Thursday, March 22, 2012

Photo Workshop at the Tyler Art Museum, this Saturday.

March 24th. Hear everything I know for 40.00.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cousin Wallace Shoots his Swede.

Finally got a small window of oportunity to get in a range session yesterday after work. Someone had given me 25 rds of 1948 vintage 6.5X55mm ball ammo with the pictured silver bullets. I'm assuming they weigh 156grs. Pictured is my M96/38 that I've had for several years. I aquired a M96 (the old long bbl version) in a trade a couple of weeks ago & hadnt had the opportunity to try it out. It's not as photogenic as the one in the pic.
It was a bit windy but very pleasant yesterday afternoon so I tacked up a couple of targets @ 100yds to check these two Swedes out. Every round of the 63 yr old ammo seemed to be full power. It grouped a bit better than .30-06 M2 Ball but wasnt stellar. I'm gonna tinker a bit with 140gr CoreLokts as I have a buncha them aquired in a trade. Also have a more limited supply of Nosler 140 BTHP Match to see what potential these old rifle have. Sight picture is relatively good with a well designed front post, thicker than most, with a flat top.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day 13: Deguello.

Bowie Knife.

Our plan is simple. Two men up, two reloading and one extra where needed. Me, Milsap, King, Teague and Young Kellogg. Between us we have sixteen rifles, a pistol each and two shotguns. Knives and clubs. Ax. The shotguns will be held for a tight spot. Our post is a room built into the wall, catwalk on top. Wall is about nine feet in our section and in good shape more or less. Two bricked up windows. Trees close. Irrigation ditch and river are as close as fifty feet from the wall. We've burned some of it and cut firewood. Couple of the trees are big enough to be cover.

Saturday night King was over the wall on picket. We have an open room and an alcove with our fire banked up. It's not much fire because firewood is so dear but neither have has it gone out since we came in. Anyone on picket comes back with an armful. All sleeping on bedrolls and saddles. We were rolled up. The last thing I remember was Milsap pushing the ends of the fire in. I noticed that the Mexican artillery was quiet.

I woke up to a start in the moonlight. The fire was down to coals. Someone was yelling in the plaza and I could hear men beyond the wall on the North. Rifle shots began to crackle, then volley. We were all on our feet and Milsap and Teague were up the log looking over the wall. Milsap turned and looked down at me and said, "shotguns."

Kellogg and I started passing up rifles. Milsap and Teague fired in turns. I took a mouthful of rifle balls and started reloading. Powderhorn, ramrod, patch. I could hear Mexicans crying out below the wall and men running. Our cannons went on the North wall and then the big 18-pounder on the corner. Mexican rockets lit up the sky. One fell in front of the chapel into a haze of gunsmoke from the Tennesseans and you could see them firing over the parapet. Their cannons lit up the cloud in a big flash.

We fell behind on the loading. A ladder rattled against the top of the wall. Teague ran down the catwalk, pulled his pistol and shot. Another ladder rattled up and fell off sideways. I could hear chopping at the bricked windows.

Teague waited at the top of the next ladder, pushed a bayoneted musket aside and threw the man by a jacket lapel down on us. It was the first Mexican I had seen. His throat was cut and he staggered to his feet, both hands at his wet neck. He smelled like a hard-ridden horse of blood and sweat and salt. Kellogg's eyes were big but I ignored the Mexican and he fell by the fire. There was cursing in Spanish and yelling outside and a volley that showered us all in rock chips and dust. Teague fell on the roof and got back up, slowly, hat gone.

The bricks in the window began to kick in. I tossed the last rifle up to Milsap and picked up the ax. Half the window was clear and a hand appeared on the sill. I ruined it with a hack. Musket fire began to flash and pop but Kellogg and I were against the wall. A man came crawling through. I was surprised he had his tall hat on. I gave him the ax with both hands and he fell on our side. Another man. Kellogg shot him in the ear with his pistol, so close that I though he shot me. A bayonet, searching. A volley. A thrown ax. More bricks fell. Kellog threw a brick back out. Beyond the window, men growled like dogs.

Two Mexicans jumped from the top of the wall muskets in hand. I shot one with my pistol before he got to his feet. Two men came through the window squeezed together. I cleaved the closest with the ax and hung up the other long enough to smash his head with a second stroke. Someone pushed them in but the window stayed empty. It was suddenly quiet. The soldato pointed his musket at me, then Kellogg, then me, backed away. There was a barfight on the roof with logs creaking and dust sifting down but I didn't have time to look. More of our cannons down near the chapel went and riflery crackled and popped. I suddenly thought about King out past the wall.

The moonlight and dawn light were just about even.

Milsap yelled from above, "They're over the North wall!" We turned and saw our boys falling back, the North end filling up with massed men. Not us. A shot came through the window and young Kellogg dropped. Milsap and I caught him up. The Chapel. His head hung and I think he was gone but we went for it anyway dragging him by his deerskin shirt for the sake of his young wife. I snatched up a rifle and tucked the ax under my arm. We ran right past the Parson's hat rolling in the dust.

We didn't make it. Milsap caught a ball in the leg and we went down in a tangle. When I rolled out of it I was in a crowd of soldiers. I axed a man, clubbed another, stuck a knife in a third and had to chase him for it, was clubbed, maybe shot. I felt burned from behind. Probably a bayonet. I tripped over a body and fell with my blade under me and thought I'll just rest a second, catch my breath. Over me men staggered and fought. A soldier fell, close. If he moved I was going to stick him. I reached out and got a handful of his hair. Somehow, I could see myself from above in the light of a rocket and started thinking about walking under that white tree up off the North Wall. The cannons went and men cursed and wept but I really didn't care. The tree was so white and shining, shining in the moonlight and dawn and I just went up there walked toward it in the morning light.

  In the end, they started throwing the dead in the river.  Burning the Texicans wasn't easy but it was a small job compared to the Mexican casualties.  The General Staff had declared that the townspeople should be commandeered to bury them in the camposanto but that effort quickly broke down.  There simply were too many.

  The river clogged with bodies, but it was downstream and the Army was packing up to campaign west, concerned with finishing the war and going home.

  Mexican units were up and moving after midnight, with noise discipline enforced.  Most soldiers were already stationed in their general assault area so there weren't any long distance moves.  The plan was to attack in columns, with reserves waiting and cavalry behind.  The assault force, in place, lay on the chilly ground and tried to get some sleep.  

  Inside the fort the garrison was sleeping, protected by pickets outside the wall and the officer on watch.  There was no particular reason to anticipate a Mexican attack.

  A 5:00 the units got on their feet and got in line.  At 5:30 rockets from the river battery signaled the start of the assault.  One of the Northern columns began cheering when they passed the battery where El Presidente was observing and the defenders were alerted.  The Texican pickets simply vanished.

  Inside the fort the alarm was sounded and men struggled to their posts to find ladders rising from the enemy below the walls.  The cannons were touched off and shotguns and rifles began to bark.  The weak point- Crockett's low palisade next to the Chapel, stopped the South attack cold.   That attack shifts to the west and uses a stone house near the 18-pounder on the corner for cover.  The other columns scattered and began to stall in the face of grapeshot and small arms fire.  Each defender has several rifles at hand loaded.  Townfolks say the firing sounds like firecrackers.  Santa Anna sends in the reserves.  The reserves seemed to have fired into assault waves in front of them.  One of those things.

  The Mexican officers kept at it and began to make some headway.  Travis falls at his post on the North wall.  Enough defenders fell that cannons couldn't be reloaded and gaps appeared in the thin lines.  Cazadors with crowbars and axes chopped through shuttered windows and crumbling adobe.  Massed troops finally pushed through the shattered North wall.  

  There was no rebel reserve to be committed or contain intrusions.  The Texicans fought from the walls and then fell back into the convent, chapel and Long Barracks or held out in rooms along the walls.  As Santa Anna's men flooded in some defenders tried to escape in the pre-dawn and were killed by cavalry in the open.  Mexican gunners turned unspiked cannons on the Long Barracks.  Bowie was killed in his room.  The last place to fall was the chapel where Bonham and Dickenson held out with the women and children.  Cannon breached the door and the chapel fell.

  Santa Anna tried to enter the fortress at 9:00 but was driven out by riflefire.  He later gave a speech to the victorious troops from an elevated battery in one end of the plaza.

At least one cat was shot by Mexican troops.
  Susanna Dickenson and her child survived with other women and Travis' slave Joe.  The captured Mexican soldier Brigido Guerro lived.  Some captured Texicans seem to have been executed.  At least one man was credited with escaping.

Update:  Mexican army counts 180 defenders dead.

Update II:  Bowie's nurse Madame Candaleria is among the survivors.

Update III: As the most famous National figure at the battle, Crockett is reported dead in front of the Chapel, at a post on the West Wall, captured and executed, escaped, fallen in the Chapel with the last of the defenders.
Update IV: A last defender is found hiding under the river bridge by a woman washing clothes.  He is shot.

Update V:  Survivors are questioned by Santa Anna at the Musquiz house in town.  The women are given blankets and two Mexican silver dollars and set free.

Update VI:  Esparza falls in the Chapel during the last fighting.  His brother-in-law, a Mexican officer, brings out his wife and children and recovers his body for burial in the family plot.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Day 12: A Line and a Tree.

They ain't coming. Bonham rode in two days ago with the news. We can quit straining our eyes for news to the Southwest. Every post is talking it over. Nobody understands why they aren't coming and the little knots of men are trying to decide what to do. Stay or try to get out.

I've noticed fellows going down to the pen to look at their horse and gear. Maybe we will all make a run for it. Galls everyone, for true. I'd like to hear a good reason, one of these days, for leaving us down here.

Word spreads that Travis wants to talk to the fort at dusk. We leave a man at each post and walk down the end of the Long Barracks near the chapel to an area that the Mexican cannons don't reach.

We've never been all together in one place before. The Greys and the Tennesseans. The fresh bunch from Gonzales scattered around. The locals from town. Teague and King and the Parson. Crockett. Travis. The Chapel bunch and the top of the Long Barracks boys. Bowie wrapped in a blanket in a chair with the Brujita Candaleria behind him. Dickinson. Bonham. Archer. Milsap. Everyone has his rifle. Lots of handshaking and talk.

Gives you a little shiver. I'm proud to stand among these rough armed folk. They came up here with flags a-waving but so far, we've turned them back.

We crowd a little closer and Travis lays it out. Fannin isn't coming. He doesn't know why. That doesn't mean nobody is coming and we can expect some to trickle in. He has sent word out and gotten word in reply, expects to send and hear more. Nobody has to stay. He knows we have families and duties. Thought we would all be home by now. He's staying but that's just for him. No dishonor in leaving and there will be another time to fight. Doesn't think the Mexicans will spend what it takes to root us out but they might. He knows everyone has had time to talk it over and now we need to know. He's short and to the point. Before I realize he takes out his sword and draws a line in front of us.

There's just a quiet moment and then we realize he's waiting. His linen shirt glows in the dark. Shining sword in his hand.

Crockett walks over first without speaking. Some of his boys a step behind. I hear someone say "come on, Bull," and the Greys all cross. Quiet, just a crunch and a squeak. I see the Parson's tall hat.

From our wall we face into town across the river but to the far North there's a treeline that has been picking up a trace of green. An old pear up there has bloomed out white the last few days and I've been thinking about walking past that white tree into the grey woods. I believe I could get to that white pear a little past two on a quiet night and be gone as smoke before the sun came up. Maybe with a few others. Tie some rags on the horse's feet. Shoot and scatter if they raised an alarm.

But instead King and I shift our rifles and walk over. In a minute it's settled. Only Bowie and Candeleria and one other shadow standing back. Moses Rose.

Bowie sits. It's dead silent until he says plainly, "how about a hand here?" and three men rush over to pick his chair up and carry it across as we make a space. Candelaria brushes past me, anger coming off her like a hot stove. I get a chill and a picture: "she'll outlive us all."

Moses Rose. We're all standing looking. He doesn't move. "I've had enough, boys." he says. Nobody speaks until Crockett: "I'll scalp yours Mose."

And just like that it was decided. Men walk back toward their posts. Everyone seems happier and at ease. King and I tread back to our hole with young Kellogg ahead. Teague says, "how about a bite of that cold beef?"

  Santa Anna at age 35

  Based on the information given by the women the decision is made.  The attack will come in the early morning hours tomorrow March 6.  The weather has abated.  It's about 50 degrees.  

  The batteries are ordered to step up their rate of fire.  It's possible that the La Villita battery is merged into the East side Potero street guns.  The batteries have fired for several days to keep the defenders awake.

  The attack will be made in the early morning hours before dawn.  The assault will be split into four columns of about 1000 men each.  1500 will attack from the north making the total 4500. 

 General (Ramirez y) Sesma is either ill or declines and the attack from the town side will be lead by the British adviser Col. Adrian Woll.  Ladders, crowbars and axes are distributed.  Mexican units stood down at twilight.  The soldiers will be marched out and in place by 5:00am.  The commanders will enforce noise discipline during the march.

  The Mexican General staff rides around the fort for one more look at the ground.

  It's Friday, March 5, 1836.

  The garrison received one courier.  No help was coming.  There seemed to have been discussion about surrendering or escaping.  Travis assembled the men and gave a speech outlining the situation.  Several accounts have him drawing a line in the sand with his sword and asking those who will stay to cross over.  Everyone except Bowie, who is on his cot, and Moses Rose cross.  Bowie asks to be carried across the line.  Rose decides to take his chances over the wall after dark.

  Travis writes until nearly midnight and sends a last set of dispatches and letters with 16-year old Jim Allen, riding bareback.

Update:  Moses Rose has picked a good time.  As the Mexican units stand down and go to bed early the town seems empty.  Rose walks out along the dark river.

Update II:  Bowie and Crockett talk privately for a long time after Travis speaks.

Update III:  Tapley Holland, a 26-year old man from Grimes County was the first to cross the sword line.  My maternal Grandmothers maiden name was Holland.  My brother's name was Holland Irwin Langham, from an old family name.  My daughters middle name is Holland.  Tapley Holland is an artilleryist, one of six children in a family who came as a settler in Austin's "Old Three Hundred."  This is our relative.

Update IV:  At twilight the artillery fire dwindles, then ceases.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Day 11: Encirclement

  On the first day the Mexicans set a battery in town just North of Potero Street.  On day three they set one in La Villita (South) to support that day's attack.  Day four found guns placed across the river to the North and on day five they brought the North guns across the river and began to work them closer.  By day eleven they had moved all the cannon in to cover the attack routes or block escape routes.  The North battery had been moved down the now dry ditch to within 200 yards of the North Wall.  The defenders repaired the wall continuously, ramping up earth behind it and piecing together the wood face over the crumbling adobe.  The Mexican 12 pounders were still on the road South but every battery had been replaced and strengthened. 

  The engineers could only work at night.  In daylight Texicans shot anyone visible.

  Santa Anna called a conference of his officers and staff at his headquarters in the Yturri house on the plaza to talk about an assault.  Some argued for waiting until bigger guns arrived to destroy the Alamo walls.  More battalions were just a few days march away.  By Monday all would be on hand.  The staff debated while Santa Anna listened.  There was worry about Texican reinforcements and the anticipation of a major moral boost by what was thought would be an easy victory.  Santa Anna seemed to favor an early attack.  There is some concern that the Texicans might surrender without fighting and a dramatic military action lost.
  It was re-affirmed that there would be no prisoners taken.

Overall plan is for a very rare attack beginning before dawn. Light conditions will improve but it means logistical nightmares of moving and placing troops into position in darkness.

  The Texians were still hopeful of relief.  If the Gonzalez party could get through, so could other promised help.  A letter pledging men from the various colonies and couriers were still circulating.

  Two Bexar women left the Alamo and gave the Mexican army a report on the conditions and placements of the defenders.  The crucial information seemed to be an actual count of the numbers of the defenders.  This information seems to have moved the attack up at least 48 hours.  Travis says he has 145 men in a letter.  Other counts put the number closer to 180.  Some have it as high as 250.  He needs twice that to man the cannon and to defend the walls. 

  Tactically, defenders always have an advantage over attackers.  Even if the walls are heaps of rubble it will take an overwhelming number to push an attack through to success.  The Mexicans have those numbers.  The question is if they will spend them.  The report of the Texican numbers by the two women seem to push the decision toward attack.

  It's Friday, March 4, 1836.

Update:  The official list has 212 defenders.  Not enough.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Day 10: Long Rifles.

  Davy's boys have the best rifles in the place.  Plenty of good guns around and bad, even Mexican Brown Bess's picked from the dead along with bayonets and cartridge belts.  Shotguns, horse pistols, tomahawks, knives of every sort.  Swords too.  Some cudgels and a couple cavalry lances.  The Gonzales boys came in well packed but already every man in the fort had a couple of rifles, a pistol, knife.  More cannon than we can powder, mount or crew.  If we can hold them here until Houston and Fannin ride in plus the other companies we stand a chance.  A good chance.  More than even.  They don't know what's coming.

  Speaking of knives there isn't a blade in the place you couldn't shave with, even the axes.  In the evenings we cook and folks sew and mend on tackle and gear and whet knives.   

  Davy's boys brought their squirrel rifles and deer guns.  Long rifles.  They keep them in beaded and fringed deerskin stocks and you never see one around unless it's being carried. 

  Lightly built but brassed and polished.  The maker picked the wood careful.  Peter Bailey has one of the prettiest wood stocks a man has ever seen on a rifle, curlicued and polished deep, nearly black out of the sunlight, golden brown in it, but most of them are close.  They glow. 

  The men handle them like Davy handles his fiddle.  They never get laid down except on something soft.  At night the men pull them out and look them over, oiling and rubbing.  Davy was breaking pecan meat on the stock of Betsy and rubbing it into the wood.

  When they go out the rifles don't go.  They borrow a shotgun or a pistol and take a tomahawk and a knife.  Couple guys always stay behind.  I think it's just to keep those rifles company.

  They name 'em.  Davy has Betsy and a couple others.  Nelson has two he calls "the Parson" and the "Po Boy."  Thomas Archer has his "Julie B."  Some of them got their rifles in trade but most of them had made guns.

  Seems most of those rifles can shoot.  Archer shot the shovel out of a man's hand digging the river battery.  All we could see coming up over the bunker.  Had to time the shot just right.  Clanged like a bell.  Nelson killed three Mexicans dead with three different rifles when we caught them beyond the cow pens.  As quick as he could snatch.  Davy says he's shooting more than we can eat. 

   The other day soldatos were chasing chickens out in La Villita way past rifle range.  Probably six or seven men trying to catch a flock thats been pecking under our guns for a week.  One man was standing in the open holding caught chickens by the feet as the others chased.  He had three or four in each hand.  Davy shucked the sock off Betsy and primed her, gave the ball a tap with the ramrod.  He rubbed a little oil off his nose with his finger and used it to slick up the front sight then sat with his back to a cannon carriage and Betsy resting across the sock on the wall.  The wind was gusting to raise dust.  250-275 yards.  I didn't think he was going to shoot until he pulled the hammer past half-cock.  Betsy barked and about two seconds later the dust jumped off that fellows jacket.  My, how the chickens flew!   That man turned to the side, fell to his knees and rolled over.  Except for the dead man there wasn't a Mexican in sight, just chickens shaking their feathers and calling each other.  Everybody was crowding up to the wall and passing around a spyglass to have a look.

  Davy patched out the lock on Betsy and winked. "I ain't sharing chickens."

  That night one of the Kentucky boys went out with the picket carrying a rag and a tomahawk.  He was back before the moon came up with a cloth full of eggs.  Ten eggs.  Homed in on the night clucking like a bear on a honeybee hive.  We were pushing the ends of the cookfire in to get the heat up but Davy said we better send these to the women and chilluns in the chapel or there would be no end to it.  We kept two and everyone awake had a bite.  One of the senora's came out to the fire and spoke.  Juan Abamillo was at the skillet and we looked at him.  "She says go get more," he said.

  Davy cracked a stick and put it under the coals.  "There ain't pleasing some women."

  It's Thursday, March 3, 1836.

Update:  Bonham back from Fannin and Goliad.  Fannin isn't coming.

Update II:  Shootout with Mexican forces north toward the river bottom and cover.  Soldatos think it's Texians foraging out.  Could be more reinforcements coming in.

Update III:  Bowie managed to get out and make a visit to all the men on the walls.

Update IV:  The Texicans are mostly shooting a Dupont gunpowder that is of high quality.  It's probably imported through New Orleans.  The Mexicans are using Spanish or indigenous powder that the defenders consider little better than coal dust. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Day Nine: Independence.

  Very heartened when the Gonzalez boys rode in last night. Wish there were more but surely Fannin is only a day or so out. Good to hear news from the outside of family and friends. Most of the men were known by someone so there was plenty of talk. We sorted and moved around a bit so everyone had a post along the wall. George Kimball has a glass and from the top of the Long Barracks we can watch into town and see the Mexicans coming and going. Seems like another bunch comes up the road every day. You can pick out the privates and the sergeants. The officers stay a little apart and have blue jackets and black boots. Cavalry are all rough cobs, lean and dark in the face. There will be plenty for the battle when the rest of the army gets here. Crockett came up for a look, whistled and said he saw Col. Bowies favorite barmaid with a soldato on the square.

  Hard cold last night and still. You could see the horse and beef breath in the cattle pen. Mex artillery fires all day and night but folks are starting to sleep through it. We are so short of men that we are living along the walls.

  Two boys came up the riverbank at dusk and gave us a start. Just boys off on a lark to see the fort. Friends of a couple of the local families. They didn't have any real news but said it was crowded in town and the soldiers were eating all the food and taking all the big houses.

  Bowie came out of the chapel and walked the plaza with Travis and Crockett this afternoon. He was wrapped in a blanket with the witch Candaleria trailing along. He's pale as a ghost. She watches him like a cat but he never looks at her. His boy Joe carried a chair for him to sit every now and then. Davy uses his hands a lot when he talks and I noticed he was listening, mostly. Bonham came out a bit later with his boy and carried some powder to the west corner battery. He stopped to look at a couple of Mexican cannonballs that had come in from the La Villita. Plenty of them outside the North Wall from that bunch up there.

  Taking a beating. Just an old adobe. Hardly fit to pen goats.

  One of the Kellogg boys from Gonzalez, Johnnie, is now in our little hole. Nineteen and just married. Says his wife will come get him if he is gone a week. He's got a good enough rifle and a Bible his missus gave him. We have a little collection of Mexican muskets we keep loaded under the wall so he saw them and we are showing him were we sit and where to watch. He had a nice little knife but Teague gave him a big long-pointed bowie he had extra. Johnnie could shave with it but he doesn't have much to shave. Teague has sharpened every edge in the fort. He even talked blades with Bowie for a bit.

  We are all family men so Johnnie Kellogg is in a good spot. He'll see that wife again in a couple of weeks, God willing.

  Mexican units on the road are sent word to force march into San Antonio. Every day another unit arrives in town with more men and equipment.

  Patrols search Juan Seguin's ranch again for supplies and find corn.  

  A second soldier from San Luis, a cazadore, (hunter/scout) named Trinidad Delgado drowns in the river.  

  Santa Anna takes time off his honeymoon with the princess of La Villita to investigate the approaches for attacking troops.  He finds a previously unknown trail through the brush on the East side of the mission that pickets and couriers have been using and posts Jimenez soldatos on it.  He prepares to move his battery closer to the crumbling North wall.

  Fannin made one start for the Alamo on February 28th.  Carts broke down and he retreated.  At the moment he's decided to stay put to counter a Mexican thrust into the Goliad area.

  On Washington-on-the-Brazos the Texas Declaration of Independence is signed by Houston and the other delagates.  The Alamo defenders will never hear this news.  From the top of the Long Barracks they fly the New Orleans Greys flag and a Mexican tri-color with "1824", signifying the Mexican 1824 Constitution that Santa Anna has rescinded.

  It's Wednesday, March 2, 1836.
  Day two of a truce is in effect.  Both sides are strengthening positions.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Day Eight: Gonzalez Rides In.

  Captain Albert Martin and John Smith arrived with 30 men from Gonzales and Goliad in the early morning hours.  They came off the East ridge and walked their horses quietly between the Mexican positions.  They had stayed off the main roads and missed the calvalry.

  Coming off the ridge a rider pulled up in front of them and in perfect English offered to take them to the fort.  Smith was wary and about to fire when the rider spurred his horse into the brush.  It's possible that the rider was Col. Adrian Woll, an English adviser to Santa Anna.

   A Texian picket fired when they got close.  A string of profanity confirmed they were Texicans.  One rider was struck in the foot.  They brought some provisions and supplies, and fresh news and faces were a relief.  The Alamo defenders saw themselves as holding Santa Anna in place until Fannin and Houston could arrive for the decisive battle.

  The horse pen was full.

  32 rifles were a big addition to the 138 folks strung along the walls.  There was plenty of room in the convent, Long Barracks and Chapel.  Surely more were coming.

  Crockett fiddled and John McGregor played the pipes.

  In the afternoon Travis had the crew on the 18 pounder fire it downtown into the Mexican headquarters and marshalling area.  The range is about 1000 yards.  The first ball hit the house Santa Anna was using for his command.  The second went beyond it into the Military Plaza.

  Smith and Martin had the word from Gonzales.  Nobody else was coming from that area.  Fannin was still at Goliad.  No word from Houston.  (Mexican Cavalry intercepted Houston's courier.)

  It's Tuesday, March 1, 1836.

  Santa Anna missed the downtown bombardment while riding around the Alamo checking his positions.  He moved the some Jimenez men closer to block a previously unnoticed path.  The North wall has taken a beating and the Texians are doing what they can.

  The wind finally dropped and the weather improved a bit.  Travis and Bowie agreed with the Mexicans for a three day truce.  It's possible that Santa Anna offered to let newcomer Americans go with their lives but the locals would be treated as rebels.  Some of the women and children who had followed men into the Alamo seem to have left.