Mystery Artist of the Alamo:
JACK JACKSON AND JAMES E. IVEY*
R ARELY GIVEN CORRECTLY IN THE VAST LITERATURE CONCERNING THE SIEGE
land fall of the Alamo is the name of the Mexican officer who drew
perhaps the earliest surviving view of this Texan shrine, the Vista delfuerte
de San Antonio de Valero, which we will call the Vista in this article. Was he
Jos6 Juan Sinchez, Jose Juan Sanchez Navarro, or Jos6 Juan Sanchez
Estrada? Jean-Louis Berlandier, who knew him personally, states on the
pencil rendering Berlandier made from an 1840 copy of the Vista that his
name was Jos6 Juan Sinchez Estrada. Carlos Sinchez-Navarro y Pe6n, a
descendant of the same family, called him Jos6 Juan Sanchez-Navarro
(with a hyphen, as he did his own name) in his 1938 publication ofJose
Juan's journal of the battle of the Alamo that included a photograph of
the original Vista that Berlandier had copied. These two versions ofJos6
Juan's name have given rise to puzzlement and considerable confusion
among Alamo buffs-scholarly ones as well as amateurs. For example,
Alamo experts such as C. D. Huneycutt and Alan C. Huffines refer to his
last name as simply "Navarro" instead of the more proper "Sanchez," and
indexers for the recent deluge of books about the Alamo routinely make
the same mistake.'
* Jack Jackson is an independent historian, illustrator, and Fellow of the Texas State Historical
Association. His recent books include Shooting the Sun and Texas by Terdn, and he is currently en-
gaged in a work about the 1834 inspection and Secret Report of Col. Juan N. Almonte.
James E. Ivey is a research historian for the Intermountain Regional Office of the National
Park Service, in Santa Fe. He was a contract historical archeologist in Texas for ten years, worked
on several Alamo excavations, and has specialized in the cultural and architectural history of the
Spanish colonial southwest.
1 Pencil on paper, image size 2% by 6/ inches (see fig. 2), in the Berlandier Collection at Yale
University, bound into a Berlandier manuscript sketchbook called "Vistas," Ms. S-3o4, Western
Americana Collection (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University); Carlos
Sinchez-Navarro [y Pe6n] (ed.), La Guerra de Tejas: Memorias de un Soldado (Mexico City: Editorial
Pols, 1938); C. D. Huneycutt (trans.), At the Alamo: The Memoirs of Capt. Navarro (New London,
N.C.: Gold Star Press, 1988), an unsatisfactory translation of the 1938 book published by Carlos
Sanchez-Navarro, 2nd edition; Alan C. Huffines (ed.) and Gary S. Zaboly (illus.), Blood of Noble
Men. The Alamo Siege & Battle- An Illustrated Chronology (Austin: Eakin Press, 1999).
SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY OCTOBER, 2001
VOL. CV, NO. 2
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101222/. Accessed October 13, 2015.