Monday, February 23, 2009

Day Two: Shoes, Cannon, Corn and a Recon.

  San Antonio held 7000 citizens in 1836.  When Mexican troops poured in the town bulged.  Houses were seized for officers and men.  Food, horses, cattle, mules, hay, corn and beans were confiscated for military use.  On the 24th the Mexican Army opened the homes and stores of missing Anglos and sympathizers and inventoried the take.  Santa Anna was out and about by 9:00 overseeing the issue of shoes to some of his lead regiments.  These may have been from stores owned by Texican settlers.
  Mexican artillerymen placed a battery 350 yards from the West, (town) side of the mission just off Potero Street and began a bombardment with two light cannons and a howitzer.  The cannons go to work on the adobe walls, the howitzer lobs grenades over it.
  In the Alamo Bowie had fallen seriously ill.  He was moved to an isolated room off the chapel, probably along the South wall and cared for by a curandero.  He passed joint command of the garrison to Travis.  The Texicans ranged outside the walls searching for supplies in nearby houses and huts.  They found 80 or more bushels of corn and beans.  They already have 30 head of cattle penned up against the east side of the compound.
  At 11:00 Santa Anna took a horseback circuit of the Alamo.  On the South side he passed within musket range of Crockett's position when he rode through La Villita, a little suburb that usually held families of Mexican soldiers assigned to the Alamo.  He sends cavalry to cut the roads leading to Gonzalez and Goliad.  Mexican units are still strung out on the road all the way to the border.
  The rebels had plenty of artillery, but not many cannonballs or powder.  Their 20 pieces were never all mounted at the same time.  They ranged from the 18 pounder down to a ship's gunade (small, short range anti-personnel piece) that had found it's way to the fort.  A Mexican shell hits the 18 pounder and wrecks the carriage.  The Texicans repair it.
  It's Wednesday, February 24, 1836.
  
Update:  The 18 pounder is a monster.  JC Neill and Green Jameson positioned it pointing into town off the southwest corner of the fort.  It's bigger than anything the Mexicans have.  
  It was shipped from New Orleans to Velasco, Texas in Oct, 1835.  A blacksmith mounted it there with two wagon wheels on a carriage.  It is about nine feet long and weighs two tons.

Update II: Bowie has Typhoid fever or something similar.  His wife, children and in-laws had died of a similar illness a few years before.  He's taken to the bottle more and more.  Travis and Bowie have feuded since artilleryman Col. JC Neill (sent to destroy the Alamo but who instead rebuilt it), left to check on his family on Feb 14.  Bowie realizes he is in trouble and turns his volunteers over to Travis.

Update III:  The captured Soldato is deciphering Mexican bugle signals for the Texicans.

Update IV:  Travis assigns Crockett and his Tennesee men a low wall area facing La Villita and adjoining the Chapel on the south side.  It looks like the weak point but they will hold it.  Travis has 146 men at this point, not half enough to man the cannons and the walls.

Update V: People are still moving between the Alamo and town.  The Mexican staff reports they have a spy inside the walls.  Bowie's curandero nurse, Madame Candaleria is suspected.  Travis has sent out several messengers to Houston, Fannin and others.
  

6 comments:

Old NFO said...

To this day I'm amazed Villa didn't throw a blockade around the Alamo... He had enough people

Robert said...

Like trying to blockade coyotes. At night unless you were holding hands, someone could get through.
Plenty of notes about folks being in the Alamo and then back out.

catfish said...

Reading Hardin's book? It's a good one!

Robert said...

I've got Hardin, Huffines and Hoyt, plus the good old reliable 13 days to Glory.

When I get down to five though I'm going to try and channel Wash Cottle.

catfish said...

So, do you take Hardin's view that Houston was a drunken idiot, or Campbell's view that Houston did a pretty good job of leading a ragtag bunch of farmers?

Robert said...

The Cherokee called him "Big Drunk," though when he was in town he told folks his indian name was the Raven. He was impressive, sometimes, plus big with good hair. Helped when he sat on a horse. I'm with hardin I think. Pretty hard to lead this bunch. Every time you turn around there is another character with his own mounted ranging company.