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The Texan Scouts Joseph A. Altsheler

The Flag Of No Quarter

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As the smoke rose higher Ned saw Mexican officers with glasses examining the Alamo to see what damage their cannon had done. He hoped they would feel mortification when they found it was so little. Davy Crockett knelt near him on the parapet, and ran his hand lovingly along the barrel of Betsy, as one strokes the head of a child.

"Do you want some more rifles, Davy?" asked Bowie.

"Jest about a half dozen," replied Crockett. "I think I can use that many before they clear out."

Six of the long-barreled Texan rifles were laid at Crockett's feet. Ned watched with absorbed interest. Crockett's eye was on the nearest battery and he was slowly raising Betsy.

"Which is to be first, Davy?" asked Bowie.

"The one with the rammer in his hand."

Crockett took a single brief look down the sights and pulled the trigger. The man with the rammer dropped to the earth and the rammer fell beside him. He lay quite still. Crockett seized a second rifle and fired. A loader fell and he also lay still. A third rifle shot, almost as quick as a flash, and a gunner went down, a fourth and a man at a wheel fell, a fifth and the unerring bullet claimed a sponger, a sixth and a Mexican just springing to cover was wounded in the shoulder. Then Crockett remained with the seventh rifle still loaded in his hands, as there was nothing to shoot at, all the Mexicans now being hidden.

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But Crockett, kneeling on the parapet, the rifle cocked and his finger on the trigger, watched in case any of the Mexicans should expose himself again. He presented to Ned the simile of some powerful animal about to spring. The lean, muscular figure was poised for instant action, and all the whimsicality and humor were gone from the eyes of the sharpshooter.

A mighty shout of triumph burst from the Texans. Many a good marksman was there, but never before had they seen such shooting. The great reputation of Davy Crockett, universal in the southwest, was justified fully. The crew of the gun had been annihilated in less than a minute.

For a while there was silence. Then the Mexicans, protected by the earthwork that they had thrown up, drew the battery back a hundred yards. Even in the farther batteries the men were very careful about exposing themselves. The Texans, seeing no sure target, held their fire. The Mexicans opened a new cannonade and for another half hour the roar of the great guns drowned all other sounds. But when it ceased and the smoke drifted away the Texans were still unharmed.

Ned was now by the side of Bowie, who showed great satisfaction.

"What will they do next?" asked Ned.

"I don't know, but you see now that it's not the biggest noise that hurts the most. They'll never get us with cannon fire. The only way they can do it is to attack the lowest part of our wall and make a bridge of their own bodies."

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The Texan Scouts
Joseph A. Altsheler

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