The Alamo: One Boy's Story


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This is an essay I wrote in 8th grade for a project in History Class. My teacher said that it was excellent, and showed that I 'had great potential' as a writer. I thought it was bull ;), but I though I'd throw this out to you guys to criticize. Note that this essay is seven pages long in 14-point Font. You may have to take more than one glance at it ;)

All the details in this Essay are true to the sources.

The Alamo: One Boy's Story

(February 20, 1836)
My name is Jon Dob. I am a 14 year old Caucasian male. I have brown hair and grey eyes. I am not tall or imposing, but short and thin. This is the first time I have ever written in a diary. I am an only child in a poor but free family. My mother is taking care of me while we are at the Alamo. We are staying at an inn called the Sally-Sue inn. My father is staying in the other states while my mother and I are traveling. While I have been wandering around the town, I have heard rumors of a Mexican attack on the fort. I have asked my mother about this and she said it was all “just silly drunkard’s talk,” but I am afraid, just the same. I have to go now; my mother wants me to help her prepare dinner.

(February 21, 1836)
The rumors about the Mexicans attacking seem to have been declared as truth. Some of the people who came along the road and stopped in for rest have even claimed to have seen several Mexican soldiers patrolling the roads. My mother still thinks it is all just made-up rumors to scare the people, but now people are getting prepared, just in case. The cannons have been rolled up to the walls and the muskets have been cleaned and taken care of. I think that I’ll go and help them, all the tools and weapons are very interesting. Good bye!

(February 21, 1836)
My mother and I are staying at the Alamo for two more days, then we are going to go back home. I do not want to go home; this is all very interesting and exciting. Today one of the travelers brought word of a Mexican that he had had to kill, because he had ambushed him. Some men went out to search for the body and found him, in full military dress and bristling with weapons. This seems to have finally scared my mother into believing the Mexicans are going to attack. She said we’d be packing up and leaving tonight, as soon as we can.

(February 21, 1836)
My mother and I were leaving the town when a man stopped us. He said that we couldn’t leave, owing to the fact that the Mexicans had just expressed hostility, and they were patrolling all the roads out and in to the Alamo. My mother was furious, she said there was absolutely no way she was staying here with those “hooligan spics” running around and shooting at us. She stormed and raged at the man for a good 10 minutes before she gave up and took me back to our rooms. We cannot leave the fort without going through Mexico’s army. My mother is afraid that if we cannot escape soon we may never be able to get away before the battle really begins.

(February 22, 1836)
I did not sleep very well because men were running back and forth down the road all night long, carrying things that made loud clunking noises. My mother is nervous and she looks like she did not sleep a wink last night. She keeps opening the curtains and checking outside, as if someone had reported a lion loose in the town. I decided to go outside and look at what all the men are doing, because my mother is starting to rub off some of her nerves on me. The men have made defenses from every side of the town’s walls. I think it would be fun to help fire those big cannons.

(February 23, 1836)
When I was listening to the men tell stories this morning, I heard one of them say that our leader, James Bowie, was getting very ill. They said he had a disease called "hasty consumption" or "typhoid pneumonia.” They are afraid that he may not be able to help us if the Mexicans attack. One of the men fired a shot at the Mexicans, which we can now see just over the hills. Right now the two armies are just firing half-hearted shots at each other with the cannons and sometimes muskets. My mother is very nervous because the battle is starting to get more aggressive. The loud deafening booms of the cannon during the night are becoming more frequent, and the cracks of muskets can be heard throughout the fort. The men have dug trenches in the ground surrounding the town, and they have evacuated all the huts outside of the walls. I helped them dig it during the day, while my mother was cleaning the room we are staying in. It was hard work, and I am very sore now. There are blisters on my hands and feet, but the men thanked me for helping them and they gave me one of their sandwiches. It was very good. After I finished my sandwich, I went to see if I could help the men with the cannons at all, but they said I was too young, and that I might hurt myself with them. I decided that I would go to my room and sleep, after such a long day, and the sun was setting as well. So here I am, writing to you, and now I think that I will put down my pen and go to sleep. Good night!

(February 24, 1836)
I woke up with a start, and realized how long I had slept, and how deeply. The sun was already high in the sky and my mother was already gone. I went down to the bar to listen to the men tell stories for a while, but no one was there. I went outside to see where everyone had gone, and I found them all lined up on the wall, with loaded muskets and cannons at the ready. I asked one man why they were all standing there, and he said that they were having a standoff. When I asked what a standoff was, he told me that it was when two armies stood in a single line with all weapons loaded, trying to stress the other army into firing. This confused me, why would the armies want the other army to fire on them first? Wouldn’t it make sense to have the first shot, have the upper hand to begin with? But I did not want to bother the man anymore, so I left him alone. I went down to the inn and got some breakfast. The barkeeper seemed tense and strung-out, as though he were waiting for something. I figured that this was just because of the standoff. I finished my lunch and I went up to my room, because the barman was starting to make me tense, too. I decided to play with my deck of cards. I sat for a few hours, playing games alone with my cards. Finally, I just put them away and lay down on my bed.

(February 25, 1836)
Today I woke up early and went down to the bar, this time it was packed full of men talking and telling stories about their adventures. I sat and listened to them for a while, but once most of the men left to go about their duties, I decided to go wander around the town. I went into the barracks, and I saw many muskets lined up on the walls. I asked one man in there how many muskets there were, and he told me not to worry my little head about it, because I wouldn’t be using them anyway. This always irritates me, the way people treat me like a little kid. I think they should be nicer and let me do things. After the man shunted me away from the muskets, another man came in and offered to show me how to use one. This made me very happy. He took one of the muskets from the wall racks and told me to follow him outside. He explained how it was loaded and fired. As bullets, muskets used spherical lead balls packed in a paper cartridge which also held the Gunpowder propellant. The balls came wrapped in a loosely-fitting paper patch which formed the upper part of the cartridge. The lower part of the cartridge contained the gunpowder: He separated the two sections with his teeth. He loaded the gunpowder first, followed by the paper from the lower section of cartridge used as wadding. Then he loaded the ball and the upper piece of cartridge. Finally, He used a ramrod to compact the ball and wadding down onto the gunpowder. He demonstrated all this as he explained, and when he was finally done, he handed me the musket and told me to aim at a tree and fire. I took my aim, steadied my arm, squeezed the trigger, and BANG! I hit the tree branch! The noise scared me so much that I dropped the musket. I picked it back up and realized I was grinning like an idiot. I looked around at the man and he said that I had very good aim for a first time. I felt so proud, the way he was treating me like an adult, an equal. Later today, I found out that the man who was teaching me how to use a gun was the actual, for-real, Davie Crocket! I found out because after our little lesson, he went along the walls and I heard people yelling to him to help them out, “Oi! Crocket! Help me with this cannon!” Boy, that’s amazing. I was taught to use a gun, and I was complimented by, the Davie Crocket. This sure was a great day.I am going to go and listen to the men in the bar; they always have interesting stories to tell. ‘Bye!

(May 1, 1826)
I have not written here for a very long time, I have been very busy, helping to defend the wall while the Mexicans were attacking. This is what happened, after I left on the 25th, I went down to the bar, and while I was listening to the men tell stories, someone ran in yelling, “All hands to the defenses! All hands to the defenses!” Instantly, everyone in the bar, including the barkeeper, leapt up and ran out, leaving food uneaten and drinks un-drunk. I ran outside after them to find out what was going on, and what I saw was amazing. The Mexican army was vast. There were hundreds, maybe even thousands of them all running towards the fort, leaving clouds of dust in their wake. They stopped running not too far from the town, and knelt down to load their muskets. I saw some men dragging cannons towards the fort, and they, too, stopped to load, but a little farther away. As I stood and watched the army advancing, one of the men started handing out muskets; he was yelling, “Man the cannons! Everybody get ready! Fire at will!” Many people were yelling back and forth, yelling to hurry up. In a moment’s time, my life changed. The man handing out weapons gave me a musket and told me to “Give those dirty bastards what they deserve.” I reacted so quickly, I surprised myself. I loaded the musket and took a spot along the line of people on the wall, and I shot. I shot at the first person who came into view. I saw him drop, as he was running along the front of the Mexicans getting ready to fire. The man next to me clapped me on the back and said “Good shot! You took out one of the marshals!” I numbly nodded, too shocked at what I had just done to respond. I dropped my musket and took off running. I hid in a corner, between the wall and a building. After a long while, it started getting dark and the sharp, loud cracks of the muskets and the loud, deafening booms of the cannons subsided. I could only assume that the Mexicans had retreated. I remained in my spot, hidden, crying silently. Later, deep into the night, I heard my mother shouting my name, looking for me. I did not want to worry her; I walked out of my hiding place, numb and stiff from my long sit. She hugged me and cried on me and was mumbling so quickly that I could only catch words, like “worried,” “had no idea” and “couldn’t find you anywhere!” She took walked me around the walls as I explained everything that happened to her. She did not seem upset. As we were walking, I looked out at where the Mexicans had been firing at us from, and saw dark outlines on the ground; it looked like someone had put piles of rocks all over the ground. I grimaced to think what those blots actually were, and I turned back to listen to my mother, giving me reassurance that it would all be okay, and that we would get through this alright. I am going to go to sleep now, and I don’t think I will wake up for quite a while yet.

(May 2, 1836)
It is now around noon. I have slept a very long time. My mother says that I have a very high temperature, and she thinks I may have a bad cold. She is forbidding me to leave the house while she is out helping the inn with making food for the defenders. I think I will go back to sleep now, I do not feel very well.

(May 3, 1836)
I have had the oddest dreams, these past few days. I dreamt about Davie Crocket, he was shooting at me but he kept missing. He was complimenting me on my dodging abilities. Then I dreamt that I was James Bowie. I was carrying his giant knife, which everyone calls a Bowie Knife. I dreamt that his brother was yelling at me, for stealing all the glory and fame, that he had actually invented the knife! How ridiculous! That’s enough about my “nutter’s muses,” as my mother calls them. Today my mother has decided to let me walk around a bit, because my fever is clearing up. She said that I was not allowed outside of the inn, though. I am going to go down to the bar to listen to the men tell stories and I’ll ask someone what happened yesterday. Good bye, until later!

(May 5, 1836)
I have not had time to write until now; I have been busy cleaning the guns for the defenders. Word is that the battle is not doing very well for us. People are saying that we are losing many men in the fight, and that our defenders are getting very low in numbers. I am afraid for my mother and myself. If the fortifications fall, we may be taken prisoner or we may even be killed! I have to get back to cleaning the guns; there sure are a lot of them.

(May 10, 1836)
The fort was taken. Many people were killed; I could only count 7 or 8 surviving defenders once the Mexicans came in. They were executed with no pardons. My mother screamed and cried and covered her eyes when this happened. I looked at all the defenders. They all seemed grim and determined. As I looked down the line, I noticed a familiar face, I wanted to shout, I wanted to yell, anything to stop this. Davie Crocket was being executed! I struggled a fierce internal battle. Finally, I realized there was nothing I could do. I bowed my head and cried silently. My mother and I have gotten lucky. The Mexican captain was very honorable. He pardoned all non-combatant women and children. He had officers lead us from the fort; they gave us each a blanket and two dollars, and sent us on our way. There were not many of us. We heard another group talking quietly about how they heard Mexicans saying they had lost at least 600, if not more in the battle. This seemed to give the little group heart, considering that there were only about 250 defenders. My mother kept hugging me and telling me that it would be alright. We were going back home, back to my father.

Word Count-
2,738 words (Seven Pages in 14-point Font)


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