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Texas History

 

210-248-8986

9331 Marblehill

San Antonio, TX 78240

 

Colonel Almonte's Journal Account of the Siege and Battle of the Alamo 23 Feb-6 Mar 1836

At the Battle of San Jacinto, Col. Almonte was taken prisoner by the Texian army on 21 Apr 1836. According to an article in the New York Herald, his private journal was found on the field and confiscated by Anson Jones. It was sent to and published by the newspaper in installments. The Herald reported that the journal was examined by Mr. Childress in New York City before the journal was published and the journal was sent on to Washington D.C. to the President. The fate of the journal is unknown.

Tuesday 23---At 7 1/2 A.M. the army was put in march---To the Potranca 11/2 leagues---to the Creek of Leon or Del Medio, 3 1/2 leagues---To Bexar 3 leagues, in all 8 leagues. At half a league from Bexar the division halted on the hills of Alazan at 12 1/2 o'clock. General Sesma arrived at 7 A.M. and did not advance to reconnoiter because he expected an advance of the enemy, which was about to be made according to accounts given by a spy of the enemy who was caught. There was water, though little, in a stream of Las Lomas del Alazan. At 2 PM the army took up their march, the President and his staff in the van. The enemy, as soon as the march of the division was seen, hoisted the tri-colored flag with two stars, designed to represent Coahuila and Texas. The President with all his staff advanced to Campo Santo (burying ground.) The enemy lowered the flag and fled, and possession was taken of Bexar without firing a shot. At 3 PM the enemy filed off to the fort of Alamo, where there was---pieces of artillery; among them one 18 pounder: It appeared they had 130 men; during the afternoon 4 grenades were fired at them. The firing was suspended in order to receive a messenger, who brought a dispatch the contents of which appears in No. 1, and the answer which was given will be found in No. 2. 1. conversed with the bearer who was Jameson (G.B.) and he informed me of the bad state they were in at the Alamo, and manifested a wish that some honorable conditions should be proposed for a surrender. Another messenger afterwards came, (Martin) late a clerk in a house in New Orleans. He stated to me what Mr. Travis said, "that if I wished to speak with him, he would receive me with much pleasure." I answered that it did not become the Mexican Government to make any propositions through me, and that I had only permission to hear such as might be made on the part of the rebels. After these contestations, night came on, and there was no more firing. In the night another small battery was made up the river near the house of Veremenda. I lodged in the house of Nixon, (Major) with Urriza and Marcil Aguirre, An inventory of the effects taken was made; many curious papers were found. One Smith, carpenter and cabinetmaker they say was the owner of the effects. I did not sleep all night, having to attend to the enemy and the property the charge of which was entrusted to me; its value was about $3000.

Wednesday 24th---Very early this morning a new battery was commenced on the bank of the river, about 350 yards from the Alamo. It was finished in the afternoon, and a brisk fire was kept up from it until the 18 pounder and another piece was dismounted. The President reconnoitered on horseback, passing within musket shot of the fort. According to a spy, four of the enemy were killed. At evening the music struck up, and went to entertain the enemy with it and some grenades. In the night, according to the statement of a spy, 30 men arrived at the fort from Gonzales.

Thursday, 25th---The firing from our batteries was commenced early. The General in Chief, with the battalion de Cazadores, crossed the river and posted themselves in the Alamo, that is to say, in the houses near the fort. A new fortification was commenced by us near the house of McMullen. In the random firing the enemy wounded 4 of the Cazadores de Matamoros battalion, and 2 of the battalion of Jimenes, and killed one corporal and a soldier of the battalion of Matamoros. Our fire ceased in the afternoon. In the night two batteries were erected by us on the other side of the river in the Alameda of the Alamo---the battalion of Matamoros was also posted there, and the cavalry was posted on the hills to the east of the enemy, and in the road from Gonzales at the Casa Mata Antigua. At half past eleven at night we retired. The enemy, in the night, burnt the straw and wooden houses in their vicinity, but did not attempt to set fire with their guns to those in our rear. A strong north wind commenced at nine at night.

Friday, 26th. - The northern wind continued very strong; the thermometer fell to 39, and during the rest of the day remained at 60. At daylight, there was a slight skirmish between the enemy and a small party of the division of the east, under the command of General Sesma. During the day the firing from our cannon was continued. The enemy did not reply, except now and then. At night the enemy burnt the small houses near the parapet of the battalion of San Luis, on the other side of the river. Some sentinels were advanced. In the course of the day the enemy sallied out for wood and water, and were opposed by our marksmen. The norther wind continues.

Saturday, 27th---The northern wind was strong at day break, and continued all the night. Thermometer at 39. Lieutenant Manuel Menchacho was sent with a party of men for the corn, cattle, and hogs at the Ranchos (small farms) of Seguin and Flores. It was determined to cut off the water from the enemy on the side next to the old mill. There was little firing from either side during the day. The enemy worked hard to repair some entrenchments. In the afternoon the President was observed by the enemy and fired at. In the night a courier extraordinary was dispatched to the city of Mexico, informing the Government of the taking of Bexar, and also to Genl. Urrea, Filisola, Cos & Vital Fernandez. No private letters were sent.

Sunday, 28th---The weather abated somewhat. Thermometer at 40 at 7 A.M. News were received that a reinforcement to the enemy was coming by the road from La Bahia in number 200. It was not true. The cannonading was continued.

Monday, 29th---The weather changed---thermometer at 55---in the night it commenced blowing hard from the west. In the afternoon the battalion of Allende took post at the east of the Alamo. The President reconnoitered. One of our soldiers was killed in the night. The wind changed to the north at midnight. About that time Gen. Sesma left the camp with the cavalry of Dolores and the infantry of Allende to meet the enemy coming from La Bahia or Goliad to the aid of the Alamo. Genl. Castrillon on guard.

March 1st---The wind subsided, but the weather continued cold---thermometer at 36 in the morning---day clear. Early in the morning Gen. Sesma wrote from the Mission de la Espador that there was no such enemy, and that he reconnoitered as far as the Tinaja, without finding any traces of them. The cavalry returned to camp, and the infantry to this city At 12 o'clock the President went out to reconnoiter the mill site to the north west of the Alamo. Lieut. Col. Ampudia was commissioned to construct more trenches. In the afternoon the enemy fired two 12 pound shots at the house of the President, one of which struck the house, and the other passed it. Nothing more of consequence occurred. Night cold thermometer 34 Fahrenheit and 1 Reaumur.

Wednesday 2d---Commenced clear and pleasant thermometer 34---no wind. An Aid of Col. Duque arrived with despatches from Arroyo Hondo, dated 1st inst. in reply, he was ordered to leave the river Medina, and arrive the next day at 12 or 1 o'clock. Gen. J. Ramirez came to breakfast with the President. Information was received that there was corn at the farm of Sequin, and Lieut. Menchaca was sent with a party for it. The President discovered, in the afternoon, a covered road within pistol shot of the Alamo, and posted the battalion of Jimenes there. At 5 A.M. Bringas went out to meet Gaona.

Thursday 3d---Commenced clear, at 40 without wind. The enemy fired a few cannon and musket shots at the city. I wrote to Mexico and to my sister, directed them to send their letters to Bexar, and that before 3 months the campaign would be ended. The General-inChief went out to reconnoiter. A battery was erected on the north of the Alamo within musket shot. Official despatches were received from Gen. Urrea, announcing that he had routed the colonists at San Patricio---killing 16 and taking 21 prisoners. The bells were rung. The battalion of Zapadores, Aldama, and Toluca arrived. The enemy attempted a sally in the night at the Sugar Mill, but were repulsed by our advance.

Friday 4th---The day commenced windy, but not cold---thermometer 42. Commenced firing very early, which the enemy did not return. In the afternoon one or two shots were fired by them. A meeting of Generals and Colonels was held, at which Generals Cos, Sesma, and Castrillon were present (Generals Amador and Ventura Mora did not attend---the former having been suspended, and the latter being in active commission). Also present, Colonels Francisco Duque, battalion of Toluca, Orishuela, Battalion of Aldama; Romero, battalion of Matamoros; Amat, battalion of Zapadores; and the Major of the battalion of San Luis. The Colonels of battalion of Jimenes and San Luis did not attend, being engaged in actual commission. I was also called. After a long conference, Cos, Castrillon, Orishuela, and Romero were of the opinion that the Alamo should be assaulted---first opening a breach with the two cannon of---and the two mortars, and that they should wait the arrival of the two 12 pounders expected on Monday the 7th. The President, Gen. Ramirez, and I were of opinion that the 12 pounders should not be waited for, but the assault made. Colonels Duque and Amat, and the Major of the San Luis battalion did not give any definite opinion about either of the two modes of assault proposed. In this state things remained---the General not making any definite resolution. In the night the north parapet was advanced towards the enemy through the water course. A Lieutenant of Engineers conducted the entrenchment. A messenger was despatched to Urrea.

Saturday, March 5th---The day commenced very moderate---thermometer 50---weather clear. A brisk fire was commenced from our north battery against the enemy, which was not answered, except now and then. At mid-day the thermometer rose to 68. The President determined to make the assault; and it was agreed that the commanding officers, and they came to the conclusion that they should muster at 12 o'clock tonight and at 4 o'clock to morrow morning (Sunday 6th) the attack should be made.Sunday 6th---At 5 A.M. the columns were posted at their respective stations, and at half past 5 the attack or assault was made, and continued until 6 A.M when the enemy attempted in vain to fly, but they were overtaken and put to the sword, and only five women, one Mexican soldier (prisoner) and a black slave escaped from instant death. On the part of the enemy the result was 250 killed and 17 pieces of artillery---a flag; muskets and fire-arms taken. Our loss was 60 soldiers, 5 officers killed, and 198 soldiers and 25 officers wounded---2 of the latter General officers. The battalion of Toluca lost 98 men between the wounded and killed. I was robbed by our soldiers.