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

Ben (a cook at Santa Anna's headquarters), 1840

The assault took place on the night of the 7th [sic], and some circumstances attending it were narrated to me by a gentleman formerly an officer in the Texan army, which he had obtained from Santa Anna's servant, who after the battle of San Jacinto was cook for Gen. Houston. The statements of this servant were generally relied on by those who knew him, and he contradicted in the most positive terms the oft repeated rumor that the dead bodies of the Americans were burnt. On the night of the 7th [sic], Santa Anna ordered this servant to prepare and keep refreshments ready all night, and he stated that Santa Anna appeared cast down and discontented, and did not retire to rest at all. That accompanied by his private Secretary the General went out about 11 o'clock and did not return until 3 in the morning; that he served them with coffee of which Santa Anna took but little, and seemed much excited, and observed, to Almonte, that if the garrison could be induced to surrender, he would be content; for said he, if they will not, I well know, that every man before the dawn of day must, unprepared, meet his God. But what more can I do; my summonses, said he, are treated with disdain; it appears to me the only alternative presented is to assault the garrison; we cannot delay longer here wasting the resources of the nation and any termination of the affair will relieve me of a load of anxiety. He further stated that at 4 o'clock Santa Anna and other officers left the house, and very soon a tremendous discharge of cannon told that the work of death was began; he saw rockets in awful brillianzy blazing through the darkness of the night, and the walls and grounds of the Alamo reflected the light so that from a window he could plainly perceive columns of Mexican troops around the fort and ascending the walls on ladders, and that the whole interior of the Alamo was perfectly illuminated, as he supposed, by the firing of the Americans within, and that the old servant feelingly remarked that he liked master Santa Anna, but that when he heard the thunders of the artillery and saw blazing rockets gleaming through the air, he thought of Master George Washington and old Virginia, and prayed to God that the Americans might whip.

Before day light the firing had ceased and every thing was again wrapped in silence and gloom, when Santa Anna and his staff returned, one of them, remarking that the victory had cost more than it was worth and that many such would ruin them. At day light this servant who had seen Col. Crockett at the city of Washington many years ago, and perhaps Col. Travis and Bowie, was taken to the fort to designate their bodies; he done so [sic], and found no less than 16 dead Mexicans around the corpse of Colonel Crockett and one across it with the huge knife of Davy buried in the Mexican's bosom to the hilt. He stated that these three bodies were interred in the same grave separate from all the rest, and that he heard the Mexican officers say that their own loss was about 1200 men.

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