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Alamo Eyewitness

November 2023
1min read


In Alien Barra’s article “Trying for the Truth About the Alamo” (November/December 2003), he writes of the new movie that “there won’t be any line in the sand….”

On April 27, 1881, fully 45 years after the battle of the Alamo, Susanna Dickenson, the only adult Anglo survivor of that day in March 1836, returned for the first and only time to the old mission in San Antonio. As she toured the remains, she was accompanied by a reporter for the San Antonio Daily Express . She told him that during the last moments of the assault, she was secreted inside the chapel and was not witness to the final onslaught. She had, however, been active during the 13 days the mission was under siege. She helped tend the wounded, fed the troops, and assisted wherever she could.

It was while touring with the newspaper reporter that she commented on the often maligned theory of Travis and the line. Susanna told the reporter that Travis drew a line in the dirt with his sword and said, “Those who will stand by me, let them remain, but those who desire to go, let them go—and who crosses the line that I have drawn, shall go.”

I came across this item while doing research for an article about Susanna Dickinson. Eyewitness accounts are never infallible, but they must be considered. So must this one.

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