The Texas Almanac, for 1860, with Statistics, Historical and Biographical Sketches, &c., Relating to Texas. Page: 41
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HISTORY OF TEXAS. 41
drawn his principal forces to the Alamo. The evening before he had sent out his
entire cavalry on a reconnoitering excursion, when they all absconded, hastening
to the Rio Grande. Thus weakened, and finding his utmost efforts unavailing, Cos
retired to the Alamo and displayed a white flag from its tower. During the four
preceding days a red and black flag, the combined symbol of death and no quarters,
had floated fiercely from the Alamo and from the Church in town. The threats of
a barbarous foe are beautifully retorted in the accents and the exercise of mercy.
The battle was suspended as soon as the banner of peace was seen, and soon a flag
of truce was dispatched by Cos to CoL Johnson, acknowledging his inability to
continue the defense and proposing a capitulation. Col. Burleson, to whom the
messenger was sent, received the overture with the courtesy of a brave conqueror,
and agreed to appoint commissioners to arrange the terms of surrender. The com-
missioners met, and mutual stipulations were agreed upon. They were liberal and
humane toward the vanquished. General Cos was required to return the convicts
to the Rio Grande. The garrison was disbanded; such of the soldiers as wished to
return being permitted to do so. He was furnished with one small field-piece and one
hundred stands of arms, with suitable ammunition, for protection on the route, him-
self and officers retaining their side-arms, with the stipulation that they were not
to fight against Texas again pending the war. The surrender was also timely for
the victors, the last keg of powder having been broached.
On the 14th December Gen. Cos left San Antonio with upwards of a thousand
troops, and not a hostile Mexican was to be found in arms in Texas. Our injury
in taking the Priest's house was one brave man (Belden) having an eye destroyed
by a splinter, while securing the door. The entire loss during the assault, apart
from the death of Milam, was inconsiderable, and, counting the relative numbers
and positions of the parties, quite remarkable. The Mexican loss was vastly
greater, but has never been accurately ascertained, and is generally underrated -
not less than 400 killed and half as many wounded would approach the truth. It
has been a peculiarity in the issues of battles between Texians and Mexicans, that
the killed of the latter usually exceed the wounded. The storming force did not
exceed 350 men, rank and file, while the garrison numbered about 2000. A large
amount of military stores, including 21 pieces of ordinance, of various calibre, and
five hundred muskets, were transferred to the conquerors.
We have been more diffuse on this portion of our narrative, because we regard
the taking of San Antonio as, without exception, the most difficult, protracted, and
gallant achievement that graceJ our revolutionary history, and as exhibiting a more
patient endurance of the fatigues, privations, and dangers incident to war than is
common in an army of unpaid, undisciplined volunteers, a portion of whom were
strangers, having no predial interest in the country." Col. Burleson did all that
duty could require. CoL Johnson approved himself a worthy successor to the
brave and skillful Milam, while every subordinate officer and every soldier displayed
an indomitable heroism.
The capture of San Antonio terminated the military transactions in Texas, and
the sacrifices of blood to the manes of the abrogated constitution of 1824. The
native Mexicans, causing or permitting its annihilation, the Colonists were
exonerated from all obligation to sustain it. The popular mind of Texas, with few
exceptions, was now intent on independence, and henceforth her strength was to be
devoted to that object.
The provisional government found; as all new governments have found and will
findi'much to do and little to do with. Their early acts were precedent and neces-
sary. No amount of customs duties that a limited commerce could promise, and no
excise, or tax on lands or slaves, nor any other direct source of revenue, could be
relied upon as adequate to the public exigencies. A loan, therefore, was an in-
evitable resort, and great confidence was reposed in the ability of our worthy com-
missioners, Austin, Archer, and Wharton, to effect one competent to the current
* We take pleasure in stating, that much of our facts and language in this account are derived
from Col. Wm. T. Austin, a conspicuous member of the gallant band.
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The Galveston News. The Texas Almanac, for 1860, with Statistics, Historical and Biographical Sketches, &c., Relating to Texas., book, 1860~; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth123766/m1/43/: accessed October 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.