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    "...the Rascals gave them no other quarters than their swords & murdered every soul on the spot..."

    [The Fall of the Alamo]. Nicholas Pickford Autograph Letter Signed, "N Pickford", one page plus four lines on the verso, legal folio (8" x 12.5"), Texana, Texas, March 14, 1836. To Bennet I. Monroe in Bristol, Rhode Island.

    Pickford gives an account of the fall of Alamo eight days after the slaughter: "I am sorry to inform you of the present situation of this country. We have heretofore been very [successful] in all our battles so far untill the 9th In[stant] when there was an attack made on St Antone or Bexar which was then suported by 170 of Americans. The Mexicans came in between 4 & 5000 strong & after an action of 3 Days our little band that remained alive say 7 out of 177, then beged for quarters but the Rascals gave them no other quarters than their swords & murdered every soul on the spot. Now sir retaliation will of course be the next thing to take place. There was a number of my intimite friends fallen in this battle but I hope everyone will fall on the heads of them Murderers.

    "I wrote my wife on the 22d to send my boys out say Benjm John the first opportunity with Mr. Pl---ken & son. Since then this country has fallen so much into confusion. I shall advise no one coming out unless they intend to assist. As for myself I have been in the army for 2 ½ months & think I had done my duty as for fighting but I find I must go again which I shall do in the... of a week from when I leave this place. [Call] on my wife & tell her I have write you but tell her nothing of my gowing to the army a year. I shall write you again as soon as I return from the army. I leave my busness at Gonzalas with Mr. Ponto Judge at that place or with Judge Ushers of Texanna ." On the verso, Pickford adds, "If you can read the within you will do well I have write in the dark & before a [Dozen] Men-you will please make the best of my situation to my wife."

    In December 1835, at the opening of the Texas war for independence, a detachment of Texas volunteers drove a Mexican force from San Antonio and occupied the Alamo. Against the advice of some Texan leaders, including Sam Houston, the volunteers at the Alamo refused to leave their exposed position, and on February 23, 1836, a Mexican army, commanded by Gen. Antonio López de Santa Ana, began a siege of the Alamo. The small defending force, supplemented by some later arrivals, was commanded by Col. James Bowie and Col. William B. Travis and included the renowned Davy Crockett. For thirteen days they held out, but on the morning of March 6 the invaders (variously estimated at 1,800 to more than 6,000) stormed through a breach in the outer wall of the courtyard and overwhelmed the Texans. Santa Anna had ordered that no prisoners be taken, and 183 of the defenders were slain (only about 15 persons, mostly women and children, were spared). The invaders suffered heavy casualties, with the number killed reliably estimated at from 1,000 to 1,600. These casualties and the time lost in reducing the Alamo dislocated Santa Anna's campaign long enough to permit Houston to perfect plans for the defense of Texas. The Alamo became for Texans a symbol of heroic resistance. Dated March 14, 1836, just a day after the arrival of Susanna Dickinson and William B. Travis' slave Joe arrived at Gonzales with news of the tragedy; this letter would likely be the earliest correspondence sending the news back east.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    14th Saturday
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