks were spent in useless marches from the former battle field to a position about one mile north of the town; but sometimes to a ford one-half mile up the river. At length one division, and not long afterward the remainder, fixed their camp on the north of the town, within one-half a mile from it, at a mill on the west side of the river, where the mill-race afforded us a breastwork. Much vexatious delay in our operations was occasioned by time unprofitably spent in waiting the arrival of a twelve-pound cannon, which was long on its way to us. From this acquisition we looked forward to a speedy reduction of the place, and the accomplishment of all we desired. When it came, to make it more effectual, a night's toil produced a ditch and breastwork upon the west bank of the river, within two hundred and fifty yards of the Alamo, and three hundred of the public square in the town. But all our hopes of an easy victory by such means were soon overthrown, for two days continual cannonading had accomplished nothing but the tumbling of a few rocks from the top of the walls of the Alamo. But this ineffectual kind of warfare cost us, or them, little more than the trouble and expense of making a great noise. For our balls were generally returned to us as good as they were sent, by friendly Mexicans in the town, but not exactly in the way that theirs were delivered back to them. During the siege, a correspondence was kept up with some Americans living in town, by means of Mexican friends, they not being permitted to leave. Through them we learned that some houses, in streets running to the north-west, were unoccupied by the soldiery. Repeated orders were given, and counter-ordered, to go in and take possession of these houses, from which there was a hope of dislodging the enemy from the public square. The Texian commander, finding that the place could not be taken by noise alone, directedthat the enterprise should be abandoned, and made the necessary preparation for raising the siege the following night, the 9th December, and retreat to La Bahia. This order was received with great indignation by the soldiers, particularly by the New Orleans Greys, who were very active in what follows. Two hundred and forty out of six hundred immediately volunteered to storm the public square, Colonel Neil being requested to cross the river with his cannon, for the purpose of making a diversion by an attack on the Alamo. About two hours before day, the volunteers entered the unoccupied quarter of the town in two divisions, having taken Col's Milam and Johnson from their own ranks to superintend and direct the attack.
They proceeded down the river through a street in that part of the town opposite the Alamo, to within fifty yards of the square. Here Johnson's division broke into a house upon the left, or river side of the street, at the same time that Milam took others on the right. In the rear of the first mentioned house in which I was, there was a yard with a stone wall on two sides, the house, with one end projecting back, making the two others. Here it was that the brave Milam fell. This bulwark proved an insufficient defense against the cannon of the Alamo, until it was strengthened by earth thrown up. With crowbars we perforated the walls of the houses toward the square, making portholes, through which we kept up a constant fire at them, through theirs, with our rifles, not neglecting any who dared show themselves outside of their covert. In this way, and in opening communications with each other by means of ditches, we spent the day, the besieged keeping up a raking fire through the streets by day and by night. The houses between us and the fortified corners of the public square, which were mostly of wood, were set on fire by us; the adjoining fences also, behind which the Mexicans had sheltered themselves from our balls. Our nights were spent in extending ourselves by seizing upon new and more advantageous posts. This was done in the following manner: a company of soldiers, led on by a guide to doors least exposed, beat them down, fought their way in and drove the occupants from one apartment to another, until their prudence made them retire, and give place to the more resolute and determined in the competition. An accident or two may be of use to illustrate this singular mode of pushing an enemy and paving the way to victory. It turned out, on one occasion, that a number of the combatants on both sides found themselves in two adjoining apartments of the same house. The assailants soon opened an aperture through the partition wall which separated them. By means of this opening, considerable free conversation and argument about the causes and prospects of the war, were held between the opposing parties, and some challenges were given, particularly by the Americans to the Mexicans, to step forth and show themselves, if no more than a finger. This position was kept on both sides until the next day, when the Mexicans thought it advisable to retire from this unpleasant neighborhood. In some instances, the Texians sought their enemies by breaking through the flat roofs of the houses, and letting themselves down by their blankets into the rooms below.
On the morning of the fifth, the decisive blow was struck. Nearly two hundred men were enabled, by such means as above described, to get possession of one whole side of the square, that on the north, from which, about day-break, they opened a fire with such deadly aim upon the four corners, at each of which two cannon were placed, as, in about an hour, completely to silence them, and oblige them to cross the river to the Alamo. There they soon displayed a flag of truce, upon which the combat ceased. In the very heat of the conflict, one Belding, from N. York, of the Orleans Greys, rushed out of the house and spiked one of their cannon, in defiance of their shot from every quarter, and returned unhurt, until the moment of closing the door after him, when a shot through the door cut away part of his nose and one of his eyes. To show how the ladies fared, while things were going on as above stated, one or two circumstances shall be told. The soldiers on forcibly entering a house, in their ardor for getting at the enemy, found a number of females, who had been shut up for three days without sustenance, who manifested the greatest affright, and could not be quieted until each had received a kiss from the gallant soldiers into whose hands they had fallen. Another woman, driven by necessity, ventured to the river for water for herself and children, and received a shot from a whole platoon within the Alamo, which inflicted five separate wounds, one ball passing through her bucket. She, nevertheless, returned with her water, and was doing well the last time I saw her.
Mag Stiff notes on Storming of
Bexar ca. Dec 1836. STIFF NOTES
The Company to which I belonged at that time comd. by Cook was Stationed at the old mill to protect the cannon, some few days after that time we wer quietly reposing in our Camps, about 12 or 1 oclock at night we were fired upon by a party of sixty or Seventy Mexicans. and being forthwith called to arms we took our Station Just above the mill expecting an attack, but nothing more was heard of them during the night, two or three days after our Commander Col Burleson issued orders for a Storm that night, about the appotd hour for the Storm Major Morris former Capt of the grys reported to Col. B. comding that he had seen some two or three Mexican Spies riding round our Camp viewing our situation, that he also saw them when they reported to the alamo, and saw them give in the Counter Sign, All of which turned out to be cattle feeding on the prairai, and in Consequence of that report the order was Countermanded during this time men were daily leaving until the army was reduced to about 300, on the morning of the 4th decr. we were ordered by Col. Burleson Commanding the army, to take up our line of March for La Bahia. We took up the line of March but proceeded only as far as the Cols. Tent where we were ordered to halt, at which time a Mexican from the Enemys Camp, came into our Camp and said we could take the Town with much ease, and upon hereing that news we all determined not Leave the ground but remain and Storm the Town that night, the remaining part of the armey with but few exceptions-then proceeded to elect their head officers-for two divisions, the first of which was commdd. by Frank Johnson, and to which our Company (the Gs) belonged; the second by [blank] Milam, the number of men in both divisions were 280. on the following morning about 4 oclock, a company of about 20, or 30 with one Ps. artillery attacked the "Alamo" on the east Side, to draw there attention, while we intered the Town when we came within about 200 yds of the Houses we Droptd all our Blks and our Coates in order that we might not be seen so plain, after we droped of clothing-crossing a brush fence we were fired at by 2 Mexican Pickets the fire was answered by Deaf Smith whose shots took effect
We then took possession of Bowies house, and as we entered Several Mexicans made their escape through doors and windows, the house was then surrounded by the Enemy and they kepted up almost a constant fire from all most all directions, with their cannon and muskets until they surrendered on the 10th. The morning we entered Bowies house, we were destitute of supplies, and could not obtain them without exposing ourselves---a Mexican woman discovered our Situation, and offered her services to get us a Bucket of Water, She got the water and on her return to the house which we occupied, was shot through the arm by the Mexicans, and did not reach our Station; We did not get water until night, we then cut ditches so that we could get to water without endangering our lives, the 4th day after we got in the house, Col. Milam came over to our division and was standing in the yard viewing a Carriage when he recd. a Rifle Ball in his head which proved fatal---his death cause a Gloom throughout the whole division, during the day there was 3 or 4 of the Texians killed and several wounded among the wounded was deaf Smith.
that night Capt W. G Cook determined to enter the public square and asked if there was any person who would go with him, the Grays all with exception of 3 said they would follow him to the devil, there was also Capt W H Patton and 10 or 12 of his company who were willing to follow also, at 11 ock, at night we were waiting for the word "March" under the comd. of Capt Cook, Piloted by J W. Smith, the company did not know where they wer going---Smith said that he would carry them to a house on the square; when they reach the house they found the door barricaded and Smith the (P) became confused and told Capt. Cook he did not [know] where to go, Capt: C. then said follow me boys, which was done immediately by all, he mounted the walls after passing the fire of five or six hundred guns through the port holes of the houses, we passed in hunting a safe retreat, we finally succeeded in getting into Square by climing over the wall one by one, after getting in the square we found ourselves exposed to the Enemys cannon and musketry, we were then Led by Cook to the right, where we entered the doors of the Priests House, we ther found the priest, 1 son and 3 Daughters the son attempted to make his escape through a window but was shot by one of the Grays
We kept the old priest and 3 daughters until the surrender, the Priest informed us as soon as we got into the house, that Ugartechau had just arrived in Town with 1000 men and that he he had no doubt but we would be all killed but we all proceeded to dig up the dirt from the floor with our Bowie Knifes to help to barriccade the doors and windows we also took the beds and trunks that were in the house to aid but as fast as we would put them up against the doors and windows they were Shot out by the Canon of the Enemy, several Balls came through and fell in the floor by us, Capt Cook found our Situation such that we were in great danger, the Cannon balls passing through the house constantly, he then turned to the Company and asked them any which they would choose, retreat, Surrender, or die, they all answered they would die or do,-destitute of Provisions-we then recommenced our labours, barriccading the doors and windows and making port holes-at the dawn we commeced firing through the holes that we had made with our Knives We fires some Eight or ten times Killed 3 or 4 Mexicans-then 1300 Mexicans surrendered and sent ot the priest to Know if they were wright---he said yes, Johnson commanding the division to which we belonged then commenced the terms of Capitulations with cos, I got some thing to eat and Left for Brazoria [Endorsed] Mag Stiffs (account Taking of San antone)
W. G. Cook, Washington, Texas Feb
After the articles of Capitulation had been agreed to by Genls.Burleson & Cos---and the Mexicans had left for Matamoros---the Citizen soldiers were disbanded, and returned to their homes---The Volunteers from the United States consented to remain in charge of the town of San Antonio & the Alamo We were joined by several companies from the U.S.---The Mobile Greys (light Infantry) Capt Burke a compy of mounted men from Tennessee commanded by Capt. Lawrence & an artillery compy commanded by Capt. Pearson.---In the latter part of December 1835, Col. F. Johnston left for the Seat of Govt. (then at San Felipe,) and Col. Grant was left in command---On about the 30th of Decr. he proposed to the troops to march to the Rio Grande, and unite with the Federalists who were then forming an army to operate against the Centralists, and form a new Confederacy of the Northern Mexican States & Texas---To this the larger portion of the troops consented---they were all volunteers, from the U. S. On the 1st. of Jany. 1836 The troops amtg to about 300, took up the line of march for Goliad on their way to the Rio Grande---we arrived near that place on the 5th and encamped near the old mission. Some difficulty occurred between the commandant of that place (Capt. P. Dimitt who had hoisted the flag of independence) and Col Grant, and we all expected to have a fight with his forces---Dimitt refused to furnish us with provisions, of which he had a large store, upon the grounds that we were acting contrary to the wishes of the people of Texas, in uniting with the Mexicans west of the Rio Grande---The next day however, he consented to furnish us with Coffee, Sugar &e &c for a three months campaign---During the time of the altercation both parties were kept in readiness for a fight---after the supplies were furnished we were permitted to exchange civilities---Genl Houston who had been recently appointed Comdr. in Chief, arrived at Goliad a few days after this occurrence---He ordered a general parade, for the purpose (as was stated) to reorganise the troops and explain to them the desire of the Provisional Govt---He did so, and his address completely defeated the object of Col Grant---Houston was accompanied by Cols. James Bowie, Hockley Nibbs and several staff officers---A company under the command of P. S. Wyatt from Alabama was at Goliad on our arrival there---King's compy of about 30 men were stationed at Refugio---It occupied several days to arrange matters between Houston & Grant. Bowie's object appeared to be to induce our men to return to San Antonio---He used ever means in his power to effect this object---They however at length determined to recognise the order of Gerd Houston, and marched to Refugio---A few davs, after our arrival there Cols. Fannin & Ward landed at Copano with the Georgia Battalion and reinforced us at Refugio--Col Fannin assumed the Command---Maj. P. S. Wyatt took the opportunity afforded him by the vessels whicb brought these troops to return to the U. States, paying the expenses of many of his men to return with him---Previous to the arrival of Col. Fannin, Col. Grant left with about 75 men for San Patricio, Maj. R. Morris his second in command---He took with him three pieces of artillery & a large quantity of ammunition---About the 5th of February Maj. Morris whom Grant had left in command at San Patricio whilst he was on an expedition after horses, sent an express to Col Fannin stating that be had received certain information that a force of Mexican troops amtg to 1500 were within a few hours march of him and requesting reinforcements---Col. F. ordered me to take my compy & Capt Burkes & make a forced march to his assistance---We did so---marching the distance of forty eight miles in one day---On our arrival we found that Morris had been misinformed Col Grant and party returned the same day---I neglected to state that Col F. W. Johnston had rejoined us at Refugio and united with Grant The next day after our arrival Col. Grant, Morris & Johnston with the troops who had joined them in all not exceeding 75 left for the Rio Grande, leaving under my charge the Artillery, and a large quantity of Ammunition---They had left but a few hours, when a Mexican officer in full uniform came into town, with a passport and letters from Grant & Morris to me---The amt of Grants letter to me was that he had recd through this officer information from Vital Fernandez, Comdg Genl. of Tamaulipas who offered to unite with him (the moment he reached the Rio Grande), with 1800 men---Morris letter stated that be no longer intended to serve the Govt. of Texas that he had received the appointment to the command of a Regiment in the Federal service of Mexico---I forwarded copies of these letters to Col Fannin, who ordered me to fall back to Goliad, then his Hd quarters, bringing with me all the artillery, ammunition &c which I accordingly did, arriving there about The 12th of Feby---The second day after my arrival at Head quarters, Col. Fannin ordered me to the seat of Govt. with two Mexican prisoners, (the Padre Valdaes and his nephew a Mexican officer)---I arrived in Washington on the evening of the fifth of March and left the next day with General Houston, who had been elected Commander in chief by the Convention, for Gonzales---He appointed me assistant Insp Genl.---We arrived at Gonzales on the afternoon of the 10th where rumors of the fall of the Alamo had just been recd.---The next day we proceeded to form the troops present into a regiment. [The above two paragraphs from William Cook (in reverse order to preserve chronology) are from the Papers of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, no. 2169. Lamar's notation at the bottom says "Endorsed Manuscript of Col. Wm. G. Cook furnished me at Washington Febry 1844]
Storming of San Antonio de Bexar
in 1835. From the State Gazette, 1849 in Baker's Texas Scrapbook.
The enemy were unprepared. Their bugle sounded a wild alarm, and their drums beat hastily to arms. Silently cutting down the sentinels at their posts, the Texans entered the town amid the roar of artillery. Grape-shot and musket fell thick around them, doing but little execution, as they had got near enough to be sheltered by the walls of the houses. Having effected an entrance, the desperate fight was waged from house to house, by making holes through the soft adobe walls, and dislodging the enemy, driving him before them step by step, and street after street. We proceed in the language of the narrator.
"The order was given for fifteen or twenty men to take possession of the roofs of some houses; ten succeeded in gaining the roof, but it was a hot berth, for the enemy poured a deadly fire upon us, killing and wounding several. In the main plaza, or public square, was a large church, in the cupola of which was a party of the enemy's sharp-shooters, who were picking us off. The weather being very cold, and a stiff norther blowing, we had great difficulty in loading our rifles, as the wind blew the powder away. At this moment, Deaf Smith, the spy of the army, the Harvey Birch of Texas, appeared upon the roof of the house where we were, but as he raised himself up and shouted to us the order to come on, he received a ball in the shoulder which disabled him. There were now but five men remaining of the ten who had mounted the roof, and finding that it was certain death to remain in that position, we attempted to return to the ground. We soon cut a hole through the roof large enough to admit of a man's body, and placing myself in my blanket, I requested my comrades to lower me through the opening into the house. Down I went, holding on tight, as I did not know how far it was to the bottom. It was an uncomfortable position to be in, but my friends did not leave me long to my apprehensions, for the blanket slipping through their grasp, down I went ten or twelve feet into the middle of a fire which was burning on a dirt floor, scattering embers and ashes in all directions. jumping up, the first thing that met my gaze was a Mexican officer about to make an attack upon me, but jerking a pistol from my belt, I fired at him before my somewhat disordered faculties assured me that my foe was not an officer, but an officer's uniform banging in such a position as to resemble one. My friends hearing the report, supposed it to be a gone case with me, but their fears being relieved, they joined me in the room below, from which the late occupant had evidently beat a hasty and undressed retreat."
Then the fight continued from house to house, and from street to street, for five days, the loss of the assaulting party being comparatively small. On the 7th, the brave Milam, while leading a charge, was instantly killed by a rifle ball in the head, from a sharp-shooter. The impetuous Captain Thomas Wm. Ward, also, lost a leg in the fight. On the night of the 9th, a combined attack was made upon the priest's house and other buildings upon the public square, and after a determined resistance, the enemy retreated and fled precipitately across the river to the Alamo, where they afterward capitulated. By this affair General Cos and twelve hundred Mexican troops, together with a large quantity of army stores and munitions of war, fell into our hands.