Texas Almanac, 1859 Page: 62
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OiM TEXAS ALMANAC.
was opposed to putting the men to death. One night, past midnight, when Santa
Anna and Castrion were planning an assault, Santa Anna declared that none
should survive. It was then inevitable that the fort could hold out but little
longer, and Castrion was persuading the commander to spare the lives of the men.
Santa Anna was holding in his hand the leg of a chicken which he was eating,
and holding it up, he said: 'What are the lives of soldiers more than of so many
chickens? I tell you, the Alamo must fall, and my orders must be obeyed at all
hazards. If our soldiers are driven back, the next line in their rear must force
those before them forward, and compel them to scale the walls, cost what it may.'
I was then acting as Santa Anna's secretary, and ranked as Colonel. My name is
Urissa. After eating, Santa Anna directed me to write out his orders, to the effect
that all the companies should be brought out early, declaring that he would take his
breakfast in the fort the next morning. His orders were dispatched, and I retired.
I soon after heard the opening fire. *By day-break our soldiers had made a breach,
and I understood the garrison had all been killed. At about eight o'clock I went
into the fort, and saw Santa Anna walking to and fro As I bowed, he said to me,
pointing to the dead: 'These are the chickens. Much blood has been shed; but
the battle is over: it was but a small affair.' As I was surveying the dreadful
scene before us, I observed Castrion coming out of one of the quartels, leading a
venerable-looking old man by the hand; he was tall, his face was red, and stooped
forward as he walked. The President stopped abruptly, when Castrion, leaving
his prisoner, advanced some four or five paces towards us, and with his graceful
bow, said: "My General, I have spared the life of this venerable old man, and
taken him prisoner." Raising his head, Santa Anna replied, "What right have
you to disobey my orders? I want no prisoners," and waving his hand to a file of
soldiers, he said, "Soldiers, shoot that man," and almost instantly he fell, pierced
with a volley of balls. Castrion turned aside with tears in his eyes, and my heart
was too full to speak. So there was not a man left. Even a cat that was soon
after seen running through the fort, was shot, as the soldiers exclaimed: "It is
not a cat, but an American." "What was that old man's name?" said I. "I
believe," said he, "they called him Coket." At that time, we knew very little of
David Crockett, and Dr. Phelps, who was still present at his conversation, knew
as little as the rest of us. All I knew was, that I had heard of David Crockett
passing through Nacogdoches in the month of February, to join the army, with
some fifteen others. But I have never since had any doubt but that Urissa's
account gave the fate of Crockett truly. This statement was made some four or
five days after the battle of the 21st, and Urissa could have had no motive to mis-
represent the facts.
DEATH OF YOUNG TRASK.
Dr. Phelps having left, I was now left alone to attend to the wounded, and poor
Trask again desired me not to abandon him. "Doctor," said he, "I resign myself
into your hands. You advised me, the other day, to have my leg cut off, but Dr.
Phelps thought there was no necessity for it, yet I am daily wasting away, and
must soon die, if you cannot give me relief" I again advised him to have his leg
amputated, as I believed there was a copper ball lodged in it.
Next day, I mounted my horse to go for amputating instruments. The camp
had now been removed to Harrisburgh, and most of the surgeons had dispersed,
and the case of instruments was also gone. I mentioned this state of things to
General Rusk, but as we heard soon after that three of Trask's friends had come
to take him away, Rusk gave me orders, in writing, to follow the prisoners to Gal-
veston, taking with me as many of the wounded as the boat would carry, and to
report myself to Col. Morgan. Returning across the bayou at once, to prepare for
the duties now assigned me, I was just in time to see Trask placed on board the
steamer in charge of his friends. I urged on them the necessity of speedy amputa-
tion, and calling on the captain of the Mexican artillery, proved by him that all
the grape they fired were four-ounce copper balls. I wrote a note to the surgeon in
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Texas Almanac, 1859, book, 1859~; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth123765/m1/63/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.