|Col. James Bowie|
Only one of the defenders was not thrown onto the common pyre. Juan Jose Esparza was the only person to be granted permission to be buried in Holy Ground, under Christian Rites. All the others were immolated. Including David Crockett. Esparza was a close friend of James Bowie, the co-commander of the outpost. Esparza essentially snuck into the compound through a window, bringing his wife and children with him. That evening or the next day, he took to the defense of his very ill friend, Col. Bowie and bolstered him in the continuing arguments that he had with the childish and arrogant, 28 year old William Barrett Travis.
|Antonio Lopez de|
Santa Anna c. 1869
|Lt.Col. William Barret Travis|
So, there is reasonable speculation that Bowie, although relatively young and very accomplished, decided that he had a better place to be than on this Earth. From the time after the death of his family, he had taken to drink and, while still gregarious and friendly and popular among the people in and around San Antonio, he was obviously a man with a wounded heart and soul. He would not be the kind of man one would want in charge of a military garrison.
So you have Bowie, the Mexicanized fighter for the Constitution of 1824, and Travis who really did not like the Latins and their peculiar brand of Christianity. Bowie has a Latin friend who essentially comes into the Alamo to die with and for his Anglo friend. Then we have Travis turning to Captain Juan Seguin, a brilliant Mexican army officer who hated Lopez de Santa Anna to ride out for re-enforcements, because Seguin was the only one who knew enough about the lay of the land and the populations to be trusted with the job.
|Capt. Juan Nepumecino Seguin|
He continues then to the east, looking for Burleson or Houston or Austin or anyone. He finds Mrs. Dickenson and her baby and Man James. He arrives to meet with Samuel Houston and to confirm that Fannin, Bowie, Travis, and Crockett are all gone. Along with almost 500 regular and irregular militia. Although he is a trained artilleryist, Seguin goes on to command the Texian cavalry at the decisive Battle of San Jacinto, where he and the Texian forces destroy Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna's headquarters command of some 1,800 men, through a Washington-like attack on a Holy Day...a Sunday...21 April 1836.
Lopez de Santa Anna had brilliantly conducted an Army and Navy attack, 1,000 miles away from his point of origin, moving three large corps of combined military force, cavalry, infantry, and artillery over deserts, mountains, cold, snow, and rain, encountering the enemy on frequent occasion and winning a succession of 24 straight engagements. In every engagement the Texians had been beaten badly. And then he camped with his main force on a swampy peninsula, surrounded by water, with no exit. The carelessness of arrogance.
Finally consider the Yucatecan Infantry, earlier this morning before sunrise. They were put at the front of the attack group, attached to the 2nd Batallon de Zapadores, Ingenieros de Combate. To them it was a form of punishment as Yucatecos, because that province had declared itself allied with the forces supporting the Constitution of 1824. Lorenzo de Zavala had written that Constitution and Lopez de Santa Anna knew de Zavala was taking refuge in Texas. So, the Yucatecan soldiers lay in the heavy wet snow that morning before sunrise, then became exasperated with their suffering, finally rose up and began the attack before the bugle call, that would leave 182 - 225 Defenders dead within the next 2 hours, and a minimum of 400 Mexican soldiers dead, and as many as 225 more dying of their wounds over the next two months.
All of this defense and offense over a place that was neither worth defending nor assailing in military terms. The brother-in-law of Lopez de Santa Anna, Gen. Perfecto de Cos declared, "Con una victoria mas como el este, perdieremos no solo la guerra, pero quizas el pais. (With another victory like this, we should lose not only the war, but perhaps even the country).
From an event that lasted for a little less than a month, that involved directly less than 3,000 men, there are a million stories and angles, points of view, and tidbits that will continued to the analysed, talked about, studied, and frequently misunderstood for the next one thousand years.....or more. To be sure, we shall, and our progeny shall, Remember the Alamo.
Thanks for your attention. Remember the 6th of March 1836.
El Gringo Viejo