The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 37, July 1933 - April, 1934 Page: 34
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
h. Some Mexican Accounts of the Final Assault
Probably the best account of the final assault and fall of the
Alamo was published by Vicente Filisola in 1849. His narrative
begins with the evening of March 4, and says:
On this same evening, a little before nightfall, it is said that
Barrett Travis, commander of the enemy, had offered to the general-
in-chief, by a woman messenger, to surrender his arms and the
fort with all the materials upon the sole condition that his own
life and the lives of his men be spared.70 But the answer was that
they must surrender at discretion, without any guarantee, even of
life, which traitors did not deserve. It is evident, that after such
an answer, they all prepared to sell their lives as dearly as possible.
Consequently, they exercised the greatest vigilance day and night
to avoid surprise.
On the morning of March 6, the Mexican troops were stationed
at 4 o'clock, A. M., in accord with Santa Anna's instructions. The
artillery, as appears from these same instructions, was to remain
inactive, as it received no orders; and furthermore, darkness and
the disposition made of the troops which were to attack the four
fronts at the same time, prevented its firing without mowing down
our own ranks. Thus the enemy was not to suffer from our artillery
during the attack. Their own artillery was in readiness. At the
sound of the bugle they could no longer doubt that the time had
come for them to conquer or to die. Had they still doubted, the
imprudent shouts for Santa Anna given by our columns of attack7
must have opened their eyes. As soon as our troops were in sight,
a shower of grape and musket balls was poured upon them from
the fort, the garrison of which at the sound of the bugle, had
rushed to arms and to their posts. The three columns that attacked
the west, the north, and the east fronts, fell back, or rather,
wavered at the first discharge from the enemy, but the example
and the efforts of the officers soon caused them to return to the
Johnson-Barker, Texas and Texans, I, 406-407. These orders were signed
by Juan Valentin Amador, and certified by Santa Anna's secretary,
Ram6n Martinez Caro.
70While Filisola records this statement not as an official report, but
rather as a rumor, Stephen Gould, Alamo Guide, 19, accepts the state-
ment as a fact. Furthermore, he says, "Santa Anna's excuse for his
reply was that it was in accord with the will of the Mexican Congress.
It is also stated that when Santa Anna's reply to Travis was made
known to the Mexican officers, a Frenchman by the name of Argo, a
brother to the celebrated astronomer of that name, and who held the
position of chief of staff in the Mexican army, notified Santa Anna that
he would be compelled to resign his commission for he refused to take
part in the inhuman course decided upon."
71Santa Anna, Manfiesto (translated by C. E. Castafieda), p. 14, claims
that he would have surprised the garrison but for the imprudent shouts
raised by one of the columns when the signal for attack was given.
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Texas State Historical Association & Barker, Eugene C. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 37, July 1933 - April, 1934, periodical, 1934; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101094/m1/42/: accessed November 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.