The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992

Southwestern Historzcal Quarterly

and the established scholar, and it will be shelved comfortably alongside the
better contributions to research in Texas history.
San Jacznto Museum of History J. C. MARTIN
Forget the Alamo. By Wallace O. Chariton. (Plano: Wordware Publishing, Inc.,
1990. Pp. xv+327. Preface, acknowledgments, illustrations, maps, end-
notes, sources. $18.95.)
Exploring the Alamo Legends. By Wallace O. Chariton. (Plano: Wordware Pub-
lishing, Inc., 1990. Pp. xv+266. Acknowledgments, preface, illustrations,
maps, index, sources, endnotes. $18.95.)
oo Days in Texas. By Wallace O. Chariton. (Plano: Wordware Publishing Inc.,
1990. Pp. xv+ 390. Preface, acknowledgments, introduction, illustrations,
maps, endnotes, sources, index. $21.95.)
Wallace O. Chariton, an Alamo buff, offers three approaches to his avoca-
tion. roo Days zn Texas: The Alamo Letters presents original documents relating to
the battle from December 9, 1835, when Texans captured San Antonio to
March 17, 1836, when the fall of the Alamo became well known. Most of the
material appeared in John Jenkins, Papers of the Texas Revolution, though a few
items have been added and a one-volume collection is convenient. One should
read carefully the preface on editing and be aware of a traditional view as well
as minor errors in the introduction. From sources Chariton turns to analysis.
In Exploring the Alamo Legends the author pursues several questions raised by
earlier historians including Walter Lord, while offering a few new ones. On
some issues, such as the deaths of Travis and Bowie or the size of the Mexican
army, he supports Lord. Chariton explores the role of James Neill and offers
reasonable critiques of military mistakes on both sides. His suggestions, that the
Texans who surrendered and were then killed may have been wounded from
the capture of San Antonio and that the Texas force may have been over two
hundred men, seem plausible. The author believes Travis drew his line on
March 3, rather than March 5 as Lord suggests, though the evidence for either
is quite limited. Other arguments, that Houston did not order destruction of
the Alamo and that Crockett died fighting, are less convincing. Chariton criti-
cally analyzes the sources used by Dan Kilgore to argue that Crockett surren-
dered, but does not critique in the same way the weaker sources that support a
fighting death. The author, who explains that some men may have unsuccess-
fully sought escape once the battle was lost, appears overzealous in declaring
Moses Rose and Philip Dimitt cowards for departing earlier, especially since
Chariton did not use Hobart Huson's book on Dimitt. Essays on Susanna Dick-
inson, the account book of Travis, and a letter from the Alamo that caused con-
flict in the Texas government are interesting but less significant. Comments
about "loyal Texans" of today supporting traditional views seem distractions
from the author's stated goal of seeking truth. To documents and debates
Charlton adds fiction.


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed April 29, 2016.

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