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The Texan Scouts Joseph A. Altsheler

The News Of The Fall

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"We do. Were you with Fannin?"

The dark face of the Panther grew darker.

"We were," he replied. "He started to the relief of the Alamo, but the ammunition wagon broke down, an' they couldn't get the cannon across the San Antonio River. So me an' Obed White an' Will Allen here have come on alone."

"News for news," said Smith dryly. "Texas has just been made a free an' independent republic, an' Sam Houston has been made commander-in-chief of all its mighty armies, horse, foot an' cannon. We saw all them things done back there at Washington settlement, an' we, bein' a part of the army, are ridin' to the relief of the Alamo."

"We j'in you, then," said the Panther, "an' Texas raises two armies of the strength of three an' two to one of five. Oh, if only all the Texans had come what a roarin' an' rippin' an' t'arin' and chawin' there would have been when we struck Santa Anna's army, no matter how big it might be."

"But they didn't come," said Smith grimly, "an' as far as I know we five are all the Texans that are ridin' toward San Antonio de Bexar an' the Alamo."

"But bein' only five won't keep us from ridin' on," said the Panther.

"And things are not always as bad as they look," said Obed White, after he had heard of the messenger who had come to Houston and Unmet. "It's never too late to hope."

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The five rode fast the remainder of the day. They passed through a silent and desolate land. They saw a few cabins, but every one was abandoned. The deep sense of tragedy was over them all, even over young Will Allen. They rarely spoke, and they rode along in silence, save for the beat of their horses' hoofs. Shortly before night they met a lone buffalo hunter whom the Panther knew.

"Have you been close to San Antonio, Simpson?" asked the Panther, after the greeting.

"I've been three or four days hangin' 'roun' the neighborhood," replied the hunter. "I came down from the northwest when I heard that Santa Anna was advancing an' once I thought I'd make a break an' try to get into the Alamo, but the Mexican lines was drawed too thick an' close."

"Have you heard anything about the men inside?" asked the Panther eagerly.

"Not a thing. But I've noticed this. A mornin' an' evenin' gun was fired from the fortress every day until yesterday, Sunday, an' since then--nothin'."

The silence in the little band was as ominous as the silence of the morning and evening gun. Simpson shook his head sadly.

"Boys," he said, "I'm goin' to ride for Gonzales an' join Houston. I don't think it's any use for me to be hangin' aroun' San Antonio de Bexar any longer. I wish you luck in whatever you're tryin' to do."

He rode away, but the five friends continued their course toward the Alamo, without hope now, but resolved to see for themselves. Deep in the night, which fortunately for their purpose was dark, heavy clouds shutting out the moon and stars, they approached San Antonio from the east. They saw lights, which they knew were those of the town, but there was darkness only where they knew the Alamo stood.

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The Texan Scouts
Joseph A. Altsheler

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