The McArdle Notebooks > Dawn at the Alamo

Dawn at the Alamo

Reuben M. Potter to McArdle, September 1, 1874

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Handbook of Texas article on Reuben M. Potter

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Potter to McArdle, September 1874

Fort Wood, N.Y.H. September 1st 1874.

My Dear Sir:

            I reviewed to day your two letters of the 19th & 23 of August, and I am


well pleased to learn that mine of the 13th, though from one en-


tirely ignorant of artistic details & practical effect, is thought to


be not wholly unsuggestive. The defects of the point of view


which I recommended are obvious to any one on being point-


ed out, and became somewhat apparent to me after my letter


was sent. The spot you select to look from, and the scenes


& groups it takes in, comprise, so far as I can judge, the


best handling that could be given to the subject. Evans's


torch was a bright thought. The artistic effect of its glare


on the combat combines with it a fine coincidence: it lights


up two noble personifications of heroic despair, the


risen, ghost-like Bowie, & the intended Samson of that Temple


who bears the torch. The allegory to be read in the sky that


dawn is finally conceived. The sense in which you


call the conflict a victory involves none of the objections


which occurred to me when the idea was first mentioned,


for I took it with a meaning too literal & gross. By


making the large area the chief scene of visible ac-


tion you render the picture more historical than was


my suggestion. There, most of what could have been seen from


with out was seen; & there Travis & Crocket fell, though

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Reuben M. Potter to McArdle, September 1, 1874, The McArdle Notebooks, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: March 30, 2011