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
officer, challenges the popular story of the Alamo's capture.
Many historians believe that Crockett died during the 1836 battle in which
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
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,
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
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
not enough forensic tests have been conducted.
``I personally feel that historic and journalistic integrity precludes
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
the documents and is convinced they are genuine.
``I have no doubt that they are authentic,'' Crisp said in a telephone
Wednesday. ``They have passed every test.''
The diary had been at the John Peace Library at the University of Texas
Antonio for nearly 25 years, but was sold by John Peace III, son of the man for
whom the library was named.