VIEW THE MOBILE VERSION of Informational Site Network Informational
Home - World War Stories - American Heros - Hero Stories - War Stories - British Navy

American Heros

Charles Russell Lowell
Wut's wurds to them whose faith an' truth On war'...

Francis Parkman
(1822-1893) He told the red man's story; far and wide...

Remember The Alamo
The muffled drum's sad roll has beat The soldier'...

George Rogers Clark And The Conquest Of The Northwest
Have the elder races halted? Do they droop and end the...

Lieutenant Cushing And The Ram Albemarle
God give us peace! Not such as lulls to sleep, But...

Sheridan At Cedar Creek
Inspired repulsed battalions to engage, And taught...

The Charge At Gettysburg
For the Lord On the whirlwind is abroad; I...

John Quincy Adams And The Right Of Petition
He rests with the immortals; his journey has been long: ...

O captain. My captain. Our fearful trip is done; T...

Farragut At Mobile Bay
Ha, old ship, do they thrill, The brave two hundre...

Hampton Roads
Then far away to the south uprose A little feathe...

The Flag-bearer
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;...

The Battle Of Trenton
And such they are--and such they will be found: No...

General Grant And The Vicksburg Campaign
What flag is this you carry Along the sea and sho...

We are but warriors for the working-day; Our gayne...

The Cruise Of The Wasp
A crash as when some swollen cloud Cracks o'er th...

The Battle Of New Orleans
The heavy fog of morning Still hid the plain from...

The brilliant historian of the English people [*] has written...

The General Armstrong Privateer
We have fought such a fight for a day and a night As m...

King's Mountain
Our fortress is the good greenwood, Our tent the ...

Remember The Alamo

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.

"Thermopylae had its messengers of death, but the Alamo had none." These
were the words with which a United States senator referred to one of
the most resolute and effective fights ever waged by brave men against
overwhelming odds in the face of certain death.

Soon after the close of the second war with Great Britain, parties of
American settlers began to press forward into the rich, sparsely settled
territory of Texas, then a portion of Mexico. At first these immigrants
were well received, but the Mexicans speedily grew jealous of them, and
oppressed them in various ways. In consequence, when the settlers
felt themselves strong enough, they revolted against Mexican rule, and
declared Texas to be an independent republic. Immediately Santa Anna,
the Dictator of Mexico, gathered a large army, and invaded Texas. The
slender forces of the settlers were unable to meet his hosts. They were
pressed back by the Mexicans, and dreadful atrocities were committed
by Santa Anna and his lieutenants. In the United States there was great
enthusiasm for the struggling Texans, and many bold backwoodsmen and
Indian-fighters swarmed to their help. Among them the two most famous
were Sam Houston and David Crockett. Houston was the younger man, and
had already led an extraordinary and varied career. When a mere lad he
had run away from home and joined the Cherokees, living among them for
some years; then he returned home. He had fought under Andrew Jackson in
his campaigns against the Creeks, and had been severely wounded at the
battle of the Horse-shoe Bend. He had risen to the highest political
honors in his State, becoming governor of Tennessee; and then suddenly,
in a fit of moody longing for the life of the wilderness, he gave up his
governorship, left the State, and crossed the Mississippi, going to join
his old comrades, the Cherokees, in their new home along the waters
of the Arkansas. Here he dressed, lived, fought, hunted, and drank
precisely like any Indian, becoming one of the chiefs.

David Crockett was born soon after the Revolutionary War. He, too, had
taken part under Jackson in the campaigns against the Creeks, and had
afterward become a man of mark in Tennessee, and gone to Congress as a
Whig; but he had quarreled with Jackson, and been beaten for Congress,
and in his disgust he left the State and decided to join the Texans. He
was the most famous rifle-shot in all the United States, and the most
successful hunter, so that his skill was a proverb all along the border.

David Crockett journeyed south, by boat and horse, making his way
steadily toward the distant plains where the Texans were waging their
life-and-death fight. Texas was a wild place in those days, and the old
hunter had more than one hairbreadth escape from Indians, desperadoes,
and savage beasts, ere he got to the neighborhood of San Antonio, and
joined another adventurer, a bee-hunter, bent on the same errand as
himself. The two had been in ignorance of exactly what the situation in
Texas was; but they soon found that the Mexican army was marching toward
San Antonio, whither they were going. Near the town was an old Spanish
fort, the Alamo, in which the hundred and fifty American defenders of
the place had gathered. Santa Anna had four thousand troops with
him. The Alamo was a mere shell, utterly unable to withstand either a
bombardment or a regular assault. It was evident, therefore, that those
within it would be in the utmost jeopardy if the place were seriously
assaulted, but old Crockett and his companion never wavered. They were
fearless and resolute, and masters of woodcraft, and they managed to
slip through the Mexican lines and join the defenders within the walls.
The bravest, the hardiest, the most reckless men of the border were
there; among them were Colonel Travis, the commander of the fort, and
Bowie, the inventor of the famous bowie-knife. They were a wild and
ill-disciplined band, little used to restraint or control, but they were
men of iron courage and great bodily powers, skilled in the use of their
weapons, and ready to meet with stern and uncomplaining indifference
whatever doom fate might have in store for them.

Soon Santa Anna approached with his army, took possession of the town,
and besieged the fort. The defenders knew there was scarcely a chance
of rescue, and that it was hopeless to expect that one hundred and
fifty men, behind defenses so weak, could beat off four thousand trained
soldiers, well armed and provided with heavy artillery; but they had no
idea of flinching, and made a desperate defense. The days went by, and
no help came, while Santa Anna got ready his lines, and began a furious
cannonade. His gunners were unskilled, however, and he had to serve the
guns from a distance; for when they were pushed nearer, the American
riflemen crept forward under cover, and picked off the artillerymen.
Old Crockett thus killed five men at one gun. But, by degrees, the
bombardment told. The walls of the Alamo were battered and riddled; and
when they had been breached so as to afford no obstacle to the rush of
his soldiers, Santa Anna commanded that they be stormed.

The storm took place on March 6, 1836. The Mexican troops came on well
and steadily, breaking through the outer defenses at every point,
for the lines were too long to be manned by the few Americans. The
frontiersmen then retreated to the inner building, and a desperate
hand-to-hand conflict followed, the Mexicans thronging in, shooting
the Americans with their muskets, and thrusting at them with lance and
bayonet, while the Americans, after firing their long rifles, clubbed
them, and fought desperately, one against many; and they also used their
bowie-knives and revolvers with deadly effect. The fight reeled to and
fro between the shattered walls, each American the center of a group of
foes; but, for all their strength and their wild fighting courage, the
defenders were too few, and the struggle could have but one end. One by
one the tall riflemen succumbed, after repeated thrusts with bayonet and
lance, until but three or four were left. Colonel Travis, the commander,
was among them; and so was Bowie, who was sick and weak from a wasting
disease, but who rallied all his strength to die fighting, and who, in
the final struggle, slew several Mexicans with his revolver, and with
his big knife of the kind to which he had given his name. Then these
fell too, and the last man stood at bay. It was old Davy Crockett.
Wounded in a dozen places, he faced his foes with his back to the wall,
ringed around by the bodies of the men he had slain. So desperate was
the fight he waged, that the Mexicans who thronged round about him
were beaten back for the moment, and no one dared to run in upon him.
Accordingly, while the lancers held him where he was, for, weakened
by wounds and loss of blood, he could not break through them, the
musketeers loaded their carbines and shot him down. Santa Anna declined
to give him mercy. Some say that when Crockett fell from his wounds, he
was taken alive, and was then shot by Santa Anna's order; but his fate
cannot be told with certainty, for not a single American was left alive.
At any rate, after Crockett fell the fight was over. Every one of the
hardy men who had held the Alamo lay still in death. Yet they died well
avenged, for four times their number fell at their hands in the battle.

Santa Anna had but a short while in which to exult over his bloody and
hard-won victory. Already a rider from the rolling Texas plains, going
north through the Indian Territory, had told Houston that the Texans
were up and were striving for their liberty. At once in Houston's mind
there kindled a longing to return to the men of his race at the time of
their need. Mounting his horse, he rode south by night and day, and was
hailed by the Texans as a heaven-sent leader. He took command of their
forces, eleven hundred stark riflemen, and at the battle of San Jacinto,
he and his men charged the Mexican hosts with the cry of "Remember the
Alamo." Almost immediately, the Mexicans were overthrown with terrible
slaughter; Santa Anna himself was captured, and the freedom of Texas was
won at a blow.

Next: Hampton Roads

Previous: Francis Parkman

Add to Informational Site Network

Viewed 2797

Untitled Document