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March 6: The Alamo: Those Who Fought, Those Who Fled

March 6, 2015

300px-1854_AlamoThe Alamo, a fort in San Antonio, Texas, fell to the Mexican military on this date in 1836, following a 13-day siege. Among the Texans killed was Avrom (Anthony) Wolf, a British-born Jew of Spanish ancestry (his Jewishness has not been 100 percent verified by historians) who came to Texas in 1835, and his sons, Benjamin and Michael, ages 11 and 12. Some 200 Texans were killed at the Alamo, and the cruelty of the Mexicans (Wolf’s sons were bayoneted despite his pleas for mercy) inflamed Texan passions and led to the swelling of the Texan army, which defeated the Mexican armed forces within six weeks of the Alamo assault. Several other Jews fought in an earlier battle at the Alamo in December, 1835, including Dr. Albert Moses Levy, surgeon-in-chief of the Texas Volunteer Army, Ben Milam, who was killed in the battle, and Louis “Moses” Rose, a French-born warrior who had served in Napoleon’s army and was a friend and associate of the famous (or infamous) slave-trader and land speculator Jim Bowie. Rose, called “Moses” because he was old (51), was the only fighter, other than couriers, to leave the Alamo before the final assault; he is referred to as “The Chicken of the Siege.” To read details about Jewish veterans of the Alamo, click here.

“Rose fled the Alamo the night of March 5, evading Mexican forces, and made his way to Grimes County, where he found rest and shelter at the home of one William P. Zuber. Rose made no attempt at hiding the true story of his journey, attributing his decision to a love for his family (including his children) and desire to fight another day rather than face a slaughter like those he had seen in previous failed battles. But Rose did not fight another day, but instead merely faded away from the revolution, eventually settling in Logansport, Louisiana.... During the period just before the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the U.S., the Rose legend gained new currency when France opposed the invasion. Anti-French sentiment in the United States increased and Rose’s legend was often invoked as an historical example of ostensibly French cowardice in the face of war, despite the unverified status of the popular account.” —Wikipedia