José Enrique de la Peña's Narrative of the Fall of the Alamo

Mexican officer bore witness to the last moments of the Alamo defenders

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Mexican Lt. Col. José Enrique de la Peña witnessed the 1836 Battle of the Alamo and documented it in a 109-page field diary during the 1836 Texas campaign. After the war, he wrote a 400-page narrative based on his field diary and reports from his fellow officers. The narrative was not published until 1955 and not translated into English until 1975. It includes accounts of how the Alamo’s defenders died and proved tremendously controversial with its assertion that Davy Crockett did not die fighting, but instead surrendered during the battle only to be executed by General Santa Anna.

This page recounts the story of William B. Travis’ death. De la Peña writes, “Travis was seen to hesitate, but not about the death he would choose. He would take a few steps and stop, turning his proud face toward us to discharge his shots; he fought like a true soldier. Finally he died, but he died after trading his life very dearly. None of his men died with greater heroism, and they all died. Travis behaved like a hero; one must do him justice, for with a handful of men without discipline, he resolved to face men used to war and much superior in numbers, without supplies, with scarce munitions, and against the will of his subordinates.” 

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José Enrique de la Peña's Narrative of the Fall of the Alamo Artifact from The Alamo, San Antonio, Bexar County
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