Digital History>eXplorations>The Alamo>Accounts Following the Battle>Joe

Joe, May 25, 1836

The Garrison was much exhausted by hard labor and incessant watching and fighting for thirteen days. The day and night previous to the attack, the Mexican bombardment had been suspended. On Saturday night, March 5, the little Garrison had worked hard, in repairing and strengthening their position, until a late hour. And when the attack was made, which was just before daybreak, sentinels and all were asleep, except the officer of the day who was just starting on his round. There were three picket guards without the Fort; but they too, it is supposed, were asleep, and were run upon and bayonetted, for they gave no alarm that was heard. The first Joe knew of it was the entrance of Adjutant Baugh, the officer of the day, into Travis' quarters, who roused him with the cry-''the Mexicans are coming." They were running at full speed with their scaling ladders, towards the Fort, and were under the guns, and had their ladders against the wall before the Garrison were aroused to resistance. Travis sprung up, and seizing his rifle and sword, called to Joe to take his gun and follow. He mounted the wall, and called out to his men-"Come on Boys, the Mexicans are upon us, and we'll give them Hell." He immediately fired his rifle-Joe followed his example. The fire was returned by several shots, and Travis fell, wounded, within the wall, on the sloping ground that had recently been thrown up to strengthen the wall. There he sat, unable to rise. Joe, seeing his master fall, and the Mexicans coming near the wall, and thinking with Falstaff that the better part of valor is discretion, ran, and ensconced himself in a house, from the loop holes of which he says, he fired on them several times after they had come in.

Here Joe's narrative becomes somewhat interrupted; but Mrs. Dickenson [sic], the wife of Lt. D., who was in the Fort at the time, and is now at San Felipe, has supplied some particulars, which Joe's state of retirement prevented him from knowing with perfect accuracy. The enemy three times applied their scaling ladders to the wall; twice they were beaten back. But numbers and discipline prevailed over valor and desperation. On the third attempt they succeeded, and then they came over "like sheep." As Travis sat wounded, but cheering his men, where he first fell, General Mora, in passing, aimed a blow with his sword to despatch him-Travis rallied his failing strength, struck up the descending weapon, and ran his assailant through the body. This was poor Travis' last effort. Both fell and expired on the spot. The battle now became a complete melee. Every man fought "for his own hand," with gun-butts, swords, pistols and knives, as best he could. The handful of Americans, not 150 effective men, retreated to such cover as they had, and continued the battle, until only one man, a little weakly body, named Warner, was left alive. He, and he only, asked for quarter. He was spared by the soldiery; but on being conducted to Santa Anna, he ordered him to be shot, which was promptly done. So that not one white man, of that devoted band, was left to tell the tale.

Crockett, the kind hearted, brave DAVID CROCKETT, and a few of the devoted friends who entered the Fort with him, were found lying together, with 21 of the slain enemy around them. Bowie is said to have fired through the door of his room, from his sick bed. He was found dead and mutilated where he had lain. The body of Travis, too, was pierced with many bayonet stabs. The despicable Col. Cos, fleshed his dastard sword in the dead body. Indeed, Joe says, the soldiers continued to stab the fallen Americans, until all possibility of life was extinct. Capt. Baragan was the only Mexican officer who showed any disposition to spare the Americans. He saved Joe, and interceded for poor Warner, but in vain. There were several Negroes and some Mexican women in the Fort. They were all spared. One only of the Negroes was killed-a woman-who was found lying dead between two guns. Joe supposes she ran out in her fright, and was killed by a chance shot. Lieut. Dickenson's [sic] child was not killed, as was first reported. The mother and child were both spared and sent home. The wife of Dr. Aldridge [Alsbury] and her sister, Miss Navarro, were also spared and restored to their father, who lives in Bejar.

After the fight, when they were searching the houses, and officer called out in English "are there any negroes here?" Joe then emerged from his concealment, and said, "Yes, here's one." Immediately two soldiers attempted to despatch him-one by discharging his piece at him, and the other by a thrust of the bayonet. He escaped with a scratch only from the steel, and one buckshot in his side, which, however, did little damage. He was saved by the intervention of Captain Baragan, who beat off the soldier with his sword.

The work of death being completed, the Mexicans were formed in hollow square, and Santa Anna addressed them in a very animated manner. They responded to it with loud vivas. Joe described him as a light built, slender man, rather tall-sharp, but handsome and animated features, dressed very plainly; somewhat "like a Methodist preacher," to use the negro's own words. Joe was taken into Bejar, and detained several days. He was shown a grand review of the army after the battle, and was told there were 8,000 troops under arms. He supposes there were that many. But those acquainted with the ground on which he says they formed, think that not half of that number could be formed there. Santa Anna took much notice of him, and questioned him about Texas and the state of the army.-Among other things, he asked if there were many soldiers from the United States in the army, and if more were expected? On being answered in the affirmative, he sneeringly said he had men enough to march to the city of Washington if he chose.

The slain were collected in a pile and burnt.

 

 

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