Monday, April 23, 2018

The Gallant Travis Killed 15 People as he Lay Sick in his Bed

The Gallant Travis Killed 15 People as he lay sick in his bed - before he took a shot in the head

The Alamo 

Everyone remembers the hopeless fight of 100 gallant Kentuckians led by Colonels Travis and Bowie.  The death scene of Davie Crocket as seen by Colonel R. L. Crompton as sought out by a reporter.  

"In the winter of 1834," Colonel Crompton began, "I left my house in Massachusetts for the purpose of seeking my fortune in the west. My destination was Lexington, Kentucky, but while on the Ohio River, I fell in with a party of young men who were on their way to join Colonel Travis in Texas, and carried away by their vivid pictures of life of adventurous excitement that awaited them, I joined the band without much knowledge as to the right or wrong of the cause which I pledged myself to sustain. We traveled by boat to New Orleans and there took ship for Galveston. Here were procured horses and proceeded to join the Texas forces, then operating in the neighborhood of San Antonio de Bexar.  Anything less like an army in appearance it wold be hard to imagine.  Uniform there was none, each dressing to sit his own peculiar fancy,and the men were as various as their attire."
"Shortly after my arrival I attached myself to the command of that magnificent Tennesseean, Colonel Milam, and soon became devotedly attached to him.  He was a man of splendid charater, without the sternness of Travis or the strong flabor of blakguardism that hung about Houston."
"As soon as we had gathered sufficient strength we attacked the Mexican forces in San Antonio. They far outnumbered us and a desprate struggle ensued.  For days we fought in the streets and among the adobe houses, each of which was a miniature fortress.  With picks and spedes we dug our way through the walls fro house to house, thus avoiding the great loss which would have resulted from any attempt at a direct storm.  The fight for the Vereminda house was fierce and bloody, but at last we drove the Mexicans out and took possession.  But our triumph was soon turned to mourning, for shortly after it was captured the beloeved Milam fell dead, shot by a Mexican who lay concealed behind a wall on the opposite side of the San Antonio River.  We at length obtained possession of the town, but did not retain it long, as the advance of President Santa Anna compelled us to withdraw, leaving Travis with less than 150 men to garrison the town."
"I shall never forget the day when young Maverick rode into our camp with the news that Travis, refusing to retreat, was shut up in the Alamo and surrounded by an over-whelming force."
"I do not know what possessed me, but when I heard that Houston had decided that he was too weak to march to the relief of Travis (as indeed was the case). I determined to gallop to San Antonio, endeavor to steal through the Mexican lines and join my old Kentucky friends, who were nearly all within the garrison walls. I reached San Antonio without difficulty, and found that one assault had already been made, and that the besieged had more than held "
fired upon and wounded, and owed my escape from death to the darkness. With difficulty I made my way to the house of a Mexican I had befriended during our occupation of the city, and he generously agreed to conceal me in his house. A narrow window commanded an excellent view of one front of the Alamo wall, and from this point, I could see nearly all of that memorable struggle. Day after day the Mexican fire was kept up, and time after time were their storming columns hurled against the old church wall, which formed the Texan rampart. But nothing could disturb the calm desperation of the defenders, and at the close of each day the lone star flag floated as proudly, and apparently as securely as ever from the roof of the mission. The Mexican losses were fearful. Their clumsy escopetas were no match for the long Hawkins rifles in the hands of the Kentucky and Tennessee backwoodsmen. Hundreds fell every day, but their losses were little felt in that overwhelming host, while every man of the garrison who died was an irreparable injury.  The line along the wall grew very thin, but still there was no thought of surrender admidst that gallant band. At length, when death and wounds had reduced the poor handful, to half its original numbers, the Mexicans effected a lodgment in an undeended portion of the wall, and poured in by the hundreds."
"Although there was now no hope of success, the brave Texans fought as steadily and firmly as on the first day of the seige.  From room to room went the fight, and the puny Mexicans learned by bitter experience what deadly weapons bowie knives and clubbed rifles were in the hands of desperate Americans.  But human endurance has its limits, and at length Santa Anna was master of the Alamo, but not until the last American lay cold in death."
"From my window I ccould hear the shouts and yells and see the struggling figures. When all was over, I begged my host to go into the Alamo and bring the news of all that had occurred.  He came back in an hour or two, and said that such a shambles had never been seen.  The dead were heaped in wild confusion all over the building, and the gutters fairly ran with blood.  In a room on the ground floor was the corpse of Colonel Bowie, who had been butchered upon his sick bed. Not far from his was found the brave and eccentric .  But the most impressive sight was in a small room in the upper story, where the gallant Travis lay, a bullet hole in his forehead, surrounded by the corpses of fifteen Mexicans who had died by his own hand. Of the Texans, no one survived, but they did not died unavenged, as 1,000 Mexicans fell before less than 150. It was well said that "Thermopylae had its messenger of defeat, the Alama had none."

Source: Story from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat to the Atlanta Journal 24 February 1887.

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