Historical Articles

6. Burial of Alamo Heroes

By Bill Neeley

On February 25, 1837, Colonel Juan N. Sequin presided over the burial of the ashes of the Alamo martyrs in a solemn ceremony ending with interment at San Antonio's San Fernando Church. The Telegraph and Texas Register published the following account:

"Colonel Seguin, with his command stationed at Bexar, paid his honors of war to the remains of the heroes of the Alamo." Their ashes were carefully collected, "placed in a coffin neatly covered with black, and having the names of Travis, Bowie and Crockett engraved on the inside lid, and carried to Bexar and placed in the parish church where the Texan flag, a rifle and a sword were laid upon it." The procession was formed at 3:00 pm with bells tolling. The procession moved in the following order: Field Officers, Staff Officers, civil authorities, clergy, mourners, relatives, musicians, and citizens.

Colonel Seguin ordered a halt at the first ash heap, and a coffin was placed upon the spot. Three volleys of musketry were discharged, followed by the same honors at the second pile of ashes. At the third site, the coffin was placed on the "principal heap of ashes." Seguin foresaw that "a towering fabric of architecture would be erected by their grateful countrymen above their ashes."

Then Seguin eulogized the fallen heroes with whom he had served at the Alamo before having ridden out of the fortified mission for reinforcements. "These hallowed relics," the colonel said, "which we have now, oh melancholy task, of bearing onward to consign to their kindred earth, are all that remains of those heroic men who so nobly fell, valiantly defending yon towers of the Alamo! If they, my brave associates, preferred to die a thousand times than basely bow down under the vile yoke of tyranny, what a valiant, what an illustrious example have they bequeathed to us! How worthy to illume with unchanging splendor the ever-glowing pages of history! Even now the genius of liberty is looking down from her lofty seat, smiling with approbation upon our proceedings, and calling to us in the names of our departed brethren, Travis, Bowie, Crockett. Their iron-hearted bands bind us in imitating their mighty deeds to secure, like them, a mighty place upon the scroll of immortality. Until then, fellow citizens, undying fame is the glorious reward of those who toil in this noble contest." Seguin concluded with a personal commitment to the liberty of Texas. "Cheerfully will I encounter the most formidable dangers which fortune can crowd in the path of glory in the noble attempt to achieve my country's independence." The eloquent eulogy of the Tejano colonel was translated from Spanish to English as all mourned the heroes of the Alamo.

The above is excerpted from A Tejano Knight: The Quest of Don Juan Seguin by Bill Neeley. Copyright © 2017 Bill Neeley. All rights reserved.

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