Dorothy Sloan -- Books

Copyright 2000- by Dorothy Sloan-Rare Books Inc. for all materials on this site. All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

AUCTION 22

 

Alamo & San Jacinto Documents from the Mexican Side


Click images or links labeled Enlarge to enlarge. Links labeled Zoom open zoomable images.
 
 
 
 
 
 

6.     [ALAMO & SAN JACINTO]. MEXICO (Republic). ARMY. FILISOLA, Vicente, José Francisco Urrea, et al. Contemporary Mexican archive of nine retained manuscript copies written in ink of documents and letters concerning the Battle of the Alamo and the immediate aftermath of the Battle of San Jacinto, dating from February 28, 1836, to April 28, 1836, as described below. All have been folded once and exhibit some water damage, sometimes with loss of some words or letters; otherwise, the documents are highly legible. Unless otherwise noted the documents are secretarial.

§§§§§§§§§§

The collection contains the following items (arranged chronologically):

BATTALION OF ZAPADORES. “Exército de Operacs | Batn de Zapadores.” 21 x 30.5 cm. Chart indicating troop strength and ranks of the 169 members of this force. Campo de la Cañada del Negro, February 28, 1836, signed by Romulo J. de la Vega and witnessed by [Agustín] Amat. Water damage does not affect text. This engineering battalion, commanded by Amat, is one of the units that assaulted the Alamo. This report reflects their number at the Alamo itself, where Santa-Anna had arrived on February 23. At this point, the unit was at Cañada del Negro and arrived a few days later at the Alamo, probably on March 3.

PERMANANET BATTALION OF ALDAMA. “Batn Permte de Aldama.” 15 x 21.5 cm. Chart indicating troop strength and ranks of the 373 members of this infantry force. [Cañada del Negro?], February 28, 1836, signed by Felipe Romero, with apparently unrelated signature of José María Soler Marín on verso. Slight water damage at upper right corner affecting border only. This is one of the units that assaulted the Alamo. It was part of the first infantry brigade, immediately commanded by Colonel Gregorio Urunulea. This report reflects their number at the Alamo itself, where Santa-Anna had arrived on February 23. Enrique de la Peña reports that the sapper battalions from this unit arrived at the Alamo on March 3 (p. 39). These troops were further decimated at San Jacinto (de la Peña, p. 123).

BATTALION OF TOLUCA. “Batallon Activa de Toluca.” 21.5 x 31 cm. Chart indicating troop strength and ranks of the 304 members of this infantry force. Campo de la Cañada del Negro, February 29, 1836, signed by Miguel Velásquez. Water damage barely affects writing and just touches chart. This unit was part of the first infantry brigade and was immediately commanded by General Francisco Duque. This report reflects their number at the Alamo itself, where Santa-Anna had arrived on February 23. At this point, the unit was at Cañada del Negro; according to de la Peña, the sapper battalions from this unit arrived at the Alamo on March 3 (p. 39). This unit was decimated both at the Alamo and San Jacinto (de la Peña, pp. 47-48 & 123). On verso: “Pertenece al diario.” Brief report of the dead and wounded after the battle, listing 318 casualties. Verso text lightly water damaged. The casualty figures give an excellent indication of how lethal the defenders were and basically confirm de la Peña’s account, which reports 300 dead (p. 45). On the other hand, Filisola prints a chart similar to that found in number [4] below, but has totals indicating 311 dead and wounded (Filisola, Memorias para la guerra de Tejas, Cumplido edition, Vol. I, p. 12).

GRENADIERS. “Ejército de Operacs | Columna de Granaderos. | Noticia de los muertos y heridos que tuvo la espa en el asalto del 6 del corre.” 21.5 x 30.1 cm. Unsigned chart giving report of dead and wounded for the Zapadores, Aldama, Matamoros, Jiménez, Toluca, and San Luis Potosí units giving a total of 131 casualties at the Battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836. [San Antonio de Bejar?, March 6, 1836?] Although legible, this document has water damage in the center section affecting numerous letters and figures. These infantry units assaulted the Alamo. How this casualty list relates to that given in #3 is not clear.

MEXICAN ARMS & ARMAMENT. “Parque y campaña.” 31 x 21.6 cm. Rio Colorado, April 17, 1836, signed by Antonio Oláez and witnessed by Quijano. Water damage costs some figures on the right-hand side. Report on all the munitions, arms, and other equipment that came with two of the 8-pounder field pieces, including 192 rounds of grape shot, 50 grenades, 30 fuses, 300 muskets with bayonets (i.e., Brown Besses), about 33,000 rounds of musket ammunition, and 271 solid shot balls. This inventory was apparently prepared under Filisola’s supervision, since he was in charge of the Colorado River crossing. This is an unusual and rare document showing precisely how much such material the Mexicans had at the time. De la Peña reports that the assault required about 50,000 cartridges (p. 51).

LETTER FROM FILISOLA TO URREA NEAR SAN JACINTO. Vicente Filisola to José Urrea, Hold Fort, April 23, 1836. 1 page; 31.5 x 22.5 cm. Water damage costs a few words at right-hand side. Filisola orders Urrea to join him immediately with no halt in his march. In a confidential PS, Filisola informs Urrea that Santa-Anna has suffered a calamity. This important note reflects the despair and urgency instilled in Filisola when he learned of Santa-Anna’s defeat at San Jacinto. Santa-Anna had been captured on the 22nd. At this point, Filisola had no orders to retreat and apparently had not heard from Santa-Anna himself. News of the disaster reached Filisola on the 22nd in the form of a pencil note from Mariano Garcia, who was with the Guerrero Battalion; it was delivered by a common soldier who had managed to escape. The first part of the present order was published by Filisola (Memorias para la guerra de Tejas, Cumplido edition, Vol. I, pp. 118-119); however, the confidential postscript was not. Santa-Anna ordered the Mexican Army to retreat on the 22nd, but apparently these orders did not reach Filisola’s hands until the 25th (Memorias para la guerra de Tejas, Cumplido edition, Vol. I, pp. 217-218).

MARCHING ORDERS FROM SALAS TO URREA AT COLUMBIA. José Maria de Salas to José Urrea, Columbia, April 24, 1836. 1 page; 30.1 x 22 cm. Water damage at left-hand side costing a few letters. Salas transmits a Filisola letter of this same date, addressed to him, ordering him to march immediately with all his forces to Filisola’s position without Urrea’s permission, another attempt by Filisola to gather the remaining army. Salas informs Urrea that he is obeying the order and leaving behind only a small escort for Urrea himself. The part of this letter containing Filisola’s order was published by Filisola (Memorias para la guerra de Tejas, Cumplido edition, Vol. I, p. 119); however, the remainder of the letter was not published.

THREE FIELD LETTERS FROM SAN JACINTO. Copies of three letters. 3 pages on a bifolium; 31.5 x 22.5 cm. Moderate water damage costing several words of each letter.

Joaquín Ramírez y Sesma to José Urrea, from the field, April 24, 1836, transmitting a letter from Vicente Filisola with a postscript from Ramírez. Filisola assumes that Urrea is on the march to join forces with him and states he is sending an escort to guide him. In his postscript, Ramírez regrets the present situation. This letter was published by Filisola (Memorias para la guerra de Tejas, Cumplido edition, Vol. I, p. 164).

Jose Urrea to Vicente Filisola, 4 leagues from Columbia, April 25, 1836, announcing that he has abandoned his positions at Brazoria and Columbia, as ordered, and is on the march to join Filisola. He bitterly denounces the Mexican defeat, rails against the Texans as cowards, and expresses a desire that Mexican forces avenge themselves. At this point, Santa-Anna’s order for Urrea to retreat to Victoria had not reached him.

José Urrea to Joaquín Ramírez y Sesma. N.p., April 25, 1836, stating that he knows little about the present situation and expressing extreme worry about Santa-Anna’s fate, about which he knows nothing. He fears the worst, however, and is hastening to join forces.

Vicente Filisola to José Urrea, Arroyo de San Bernardo, April 28, 1837. Half page; 31 x 22.5 cm. Water damage on right-hand side barely affects text. Filisola orders Urrea to instruct his forces at Matagorda to retreat to Guadalupe Victoria and hand over all supplies at Matagorda to an unnamed agent who will be munified with a passport from Santa-Anna. Noted, “Es copia, Mexico, April de 1837.” At this point, Urrea is in command of Matagorda.

     This important series of retained documents gives added insight into Santa-Anna’s preparations for the assault on the Alamo, the aftermath of that battle, and the desperation that surrounded Filisola and his fellow commanders after the President’s defeat and capture at the Battle of San Jacinto. The first five documents offer significant documentation of the real battle-ready strength of several units vital in the storming of the fortress. Parts of the Aldama, Toluca, Matamoros, Jimenez, and San Luis Potosi units were involved in the first assault, when they were repelled with heavy losses. After the assault looked to be successful, Santa-Anna committed the reserves from those units, along with the Zapadores, to finish the job. The two casualty lists make evident the sacrifice they endured during the assault.      The fifth document offers insight into Mexican armaments during the Texas campaign.

     The later documents reveal in startling detail the confusion, uncertainty, and anger that enveloped the remaining Mexican army commanders immediately after San Jacinto. Having no real news or orders, Filisola desperately tries to pull his remaining troops together but seems uncertain if they will be engaging in another battle or a rescue mission. Urrea, the hothead, is bent on revenge; Filisola seems more concerned with consolidating his position as quickly as possible, even if he must abandon areas that are already occupied. After the war, Urrea and Filisola became bitter enemies.

     Exactly who accumulated these documents is unknown, but whoever did so seems to have been a member of Filisola’s column. This is strongly suggested by the munitions inventory taken at the Colorado River Crossing, of which Filisola was in charge at the time. The correspondence also reflects a person with attachments to Filisola’s army who had access to the various orders and correspondence being exchanged among Mexican officers.

($10,000-20,000)

Sold. Hammer: $27,000.00; Price Realized: $32,400.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

Click images or links labeled Enlarge to enlarge. Links labeled Zoom open zoomable images.

DSRB Home | e-mail: rarebooks@sloanrarebooks.com