I find it interesting that two of the most iconic and famous frontiersmen in American history, ended up in Texas, at the same moment in history; as if chosen - to “make history”
One was the famous James Bowie and the other was the also famous, David Crockett.
Most of Crockett’s life is well documented and well known. We know he grew up in the wilderness of Tennessee, that He was a veteran of the “Creek War”, the “War of 1812”, we know that he was a congressman and we know that because he lost his re-election – David made a choice to “GO TO TEXAS”.
But, what has always eluded Texans and history buffs is: “How did David Crockett from Tennessee die?
•Commonly Accepted Version
An hour after the initial attack, Davy Crockett stands alone in the chapel, still proudly and tenaciously defending his diminished position. A horrible gash angles across his forehead, bleeding. Holding the barrel of his shattered rifle in his right hand and a Bowie knife dripping with blood in his left, Crockett faces his attackers with the courage of a lion. Twenty dead or dying Mexicans lie beneath his buckskin-clad feet. The man from Tennessee crouches, daring his attackers to take him. As they move in for the kill, Davy swings wildly until he finally falls, fighting like a tiger until his last dying breath. The fight is over.
•General Houston's Dispatch
History Remembers that one of the first official reports of the Alamo comes from Gen. Sam Houston.
Houston wrote the following in a dispatch to the commander at Goliad, March 11, 1836:
“After the fort was carried, seven men surrendered and called for Santa Anna and quarter. They were murdered by his order.”
Houston doesn’t name Crockett, but his report reveals the fact, that from the beginning, officials knew of a group of Alamo defenders that had surrendered.
•Magazine Print Version
Here’s one of the first news reports, appearing in the “Morning Courier & New-York Enquirer” on July 9, 1836:
“Six Americans were discovered near the wall yet unconquered. They were surrounded and ordered by General Castrillón to surrender, which they did under a promise of protection.”
One of the six stepped forward with a “bold demeanor.” The troops noticed his “firmness and his noble bearing.” An undaunted “David Crockett” boldly faced Gen. Santa Anna, looking him “steadfastly in the face.”
“Sir, here are six prisoners I have taken alive; how shall I dispose of them?” Manuel Fernandez asked his commander.
Santa Anna fiercely looked at Castrillón, replying, “Have I not told you before how to dispose of them? Why do you bring them to me?”
Several junior officers pulled their swords and lunged at Crockett and the others, plunging their swords into the “bosoms of their defenseless prisoners.”
•De La Peña’s Diary Version
One of Santa Anna's officers who were a witness to this historic event wrote in his diary.
“some seven men had survived the general carnage and, under the protection of General Castrillón, they were brought before Santa Anna.
Among them … was the naturalist David Crockett, well known in North America for his unusual adventures.
Santa Anna answered "Castrillón’s intervention" in Crockett’s behalf with a "gesture of indignation" and, addressing himself to … the troops closest to him, ordered his execution.
The commanders and officers were outraged at this action and did not support the order … but several officers who were around the president and who, perhaps, had not been present during the moment of danger … thrust themselves forward … and with swords in hand, fell upon these unfortunate, defenseless men just as a tiger leaps upon his prey.
Though were tortured before they were killed, these unfortunates died without complaining and without humiliating themselves before their torturers.”
In the final analysis, we know that David Crockett had ample opportunities to leave the Alamo before the final battle and “live to fight another day”- but he stayed.
Why did David Crockett stay?
I believe that David stayed because of his character, bravery and leadership. The majority of the Alamo defenders we’re young men (Crockett was 49) that respected and looked up at this “Lion of the West” for his steadfast courage. He knew that. The younger defendants couldn’t believe their lives now included the man that they once read about in comic books!
David did inspire them and David knew that his courage was contagious. Men of courage and bravery defended the Alamo to the end, indirectly, because of David. Texas was lucky to have had David Crockett.
David had lived his life on his own terms and when confronted with his own death – stood his ground and died on his own terms.
David stood and fought ‘til the last moment for his friends, for freedom and for Texas.
Texas is Texas because of men like David Crockett.
David was a “True Patriot” of our Texas revolution.
I think that James A. Shackford surmised it perfectly in his 1956 book titled: "David Crockett".
“Too much has been made over the details of how David died at the Alamo. Such details are not important. What is important is that he died as he had lived.
Crockett's life was one of indomitable bravery; his death was a death of intrepid courage. David's life was one of whole-hearted dedication to his concepts of liberty.
David died staking his life against what he regarded as intolerable tyranny."
This post is dedicated to all of David’s descendants living today in Texas and around the world who continue to "carry the torch” handed down to them by David Crockett, a Texas Patriot of our revolution - to the benefit of Texas.
And, David Thank You for your courage, deeds of bravery, personal loses and service to our country - TEXAS!
VIDEO CLIP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAoqAWxupSE The Alamo (2004)
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