The building housing the convention in Washington-On-The-Brazos

The convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos met and elected Irish Texan Richard Ellis President of the Convention. The meeting was held in a cabin that had windows but no glass. Someone stretched cotton cloth over the windows to keep the chill wind out of the room. Still the temperature was about 33 degrees. Things began to heat up when Lorenzo De Zavala got up to speak, and showing his education began "Mr. President, an eminent Roman once said..."; Irishman Thomas Jefferson Rusk interrupted by telling the assembled Texans they should give their attention not to dead Romans but to Mexicans that were all to close and very much alive. Thus the mood of the convention to have less rhetoric and more results was set by Rusk's remarks.



March 2

BATTLE OF AQUA DULCE

General Urrea located Doctor Grant and his twenty six men at Agua Dulce. Fourteen were killed, six captured and six escaped. The Battle of Agua Dulce was quickly over. Men of possible Celtic extraction with Grant included: James Cass, Dr. James Grant, J. T. Howard, John C. McLanglin, and James Reed. Most of Grant's men were cut down by sabre in a charge by dragoons. Several of the Texan force tried to surrender but were sabered anyway. Doctor Grant, 38 years old, was run through by a lance as he stood trying to give himself up. He was known by the Mexican leaders and ten or twelve of them came over to where he lay and ran their sword though him. No Mexicans were killed.

The convention declared its independence of Mexico in a document drafted by Irishman George Childress. Sam Houston, on this his birthday, praised the Declaration of Independence and moved for its unanimous approval, which was given.

< George Childress

George Campbell Childress, the author of the Texas Declaration of Independence, was the son of the sister (Elizabeth) of the founder of the Robertson Colony, Sterling C. Robertson. Childress also moved that the five pointed star be the official emblem of Texas. Childress County is named for this Irishman. There is evidence that Childress was aided in both actions by Charles Bellinger Stewart.

March 3

Travis sent out a letter telling the convention it must declare for independence. It is the last message out of the Alamo.

At Washington-on-the -Brazos, the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed by 52 delegates, many of them with a Celtic connection. Among them were: George Campbell Childress, Sam Houston, Robert Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson Rusk, David G. Burnet, Richard Ellis, Mathew Caldwell, James Collinsworth, Bailey Hardeman, Collin McKinney (70 years old), James Power, John S. Roberts, Sterling Clack Robertson, George Washington Smyth, Doctor Charles B. Stewart, and William Carroll Crawford. William Carroll Crawford would be the last surviving signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, just as his Irish relative, Charles Carroll was the last surviving signer of the United States Declaration of Independence.

Sam Houston was nominated to be the sole Commander in Chief of the Texas Army by Irishman James Collingsworth. During the convention Collingsworth was chosen as one of the two representatives from Texas sent to the United States. The other was Robert Hamilton. Hamilton was born in Scotland. These two Gaels were the first chosen representatives of an independent Texas to the United States.

The armed Texas Navy schooner Liberty met the Mexican merchant ship Pelicano in an engagement at sea. The Pelicano, though a merchant ship, was well armed. It had on board: 3 cannon, 20 Mexican Marines, and an armed crew. After the initial exchange of fire, the Pelicano struck her colors. Seaman James O'Connor was a member of the three man boarding sent to board the prize. As they were climbing aboard, a Mexican Marine opened fire. O'Connor was able to kill him with a quicker shot. Before the other Mexican Marines could open fire, the other members of the boarding party discharged their two pistols each. O'Connor also fired his other pistol. Seven Mexican Marines were dead and the boarding of the prize vessel proceeded without further incident. The ship's manifest listed the Pelicano's cargo as barrels of flour from a New Orleans merchant by the name of J. W. Zacharie. Hidden in the flour barrels were 300 kegs of powder bound for the Mexican Army. Captain W. S. Brown was able to get the powder to the Texans. This was the powder used at San Jacinto.

A short time later, Brown had the Liberty seize an American ship, the Durango. Its captain was James C. Ryan. It was similarly loaded and falsely manifested. That gunpowder was also sent to the Texans.

THE ALAMO II

March 4

Santa Anna called a commander's conference about an attack on the Alamo. His generals were split on the idea. Those against wanted to wait for the big cannon still coming slowly on the rain soaked roads and expected on the 7th.

Captain Don Rafael Saldona, one of the Mexican officers outside the Alamo, described Davey Crockett; "He wore a buckskin suit and cap all of a pattern entirely different from the suits worn by his comrades. This man would kneel or lie down behind the low parapet, rest his long gun and fire and we all learned to keep at a good distance when he was seen to make ready to shoot. He rarely missed his mark and when he fired he always rose to his feet and calmly reloaded his gun, seemingly indifferent to the shots fired at him by our men."

March 5

Santa Anna gave the order for the assault on the Alamo to begin the next day. General Cós was to lead the first column in the attack.

Legend says this was the day Travis explained to the assembled defenders of the Alamo there were no reinforcements coming and all that stayed would most surely die. He then drew a line in the sand with his sabre and asked all who wished to stay and defend the Alamo to step across the line. Jim Bowie asked that his litter be carried across the line. All, but one, followed Bowie across the line.

March 6

4,000 of Mexico's best soldiers from veteran units began the attack. The strains of the "Deguello" filled the air. The "Deguello" was a Spanish marching song that was played when no quarter was to be given. The word, `deguello' is moorish in origin and means, "to slit the throat." It is an example of the barbarity of man, that such a song, originating with the enemies of Spain in the Eighth century could then be passed to an enemy of Spain who played it before their enemy more than a thousand years later. If you have sound you are hearing the Deguello as performed by Dimitri Tiomkin for the movie Rio Bravo.

The Mexicans had four generals and 4,000 men. The lead assaulting Mexican unit, the Battalion of Toluca, began the attack with 800 men. 670 of them were killed. in all, 1600 Mexican troops died and 500 were wounded taking the Alamo.

The 188 Texans had an advantage in marksmanship they used to full effect. They were able to hold off the Mexicans for five hours before they were overcome by the sheer numbers. There were piles of dead around each man who defended the Alamo. Travis was shot from the ramparts and fell into the courtyard. Just as a Mexican officer, General Mora, was about to run him through with his sabre, Travis thrust his into Mora; and thus, they both died.

Jim Bowie killed several Mexican as he lay with cocked pistols in his litter.

Detail of the Alamo Chapel area is below

 

This painting by Donald M. Yena is from his series of paintings for Battles Of Texas. It is taken from the point of view of the Mexican soldiers under General Martin Perfecto Cos as they assault the northwest corner of the mission compound at dawn. They Texans have already been alerted of the attack and the battle is on.

The painting that follows was painted by artist Percy Moran and is his interpretation of the Battle of the Alamo

 

One of the very last defenders of the Alamo to die was Davey Crockett. It was generally believed over the years that ole Davey ran out of bullets and went down in a circle of Mexican bodies, a testimony to his skill with his rifle stock and knife.

That has been questioned with discovery of a Mexican document that are the recollections of Santa Annas' secretary that says Davey Crockett was captured and ordered killed by Santa Anna. In a book that is a translation of the memoirs of General Vincente Filisola published in the mid-fifties it stated that Santa Anna sent a dispatch to General Jose Maria Tornel stating "...the bodies of the so-called colonels Bowies and Travis, Crockett of equal rank and all the other leaders ...were among the dead." While General Filasola's testimony does not definitively preserve the older version, it does leave room to believe it and more importantly, show that it really doesn't matter how he died at the Alamo. Davey Crockett's contribution and reputation are none the less for it.

< Davey Crockett

A little known story is about the last man to die at the Alamo. He was the Commander of the Artillery. He was Irish born. Irishman Robert T. Evans had orders from Travis to set fire to the Alamo's magazine when it became apparent that all was lost, and take as many of the enemy with the blast as possible. Evans was killed as he was putting the flame to the powder. This happened after Santa Anna had entered the outer walls of the Alamo. So shaken was the "Napoleon of the West" when he learned he had very nearly been blown away, he twice stabbed the corpse of Evans.

Of those fighting for Texas who died at the Alamo, ten were Irish born:

Smith Bailey

Samuel Burns

Andrew Duvalt

Robert Evans

Joseph M. Hawkins

William D. Jackson

Edward McCafferty

James McGee

Robert McKinney

James Nowlan

Jackson C. Rusk

Burke Trammel

William B. Ward

Five of the Alamo defenders were born in Scotland:

Robert Ballintine

John McGregor

Isaac Robinson

David I. Wilson

John Wilson

One Alamo defender was born in Wales, he was Lewis Johnson.

Many others had Celtic names, among them was Robert Cochran after whom Cochran County is named. Others with a Celtic connection include Peter James Bailey, Daniel William Cloud, and William Fontleroy. See Appendix V for more.

The muffled drum's sad roll has beat

The soldier's last tattoo;

No more on life's parade shall meet

That brave and fallen few.

On fame's eternal camping-ground

Their silent tents are spread,

And glory guards with solemn round

The bivouac of the dead.

 

The neighing troop, the flashing blade,

The bugle's stirring blast,

The charge, the dreadful cannonade,

The din and shout are past;

Nor war's wild note, nor glory's peal

Shall thrill with fierce delight

Those breasts that never more may feel

The rapture of the fight.

 

--Theodore O'Hara.