The true story of the death of
Davy Crockett at the Alamo

How did Davy Crockett really die?

March 6, 1836. The battle for the Alamo is almost over.

In just 90 minutes, the Mexican army, led by General Santa Anna,
had overrun the Alamo and just about all the defenders were dead.

In one of the rooms,
a handful of Alamo defenders prepared to fight to the death.

An unexpected hero rose to the occasion...
Mexican General Castrillon.

This is a portrait of Davy Crockett

This is a portrait of Davy Crockett.

Castrillon tried to save the life... of Davy Crockett.

Castrillon implored the defenders to surrender.
He said that the fighting was over; it was not necessary to die.

The defenders, five or six, came out of the room and stood there, with guns and bayonets pointed at them.
They were resigned to their destinies.

General Santa Anna arrived on the scene, outraged that his order to take no prisoners was being disobeyed.

Castrillon argued with the Commanding General.

Crockett argued for his life and his companions.

Santa Anna became more angry and ordered the execution of the prisoners.

Most of the Mexican officers present, did not want to stoop to a barbaric act of killing helpless prisoners.

However, several of the officers, perhaps wanting to impress General Santa Anna,
fell upon the prisoners with swords and guns.

Mexican Lieutenant De La Pena was there and later wrote about it.
"Though tortured before they were killed, these unfortunates died without complaining
and without humiliating themselves before their torturers".

General Castrillon, angrily stormed off to his tent.

It had always been reported that Crockett was among a handful of Alamo defenders
who had been captured and then executed.

In fact, it was general knowledge up to the 1900's.

However, in the 1950's, Walt Disney showed Crockett going down swinging his rifle, 'Old Betsy'.
(Crockett had been given a rifle that he called 'Pretty Betsy'.
He did not take that rifle to Texas. He took his old rifle, also called 'Betsy'.
It was probably the Walt Disney people who coined it 'Old Betsy'.).

Later, John Wayne showed Crockett dying, by blowing up the powder keg room.
No one blew up the powder keg room, even though one man did try.

In the 1970's and 80's, there was a lot of controversy over the writings of De La Pena,
as people tried to hold onto a myth that had been created in our century.

In the early 1990's, I had an indepth conversation with the Alamo curator.
I mentioned Crockett surrendering and he interrupted,
"Oh no, no one said anything about him surrendering. He was captured".

But, an interesting thing has happened in the last ten years.
The history channel did a documentary about the Alamo,
and showed Crockett being captured and executed.
It was handled very matter of factly, with no mention of myths and controversies.

Once again, the truth about Crockett's death is accepted.


I created this webpage a number of years ago.
It is a fact that in 1991, the Curator's office at the Alamo believed that
Davy was indeed captured after the immediate battle and then executed.

And of course, the History Channel also believed it.

However, I have recently begun some new research on the battle.
I have found that the De La Pena memoir papers are no longer accepted as fact.

There were other sources that reported that Crockett was captured;
they also have question marks.

The serious possibility exists that everyone was previously wrong in their thinking.

It is now believed by many that Davy Crockett
was not one of the men captured after the battle and executed.

The death of Davy Crockett will be debated... forever.

Some of the information you are about to read will also be debated.
Back in 1991, it was not known because
they had not taken a good look at the Mexican reports.

It is now largely accepted by Alamo historians...
that many defenders fled from the battle.

General Santa Anna pulled a fast one on the Alamo defenders.

As incompetent and corrupt as he was, he tricked William Travis and the others.

No one at the Alamo had gotten enough sleep for many days.
The Mexican cannons and howitzers were moved closer and closer to the fortress.
The silence was always broken by the besieging Mexicans.

And then, on March 5, the firing stopped. There was silence.

During the night, the Alamo defenders got their first good sleep in 12 days.

Just before the sun was coming up, and the defenders were rolling over and going back to sleep,
the Mexican army attacked. The alarm came too late.

The north wall was always the weakest point and the Mexicans knew it.
The north wall was under immediate attack.
The commander of the Alamo, Wiliam Travis, fired his shotgun into the attackers,
but to do so, he exposed himself and was shot in the head.
He was one of the very first to die at the Alamo.
(Reportedly, there were sentries outside the wall but they never raised the alarm.
Very possibly they were asleep and were killed).

"Great God, Sue, the Mexicans are inside our walls!"

Almeron Dickinson shouted those words to his wife (who survived the battle).

I believe that when men came stumbling out of the long barracks,
groggy from being woken from a deep sleep, and seeing the Mexicans climbing over the north wall,
must have exclaimed words such as, "How has this happened?"

They may or may not have known that Travis was already dead.

They panicked.

They ran. They left the walls of the Alamo.

At least sixty men fled the scene.

Some Alamo researchers say that the men went to fight the Mexicans outside the walls.
Regardless, they did a poor job of it.

Santa Anna had crack troops waiting for just such a breakout of the defenders.

They were all killed.

We have never been sure just how many defenders were in the battle.
Some say as many as 250, but the more acceptable figure is a little less that 200.
But at the very least, 25 percent of the defenders made a run for it.

Many of the Mexican casualties were from their own soldiers,
stupidly firing their muskets and hitting
their fellow soldiers at the outside walls of the Alamo.

How many Mexican soldiers died?
It's always been questionable because many of them were wounded and died later.
Believe me, it is confusing...

Six weeks after the fall of the Alamo, Sam Houston and his army
destroyed the Mexican army that was led by Santa Anna.
(Many of the Mexican soldiers, under other generals, were elsewhere in Texas).

If Houston's army had known about General Castrillon trying to save lives,
they would have treated him as a hero.

Instead... Castrillon was shot down.

And General Santa Anna?
He was captured, and was a prisoner for months.

Santa Anna rose to power two more times.
But, forty years after the fall of the Alamo, he died, penniless, in Mexico city.

However, I feel that I have to mention that he had spent some time on
Staten Island, in New York, in the early 1870's.
His secretary, a man named Adams, had noticed that the General was always chewing something.
It was chicle, a natural gum coming from certain trees.

Adams later experimented with adding flavors to the chicle... and chewing gum was invented!

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