With the 4th of July just days away, we thought we’d share with you a short story about the Alamo, written by the grandson of Fort Smith attorney Tom Harper. We think you’ll be as amazed as we were by the maturity, and writing skills of Porter Oberle, who is only fourteen. His story placed first in the school competition, which was all of Burnet County, Texas. He won an honorable mention on the state level.
So take a few minutes, read “Fall of the Alamo: As Seen Through the Eyes of Davy Crockett” and remember your days in American history class, when most of us weren’t paying as close attention as Porter.
fall of the alamo: as seen through the eyes of Davy Crockett
@story and image PORTER OBERLE
It is here that I leave my journal entry on the 6th of March, 1836. The cannons have been firing for twelve days straight, letting no man have rest of any kind. This whole place smells of human waste, sweat, and flesh. I fear our days are numbered, and I would just like to tell any man who may find this that I have never seen such brave, strong people. The lawyer, Travis, at only age 26 is now commanding both the volunteer and the regular Texas army, the entire force, myself included. The howls and cries of shot Mexican soldiers still ring in my ears. This journal is all I have left, my salvation, given to me by a small girl, so as she said, I could write down my adventures. I thought it frivolous at the time, but now I realize it was a selfless act. I have no idea if my activities are worthy of written word. Perhaps they should only be isolated to song and tales around the campfire.
We have many basic provisions, but I long for one last taste of a sweet cherry pie. I do not fear death; after evading him so many times, I hope to greet him as a close friend. I had no idea my venture in Texas would have proved so fruitful. I am helping to give this nation its independence, which is far greater to me than any amount of monetary reward I could ever receive. If I am to die here, I shall die a proud man. I am glad to have taken my post as Private; they are the real force, the men deep in the trenches. Many people have been asking if I am a true war hero… I say in all honesty, "No, but I am surrounded by them."
I have been captured by the Mexicans. After I wrote last, the Mexican army conducted a surprise raid in the early morning hours. They created a diversion on our strongest wall then proceeded to send a larger force to our weakest point, the "picket fence" as our boys have called it. They took the entire mission; as I've heard it told, Travis was one of the first to go. After that they continued by massacring Bowie as he lay in bed poised to kill any intruder. As I was taken by their forces, I could only wonder what was going through the soldiers’ minds as I was beaten down, gagged, and stabbed in the side. I can only wonder if my ego is really as big as my wife, Elizabeth said, or if the tall tales give away my reputation- taken this far south by eager tongues and old souls. My men knew what they were getting into; however we are all disappointed- not in dying, but in not seeing this fine nation get its independence.
Ah, my wife…my abandoned wife, I should say. How can my thoughts not turn to her at this perilous time? She considered me too cavalier with my life, unafraid of what life set before me. I considered her too serious, too worrisome about what "might come"… Now, as I sit and wait the death sentence that surely lies ahead of me, I can only wonder if she was right. I miss her smile and the warmth of her touch. I wish I could tell her I might have been wrong, and she might have been right. Maybe one day she will know. I can only hope.
Only a few of my men and I have survived. I snuck my journal in upon my chest and am writing now in my makeshift holding cell. I don't have much time, as I am about to meet Santa Anna, but I want anyone who might read this to know of all the great men who have served their Texas well. I have made many great decisions in my life, but feel as if the pride from this great battle has made this the best. Seeing every man fighting for their country in a battle in which they knew they could never be the victors is inspiring, to say the least. William Travis had lost hardly a man until last night. I must finish writing now as I am about to meet Santa Anna. I am almost certainly to be executed, but I will see paradise soon and join all the great Texans we have lost here today.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
Very truly signed this 6th day of March, 1836,