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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980

Book Reviews
Mier Expedition Diary: A Texan Prisoner's Account. By Joseph D. Mc-
Cutchan. Edited by Joseph Milton Nance. (Austin: University of
Texas Press, 1978. Pp. xv+246. Preface, illustrations, map, index.
In the annals of Texan martyrdom, the Mier Expedition with its in-
famous lottery of death ranks only behind the Alamo and Goliad. But
for obvious reasons, far more first-hand accounts exist. In the Alamo all
of the defenders died; at Goliad a mere handful survived to tell the
tale; but in the drawing of the beans, only one-tenth-seventeen-suf-
fered execution, while the remainder lived to describe their ordeal. A
goodly number wrote accounts of the misadventure, and some of those
accounts are only now appearing in print.
Among those records is that of Joseph D. McCutchan who as a nine-
teen-year-old joined the ill-fated filibuster. McCutchan's manuscript
journal now reposes safely in the Rosenberg Library, but before arriv-
ing there in 1931, it rested in several unlikely places and, as Archivist
Jane A. Kenamore points out in a foreword, "encountered nearly as
much trauma and uncertainty as did the men who took part in the ex-
pedition (p. xi)." The journal, faded and water stained, has long in-
trigued scholars and buffs of the Mier Expedition. Now for the first time
it is made generally available to the public.
The journal is unique in that McCutchan did not follow the same
route to prison as the main body of the men and as a consequence missed
the high drama of the drawing of the beans. On the surface this seems a
negative consideration, but on the contrary, it sets his account apart. In
describing the adventures of another group of prisoners, he gives details
not found in other accounts. McCutchan's group made contacts with
friendly foreigners in Mexico-American, French, Irish, and English-
who later expedited the escape of several of the prisoners. His journal
thus gives perspective and complements the other accounts.
McCutchan is also fortunate in his editor. Joseph Milton Nance has
devoted years of study to Texan-Mexican relations of the period. His
two-volume study of events leading to the Mier Expedition is definitive,
and students now await the third volume. He brings to the McCutchan

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 3, 2016.

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