List of Texan survivors of the Battle of the Alamo

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Juan Seguin left the Alamo as a courier.

When the Battle of the Alamo ended at approximately 6:30 a.m. on March 6, 1836, fewer than 50 of the almost 250 Texians and Tejanos who had occupied the Alamo Mission in San Antonio, Texas were alive.[1]

Contents

Background and events

The conflict, a part of the Texas Revolution, was the first step in Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna's attempt to retake the province of Texas after an insurgent army of Texian settlers and adventurers from the United States had driven out all Mexican troops the previous year.[2] As part of his preparations for marching on Texas, in late December 1835 Santa Anna had convinced the Mexican Congress to pass a resolution that all "foreigners landing on the coast of the Republic or invading its territory by land, armed, and with the intent of attacking our country, will be deemed pirates" and subject to immediate execution.[3] Santa Anna led an army to San Antonio de Bexar, arriving on February 23, 1836 and immediately initiating a siege of the Alamo, which housed Texian Army troops.[4] As the Mexican army had approached San Antonio, several of the defenders brought their families into the Alamo to keep them safe.[5][6] During the twelve days of the siege, Alamo co-commander William Barret Travis sent multiple couriers to the acting Texas government, the remaining Texas army under James Fannin, and various Texas communities, asking for reinforcements, provisions, and ammunition.[7] The siege culminated in an early-morning assault by Mexican troops which left almost all of the Texan defenders dead.[3][8] Some reports claimed that several Texans surrendered but were quickly executed on Santa Anna's orders.[8] Of the Texians who fought during the battle, only two survived: Travis's slave, Joe, was assumed to be a noncombatant,[9] and Brigido Guerrero, who had deserted from the Mexican Army several months before, convinced Mexican soldiers that he had been taken prisoner by the Texians.[10] Alamo co-commander James Bowie's freedman, Sam, was also spared, although it is not known if he participated in the fighting.[9]

During the battle, most of the women and children had gathered in the sacristy of the church.[11] As Mexican soldiers entered the room, a boy, thought to be the son of defender Anthony Wolf, stood up to rearrange a blanket around his shoulders. Mistaking him for a Texian soldier, the Mexican soldiers bayoneted him.[12] In the confusion, at least one of the women was lightly wounded.[9] Bowie's family, including Gertrudis Navarro, Juana Navarro Alsbury and her son, were hiding in one of the rooms along the west wall. Navarro opened the door to their room to signal that they meant no harm.[13] A Mexican officer soon arrived and led the women to a spot along one of the walls where they would be relatively safe.[14] All of the women and children were eventually placed under the protection of an officer and escorted out of the Alamo and into San Antonio, where they were imprisoned in the home of the Musquiz family.[12]

On March 7, Santa Anna interviewed each of the survivors individually.[15][16] He was impressed with Susanna Dickinson, the young widow of Alamo artillery captain Almeron Dickinson, and offered to adopt her infant daughter Angelina and have the child educated in Mexico City. Susanna Dickinson refused the offer, which was not extended to Juana Navarro Alsbury for her son who was of similar age.[15]

Santa Anna ordered that the Tejano civilian survivors be allowed to return to their homes in San Antonio. Dickinson and Joe were allowed to travel towards the Anglo settlements, escorted by Ben, a former slave from the United States who served as Mexican Colonel Juan Almonte's cook.[15] Each woman was given $2 and a blanket and was allowed to go free and spread the news of the destruction that awaited those who opposed the Mexican government. Before releasing Joe, Santa Anna ordered that the surviving members of the Mexican army parade in a grand review,[17] in the hopes that Joe and Dickinson would deliver a warning to the remainder of the Texian forces that his army was unbeatable.[15]

When the small party of survivors arrived in Gonzales on March 13 they found Sam Houston, the commander of all Texian forces, waiting there with about 400 men.[18][19] After Dickinson and Joe related the details of the battle and the strength of Santa Anna's army, Houston advised all civilians to evacuate[18] and then ordered the army to retreat.[20] This was the beginning of the Runaway Scrape, in which much of the population of Texas, including the acting government, rushed to the east to escape the advancing Mexican army.[21]

List of survivors

NameStatus in the AlamoBirth–DeathNotes
James L. AllenSoldierJanuary 2, 1815 – April 25, 1901Allen left the Alamo on March 5. He was the last courier to leave.[22]
Juana Navarro AlsburyCivilian noncombatantDecember 1808 – July 25, 1888Alsbury entered the Alamo for protection at the invitation of her cousin-in-law James Bowie, after her husband, Horace Alsbury, was sent on a scouting mission for the Texian Army.[23][24][25]
John Walker Baylor, Jr.SoldierDecember 1813 – September 3, 1836According to his family, Baylor left the Alamo as a courier, probably February 25. He died of complications from wounds suffered at the Battle of San Jacinto.[26][27]
BettieCivilian noncombatantunknownBettie was a black cook for the garrison. When Mexican troops entered the kitchens, Charlie grabbed a young Mexican officer and threatened to kill him unless the soldiers spared his life and Bettie's.[28] Thomas Ricks Lindley speculated that Bettie was a servant in the Veramendi home, where James Bowie, Juana Navarro Alsbury and Gertrudis Navarro lived.[5]
Robert BrownSoldierb. possibly 1818Brown left as a courier after February 25.[27][29]
María de Jesús Castro
also known as María de Jesús Esparza
Civilian noncombatantJanuary 11, 1826 – 1899Castro was the stepdaughter of defender Gregorio Esparza.[25][30]
CharlieSlaveunknownWhen Mexican troops entered the kitchens, Charlie grabbed a young Mexican officer and threatened to kill him unless the soldiers spared his life and Bettie's.[28]
Antonio Cruz y ArochaSoldierunknownOn February 25, Cruz accompanied Juan Seguin to gather reinforcements.[31][32]
Alexandro De La GarzaSoldierunknownHe left as a courier.[33]
Francis L. DesauqueSoldierd. March 27, 1836Desaque left Bexar to obtain provisions for the garrison about February 22. He died in the Goliad Massacre.[34]
Angelina DickinsonCivilian noncombatant1834–1869Dickinson was the daughter of defender Almaron Dickinson and his wife Susanna. After the battle, Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna offered to adopt her, but Susanna Dickinson refused to give up her child.[15][35]
Susanna DickinsonCivilian noncombatant1814 – October 7, 1883Dickinson was the wife of defender Almaron Dickinson. After the battle, Santa Anna sent Dickinson and William Barret Travis's slave Joe to Gonzales to warn the Texan colonists of the dangers of opposing Santa Anna.[15][25][35]
Philip DimmittCaptain of a company of soldiers1801 – July 8, 1841Dimmitt left the Alamo on February 23 to gather reinforcements. He was captured by a Mexican raiding party in 1841 and committed suicide after being threatened with execution.[32][36]
Ana Salazar EsparzaCivilian noncombatantd. December 12, 1847Esparza was the wife of defender Gregorio Esparza, and the mother of Maria de Jesus Castro and Enrique, Francisco, and Manuel Esparza. After the battle she and her children were allowed to return to their home in San Antonio.[15][37]
Enrique EsparzaCivilian noncombatantSeptember 1828 – December 20, 1917Esparza was the son of defender Gregorio Esparza and Ana Salazar Esparza.[37]
Francisco EsparzaCivilian noncombatant1833 – July 1887Esparza was the son of defender Gregorio Esparza and Ana Salazar Esparza.[38]
Manuel EsparzaCivilian noncombatantOctober 19, 1830 – 1886Esparza was the son of defender Gregorio Esparza and Ana Salazar Esparza.[39]
Petra GonzalesCivilian noncombatantunknownGonzales may have been an elderly relative of Ana Salazar Esparza.[40]
Brigido GuerreroSoldierb. about 1810Guerrero had deserted the Mexican Army to join the Texians in December 1835. When he realized the Texans could not prevail at the Battle of the Alamo, he locked himself in a cell and convinced the Mexican army that he was a prisoner of the Texians.[10][32][41]
Benjamin Franklin HighsmithSoldierSeptember 11, 1817 – October 20, 1905Left as a courier, probably just before the siege began. Although he attempted to return to the garrison on March 5, he was chased away by Mexican soldiers.[32][42]
JoeSlave of William B. Travisb. 1813 or 1815When the battle commenced, Joe fought alongside Travis. After Travis's death, Joe hid in the chapel. Mexican soldiers assumed him to be a noncombatant.[32][43][44]
Byrd LockhartSoldier1782–1839On February 23, Lockhart and Andrew Jackson Sowell were scouting for provisions when the Mexican army arrived. Fearing that they would be unable to re-enter the Alamo, they went to Gonzales.[45][46]
Concepcion LosoyaCivilian noncombatantunknownLosoya was either the sister or mother of Juana Melton, wife of Alamo quartermaster Eliel Melton, and possibly the mother of defender Toribio Losoya.[25][28][5]
Juan LosoyaCivilian noncombatantunknownLosoya was the son of Concepcion Losoya.[28]
Samuel MaverickSoldier and delegateJuly 23, 1803 – September 2, 1870Elected a delegate from the Alamo garrison on Feb. 1 to the March independence convention, left the Alamo garrison on Mar. 2.[47]
Juana MeltonCivilian noncombatantunknownMelton was the wife of Alamo quartermaster Eliel Melton, and either the sister or daughter of Concepcion Losoya.[28][5]
Gertrudis NavarroCivilian noncombatantNovember 26, 1816 – April 1895Navarro was the sister of Juana Navarro Alsbury. She entered the Alamo for protection at the invitation of her cousin-in-law James Bowie.[24][48]
Benjamin F. NoblesSoldierunknownNobles left the Alamo with Dimitt on February 23.[49]
William Sanders OurySoldierAugust 13, 1817 – March 31, 1887Oury left the Alamo as a courier on February 29.[50]
William Hester PattonCaptain of a company of soldiersb. 1808Patton left the Alamo, likely as a courier.[51]
Alijo Perez Jr.Civilian noncombatantMarch 23, 1835 – October 21, 1918Perez entered the Alamo with his mother, Juana Navarro Alsbury.[24][52] Perez was the last living survivor of the Alamo.[53]
Louis "Moses" RoseSoldierMay 11, 1785 – 1850Thirty-five years after the Alamo fell, a reporter penned an account of Rose's story. The article maintained that when Travis realized the Mexican army would likely prevail, he drew a line in the sand and asked those willing to die for the cause to cross the line; Rose was the only man who did not cross.[54] After its publication, several other eyewitnesses confirmed the account,[55][56] but as Rose was deceased the story can only be authenticated by the word of the reporter, who admitted to embellishing other articles.[56] Rose's escape likely took place between March 3 and March 6.[57]
Victoriana de Salina and three childrenCivilian noncombatantunknownThree daughters accompanied her into the Alamo. Their names and ages are unknown.[28]
SamSlave of James BowieunknownSam was spared because he was a slave.[41] Historian Walter Lord believed that Sam did not exist and that contemporaries actually meant Ben, a former slave who served as Mexican Colonel Juan Almonte's cook and later guided Susanna Dickinson from San Antonio.[58] Thomas Ricks Lindley speculated that Sam was actually a servant at the Veramendi home, where James Bowie, Juana Navarro Alsbury, and Gertrudis Navarro lived.[5]
Trinidad SaucedoCivilian noncombatantb. 1809Saucedo may have accompanied Juana Navarro Alsbury into the Alamo. She left during a three-day armistice.[59]
Juan SeguinCaptain of a cavalry companyOctober 27, 1806 – August 27, 1890Seguin left on February 25 to recruit reinforcements. After encountering a Mexican patrol he pretended to be an officer in the Mexican army. When he neared the soldiers he spurred his horse and used his knowledge of the terrain to escape.[59][60]
John William SmithScoutMarch 4, 1792 – January 12, 1845Smith first left the Alamo on February 23 with one of Travis's first pleas for help.[61] On March 1 he guided the 32 reinforcements from Gonzales into the Alamo,[62] and left again on March 3 with another message from Travis. He was returning to San Antonio with 25 reinforcements when the Alamo fell.[63][64]
Launcelot SmitherSoldier1800 – September 11, 1842Left on February 23, possibly as an official courier. He was later killed by members of Mexican General Adrian Woll's force.[65]
Andrew Jackson SowellSoldierJune 17, 1815 – January 4, 1883On February 23, Sowell and Boyd Lockhart were scouting for provisions when the Mexican army arrived. Fearing that they would be unable to re-enter the Alamo, they went to Gonzales.[66][67]
John SutherlandSoldierMay 11, 1792 – April 11, 1867Historians disagree on whether Sutherland was ever present at the Alamo. If he was, he left as a courier on February 23.[64][68]
Henry WarnellSoldier1812 – June 1836Historians disagree on whether Warnell was at the Alamo. The historians who place Warnell in the Alamo believe Warnell either escaped during the battle on March 6 or that he left as a courier. Warnell died in Port Lavaca, Texas of wounds incurred either during the final battle or during his escape as a courier.[28][69]

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Lord, A Time to Stand, p. 166.
  2. ^ Todish et al., The Alamo Sourcebook, p. 26.
  3. ^ a b Scott, After the Alamo, p. 71.
  4. ^ Edmondson, The Alamo Story, p. 303.
  5. ^ a b c d e Lindley (2003), p. 94.
  6. ^ Lord, A Time to Stand, p. 95.
  7. ^ Edmondson, The Alamo Story, pp. 302, 312, 345.
  8. ^ a b Edmondson, The Alamo Story, p. 373.
  9. ^ a b c Nofi, The Alamo and the Texas War of Independence, p. 123.
  10. ^ a b Groneman, Alamo Defenders, p. 55–56.
  11. ^ Edmondson, The Alamo Story, p. 371.
  12. ^ a b Edmondson, The Alamo Story, p. 372.
  13. ^ Todish et al., The Alamo Sourcebook, p. 54.
  14. ^ Lord, A Time to Stand, p. 165.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g Todish et al., The Alamo Sourcebook, p. 55.
  16. ^ Edmondson, The Alamo Story, p. 376.
  17. ^ Edmondson The Alamo Story, p. 377.
  18. ^ a b Todish et al., The Alamo Sourcebook, p. 67.
  19. ^ Nofi, The Alamo and the Texas War of Independence, p. 139.
  20. ^ Lord, The Alamo, p. 182.
  21. ^ Todish et al., The Alamo Sourcebook, p. 68.
  22. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, p. 1.
  23. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, pp. 5–6.
  24. ^ a b c Hopewell, James Bowie: Texas Fighting Man, p. 119.
  25. ^ a b c d Todish et al., The Alamo Sourcebook, p. 91.
  26. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, p. 12.
  27. ^ a b Todish et al., The Alamo Sourcebook, p. 88.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g Edmondson, The Alamo Story, p. 407.
  29. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, pp. 20–21.
  30. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, p. 47.
  31. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, p 29.
  32. ^ a b c d e Todish et al., The Alamo Sourcebook, p. 89.
  33. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, p. 33.
  34. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, p. 34.
  35. ^ a b Nofi, The Alamo and the Texas War of Independence, p. 127.
  36. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, pp.44–45.
  37. ^ a b Groneman, Alamo Defenders, p. 43.
  38. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, p. 44.
  39. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, p. 46.
  40. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, p. 54.
  41. ^ a b Nofi, The Alamo and the Texas War of Independence, p. 126.
  42. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, p. 60.
  43. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, pp. 64–65.
  44. ^ Edmondson, The Alamo Story, p. 369.
  45. ^ Lindley (2003), p. 90.
  46. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, pp. 72–73.
  47. ^ Paula Mitchell Marks, "MAVERICK, SAMUEL AUGUSTUS," Handbook of Texas Online [1], accessed March 23, 2012. Published by the TSHA
  48. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, p. 83.
  49. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, p. 85.
  50. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, p. 87.
  51. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, p. 89.
  52. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, p. 90.
  53. ^ Groneman, Bill, Alamo Noncombatants, Handbook of Texas, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/AA/qsa1.html, retrieved April 7, 2009 
  54. ^ Hopewell, James Bowie: Texas Fighting Man, p. 126.
  55. ^ Groneman, Eyewitness to the Alamo, pp. 122, 150, 184.
  56. ^ a b Chariton, Exploring Alamo Legends, p. 195.
  57. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, p. 94.
  58. ^ Lord, A Time to Stand, p. 208.
  59. ^ a b Groneman, Alamo Defenders, p. 97.
  60. ^ Nofi, The Alamo and the Texas War of Independence, pp. 85–86.
  61. ^ Nofi, The Alamo and the Texas War of Independence, p. 78.
  62. ^ Myers, The Alamo, p. 202.
  63. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, pp. 101–102.
  64. ^ a b Todish et al., The Alamo Sourcebook, p. 90.
  65. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, pp. 104–105.
  66. ^ Lindley (2003), p. 87.
  67. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, p. 105.
  68. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, pp. 107–108.
  69. ^ Groneman, Alamo Defenders, p. 119.

References