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Medical Report from the Mexican Surgeon at the Alamo

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1.     [ALAMO]. Mercurio del puerto de Matamoros. Viernes, 19 de Agosto de 1836. Tom. II, núm 94 [caption title] Matamoros: Imprenta del Mercurio á cargo del C. Juan Southwell [colophon], 1836. Pp. [133]-136, on laid, watermarked paper in three columns. 4to (31.5 x 22 cm). A few contemporary ink notes. Some loss at left side into first column affecting a few words. Void infilled with sympathetic acid-free paper. Overall fair. Professionally restored and deacidified. Exceedingly rare.

     First edition. Charno, p. 298 (noting the newspaper was established in 1834 and locating some issues at Yale and a few other scattered ones at American Antiquarian Society and the San Jacinto Museum).

     The section “Remitido. SS. EE. del Mercurio” (pp. 134-135) consists of devastating reports about medical treatment and care available to soldiers who marched with Santa-Anna into Texas and fought at the Alamo. Two are by José Faustino Moro (a surgeon on the campaign), a third by Adrian Woll, and a fourth by Nicolas Condelles. Moro reports that after having been left behind in Monclova because Santa-Anna could not afford to bring him along, he finally arrived on his own at Béjar after the battle of the Alamo to discover a shocking scene. There were over two hundred wounded who had received absolutely no care and there were no facilities of any type to even care for them. There was no medicine or bandages. Even the food was inferior. When surgeon Andrés Hurtado arrived, he was ordered to move on to Goliad with the medicine chest, although he left a few supplies behind. Moro poses the rhetorical question: “¿Era culpable de esto el cuerpo de sanidad militar, ó lo eran los que habían dispuesto las cosas de este modo?” (Is the medical corps guilty, or does that fall on those who arranged matters like this?) Subsequent reports by Adrian Woll and Nicolas Condelles reveal the number of wounded that were involved in the retreat from Texas.

     This newspaper preserves a rare and fascinating glimpse into the medical treatment available to Santa-Anna’s soldiers during his Texas campaign but does not paint a flattering picture of the situation. A small part of Moro’s report is translated and printed in Todd Hansen, ed., The Alamo Reader (Mechanicsburg: Stackpole, 2003), pp. 437-438. So far as is known, the publication here is the only full printing of Moro’s report.


Sold. Hammer: $300.00; Price Realized: $360.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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