Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Springs and at Thompson's Station he displayed a more levelheaded skill in
deploying his men.
Carter successfully argues that Van Dorn's principal character weakness was
in his fondness of female companionship. Even before the war Carter claims
that although Van Dorn had a wife and children he had kept a mistress in
Texas, Martha Goodbread, and had three children with her. It was Van
Dorn's alleged affair with the wife of Dr. George B. Peters that brought about
his demise. Here Carter mines material that had been preserved by one of
Van Dorn's staff officers to shed a new light on his death-evidently a true
crime of passion.
Carter is successful in combining a careful study of Van Dorn's military career
with the scandalous behavior that brought about his demise. It was Van Dorn's
character, after all, that shaped his decision-making on and off the battlefield.
Quincy, Illinois THOMAS D. MAYS
The De La Peia Diary: A Memoir of an Officer of Santa Anna Includzng the Death of
Davey Crockett. Produced by Brian Huberman, Edward Hugetz, and Cynthia
Ann Lost Howling Wolf. (Houston: B-H Films, 2001. ISBN 0-942540-83-2.
Were David Crockett and six other Texans captured during the battle of the
Alamo, only to be executed afterward? Or did they die during the Mexican
assault? For years this debate, along with other Alamo controversies, has contin-
ued unabated. And what if Crockett and the others survived the attack on the
Alamo? Men have been taken prisoner in battle throughout the centuries. Is this
not part of warfare?
There are some who just cannot accept the possibility that Crockett and his
fellow defenders were captured at the Alamo on March 6, 1836. To these people
the idea of Crockett being taken prisoner is a disgrace, a stain upon the man's
honor and legacy. As the sixty-minute video The De La Peia Diary points out,
there are three eyewitness accounts of Crockett and the others being overrun.
Critics have for years tried to discredit all three accounts. Most of the eye of the
controversy has swirled around Mexican Lt. Col. Jose Enrique de la Pefia's
account, written in 1839.
At the heart of the debate is whether the diary is a fake, a forgery done by an
enterprising Mexico City dealer in rare coins, books and manuscripts. A New
York firefighter and historian, Bill Groneman, has gone to great lengths and
spent years trying to prove that it is a forgery. A North Carolina State University
professor of history, James Crisp, has spent an equal amount of time and effort
trying to conclusively prove it is genuine. Amid all this controversy, the diary was
purchased in November 1998 at an auction for $350,000 and donated to the
University of Texas.
After viewing the video, Crisp certainly has the edge in the debate. The high-
lights of this story include excerpts from interviews and taped sessions of Crisp and
Groneman before an audience. Interviews with two Mexican history professors
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 February 28, 2015.