The Miami Herald
November 19, 1998
             Alamo diary that shatters Crockett's legend is sold for $350,000

             LOS ANGELES -- (AP) -- A purported eyewitness account of the Alamo that
             claims that Davy Crockett did not go down fighting -- but was captured and
             executed -- was sold Wednesday to two Texans for $350,000.

             The unidentified buyers bought the diary with the intent of keeping it in Texas, said
             Gregory Shaw, vice president of Butterfield & Butterfield auction house in

             The purported memoir of Lt. Col. Jose Enrique de la Peña, a Mexican army
             officer, challenges the popular story of the Alamo's capture.

             Many historians believe that Crockett died during the 1836 battle in which 200
             volunteers defended the former Spanish mission in San Antonio in the fight to
             create the state of Texas out of Mexican territory.

             The entire volunteer force is believed to have died on the walls or in hand-to-hand
             combat at the site, where 4,000 Mexican troops besieged the Alamo for 13 days
             under Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.

             But the diary, written in Spanish and said to have been dictated in the 1840s by de
             La Peña, says Crockett and others were captured and executed on Santa Anna's

             That story goes against the legend that the Tennessean fought to the end, wielding
             his long-rifle ``Betsy'' like a club before he fell near the Alamo's front doors.

             Some Alamo experts challenge the diary, claiming it is a hoax.

             Among them is Joseph Musso, a Los Angeles-based historic illustrator who is
             researching a biography on Alamo commander James Bowie. Musso is suspicious
             because the diary arrived out of nowhere in 1955 in the hands of a Mexican coin

             ``It doesn't have 110 years of human records behind it,'' Musso said, asserting that
             not enough forensic tests have been conducted.

             ``I personally feel that historic and journalistic integrity precludes any serious
             scholar from using this stuff as source material, because in some respects we can
             be distorting history,'' Musso said.

             James Crisp, a history professor at North Carolina State University, has studied
             the documents and is convinced they are genuine.

             ``I have no doubt that they are authentic,'' Crisp said in a telephone interview
             Wednesday. ``They have passed every test.''

             The diary had been at the John Peace Library at the University of Texas at San
             Antonio for nearly 25 years, but was sold by John Peace III, son of the man for
             whom the library was named.