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  The Texan Scouts Joseph A. Altsheler

In The Alamo

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Most of the people in San Antonio were asleep when the dripping figure of a half unconscious boy on a great horse galloped toward them in that momentous dawn. He was without hat or serape. He was bareheaded and his rifle was gone. He was shouting "Up! Up! Santa Anna and the Mexican army are at hand!" But his voice was so choked and hoarse that he could not be heard a hundred feet away.

Davy Crockett, James Bowie and a third man were standing in the Main Plaza. The third man, like the other two, was of commanding proportions. He was a full six feet in height, very erect and muscular, and with full face and red hair. He was younger than the others, not more than twenty-eight, but he was Colonel William Barrett Travis, a North Carolina lawyer, who was now in command of the few Texans in San Antonio.

The three men were talking very anxiously. Crockett had brought word that the army of Santa Anna was on the Texan side of the Rio Grande, but it had seemed impossible to rouse the Texans to a full sense of the impending danger. Many remained at their homes following their usu vocations. Mr. Austin was away in the states trying to raise money. Dissensions were numerous in the councils of the new government, and the leaders could agree upon nothing.

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Travis, Bowie and Crockett were aware of the great danger, but even they did not believe it was so near. Nevertheless they were full of anxiety. Crockett, just come to Texas, took no command and sought to keep in the background, but he was too famous and experienced a man not to be taken at once by Travis and Bowie into their councils. They were discussing now the possibility of getting help.

"We might send messengers to the towns further east," said Travis, "and at least get a few men here in time."

"We need a good many," said Bowie. "According to Mr. Crockett the Mexican army is large, and the population here is unfriendly."

"That is so," said Travis, "and we have women and children of our own to protect."

It was when he spoke the last words that they heard the clatter of hoofs and saw Ned dashing down the narrow street toward the Main Plaza. They heard him trying to shout, but his voice was now so hoarse that he could not be understood.

But Ned, though growing weaker fast, knew two of the men. He could never forget the fair-haired Bowie nor the swarthy Crockett, and he galloped straight toward them. Then he pulled up his horse and half fell, half leaped to the ground. Holding by Old Jack's mane he pulled himself into an erect position. He was a singular sight The water still fell from his wet hair and dripped from his clothing. His face was plastered with mud.

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The Texan Scouts
Joseph A. Altsheler

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