February 23d, 1836, Santa Anna, having captured the pickets
sent out by Col. Travis to guard the post from surprise, charged
into San Antonio with his troops, variously estimated at from
six to ten thousand, only a few moments after the bells of the
city rang the alarm.
Dickinson galloped up to our dwelling and hurriedly exclaimed:
"The Mexicans are upon us, give me the babe, and jump up
behind me." I did so, and as the Mexicans already occupied
Commerce street, we galloped across the river at the ford south
of it, and entered the fort at the southern gate, when the enemy
commenced firing shot and shell into the fort, but with little
or no effect, only wounding one horse.
were eighteen guns mounted on the fortifications, and these,
with our riflemen, repulsed with great slaughter two assaults
made upon them before the final one.
knew Colonels Crockett, Bowie and Travis well. Col. Crockett
was a performer on the violin, and often during the siege took
it up and played his favorite tunes.
heard him say several times during the eleven days of the siege:
"I think we had better march out and die in the open air.
I don't like to be hemmed up."
were provisions and forage enough in the fort to have subsisted
men and horses for a month longer.
few days before the final assault three Texans entered the fort
during the night and inspired us with sanguine hopes of speedy
relief, and thus animated the men to contend to the last.
Mexican woman deserted us one night, and going over to the enemy
informed them of our very inferior numbers, which Col. Travis
said made them confident of success and emboldened them to make
the final assault, which they did at early dawn on the morning
of the 6th of March.
the cover of darkness they approached the fortifications, and
planting their scaling ladders against our walls just as light
was approaching, they climbed up to the tops of our walls and
jumped down within, many of them to immediate death.
fast as the front ranks were slain, they were filled up again
by fresh troops.
Mexicans numbered several thousands while there were only one
hundred and eighty-two Texans.
struggle lasted more than two hours when my husband rushed into
the church where I was with my child, and exclaimed: "Great
God, Sue, the Mexicans are inside our walls! All is lost! If
they spare you, save my child."
with a parting kiss, he drew his sword and plunged into the
strife, then raging in different portions of the fortifications.
after he left me, three unarmed gunners who abandoned their
then useless guns came into the church where I was, and were
shot down by my side. One of them was from Nacogdoches and named
Walker. He spoke to me several times during the siege about
his wife and four children with anxious tenderness. I saw four
Mexicans toss him up in the air (as you would a bundle of fodder)
with their bayonets, and then shoot him. At this moment a Mexican
officer came into the room, and, addressing me in English, asked:
"Are you Mrs. Dickinson?" I answered "Yes."
Then said he, "If you wish to save your life, follow me."
I followed him, and although shot at and wounded, was spared.
we passed through the enclosed ground in front of the church,
I saw heaps of dead and dying. The Texans on an average killed
between eight and nine Mexicans each - 182 Texans and 1,600
Mexicans were killed.
recognized Col. Crockett lying dead and mutilated between the
church and the two story barrack building, and even remember
seeing his peculiar cap lying by his side.
Bowie was sick in bed and not expected to live, but as the victorious
Mexicans entered his room, he killed two of them with his pistols
before they pierced him through with their sabres.
Travis and Bonham were killed while working the cannon, the
body of the former lay on top of the church. In the evening
the Mexicans brought wood from the neighboring forest and burned
the bodies of all the Texans, but their own dead they buried
in the city cemetery across the San Pedro.