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Exhibits

"To Whom Was This Sacrifice Useful?":
The Texas Revolution and the Narrative of José Enrique de la Peña

 

"...I propose to write a review of the Texas Campaign...."

El mosquito mexicano, Tom. 3, num. 87, 3 de febrero de 1837 - page 1

El mosquito mexicano, Tom. 3, num. 87, 3 de febrero de 1837. Newspaper, Genaro García Collection, Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, The General Libraries The University of Texas at Austin.

 

I could have published my notes a few days after I returned from the campaign, but I was convinced that in order to be impartial I had to take some time to verify those acts to which I was not an eyewitness and to obtain more accurate information about others, important objectives which I achieved by collecting the daybooks from the various sections that constituted the army.

--José Enrique de la Peña Narrative

 

The February 3, 1837, issue of the newspaper El mosquito mexicano contains Peña's plans to publish a review of the Texas campaign. He noted, however, that it would take him considerable time to put in order the notes and observations that were to be based on the diary he had kept in Texas. Peña died before he could complete his "noble objective."

 

 
 


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Ytinerario de las jornadas que ha hecho el espresado cuerpo desde la ciudad de San Luís Potosí el día 17 de Nobiembre de 1835
Ytinerario de las jornadas que ha hecho el espresado cuerpo desde la ciudad de San Luís Potosí el día 17 de Nobiembre de 1835. Autograph document, José Enrique de la Peña Collection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The daily itinerary for the Texas campaign of the Battalion of San Luís Potosí contains rich detail about the battalion's march to Béxar and the attack on the Alamo. The entry for March 27-28, 1836, reports the execution of James W. Fannin and his men at Coleto.

 

 

 

 

 


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Ejército de Operaciones. Estado que manifiesta la fuerza efectiva que tienen los cuerpos que componen el espresado hoy dia de la fecha, Matamoros, Julio 1, 1836

Ejército de Operaciones. Estado que manifiesta la fuerza
efectiva que tienen los cuerpos que componen el espresado hoy dia de la fecha, Matamoros, Julio 1, 1836. Autograph document, José Enrique de la Peña Collection.

 

 

 

An official report on armaments, munitions, uniforms, and accessories of the Mexican Army of Operations, made at Matamoros on July 1, 1836. This is one of the collateral documents that accompany the Peña Narrative as part of the Peña Collection.

 

 

 

 

 

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José Enrique de la Peña, La rebelión de Texas; manuscrito inédito de 1836, por un oficial de Santa Anna
José Enrique de la Peña, La rebelión de Texas; manuscrito inédito de 1836, por un oficial de Santa Anna. 2nd edition, Mexico: 1955. Texas Collection Library.

Mexicans, there are the facts. Judge for yourselves, and let your terrible verdict fall upon those who may deserve it. That to which I have been an eyewitness I have narrated faithfully, and that which I have not witnessed I have verified through the most circumspect and trustworthy men.

--José Enrique de la Peña Narrative

 

Jesús Sánchez Garza's publication of José Enrique de la Peña's La Rebelión de Texas first brought Peña's Narrative to public attention. Significantly, its subtitle identifies the Narrative as an "unpublished manuscript of 1836, by an officer of Santa Anna."

 

  
 




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José Enrique de la Peña, With Santa Anna in Texas: A Personal Narrative of the Revolution. Trans. and ed. by Carmen Perry
José Enrique de la Peña, With Santa Anna in Texas: A Personal Narrative of the Revolution. Trans. and ed. by Carmen Perry, College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 1975. Texas Collection Library.


When Peña's Narrative was published in English translation in 1975, it created a controversy among historians and in the general public about its contents and even its authenticity. Much of the controversy centered on the Narrative's statement that Crockett was captured and executed following the Alamo siege. This description contradicts the idea that Crockett died in battle.

Santa Anna answered Castrillón's intervention in Crockett's behalf with a gesture of indignation and...ordered his execution. The commanders and officers were outraged at this action and did not support the order, hoping that once the fury of the moment had blown over these men would be spared; but several officers who were around the president...became noteworthy by an infamous deed.... They thrust themselves forward...and with swords in hand, fell upon these unfortunate, defenseless men just as a tiger leaps upon his prey. Though tortured before they were killed, these unfortunates died without complaining and without humiliating themselves before their torturers.

--José Enrique de la Peña Narrative

 


 
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