Digital History>eXplorations>The Alamo>Accounts Following the Battle>Fernando Urriza

Fernando Urriza (Mexican Colonel), 1859

And as regards the slaughter of the Alamo, Castrion was opposed to putting the men to death. One night, past midnight, when Santa Anna and Castrion were planning an assault, Santa Anna declared that none should survive. It was then inevitable that the fort could hold out but little longer, and Castrion was persuading the commander to spare the lives of the men. Santa Anna was holding in his hand the leg of a chicken which he was eating, and holding it up, he said: "What are the lives of soldiers more than of so many chickens? I tell you, the Alamo must fall, and my orders must be obeyed at all hazards. If our soldiers are driven back, the next line in their rear must force those before them forward, and compel them to scale the walls, cost what it may." I was then acting as Santa Anna's secretary, and ranked as Colonel. My name is Urissa [sic].

After eating, Santa Anna directed me to write out his orders, to the effect that all the companies should be brought out early, declaring that he would take his breakfast in the fort the next morning. His orders were dispatched and I retired. I soon after heard the opening fire. By day-break our soldiers had made a breach, and I understood the garrison had all been killed. At about eight o'clock I went into the fort, and saw Santa Anna walking to and fro. As I bowed, he said to me, pointing to the dead: "These are the chickens. Much blood has been shed; but the battle is over: it was but a small affair."

As I was surveying the dreadful scene before us, I observed Castrion coming out of one of the quarters, leading a venerable-looking old man by the hand; he was tall, his face was red, and he stooped forward as he walked. The President stopped abruptly, when Castrion, leaving his prisoner, advanced some four or five paces towards us, and with his graceful bow, said: "My General, I have spared the life of this venerable old man, and taken him prisoner." Raising his head, Santa Anna replied. "What right have you to disobey my orders? I want no prisoners," and waving his hand to a file of soldiers, he said, "Soldiers, shoot that man,'' and almost instantly he fell, pierced with a volley of balls. Castrion turned aside with tears in his eyes, and my heart was too full to speak. So there was not a man left. Even a cat that was soon after seen running through the fort, was shot, as the soldiers exclaimed: "It is not a cat, but an American." [In response to the question of "What was that old man's name?" asked by Nicholas Labadie, Urriza replied] I believe they called him Coket.

 

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