The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 1, July 1897 - April, 1898 Page: 51
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John Crittenden Duval.
The letter is addressed and stamped as follows:
(Postmark) His Excelly- (Postmark undecipherable,
NEW ORLEANS, La, Wm. P. Duval 22 AP
Apr (in writing)
19 Tallahassee 25
The letter was wafered with a red wafer.
Ten days after that was written a finger of the hand that penned
it was shot away by a Mexican bullet, and Captain Duval had
heard at the Battle of Coleto (in the words of his brother) "Bul-
lets singing like mad hornets around" him. Eighteen days after,
the writer was dead, lying amidst "the pallid upturned faces of his
murdered companions." In the meantime, he had learned that
human hope is ofttimes dust and ashes, that human trust is a
broken reed, that a man may gain laurels, as he did, and die in
the winning, and that there is a limit to the bravest man's endur-
The Battle of Coleto was a hard fight against overwhelming
odds; it was not lost, if lost at all, for want of gallantry, unless it
was the lack of valor displayed by the troop of horsemen under
Horton. Had these men made a dash through the lines to their
comrades it is more than likely a retreat to the timber on the Coleto
might have been effected. The conduct of this troop, at any rate,
suffers in comparison to that of the Gonzales troopers who joined
the devoted band in the Alamo but five days before that post fell.
The retreat of Horton's company cut off the possibility of moving
the wounded, for the beset lost their teams during the fight. A fa-
tal mistake, not the first by a long list, had been made in halting in
the open and on ground that was wholly unsuited for defense. The
moment needed a hero of action-a leader, who, like Travis, could
fire even worn-out men with the idea that surrender was out of
all question. On the testimony of Duval, they would have needed
but little persuasion, they had the spirit, "they must be exter-
minated to be whipped." Such errors as those which divided the
force--the failure to relieve Travis, the tardy obedience of orders
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 1, July 1897 - April, 1898, periodical, 1897/1898; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101009/m1/63/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.