Monday, February 28, 2011

Texas Tidbits: Time Is Not an Ally to Travis and His Men, The Siege of the Alamo, Days 6 - 9

***Quick note: So I don't confuse you with the number of days until a certain event, etc., 1836 was a Leap Year, so that's why it seems like there's an extra day, because there was!  :)***

Remembering Gonzales on the Way to the Alamo
The next four days in the Siege of the Alamo were fairly uneventful as far as the two sides shooting at each other, but there was quite a bit going on away from the Alamo, as Texians from various locations planned to rush to the besieged mission and serve as reinforcements to Colonel Travis command. Dodging roving Mexican troops was a constant problem for the reinforcements, even causing some of the men headed for the Alamo to become separated from their larger group. At this point, we turn to ever useful Wikipedia: "After learning that Fannin was not coming and that there would likely be no other reinforcements,[77] a group of 25 men set out from Gonzales at 2 pm on Saturday, February 27.[96] They were led by Martin and George Kimbell, Almaron Dickinson's business partner.[97] As the group passed the ranch of volunteer John G. King on their way out of town his fifteen-year-old son, Wiliam, rushed out and asked to take his father's place, as John King was needed to support the family's nine children. The men agreed, and William exchanged places with his father.[98] On the march to Bexar eight additional men joined the group.[99] The men carried with them the first flag ever made for use in a Texian battle; the Come and take it flag from the Battle of Gonzales." There's more to this story and you can read it at Wikipedia.

Time was not a trusty ally to the Defenders of the Alamo, nor to the men who would be much-needed firepower to the weary men at the mission, for within a week's time, they would all perish pursuing those most-cherished of God-given rights, the Twin Sisters of Liberty and Freedom.

God bless Texas!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Texas History: The Battle of the Alamo- The First Five Days

Brave men, one and all
We have covered quite a bit of territory since we began chronicling The Battle of the Alamo earlier this week. One of the more surprising things that I personally learned was that for the first few days of the battle, the local citizenry was allowed to come and go in and out of the Alamo almost at will. As a matter of fact, Juan Seguin had his dinners delivered to him by one of the locals! All in all, it was a fairly quiet week as far as warfare goes, but you can sense what is about to happen, and it ain't good for the "Home Team".

Some of the posts are a bit long, but they are well worth the time it takes to read them.The week in review:
As I read more and more of the Texians' epic struggle for Freedom, the deeper I find that mentally I am immersing myself deep and deeper into this historic conflict. It's almost like a movie of the day by day events playing inside my head. Like a fly on the wall, I can see everything unfolding in front of me - the Texians fortifying there position inside the mission, while on the Mexican side, General Santa Anna maneuvers his men into just the right formation for the massive attack on the Alamo that is a mere few days away. I can plainly see Colonel William B. Travis, hastily and with great emotion penning his famous plea for more men and supplies at the Alamo (the letter is in the "Day 2" post above).

I hope you enjoy reading or re-reading the history of the first five days of the siege of the Alamo as much as I liked researching and writing them. Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and read away!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Texas Tidbits: The Siege of the Alamo, Days 4 & 5

The End is Near
The Siege of the Alamo was now entering its fourth day. Colonel Travis' urgent appeals for help were still unanswered, while the number of men underthe command of General Santa Anna was growing almost daily. The first three days of the siege were mostly uneventful, however the battle yet to come was building to a crescendo. It would be a mere five days more and the Battle of the Alamo would be one of the most famous military engagements in the history of mankind. Several hundred Mexican troops and every defender of the Alamo would lay dead.

In what seems a bit odd, the townspeople of Bexar were allowed to come and go near or into Alamo. Juan Seguin even had his meals made and brought to him while holed up in the Alamo. The Mexican Army had lobbed a couple of hundred cannon shots into the coutryard of the Alamo and the Texians would retrieve them and then later use them against the Mexicans. This is stuff I never had neard of before today. I mean here we are in the middle of arguably the most famous military skirmishes ever and people were coming and going into the battle zone as they saw fit! Things would soon get serious. Dead serious. Wikipedia picks up the story from here:
Although the Texians had matched Mexican artillery fire, on February 26, Travis ordered the artillery to stop firing to conserve powder and shot. Crockett and his men were encouraged to keep shooting, as they rarely missed and thus didn't waste shot.[72] Through the early days of the siege, the Texians didn't bother to take cover, as the Mexicans were too far out of their range to cause harm with their muskets; any Mexican soldier who ventured within 200 yards (180 m) of the Alamo, however, risked death or injury.[73] A blue norther blew in that evening and dropped the temperature to 39 degrees F.[72] Neither army was prepared for the cold temperatures.[59] Several Texians ventured out to gather firewood but returned empty-handed after encountering Mexican skirmishers.[72] On the evening of February 26, the Texians burned more huts, these located near the San Luis Potosi Battalion.[62] Santa Anna sent Colonel Juan Bringas to engage the Texians, and according to Edmondson, one Texian was killed.[74] On February 26, news of the siege finally reached acting governor James W. Robinson, who immediately sent a courier to find Sam Houston.[75] Travis's messengers were having small successes. Albert Martin had reached Gonzales, the most westerly community of Texians, on February 25, the day after Sutherland and Smith had arrived with Travis's first message.[72][76] As couriers delivered the messages to other settlements, reinforcements assembled in Gonzales, waiting for Fannin to arrive with more troops so they could travel together.[77] In Gonzales itself, Robert "Three-Legged Willie" Williamson began a recruitment drive.[78] In Bastrop, Edward Burleson began organizing a militia, which likely left for Gonzales on February 27,[79] arriving the following day.[80]
Unbeknownst to the Texians, Colonel James Fannin had finally decided to ride to their relief.[81] Historian Robert Scott suggests that the trip was initiated after Fannin's objections were overridden by his officers.[82] On the morning of February 26, he set out with 320 men, 4 cannon, and several supply wagons for the 90 miles (140 km) march from Goliad to the Alamo.[81] The Goliad garrison had no horses to move the wagons and artillery and were forced to rely on oxen.[62] Barely 200 yards (180 m) into their journey, one of the wagons broke down, and the expedition stopped for repairs.[81] The group then took six hours to cross the waist-deep water of the San Antonio River. By the time they reached the other side it was dark, and the men camped along the river. The cold front reached Goliad that evening, and the poorly-dressed soldiers were "quickly chilled and miserable" in the driving rain.[83] On awakening, Fannin realized that all of the Texian oxen had wandered off, and that his men had neglected to pack food for the journey.[84] It took most of the day for the men to round up the oxen; after two days of travel, Fannin's men had not even ventured 1 mile (1.6 km) from their fort.[85] In a letter to Acting Governor James Robinson, Fannin said that his officers approached him to ask that the rescue trip be cancelled, as they had received word that General Urrea's army was marching towards Goliad.[83] The officers and men in the expedition claimed that Fannin decided on his own to abort the mission. Several of the men agreed with the decision, with Dr. Barnard writing in his journal, "With but three or four hundred men, mostly on foot, with but a limited supply of provisions, to march a distance of nearly one-hundred miles through uninhabited country for the purpose of relieving a fortress beleaguered by five-thousand men was madness!"[86]
Before initially leaving Goliad, Fannin sent a courier to Gonzales to instruct Williamson to rendezvous at Cibolo Creek, halfway between Gonzales and Goliad.[78] On February 28, about 60 men, including Captain Albert Martin, travelled the 20 miles (32 km) from Gonzales to Cibolo Creek to wait for Fannin and his men.[80][87] Lindley speculates that Fannin sent an advance relief for under Captain John Chenoweth and Francis de Sauque to scout the area around Bexar. The advance force reached as far as the Seguin ranch, gathering corn, cattle, horses, and mules, then turned back to wait along Cibolo Creek for the remainder of Fannin's force.[78][88]
Several residents had seen Fannin march from Goliad and sent messengers to Bexar to inform Santa Anna that Fannin and 300 men were headed for the Alamo. Santa Anna ordered Colonel Juan Almonte and 800 dragoons to intercept the Texian relief force.[89] Unaware of Fannin's aborted relief mission, Travis sent James Bonham to Goliad to persuade him.[90] Bonham was asked to tie a white handkerchief around his hat when he returned so that the Texians would know to open the gates for him.[91]
Much of the Mexican army's provisions were in the rear of the convoy with Gaona and Filisola. Santa Anna had hoped to restock his army's supplies in Bexar, but were unable to find much.[92] He finally asked a local citizen, Manuel Menchaca, to help them find food; Menchaca led the army to the Seguin and Florez ranches and liberated all of their corn, beef, and hogs.[93] Santa Anna sent more couriers to Gaona and Filisola to urge them to hury; Filisola was still at the Rio Grande.[92]
During the day the Mexican army tried to block the irrigation ditch leading into the Alamo. Texian Green Jameson tasked the men in the Alamo with finishing a well at the south end of the plaza. Although the men hit water, they weakened an earth and timber parapet by the low barracks; the mound collapsed, leaving no way to fire safely over that wall.[94] The same day Texians spotted a Mexican general surrounded by aides and dragoons and fired, but did not hit any of them.[73] The Texians did not realize it was Santa Anna.

The Texas Revolution would soon reach a fevered pitch and the fall of the Alamo would be a rally cry for the Texian Army, for the Battle of San Jacinto and Independence for Texas were less than two months away.

Remember the Alamo! And God bless Texas!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Texas Tidbits:The Siege of the Alamo, Day 3

Two Star Flag PO'ed the Mexicans(see below)
On February 25, 1836 the Alamo had been under siege by the Mexican Army under the command of Santa Anna. Still under bombardment from the night before, about 10:00am Santa Anna sent some of his men to set up some artillery batteries in some abandoned homes near the Alamo. The defenders quickly recognized what was going on and "Travis called for volunteers to burn the huts, despite the fact that it was broad daylight and they would be within musket range of the Mexican soldiers.[55] Charles Despallier, Robert Brown, James Rose and a few others volunteered for the mission.[57] To provide cover, Dickinson and his men fired their 8-lb cannons, filled with grapeshot and canister, at the Mexican soldiers in the huts. Crockett and his men fired rifles, while other Texians reloaded extra weapons for them. Within two hours the battle was over.[56] As soon as the Texians saw flames erupting from the huts they threw open the Alamo gate, and the Texians re-entered the Alamo, unscathed,[58] although Rose was almost captured by a Mexican officer.[57] The Mexican soldiers retreated,[59] after six of their soldiers were killed and four wounded, while several Texians had been mildly scratched by flying rock.[54]
That afternoon Mexican soldiers were posted east of the Alamo, on the road to Gonzales.[54] Santa Anna learned that a beautiful 17-year-old girl, Melchora Barrera, and her widowed mother had remained in town, and he dispatched one of his men to ask the girl to be Santa Anna's mistress. According to historian J.R. Edmondson, the girl's mother refused the offer, and, although Santa Anna was already married, one of his officers dressed up as a priest and performed a marriage ceremony. Santa Anna then retired to enjoy a honeymoon.[60]Santa Anna sent a messenger to tell Gaona to hurry to Bexar with his three best companies.[61] At the time, the First Brigade was at San Ambrosio, a day's march north of the Rio Grande. According to the diary of Jose Enrique de la Pena, on this day carelessness led the Aldama Battalion's powder supply to catch fire, causing "considerable alarm".[62] Travis also wrote another letter requesting help. The Texian officers voted that Seguin should carry the message.[63] Travis was adamant that Seguin remain behind, as his knowledge of the language, the countryside, and Mexican customs was invaluable.[64] The Texians believed that none of the other couriers had made it through the Mexican lines,[65] and told Travis that Seguin's knowledge of Spanish would also help him to avoid capture by Mexican patrols.[66] Seguin, riding Bowie's horse, which was the fastest in the mission, and his aide Antonio Cruz left about 9 pm.[54] Seguin did not expect to survive the mission; he and Cruz encountered a Mexican cavalry patrol[67] but were able to escape using their knowledge of Spanish and the local terrain.[54]
After dark, a small party of Texians left the Alamo to burn down more of the huts; all were able to return to the Alamo without injury.[68] Despite their efforts, several huts remained standing, and overnight the Mexican army was able to erect a battery only 300 yards (270 m) from the Alamo.[69] An additional battery was erected at a location known as old Powderhouse, 1,000 yards (910 m) to the southeast of the Alamo. The Mexican army now had artillery stationed on three sides of the Alamo.[54] Historian Walter Lord said that in the evening several Mexicans left the Alamo and asked to surrender to Santa Anna; they were told that Santa Anna had retired for the evening and could not be disturbed"

While day three of the conflict was a "good one" for the Texians, their most trying days were still ahead of them, the Ultimate Sacrifice for their country would be the end result.

***The two star flag showed Texas & Coahuila  as separate states. The Mexicans were not amused.***

***The Quoted Text Above and the Two Star Flag are From Wikipedia***

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Texas Tidbits: The Siege of the Alamo, Day 2

 This is the letter that Colonel William B. Travis wrote as the  Mexican Army was growing in numbers by the day. This letter is
perhaps the most famous handwritten manuscript in the history of Texas. facing certain death, Travis and his men held the Alamo for another eleven days, thus allowing troops in other parts of Texas to organize and ready themselves to fight for their God-given rights of Freedom and Liberty.

The siege of the Alamo entered its second day on February 24, 1836. James Bowie had fallen ill and confined himself to a room on the south side of the Alamo, leaving full command of the mission to Colonel William B. Travis. Seeing the enemy's 5000 troops against less than 200 of his own men, Travis sent out a desparate plea for reenforcements. His letter became one of the most famous manuscripts in the history of our country.

Colonel Travis wrote:

Commandancy of the Alamo
Bexar, Fby. 24th, 1836

To the People of Texas &
all Americans in the world
Fellow Citizens & Compatriots

I am besieged by a thousand
or more of the Mexicans under
Santa Anna. I have sustained a
continual bombardment &
cannonade for 24 hours & have
not lost a man. The enemy
has demanded a surrender at
discretion, otherwise the garrison
are to be put to the sword if
the fort is taken. I have answered
the demand with a cannon
shot, and our flag still waves
proudly from the walls. I
shall never surrender nor retreat.

Then, I call on you in the
name of Liberty, of patriotism, &
of everything dear to the American
character, to come to our aid 

with all dispatch. The enemy is
receiving reinforcements daily &
will no doubt increase to three or
four thousand in four or five days.
If this call is neglected, I am deter-
mined to sustain myself as long as
possible & die like a soldier
who never forgets what is due to
his own honor & that of his
Victory or Death
William Barret Travis
Lt. Col. Comdt.

P. S. The Lord is on our side.
When the enemy appeared in sight
we had not three bushels of corn.
We have since found in deserted
houses 80 or 90 bushels & got into
the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves.


(Colonel Travis' letter copied from here)

Once again we quote from Wikipedia as they detail further goings on on February 24, 1836, "Travis sent the letter with courier Albert Martin, who delivered it to Gonzales.[48] There, Launcelot Smithers took custody of the message and delivered it to San Felipe,[49] where it was read by Governor Henry Smith. Smith told the colonists at San Felipe "to fly to the aid of your besieged countrymen and not permit them to be massacred by a mercenary foe. ... The call is upon ALL who are able to bear army, to rally without one moment's delay, or in fifteen days the heart of Texas will be the seat of war."[50] The letter was eventually reprinted throughout the United States and much of Europe.[44]
In early evening Mexican Colonel Juan Bringas led scouts across a footbridge over the San Antonio River; Texian sharpshooters quickly killed one soldier and the Mexicans retreated, but Davy Crockett managed to drop a second man before the enemy finally reached cover.[44] Throughout the night the Mexican artillery sporadically bombarded the church and long barracks, while the Mexican army fired muskets and shouted to fool the Texians into believing that an assault was imminent, or that Texian reinforcements were being slaughtered.[51] Santa Anna also ordered that his military band serenade the Texians throughout the night. Mexican soldiers took advantage of the darkness and the distractions of the countrymen to erect two more artillery batteries around the Alamo.[44] The two batteries combined to hold two 8-lb cannon, two 6-lb cannon, two 4-lb cannon, and two 7-in howitzers. One of the batteries was located along the right bank of the San Antonio River, approximately 1,000 feet (300 m) from the south wall of the Alamo. The other was located 1,000 feet (300 m) east of the eastern wall.[52] By the end of the first full day of siege the Mexican army had been reinforced by 600 of Sesma's troops.[53] Gaona and the First Brigade were still several days march away, while an additional 400–500 men and most of the Mexican artillery were struggling through mud south of Bexar."

 Reading Colonel Travis' letter and knowing the strength of the Mexican Army was growing by the day, one can almost sense the desperation of the moment. Yet Travis and his men remained defiant in the face of the astronomical odds against them. For these brave souls, staring Death in the face every moment of every day must have been like living in Hell. However, these men knew that the cause they were willing to die for was much bigger than themselves. They would not die in vain. They died for Freedom and Liberty. They died for Texas, God rest their souls and God bless Texas.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Battle of the Alamo

The Shrine of Texas Liberty
February 23, 1836 is one of the most important dates in the annals of Texas History. It was on this date 175 years ago that one of the most famous battles ever fought on any land got underway. The Battle of the Alamo had begun. Today, as we recount the events of Febrary 23, 1836, I will forego my usual commentary and allow those who are far more qualified than I to retell the story of the defining moment in Texas History.

We begin with this from Wikipedia : "In the early hours of February 23, residents began fleeing Béxar, fearing the Mexican army's imminent arrival. Although unconvinced by the reports, Travis stationed a soldier in the San Fernando church bell tower—the highest location in town—to watch for signs of an approaching force.[22] Travis then sent Captain Philip Dimitt and Lieutenant Benjamin Noble to scout for the Mexican Army's location.[24] At approximately 2:30 that afternoon[24] the church bell began to ring; the soldier stationed in the tower claimed to have seen flashes in the distance.[22] Dimitt and Noble had not returned, so Travis sent Dr. James Sutherland[Note 3] and John W. Smith on horseback to scout the area.[22][24] Smith and Sutherland spotted members of the Mexican cavalry within 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of the town and returned to Béxar at a run."
Wikipedia continues with the story. sums it up very nicely with these words:"People worldwide continue to remember the Alamo as a heroic struggle against impossible odds — a place where men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. For this reason, the Alamo remains hallowed ground and the Shrine of Texas Liberty."

I can add only six words to all that you've read in this post. Remember the Alamo! God bless Texas!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Texas Tidbits: Juan Seguin - Man of Courage

A Hero in Any Language
It's very easy to get caught up in the history of the Texas Revolution and just do the easy thing and write about such Texas heroes as Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett and Sam Houston. Today, I am going to recognize heroes of the Revolution that were actually born in Texas, specifically Texas-born Mexicans. After all, Texas was still a state of Mexico as the Revolution  raged on. This was, after all, their home and they were sending their fathers, sons and brothers into battle also, and many of these men were as much a hero as any man who fought at the Alamo. Texas was their home and, like the more famous names in Texas History, Freedom and Liberty were these men's dreams.

One of the more notable Texas-born Mexican of the Texas Revolution was Juan Seguin. Seguin's is a very interesting story. We begin the story of Juan Seguin as he had just arrived at the Alamo with a band of Texas-born Mexicans to assist Colonel Travis in defend the mission. his stay would be a short one, "Captain Juan N. Seguin, son of Don Erasmo Seguin, organized a company of Texas-born Mexicans to aid in the defense of the Alamo. The native population of San Antonio repeatedly warned Col. Travis to retreat, warning him that he was certain to be overwhelmed, but evidently his hope of receiving aid from other sources caused him to remain. Seguin's men not only assisted in the storming of Bexar, in the preceding December, but some were then serving as scouts for Houston's army at González. Seven of this company fell at the Alamo; namely: Juan Abanillo, Gregorio Esparza, Antonio Fuentes, Toribio Losoya, Andres Nava and Juan Antonio Padilla, all natives of San Antonio, and José Maria Guerrero called "El Tuerto," from Laredo....." Please continue to read about Juan Seguin's service to Texas during the Revolution here at the library at Texas A&M. It's an amazing look at a man who played a pivotal part in the Texan victory over General Santa Anna.

I salute the brave men of Mexican ancestry whose dream of being free men and their willingness to fight and, in many cases, die for Texas' Independence is a legacy not forgotten by the people of Texas nearly 200 years later. I offer to these men a simple prayer...Vayan con Dios, mis amigos. Vayan con Dios. En el Nombre del Padre, el hijo y el Espirito Santo. Amen.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Texas Tidbits: Susanna Dickinson, Alamo Survivor

Oh, Susanna!
For the last couple of weeks, we have been learning about the men during the siege of the Alamo, including a freed slave named Joe. At least two more people survived the onslaught of the Mexican Army during those thirteen days in Febrauary and March of 1836 - Susanna Dickinson and infant daughter, Angelina. Mrs. Dickinson was set free when she refused an offer by General Santa Anna himself to adopt Angelina and have her educated in Mexico. Upon that refusal, Susanna was given $2 and told to go forth and spread the word of the power of the Mexican Army and to tell pthers that any attempt to resist the Mexican Army would be futile. She told others what Santa Anna wanted her to. One of those she told was Sam Houston. We know what happened a few weeks later.

According to Wikipedia;
Susanna Dickinson reported, after the battle, the following had occurred during the siege and ultimate fight;
  • There were very few casualties before the final assault. She did not know the number.
  • She confirms that the legendary "line in the sand" incident, where Col. William Travis gave the defenders the choice of staying or leaving, did happen. However, she reports that it happened the day before the final assault, when it is believed to have happened on either March 3 or March 4.
  • On the morning of the assault, her husband ran in to where she'd hidden, made his final statements to her and revealing that the Mexicans were inside, then returned to his duty. She never saw him again, nor did she ever see his body.
  • She hid inside the chapel, and did not see the actual battle. One defender ran inside during the battle, attempting to hide, but was killed by Mexican soldiers.
  • When she was discovered, a Mexican officer intervened, with her saying she believed he was a British mercenary named either Black or Almonte. She was mistaken about his ethnicity, as he was Col. Juan Nepomuceno Almonte, who spoke perfect English, having been educated in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Outside there was a single survivor, found hiding, who unsuccessfully begged for mercy and was killed. Joe also reported this, claiming the man's name was Warner. However no Warner is listed as being at the Alamo. The closest name in similarity to Warner is Henry Warnell, however Warnell departed the Alamo as a courier on February 28, 1836.
  • She saw the body of Davy Crockett between the chapel and the barracks building.
  • She saw the body of Jim Bowie with two dead Mexican soldiers lying beside him.
  • She was taken to a house where she'd previously lived, and from there could see the pyres of the dead being burned.
  • The next day she was taken before Santa Anna, and Almonte, or Black, convinced Santa Anna to release her rather than imprison her.
  • At some point after the battle, she has no recollections, only that she wept for days.
Some points of Dickinson's account were confirmed by other survivors, including Enrique Esparza, the son of Alamo defender Gregorio Esparza. Joe confirmed other statements. End of Wiki info.

What a story Susanna Dickinson had to tell. You can read more on her Wikipedia page. I wish I had more time and space to dedicate to Mrs. Dickinson's incredible story. Perhaps we can re-visit this story again in the future. It really fascinates me with what the few survivors of the Battle of the Alamo had to say about what they saw and heard during those historic thirteen days in 1836.

God bless Susanna Dickinson and may God continue to bless Texas.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Texas History - The Week in Review

We have had a very interesting week in traveling back and time to observe Texas History almost as if we were right along side some of the eyewitnesses to the events of the Texas Revolution. Your response to the posts of the past week has been amazing. I want to thank all of you from literally all over the world for taking time to visit the site and learning or re-learning, as the case may be, the History of that grand place we call Texas.

If you didn't get a chance to read one or all of the posts for the last week, I'll list them below for you and you can play catch up in order to be ready for more of the history of the Lone Star State.

Texas History: The Week in Review
That ought to keep you busy for a while. I uncovered some really cool stuff this week about some ordinary people who transformed themselves into heroes whose names and memories will live forever. They fought for Freedom and Liberty and had no real chance to win either. But they won the war and in the process created an independent nation that survived much like the men who died for it - with courage, bravery and the will to overcome great odds. Men truly forged of a hotter fire. Men known all over the world by a single common bond. Men known as Texans. God blessed Texas with these men and may He continue to bless her today.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Texas Tidbits: A Texas Hero from Germany

The Texas Revolution drew men from all over the United States in support of the Texians and their fight for freedom. Some of these men were recent immigrants from locations all over the world. One such man was Dr. Gustavus Bunsen of Frankfurt, Germany. Gustavus came from a well to do, educated family and he was no stranger to war. He had participated in wars in Poland and Germany before coming to the United States, so the Texas Revolution seemed like a natural fit to him.

Gustavus settled for a short time in Cincinnati where he joined the Louisville Volunteers in October, 1835 then he was bound for Texas where he was soon to die at the hands of Mexican Troops.An unpleasant task resulted in someone having to tell the soldier's family of his death and then settling the soldier's estate. In the case of Dr. Bunsen, this duty fell to William Longerheim. Below is a copied and pasted PDF describing the battle in which Dr. Bunsen died, the circumstances of his death and more. It's a bit of a read, but it's well worth your time to "be there" on that day in 1836.

Affidavit of William Longenheim concerning the death

Of Dr Gustavus Bunsen

William Longenheim being duly sworn stateth as follows:

I am a native of Germany, citizen of the Republic of Texas

And reside at this city at present.  In the year 1836 while I

was serving as orderly Sergeant in Capt. P. Thomas Pear-

-sons 1   Artillery Company of the Texian Volunteer-

Army, Gustavus Bunsen M.D. a native of the Free City of

Frankfurt o/m in Germany joined the said Company, while

encamped near the town of Goliad or La Bahia in Texas.

Towards the end of the month of February 1836 this company

was together with the Company of Capt. Llewellyn under-

-command of Colonels Johnson and Charles Grant employed

in bringing horses for the use of the Texian Army from the

State of Tamaulipas into Texas.         Shortly after this party

arrived on the north bank of the river Nueces I was detached

by order of Cols. Johnson and Grant to take in charge the horses

we had collected and guard them at the farm of Don Manuel

a mexican proprietor about two miles south of the town of

the irish settlement at San Patricio in Texas.         Amongst the

12 men I had to select to guard the horses was my friend the

above named Dr Gustavus Bunsen.             On the 27   of February

the party under my charge was surprised and attacked by the

advanced guard of the right division of the mexican army

then about invading Texas under command of General Urrea.

In the first moment of the attack Dr G. Bunsen, then very

close to me, was wounded b y bullets in the head and in the

breast as I clearly perceived and fell down apparently dead.

Myself and three of my comrades were taken prisoners, the

rest of them were killed on the spot or severely wounded.

After some days the eldest son of the owner of the farm, having

obtained admission to the prison, where we were kept, related

to me the fate of my wounded comrades.           Dr Bunsen, with

whom he became acquanted during our encampment at his


[Begin page two]

fathers farm, he said, died of his wounds the same he was

wounded at his fathers house and was burried at the burrial

place of his family in the garden adjoining the house.          In

the early part of the month of May, while I was kept as

prisoner the war in the prison of Matamoros I met the owner

of the farm, who confirmed the statement of this son in every

particular as well in respect of the wounds as the death and

burial of the said Dr Gustavus Bunsen.  About the same time

John Spiess a native of Aargan in Switzerland, who had be-

longed to the party under my charge and being shot through

the hip in the conflict was not kept with the rest of the

prisoners having gained admittance to the prison at Matamo-

ros stated to me in presence of my companions, that the

said Dr Bunsen after being wounded very severely in the

attack, died the same afternoon in the same room where he,

the said john spiess, lay wounded nd that his body was

buried the following day.

         I know the above designated owner of the farm and his son

as an upright, religious and well behaved men and the said

John Spiess, who had been in company with Dr Bunsen since

he left the town of Louisville in the state of Kentucky, as an

honest, well meaning and veracious man.           I therefore have

no doubt that the statement as above related is true and

that Dr Gustavus Bunsen is actually dead.

Phineas Jencks Mahan and George Copeland natives of

Philadelphia and now residing near the city of Houston

in Texas were taken prisoners in the above narration engage-

-ment and will, I have no doubt, confirm the facts of this


                             William Longenheim

Sworn and subscribed ∫

before me one of the         ∫

Aldermen of the City  ∫

of Philadelphia             ∫

Jany 5. 1841                ∫

          O. Christian      ∫

This PDF was copied and pasted from the Handbook of Texas Online

God bless men like Dr. Gustavus Bunsen and may God continue to bless Texas.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Texas Tidbits: The Story of Joe the Slave at the Alamo

Earliest Known Image of the Alamo
While many of us are familiar with the names of the men who died at the Battle of the Alamo, very few of us are familiar with the names of those who survived the attack. yes, there some who made it out alive. One such survivor was a freed slave of William B. Travis, commander of the Alamo. The only name we can find for the slave is Joe. This man was an eyewitness to the happenings of one of the most famous military engagements in history, and he lived to tell about it.

Here's an excerpt from The Handbook of Texas Online : "Joe claimed that when Gen. Antonio López deSanta Annaqv's troops stormed the Alamo on March 6, 1836, he armed himself and followed Travis from his quarters into the battle, fired his gun, then retreated into a building from which he fired several more times. After the battle, Mexican troops searched the buildings within the Alamo and called for any blacks to reveal themselves. Joe did so and was struck by a pistol shot and bayonet thrust before a Mexican captain intervened. Sam, James Bowie's slave, was also reported to have survived the battle, but no further record of him is known to exist. Joe was taken into Bexar, where he was detained. He observed a grand review of the Mexican army before being interrogated by Santa Anna about Texas and its army. Accounts of his departure from the Alamo differ, but he later joined Susanna W. Dickinson and her escort, Ben, Santa Anna's black cook, on their way to Gen. Sam Houston's camp at Gonzales."

Joe was also the only living witness to the famous story about Colonel Travis drawing a line in the sand of the coutryard of the Alamo. The story goes that Travis drew a line in he sand and told his men that bthey could stay and almost certainly perish defending the Alamo or leave without losing their honor. Every last soldier corssed that line and sacrificed his life for the cause of Idependence for Texas. Except for one. He crossed the line to fight along side the orher men, but soo sneaked out if the Alamo before the fight began. He was a French guy. Go figger. Joe the slave told that story to a gathering of the Cabinet of thr new Republic of Texas and was commended for honesty and integrtiy.

Another excerpt from The Handbook of Texas Online gives this account of what later became of Joe: "he remained until April 21, the first anniversary of the battle of San Jacinto. On that day, accompanied by an unidentified Mexican man and taking two fully equipped horses with him, he escaped. A notice offering fifty dollars for his return was published by the executor of Travis's estate in the Telegraph and Texas Register
on May 26, 1837. Presumably Joe's escape was successful, for the notice ran three months before it was discontinued on August 26, 1837. Joe was last reported in Austin in 1875"

I look back at this story and think what a shame it was that Joe did not the opportunity to tell his story to the people of Texas in a book. He was, after all, there when the Alamo fell, and his recollections of that March day in 1836 would have added to the Historical Record, so that future generations would forever more be able to read a first hand account of those thirteen days that stand as one of the greatest stories ever told. Alas, it was not to be.

God bless Joe and may God continue to bless Texas.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Issy Gets Her Own Blog!!!


I am adding yet another blog to the TexNetMaine Blogging Network! Read on for all the details!

Following in Daddy's Footsteps
I was taliking to my eight year old daughter this morning as she was geting ready for school and I came up with a brilliant idea. A little info first: Isabella (my 8 year old) is a very smart little girl. She is a leader when it comes to her class at school. She works and studies diligently and is always bringing  home some sort of Classroom Award for the school work she does. Her mother and I are very proud of her. Issy also a very creative child. She's constantly drawing or writing a story, usually about her family.  :) It's her creativity that that I think will serve her well a she grows up and in fact one day it's that creative streak in her that could make her very successful in whatever she chooses to do in life.

THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: Issy is going to have her own blog! I am going ro put it together for her over the next day or two and then Issy is on her own to write about whatever she wants to. I think it will a great tool in developing her writing skills as well as honing the tremendous gift of her creative abilities. Also, I think it will be a great way for adults to see what an eight year old mind observes in the world around her, and maybe those parents who read Issy's blog will talk to their own children about the subject of  that particular day. It's a win-win situation for everybody. The subject matter of Issy's blog will vary from day to day, thus offering a variety of things for kids to read and maybe even learn from.

IMPORTANT STUFF FOR PARENT TO READ: I am going to supervise every key stroke that Issy is posting to her blog. I understand the potential dangers a child could face on the internet, so I'll be like a duck on a June Bug when it comes to making sure that Issy is safe from these potential dangers. Therefore, by extension, your child will be safe in reading the stories Issy posts. My child and yours are the number 1 concern when it comes to internet safety. Rest assured that what is posted on Issy's blog will be scrtinized personally by me. Issy won't even have the password to her blog, so there's one safety measure in place right there. I'll also set the blog to be family friendly with certain filters that will block any material unsuitable for children. The bottom line is that I am asking for your trust in me that your child will be 100% safe when reading Issy's blog.

I guess that's bout it. Be looking for a big announcement when Issy's blog goes live! now it's off to Blog Design Land!

***cross posted at TexNetMaine & Because Toby Said So***

Texas Tidbits : Brother vs Brother in the Texas Revolution

One of the things about the Texas Revolution that I hadn't considered was the possibility that brothers could face brother in combat. In other words, Brother A would be on the Texas side of the conflict and his own flesh and blood, Brother B, could be on the Mexican side of the war, much like the Civil War. Such a scenario played out in the Texas Revolution between Franciso Esparza in the Mexican Army and his brother, Gregorio, was a defender of the Alamo. Talk about your basic dilemma. Fortunately, francisco was not involved in the Mexican assault on the Alamo, yet his brother Gregorio was killed in the battle. Francisco obtained permission from his commander, General Cos (of whom will hear more later) , to retrieve the body of his dead brorther and give it a proper burial.

The document chronicles this event:

THE STATE OF TEXAS. ∫  Before me Saml. S. Smith, Clerk of the County
∫  Court of Bexar County personally appeared Fran-
COUNTY OF BEXAR ∫  cisco Esparza a Citizen of Bexar County to me
personally known, who being by me first duly sworn upon his oath saith that the late
Gregorio Esparza was his Brother; that said Gregorio Esparza about the middle of
October 1835.  entered the Texas service as a volunteer, and as such volunteer Soldier
he entered Bexar between the mornings of the 5th
 and 10th
 of December 1835.  with the
American forces; he remained in Bexar until the approach of Genl. Santa Anna when
he entered the Alamo, when he was killed with Cols. Travis, Crockett, Bowie and
the other Americans.  After the fall of the Alamo I applied and obtained permission
from Genl. Cos to take the body of my Brother (Gregorio Esparza) and bury it.  I
proceeded to the Alamo and found the dead body of my Brother in one of the Rooms
of the Alamo, he had received a ball in his breast, and a stab from a sword in his
side, I took his body in company with two of my brothers, took his body, and we
proceeded and interred it the burrying ground (Campo Santo) on the West side of the
San Pedro Creek, where it still lies.  My Brother at the takin of Bexar was under
the command of Col. Juan N. Seguin and Capt. Don Manuel Flores and a member of
their company.  I was not in service at the time of the Storming of Bexar, the company
to which I belonged the Local Presidial Company of Bexar, and the soldiers of the
company of the Alamo were under the Capitulation of Genl. Cos, allowed to remain
in Bexar with their families, I remained with my family, as I was born here, and
had always lived here;  When Santa Anna arrived here in Feb. 1836.  He gave orders
that all those who were the local Soldiers at the Capitulation of Genl. Cos, should
hold ourselves themselves in readiness to join the Army for active service, but he
never called us away from our homes.  I remained here, when Santa Anna’s Army
went into the interior of Texas, and I am now fifty-four years of age and have always
lived here ever since, and done and performed all the duties of a good Citizen, as
all my neighbors can testify.  I mention these facts to show the reason why permis-
sion was given me to bury the body of my Brother.  The legal heirs of my said De-
ceased Brother, Gregorio Esparza, are as follows “To Wit:”  Enriquez Esparza;
Manuel Esparza; and Francisco Esparza his sons, who are living now in AttascosoCounty together at their Ranche.
Sworn to and ∫ his
subscribed, (he ∫ Francisco         X        Esparza
making his mark for ∫           mark
signature declaring his ∫
inability to write) this ∫
 day of August 1859.  And I do hereby certify that the said Francisco Esparza is
personally known to me to be the identical person he represents himself to be, and
that he is a man of credibility, and a Citizen of Texas, and a resident of Bexar County.
And that after having read over the above depositions to the said deponent and no one
being present but him and myself and he being again duly sworn by me, he upon his
oath said that his depositions, as written out above, are true and correct, and he
signed the same in my presence, making his mark, declaring his inability to write.
In testimony where of I have hereunto signed
My name and affixed the seal of the County
Court of said county, at Office, in San Antonio
S E A L this 26th
 day of August 1859.
/s/ Sam S. Smith
Clk CCB Co

It's hard for me to imagine taking up arms against my younger brother, and be faced with the possibilty of having to kill him or be killed by him. (BTW, I do have a younger brother who just turned 21 in December)
Such a decision would only take a milli-second to make, but the lifetime of the horror of making such a decision would haunt me forever. Thank God, I'll never have tro make that choice, but my hesrt goes to those in the Texas Revolution who had no choice. It was war and war is hell. God rest the souls who were confronted with such a dilemma. God bless Texas!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Grown Man Recalls a Childhood Incident in the Texas Revolution

As we continue to remember the history of Texas as she was about to become an independent nation, I found a letter from a man, Henry B. Andrews, who, as a child was a witness to what was going on in Texas after the fall of the Alamo. Word spread quickly across Texas that General Santa Anna was moving eastward toward the populated areas of Texas. The people of Texas were in a state of panic at the mere thought that the powerful Mexican Army would soon be their town. They quickly picked up all they could carry with them and left the rest of their belongings behind and fled their homes seeking safety elsewhere.

Henry B. Andrews was a small boy at that time all this was going on. Over forty years later, he wrote this letter to woman whose father was killed in service to the cause of freedom for Texas and its people. The letter:
Miss. Maggie Falvel ζ
     Galveston ζ
In answer to your letter
of the 25. Last.  I can cheerfully testify
to the fact that your father Capt. Luke
Falvel was in the service of the Republic
of Texas.  I remember distinctly when
President David G. Burnet ordered your father
who was in command of the Schr. Flash
to remove all the women and children from
New Washington to Galveston which he did.
I was but a boy at the time and was
on the vessel myself, with President Burnet
and others. -  I think there should
be no doubt about your mother obtaining
the Land, and I shall be glad to be
of any service in my power to aid her
in doing so.
H. B. Andrews

It never ceases to amaze me what the people of that time in Texas History would do in order to help others who had family members who gave their lives so that Texas could be free. They were, without question, forged of a hotter fire.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Texas Tidbits: Words of Texas Hero in 1836

D.P. Cummings
I have become enthralled by the letters from eyewitnesses to the events of the Texas Revolution. Their historical significance can not be underestimated. The letter you are about to read comes to us from the General Land Office of all places. The contnent of the letter is absolutely incredible. see for yourself.

The letter comes from David P.Cummings and is dated February 14, 1838.

  San Antonio de Bexar
                                        February 14th 1835      (1835 is a transcription error)

Dear Father,
                I wrote you from Gonzales and soon after
left there for this place yet under different views from
what I stated in as a sudden attack was expected on
our Garrison here and we were called on for assistance
It is however fully ascertained that we have nothing
of the kind to apprehend before a month or six weeks as
the Enemy have not yet crossed the Rio Grande 180 mi
distant from this place nor are they expected to make
any movement this way until the weather becomes warm
or until the grass is sufficiently up to support their horses
we concive it however, important to be prepared as a
heavy attack is expected from Sant Anna himself
in the Spring as no doubt the despot will use every possible
means and strain every nerve to conquer and exterminate
us from the land – in this we have no fear and are confident
that Texas cannot only sustain what she now holds
but take Mexico itself did she think on conquest.
The northern Indians have joined to our assistance and
the volunteers from the United States are every day flocking
to our ranks which from the liberal promises of the Government
and desireable resources of the Country seem determined
to sustain themselves or sink in the attempt.  Many it is true
have left the Country and returned home to their friends
and pleasures but of such Texas has no use for and
her agents in the U States should be careful whom they
send us for assistance we want men of determined
spirits , that can undergo hardships and deprivation
otherwise they are only a pest and expense to their
fellow soldiers – to the first class (tho I would be the
last to advise in any case) I say come on, there is
a fine field open to you all no matter how you are situated
or what may be your circumstances, at least come and
see the Country, as a farmer, mechanic or a soldier
you will do well – I believe no Country offers such
strong inducements to Emmigration, affording all the
convieniences of life that man can desire – what I write
is from my own observation and from what I hear
from those who have resided for years in the Country
I am to leave this to return to the Cibilo Creek in company
with 10 others to take up our lands we get as citizens which is more than 1100 acres for single men, man of
family 4428 acres our volunteer pay is 20$ per month
& 640 acres at close of the war.
         Any communication to San Felipe de Austin
you may make with postage paid to the Boundary line I will
get or send to Stiles Duncan Natchitoches, he could
mail it to San Felipe as I would be very glad to hear from you all
         It might be that I might be of some benefit
to you here provided any of  you could have a mind to come
out and indeed to speak sincearly this would be the
Country for us all, nothing could induce me from
my determination of settling here, tho my disposition may
not be like most others.  I should like you could once
see it – a visit by Jonathon would improve his health
I have been very healthy since I have been here and am
                                    Yours affectionately
                                       D P Cummings

         There is one thing might be proper for me to add
Members have been elected to a Convention of all Texas
It meet on 1   March, which will make an immediate
declaration of independence – upon the faith of this
event great speculation is going on in lands, tho the office
for disposal of the public lands is not yet opened but
is expectid will be in a short time.  The price of land
has risen greatly since the commencement of the war and
a declaration of Independence will bring them to vie with
those of the U States tho they can be purchased from 50 cts
to 5$ per acre by the League depending on their improvements
or convinience to settlements – No country is now settling faster
-    as I will most probably be engaged in Surveying of public
lands I might be of Service to some of our friends in
procuring desireable or choice locations.
                                      D P Cummings

Two passages of this letter stood out to me. The first, "in this we have no fear and are confident that Texas cannot only sustain what she now holds but take Mexico itself did she think on conquest." Mr. Cummings and his fellow Freedom Fighters were willing to die for the libertion of Texas from that despot, Santa Anna, knowing that their fellow Texans were equally ready to sacrifice everything they owned in order to live life as a free people.

The second part of the letter that caught my eye was this one: "the volunteers from the United States are every day flocking to our ranks which from the liberal promises of the Government and desireable resources of the Country seem determined to sustain themselves or sink in the attempt." Many people in the United States, themselves not far removed from their own War for Independence, were willing to pack up and head to Texas, a foreign country at that time, to make for themselves a life that would be one of prosperity and promise in the Country of Texas.

Both of these excerpts from Mr. Cummings' letter show that men yearn for freedom and liberty as much as they crave food and water. This is an instinct that is instilled in the soul of every human being by the Merciful Almighty God Himself. With unbreakable resolve and a Spirit in need of Freedom in each man that fought for Texas Independence, Santa Anna was doomed from the beginning of his military campaign. His fatal mistake was that he overlloked the fact that Texans are men and women are a people forged of a hotter fire.. God bless these men and women. And may God continue to bless Texas.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Quick Valentine's Note

I have a Dr's appointment this morning, so I wanted to tell you a couple of things before I leave the house. First things first. Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you have a sweetie that jut melts your butter and that you get to do something special today with him or her. I am lucky enough to have three sweetie pies in my house, Heather, Isabella and Bailey. i am three times lucky! Wednesday is Heather's and my 3rd Wedding Anniversary, so she and I will do something together then. However, today, after school, we'll do something with Issy and Bailey so their Valentine's Day will be special. Maybe the girls and I can make blueberry muffins later. :)

I'll  post some more stuff on Texas History as soon as I can after I get back from the Dr's office and run a couple of errands. Until then, feel free to browse the site archives for something cool to read. There's plenty of good stuff there for everybody to find something they like.

I'll see y'all later today! have a great start to nthe work week and Happy Valentine's Day!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Best Of Texas Tidbits: The Father of Texas

This story was originally posted on November 4, 2010. I thought this would be a good time to rerun this post on Stephen F. Austin since we have been studying the History of Texas leading up to the Texas Revolution.  If you've already read it, it might be worth a re-read to freshen up your memory and make a connection between the man Sam Houston himself called "The Father of Texas", and his role in the Texas Revolution.

 Four and a half months ago when I first started this blog, I wrote a Plus One post about Virginia. I saluted Virginia for some of the great Americans that were born there who went on to do great things for our country. On that day, I left out a man who was a native son of Virginia, and today I could slap a knot on my own head so tall I'd have to tiptoe to scratch it. The man's name? Stephen Fuller Austin. The Father of Texas. I am a dumbass.

I was going to post this yesterday because it was the anniversary of SFA's birth. But the Republican Tsunami was a pretty big deal so I wrote about that instead.

Stephen Fuller Austin was born in Virginia on November 3, 1793. By age twenty one, Austin was a lawyer and a member of the First Circuit Court. During this time, Austin's father, Moses, received an empresarial grant that allowed him to take 300 Americans into Texas. Moses then was traveling back to Missouri when he was attacked and soon contracted pneumonia and died in June, 1821. Upon his death, Moses Austin left his empresarial grant to Stephen. I was a bit surprised to learn that Stephen was, at first, reluctant to carry out his father's dream of colonizing Texas. However, a letter from Ma Austin changed Stephen's mind about it. And thus began the journey of the man who would be the Father of Texas.

The Father of Texas
During his attempt to bring Americans to Texas, Austin wore a path out to Mexico while dealing with the new Mexican government (Mexico had just won its independence from Spain). The rules regarding his land grant seemed to change by the minute. Undeterred, Austin finally got that mess settled and in late 1825, he brought  300 Americans to Texas. This was the first step in Stephen F. Austin being recognized as The Father of Texas. There's some detailed information on the trials and tribulations Austin had to overcome to colonize Texas with American settlers here.

In 1836, when Texas had won its independence from Mexico, Austin threw his name into the hat to be a candidate for the Presidency of the new Republic of Texas. He was the odds on favorite to win the election, but someone else had eyes on that prize. His name was Sam Houston. After his victory at San Jacinto establishing Texas' new status as a sovereign country, Houston won the election in a landslide. Upon taking on his role as President of Texas, Houston named Austin as his Secretary of State, a post he held for only two months. Stephen F. Austin contracted what he thought was a bad cold, but it was actually pneumonia. He died on December 27, 1836. Austin's last words were, "The Independence of Texas is recognized! Don't you see it in the papers!". After learning of Austin's death, President Sam Houston issued this statement, "The Father of Texas is no more. The first pioneer of the wilderness has departed." Austin is gone, Mr. President, but he will for eternity be known as The Father of Texas and his name will be revered by Texans forevermore.

**Image from

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Abraham Lincoln - A Man for the Ages

The 16th President of the United States
I couldn't let today pass by without mentioning one of the greatest Americans to ever live. He was born on this date in 1809. This boy would grow up to be the 16th President of the United States. He would also be known for a speech which to this very day is one of the greatest in the history of not only America, but the entire world. In just over two minutes time, this President rallied a broken nation to the cause of victory in the deadliest war in US history. The man? Abraham Lincoln. The speech? The Gettyburg Address. The words "Four score and seven years ago..." will live in the hearts of all men who yearn for one of the most basic human instincts - to be free to live his life as he chooses in accordance with the laws of a civilized nation.

There's not much, if anything, that I could add to Abe Lincoln's life story, so I'll leave that to people way more qualified than I am. What I do about this man is that he was the right man for the times when he became President of the United States. It was Divine Providence that he lead the country through the most perilous years of its young existence. Honest Abe stood by the principles of the Founding Fathers when they wrote that, 'All men are created equal...". Lincoln issued an Executive Order freeing all slaves in the United States under the war powers granted him. It became known as The Emancipation Proclomation, a landmark document for all citizens of the United States. That's about all I wanted to say about ole Abe, but you can click on the links above if you'd like to delve a little deeper into the facts about him.

I remember as a young child in school that we used to celebrate Lincoln's Birthday every year. But, for whatever reason, it and George Washington's Birthday were consolidated into a day honoring all Presidents of the USA. i think that's a stupid idea, but that's a story for another day. Many of us know that today is the day Abe Lincoln was born. and for now, that's all that matters.

God bless Abraham Lincoln and may God continue to bless this great country of ours.

Texas Tidbits: The Texas Revolution - The Week in Review

A Challenge to a Tyrant
Over the last week we have learned more about Texas History than at any time in our lives since 7th Grade Texas History class (God bless Maedell Kenas). Well, we've at least had our memories jogged concerning the events in Texas from October, 1835, the "Come and Take It" Battle of Gonzales to, at this point, March, 1836, when Texas has officially declared her Independence and the fall of the Alamo have taken place. Today I want to link again to the posts from earlier in the week, so maybe you can actually sit down and read them without the constraints of time. For those of you who haven't had the opportunity to read these posts, there is some outstanding information in them, including some eyewitness accounts of what was happening at the time Texas was desperately seeking its Independence from Mexico.

                  Texas History, October, 1835 to March,1836 
  • The First Shot of the Texas Revolution - The citizens of Gonzales had a big cannon. The Mexican Army wanted it. The people of Gonzales made a flag with a very clear message - "Come and Take It." The Mexicans did not get the cannon.
  • Closing in on Independence - This post covers February, 1836. The siege of the Alamo was underway and Texans were bracing for a full blown revolution.
  • The Texas Revolution, March, 1836 - Texans declare their Independence from Mexico, the Alamo falls yet the people of Texas are mere weeks away from Freedom and Liberty.
  • A Letter of Defiance and Anger - Benjamin Briggs Goodrich wrote a letter to his family in Tennessee to report the death of his brother at the Alamo. He also updates them on the ever-changing events of the Texas Revolution. It's amazing to read it just like you reading your morning newspaper.
Reading the posts and clicking on the links in each one could take a little while, so you might want to plan to look them when you have some time to do so. I really do highly recommend that you do exactly that. There is some fascinating history in there and it's just a couple of clicks away. I hope you enjoy it!

God bless you and may God continue to bless that Beautiful Lady we call Texas,

Friday, February 11, 2011

Texas Tidbits: A Letter of Defiance and Anger

Monument to Liberty
You'll recall that yesterday we looked at a time line for the Texas Revolution for the month of March, 1836. During the first week of the month, the Alamo had fallen and Texas had declared its Independence from Mexico. News of both these events were spreading like wildfire through Texas and the United States. Many Americans were getting the news of these events by way of letters from family members in Texas. I found one such letter that is both sad in its announcement that the writer's brother had died at the Alamo and defiant in the fact that the Texas Army would avenge the deaths of of its fellow Texans at the hands of that tyrant General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana.

I am going to reprint the letter in its entirety. It comes to us from

Benjamin Briggs Goodrich
Little attention has been given to how the news of the Alamo's fall was spread from Texas to the United States. The close family ties and community relationships bound the Texans to their former homes. In this letter, Benjamin Briggs Goodrich, who was a member of the Convention meeting as Washinting-on-the-Brazo, informed his family of death of John C. Goodrich--his brother--on March 6, 1836.1
                                                    Washington Texas, 15th March, 1836
Dear Edmund,
    Texas is in mourning, and it becomes my painful duty to inform my relations in Tennessee of the massacre of my poor brother John. He was murdered in the Texas fortress of San Antonio de Bexar (known as the Alamo) on the night of the 6th of this month, together with one hundred and eighty of our brave countrymen, gallantly defending that place against an invading army of Mexicans, eight thousand strong; not one escaped to tell the dreadful tale. The Alamo had been surrounded for many days by a besieging army of the Mexicans, variously estimated at from 3 to 8 thousand men,2 commanded by Genl. Lopez de Santa Anna in person; the fortress, as before stated, was besieged, and it fell and every man was put to the sword. They effected their purpose by a general charge aided by scaling ladders. Upwards of five hundred of the enemy were killed, and as many more mortally or dangerously wounded. Col. Travis, the commander of the fortress, sooner than fall into the hands of the enemy, stabbed himself to the heart and instantly died.
    Seven of our brave men, being all that were left alive, called for quarter and to see Santa Anna, but were instantly shot by the order of that fiendish tyrant. Col. Bowie was murdered, sick in bed.3 Amoung the number of your acquaintances, murdered in the Alamo, were Col. David Crockett, Micajah Autry, formerly of Haysborough, John Hays, son of Andrew Hays of Nashville, and my unfortunate brother, John C. Goodrich: but they died like men, and posterity will do them justice. Santa Anna is now in Texas with an invading army of eight or ten thousand men strong--determined to carry on a war of extermination. We will meet him and teach the unprincipled scoundrel that freemen can never be conquered by the hirling soldierly of a military despot.4
The struggle is great and our difficulties many--but the army of the patriot is doubly served, when his fireside and his liberties are invaded-- We rush to the combat, and our motto is Revenge, Liberty or Death. Approach poor old mother cautiously with this awful news, for I fear her much worn out constitution will not survive the shock. -Publish this information if you think proper--We ask for help and in the name of everything that is sacred to Liberty and Independence.
    So soon as the Convention (of which I am a member) adjourns, I shall proceed forthwith to the army.-- The blood of a Goodrich has already crimsoned the soil of Texas and another victim shall be added to the list or I see Texas free and Independent.-- Give my love to my dear mother, sisters and brothers, and friends generally--
                                                                Benj. Briggs Goodrich
P.S. News has just reached that the enemy are on the march to this place and we know not at what moment we shall be compelled to move our women and children beyond their reach. Their mode of warfare is strictly savage; they fight under a Red Banner,5 and we ask nor expect no quarter in the future,--I will advise you from time to time (if alive) and would highly appreciate hearing from you.-- Direct your letters to Cantonment Jessup, pay postage and I will be sure to get them.
                                                        Sincerely your brother
                                                                    & relative
Free to the U. States, 1836
B. B. Goodrich
Memb. Convention
Mr. Edmund Goodrich

The anger and defiance in this letter are palpable. The eloquence visible and the determination of the people of Texas unmistakable. The defiance, determination and anger of the citizens of Texas would be well served in a few short weeks after the time this letter was written by Mr. Goodrich, with a swift and decisive Victory at San Jacinto. It was men like those who perished at the Alamo and the men who took up their cause at San Jacinto that are proof that Texans are indeed forged of a hotter fire.

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All Original Material © Toby Shoemaker