Digital History>eXplorations>The Alamo>Accounts Following the Battle>Enrique Esparza

Enrique Esparza (the son of Alamo defender Gregorio Esparza), who was eight years old when he was inside the Alamo. November 9, 1901

[H]e and the other Mexicans who escaped from the butchery of Santa Anna's hordes were concealed in two store rooms in the court yard of the Alamo proper in front of what is left of the old building, and that these rooms were on each side of the main entrance gate which led into the court from the outside. He also says the walls were surrounded on the outside by a ditch "as deep as two men" and that a draw bridge spanning this moat afforded the means of ingress and egress to and from the place. It is known that such a wall and moat did exist and Esparza's apparent familiarity with this is another proof of the genuineness of his story. . . .

Esparza says she [Madam Candelaria] was not there [in the Alamo]. She had been in it frequently before it fell, he says, and was there immediately afterward, but was not present when the actual fall of the Alamo and massacre of its patriotic defenders occurred. . . .

Early in '36 they [the Esparza family] were warned by letter from Vice President De Zavala, through Captain Roja, that the Mexican hordes were coming and advised to take their families to a place of safety. No wagons were obtainable, and so they waited. On the morning of February 22 John W. Smith, one of the scouts, galloped up to Esparza'a house bearing the news that Santa Anna was near - would be upon them by night. What should they do? was the question. Flee they could not! Should they try and hide or go into the fortress of the Alamo? The Alamo was decided upon by the mother, as there her husband would be fighting for liberty. There they carried in their arms their most precious possessions - going back and forth many times - till at sunset, the mother Mrs. Anita Esparza, with her last bundles and her little daughter and four sons, passed across the bridge over the acequia into the court yard of the Alamo, just as the trumpets' blare and noise of Santa Anna's army was heard. Within the Alamo court yard were other refugees who were saved - Mrs. Alsbury and one child and sister, Gertrudes [sic] Navarro, Mrs. Concepcion Losoya, her daughter and two sons, Vitorina de Salina, and three little girls, Mrs. Dickinson and baby (hitherto believed to have been the only ones who escaped alive), and an old woman called Petra.

No tongue can describe the terror and horror of that fearful last fight! The women and children were paralyzed with terror and faint from hunger when the Mexican soldiers rushed in after the Fall of the Alamo. A poor paralytic unable to speak - to tell them he was not a belligerent, was murdered before their eyes, as also a young fellow who had been captured some time previous and confined in the Alamo. Brigido Guerrero, a youth, was saved, as he managed to say he was not a Texan, but a Texan prisoner.

A Mexican officer, related to some of the refugees, arrived just in time to save the women and children - but they were subjected to terrible usage and horrible abuse. Finally, someone obtained safe conduct for them at about 2 o'clock on the morning of the 7th to the house of Governor Musquiz, on Main Plaza. Here the famished prisoners were served with coffee by the Musquiz domestics. At daylight they were required to go before Santa Anna and take the oath of allegiance. Each mother was then given a blanket and two dollars by Santa Anna in person. The only two who escaped this additional humiliation were the two daughters of Navarro, who were spirited away from Musquiz' house by their father [uncle] - Jose Antonio Navarro. The body of Esparza's father, who was butchered with other Texans, was obtained by his brother, who was in the Mexican army, and was buried in the San Fernando Campo Santa, and thus he has the distinction of being the only Texan who escaped the funeral pyre.

 

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