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The Siege of Bexar


From the Republic Pension Application of Joseph Lopez

.[T]here never was greater confusion, in a body of eleven hundred farmers and mechanics, than there was in those which formed the attacking army of General Burleson. If one man was present at the skirmish of San't Antonio I was certainly there and gave my aid whatever it might be worth, till the fifth day brought the flag of truce, which ended the hide and seek, behind walls fight and sent General Cos home, with his three Thousand Mexicans,' I could mention many incidents, that happened during these five days, but for brevety sake I will give a slight sketch of the battle; At about five oclock in the morning a small party of the army made a feint on the Alamo, and we who were all ready to march, and were waiting to hear the first gun fired, the preconcerted signal for our starting, left camp as soon as its sound reverberated in the air, and proceeded towards the town, with rifle and blanket on our shoulder, we throwed our blankets on the ground when we got near the place, and marched in silence till the head of the column had reached the first house when two reports reached our ears, which were from the Mexican sentinel, who had shot deaf Smith in the wrist, so I was told, for I was in the middle of the column, and from deaf Smith, who shot the sentinel in both Knees, This same individual I saw with my both eyes when we had taken possession of the first house and he was brought in, he laid on a straw bed in a little stone house, fronting the yard, that seperated the main house from it, not long after the reports were heard, we reached the door of the yard, and some commenced breaking it open with crowbars, when as they done so a Spanish officer made his appearance, whom some of the men were going to shoot, but a Texan officer that was there, raised the barrel of the rifle up, and suffered the Spaniard to cross to the mexican lines, in peace, All the Texan Army was now concentrated in and around the house, and the firing commenced in earnest, many of the Orleans Greys got on top the house, and began firing thier rifles, while the rest of the army fired from the yard, around the house, and any other place from which they could reach the Mexicans, but after a while beginning to fall down rather faster than they wished and besides seeing that the mexicans kept themselves concealed, they thought best to leave thier place of exposure, and seek shelter within the houses, And the process of cutting port holes commenced which in less than one hour made the houses look like a pigeon nursery, from whence flame and lead poured out as fast as the men could load and fire Thus things went on for a few hours, when the officers set some of the men to digging trenches for the purpose of taking possession of other houses, While others were sent around the place, picking the dead and wounded, among those that they brought in mortally wounded was a man that had on him a green blanket coat, he was shot through the side of the head, and laid on his back keeping up a species of snoring, which sounded so peculiar that one could not help noticing it, It was on that first morning, that a little doctor came out with a lady's basket on his head, and as he danced and capered in the yard, while the balls were flying all over his head, told the men that they were going to have a fandango there that night, On the second day a large gun was placed in the rear of the house, which being pointed towards the church steeple, made that portion of the edifice tremble, inspite of its being built of stone, and dislodged those rascals, that from that place were picking our men, one at a time with their muskets, yet notwithstanding all this, on the third day in the forenoon, and in that same yard just under the arch way, a distinguished colonel [Ben Milam] was shot through the temples, the ball coming as near out on the other side, that it made a swelling and was cut out with a razor, I had been looking at him a few minutes before as he stood there dressed in a white Blanket coat, but my attention being attracted around, and when I looked towards the place again I saw him streched at has whole lengt [sic], he never new what hurt him a moment afterwards the man next to me was also shot down, Several outside batteries were playing now on the Mexicans, and the process of digging trenches had progressed so far, as to enable the Texans to take possession of several houses from which the fired as fast as they could, but they could produce little or no effect on the mexicans, who were behind shelters some ways off, and well furnished with ammunition. they kept up a hail storm of balls at a distance, that could not be reached with the rifles, They made an attack on our Camp one day, and fired so steady that the men there had to hide behind Trees, but though there was not twenty men in the place, the mexicans dared not come to a hand to hand attack, and at last returned to thier batteries, It was the fourth day, that the night attack was planned for the taking of the Plaza, where the mexicans were in strength, second to what they were att the Alamo, The Mobile Grays were selected for the enterprise, and they done their part so well, that they took possession of the houses fronting the Square, and as they opened thier fire on the mexicans, produced such a panic, that from the Alamo thier friends fired upon them, and on the next morning more than a hundred laid there dead shot by thier own companions, This brought a flag of truce to us, and the terms being arranged, General Cos departed, and left us in possession of the place, I often thought how it was that they yeilded [sic] the place so easyly, when I considered how well it was fortified, and what quantity of ammunition they had, and how much they exceeded us in number They being three Thousand, and we eleven hundred which on the fifth day had not two loads of powder to each man, so short was the Texans of ammunition The town of Sant Anton was then small, built of stone houses one story high, and so placed as to form a square before the Church, the street commencing at each of its Corners, While each one of those streets was well fortified, at the end towards the public square, and a Cannon placed there, that could cut up any body of men to pieces, had they attempted to come that way, Nothing but the [duguporrat??] process enabled the Texans to gain the victory, for had they attacked openly, they would have been shot down to the last man but those that led the Texans knew well what they were about, after the battle I took a promenade along the river which is a very small stream, and visited the several quarters of the town, but oh, such a stink the surroundings were full of dead horses and mules they having been shot during the battle, one thing I noticed, that though in the midst of winter we never had a cold day, the weather was as warm as summer nor was there any rain, during the whole time we were in Sant Anton, Wether these are permanent conditions, or accidental, is more than I am enable to state, all I know is that I was in my Shirt Sleeves the biggest part of the time. I end my description, which is a truthful representation of facts as near as I can remember them after so long a time having elapsed since tier occurrence

Page last modified: June 17, 2011