Part 5 out of 5
Those who fight the battles experience but a small part of the
privation, suffering, and anguish that follow in the train of
ruthless war. The cannonading continued at intervals throughout the
day, and all hands were kept up to their work."
The next day he writes: "I had a little sport this morning before
breakfast. The enemy had planted a piece of ordnance within gunshot
of the fort during the night, and the first thing in the morning
they commenced a brisk cannonade, point blank against the spot where
I was snoring. I turned out pretty smart and mounted the rampart.
The gun was charged again; a fellow stepped forth to touch her off,
but before he could apply the match, I let him have it, and he
keeled over. A second stepped up, snatched the match from the hand
of the dying man, but the juggler, who had followed me, handed me
his rifle, and the next instant the Mexican was stretched on the
earth beside the first. A third came up to the cannon. My companion
handed me another gun, and I fixed him off in like manner. A fourth,
then a fifth seized the match, who both met with the same fate. Then
the whole party gave it up as a bad job, and hurried off to the
camp, leaving the cannon ready charged where they had planted it. I
came down, took my bitters, and went to breakfast."
In the course of a week the Mexicans lost three hundred men. But
still reinforcements were continually arriving, so that their
numbers were on the rapid increase. The garrison no longer cherished
any hope of receiving aid from abroad.
Under date of March 4th and 5th, 1836, we have the last lines which
Crockett ever penned.
"March 4th. Shells have been falling into the fort like hail during
the day, but without effect. About dusk, in the evening, we observed
a man running toward the fort, pursued by about half a dozen of the
Mexican cavalry. The bee-hunter immediately knew him to be the old
pirate, who had gone to Goliad, and, calling to the two hunters, he
sallied out of the fort to the relief of the old man, who was hard
pressed. I followed close after. Before we reached the spot the
Mexicans were close on the heels of the old man, who stopped
suddenly, turned short upon his pursuers, discharged his rifle, and
one of the enemy fell from his horse. The chase was renewed, but
finding that he would be overtaken and cut to pieces, he now turned
again, and, to the amazement of the enemy, became the assailant in
his turn. He clubbed his gun, and dashed among them like a wounded
tiger, and they fled like sparrows. By this time we reached the
spot, and, in the ardor of the moment, followed some distance before
we saw that our retreat to the fort was cut off by another
detachment of cavalry. Nothing was to be done but fight our way
through. We were all of the same mind. 'Go ahead!' cried I; and they
shouted, 'Go ahead, Colonel!' We dashed among them, and a bloody
conflict ensued. They were about twenty in number, and they stood
their ground. After the fight had continued about five minutes, a
detachment was seen issuing from the fort to our relief, and the
Mexicans scampered of, leaving eight of their comrades dead upon the
field. But we did not escape unscathed, for both the pirate and the
bee-hunter were mortally wounded, and I received a sabre-cut across
the forehead. The old man died without speaking, as soon as we
entered the fort. We bore my young friend to his bed, dressed his
wounds, and I watched beside him. He lay, without complaint or
manifesting pain, until about midnight, when he spoke, and I asked
him if he wanted anything. 'Nothing,' he replied, but drew a sigh
that seemed to rend his heart, as he added, 'Poor Kate of
Nacogdoches.' His eyes were filled with tears, as he continued, 'Her
words were prophetic, Colonel," and then he sang in a low voice,
that resembled the sweet notes of his own devoted Kate:
'But toom cam' the saddle, all bluidy to see,
And hame came the steed, but hame never came he.'
He spoke no more, and a few minutes after died. Poor Kate, who will
tell this to thee?
The romantic bee-hunter had a sweetheart by the name of Kate in
Nacogdoches. She seems to have been a very affectionate and
religious girl. In parting, she had presented her lover with a
Bible, and in anguish of spirit had expressed her fears that he
would never return from his perilous enterprise.
The next day, Crockett simply writes, "March 5th. Pop, pop, pop!
Bom, bom, bom! throughout the day. No time for memorandums now. Go
ahead! Liberty and Independence forever."
Before daybreak on the 6th of March, the citadel of the Alamo was
assaulted by the whole Mexican army, then numbering about three
thousand men. Santa Anna in person commanded. The assailants swarmed
over the works and into the fortress. The battle was fought with the
utmost desperation until daylight. Six only of the Garrison then
remained alive. They were surrounded, and they surrendered. Colonel
Crockett was one. He at the time stood alone in an angle of the
fort, like a lion at bay. His eyes flashed fire, his shattered rifle
in his right hand, and in his left a gleaming bowie-knife streaming
with blood. His face was covered with blood flowing from a deep gash
across his forehead. About twenty Mexicans, dead and dying, were
lying at his feet. The juggler was also there dead. With one hand he
was clenching the hair of a dead Mexican, while with the other he
had driven his knife to the haft in the bosom of his foe.
The Mexican General Castrillon, to whom the prisoners had
surrendered, wished to spare their lives. He led them to that part
of the fort where Santa Anna stood surrounded by his staff. As
Castrillon marched his prisoners into the presence of the President,
"Sir, here are six prisoners I have taken alive. How shall I dispose
Santa Anna seemed much annoyed, and said, "Have I not told you
before how to dispose of them? Why do you bring them to me?"
Immediately several Mexicans commenced plunging their swords into
the bosoms of the captives. Crockett, entirely unarmed, sprang, like
a tiger, at the throat of Santa Anna. But before he could reach him,
a dozen swords were sheathed in his heart, and he fell without a
word or a groan. But there still remained upon his brow the frown of
indignation, and his lip was curled with a smile of defiance and
And thus was terminated the earthly life of this extraordinary man.
In this narrative it has been the object of the writer faithfully to
record the influences under which Colonel Crockett was reared, and
the incidents of his wild and wondrous life, leaving it with the
reader to form his own estimate of the character which these
exploits indicate. David Crockett has gone to the tribunal of his
God, there to be judged for all the deeds done in the body.
Beautifully and consolingly the Psalmist has written:
"Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them
that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are