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Daniel Willam Cloud - Alamo Martyr

Replies: 13

Daniel Cloud's Final Days

Alan Smiley (View posts)
Posted: 17 Nov 2000 12:12PM GMT
Thanks for responding. I came across a pedigree chart a few days ago at www.familysearch.org that filled in my missing generation. My 2nd great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Cloud, is the daughter of Stephen Rutherford Cloud. He was my missing link, so it looks like that makes us cousins of a sort. Mary's mother was Nancy Hickman. I wasn't aware that Stephan had a second wife and do not know if Nancy was the first or second. Mary appears to be the oldest of the children of Stephan and Nancy.

While assigned to the American Embassy in Mexico City from 1995-98, I worked with the Texas State Archives and Libraries Commission and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Revolution to attempt the recovery of an Almao flag that has been in the possession of the Mexican government since 1836. Our efforts, like half a dozen other attempts since 1936, unfortunately failed. In researching the flag's history, however, I came across many interesting footnotes on Daniel William Cloud. Here are the highlights:

26 DEC 1835 - Daniel writes his oft-quoted letter to his brother John, while in Natchitoches, LA, a trading post on the Red River that served as a gateway to Texas for colonists, explorers, and volunteers for the army.

Early JAN 1836 - Daniel crosses the Red River, entering Texas for the first time.

14 JAN 1836 - Along with a dozen or so voluteers from KY and TN, Daniel enlists in the Volunteer Auxiliary Corps of Texas in the town of Nagodoches, TX. Among those enlisting that day was Davy Crockett. The group, including Crockett and Cloud, was formed into a company under a Captain William Harrison.

20 JAN 1836 - Harrison's company passes through Washington-on-the-Brazos en route to San Antonio de Bexar.

09 FEB 1836 - Harrison's company arrives at San Antonio. They are one of the last units to reach San Antonio.

23 FEB 1836 - A 6,000-man Mexican Army under General Santa Ana begins arriving in San Antonio. Harrison's company is assigned the task of holding the city while the rest of the Texan force falls back into the Alamo compound. When they later rejoin the main force within the Alamo, garrison commander Lieutenant Colonel William Travis assigns them to guard the weakest portion of the makeshift fort -- the low wooden palisade on the south wall, next to the chapel. There they remain throughout the entire 13-day siege, to fight and die.

06 MAR 1836 - In the pre-dawn darkness at about 5:00 AM, 1,500 of Santa Ana's troops launch a final massive assault on all four of the Alamo's walls. The Alamo is defended by fewer than 200 Texans. Harrison's company of a dozen or so men (including Cloud and Crockett) are armed with rifles and a single 4-lb. cannon. Early in the battle, a 100-man Mexican column under a Colonel Morelos attempts to breach the low palisade. Loaded with scap iron, the cannon serves as a giant shotgun and forces the Mexican troops back. A second assault is likewise repulsed. Suffering staggering loses, Morelos decides to bypass the palisade's defenses and attack a more poorly defended area of the fort. In the meantime, the primary assualt force finally breaks through and over the north wall at the opposite extreme of the compound. Only twenty minutes after the start of the attack, hundreds of Santa Ana's troops are now inside the Alamo's walls. It would take another hour, however, to clean out nests of defenders. Working their way south through the compound, the Mexicans found the final pocket of defenders near the Chapel in the southeast corner of the Alamo -- Harrison's position. Holding out until the fateful end, Harrison's men -- Cloud, Crockett, and the rest -- stood their ground and died in place defending the inner courtyard of the Alamo Chapel. Within the chapel, the women and children of the Alamo had taken refuge. None of the defenders survived, only the women and children were spared.

Today, the monument to the Defenders of the Alamo stands close enough to cast its shadow on the site where Daniel Cloud and Davy Crockett laid down their lives.

Daniel Cloud is largely known to history because he wrote two letters home to his brother John, and because those letters survive today. Were it not for this, Daniel Cloud would have been little more than what are the vast majority of Alamo defenders -- names on one of Travis' rosters.

Daniel's letter contains a rationale for going to the Alamo which is as poetic as it is inspiring:

"The cause of Philanthropy, of Humanity, of Liberty and human happiness throughout the world call loudly on every man to come to the aid of Texas. If we succeed, the country is ours. ... If we fail, death in the cause of liberty is not cause for shuddering. ... Our rifles are by our side, we know what awaits us, and are prepared to meet it."

These lines are quoted in the brochure that was being handed out to visitors of the Alamo in 1996. It is quoted in almost every movie and documentary every made about the Alamo. In James Mitchner's novel Texas, the author felt the words too powerful to be attributed to a young man unknown to popular history, and so put them into the mouth of William Travis. The curator of the Alamo once told me that the reason for quoting Daniel Cloud's letter in their brochure and other publications is that they believe his words to best capture the spirit of the Alamo defender.

I hope this helps to bring alive our common ancestor. He left no children, so neices and nephews down the line are the only kin his has to remember him.

- Alan Smiley
American Embassy
Tegucigalpa, Honduras







SubjectAuthorDate Posted
Alan 11 Nov 2000 11:37PM GMT 
Debora Ferguson Baud 16 Nov 2000 8:43PM GMT 
Alan Smiley 17 Nov 2000 7:12PM GMT 
Debora Ferguson Baud 18 Nov 2000 4:26PM GMT 
Alan Smiley 19 Nov 2000 8:48PM GMT 
Debora Ferguson Baud 20 Nov 2000 11:23AM GMT 
slewislovesyo... 27 Jan 2012 11:13PM GMT 
fearghuisbee 15 Mar 2012 8:08PM GMT 
ingramrus1 19 Feb 2013 11:53PM GMT 
fearghuisbee 23 Feb 2013 5:26PM GMT 
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