James Bowie

nineteenth-century American pioneer, soldier, smuggler, slave trader, and land speculator, played a prominent role in the Texas Revolution

James "Jim" Bowie (April 10, 1796 – March 6, 1836) was a 19th-century American pioneer, slave smuggler and trader, and soldier who played a prominent role in the Texas Revolution. He was among the Americans who died at the Battle of the Alamo. Stories of him as a fighter and frontiersman, both real and fictitious, have made him a legendary figure in Texas history and a folk hero of American culture.

Bowie, c. 1831–1834
We would rather die in these ditches than give it up to the enemy

Quotes edit

  • Bejar 2d Feby 1835 [1836]
    To His Excy. H Smith
    Dear Sir
    In pursuance of your orders, I proceeded from San Felipe to La Bahia and whilst there employed my whole time in trying to effect the objects of my mission. You are aware that Genl Houston came to La Bahia soon after I did, this is the reason why I did not make a report to you from that post. The Comdr. in Chf. has before this communicated to you all matters in relation to our military affairs at La Bahia, this make it wholly unnecessary for me to say any thing on the subject. Whilst at La Bahia Genl Houston received despatches from Col Comdt. Neill informing that good reasons were entertained that an attack would soon be made by a numerous Mexican Army on our important post of Bejar. It was forthwith determined that I should go instantly to Bejar; accordingly I left Genl Houston and with a few very efficient volunteers came on to this place about 2 weeks since. I was received by Col Neill with great cordiality, and the men under my command entered at once into active service. All I can say of the soldiers stationed here is complimentary to both their courage and their patience. But it is the truth and your Excellency must know it, that great and just dissatisfaction is felt for the want of a little money to pay the small but necessary expenses of our men. I cannot eulogise [sic] the conduct & character of Col Neill too highly: no other man in the army could have kept men at this post, under the neglect they have experience. Both he & myself have done all that we could; we have industriously tryed [sic] all expedients to raise funds; but hitherto it has been to no purpose. We are still labouring night and day, laying up provisions for a siege, encouraging our men, and calling on the Government for relief.
    Relief at this post, in men, money, & provisions is of vital importance & is wanted instantly. Sir, this is the object of my letter. The salvation of Texas depends in great measure in keeping Bejar out of the hands of the enemy. It serves as the frontier picquet [sic] guard and if it were in the possession of Santa Anna there is no strong hold from which to repell [sic] him in his march towards the Sabine. There is no doubt but very large forces are being gathered in several of the towns beyond the Rio Grande, and late information through Senr Cassiana & others, worthy of credit, is positive in the fact that 16 hundred or two thousand troops with good officers, well armed, and a plenty of provisions, were on the point of marching, (the provisions being cooked &c). A detachment of active men from the volunteers under my command have been sent out to the Rio Frio; they returned yesterday without information and we remain yet in doubt whether they entend [sic] an attack on this place or go to reinforce Matamoras. It does however seem certain that an attack is shortly to be made on this place & I think & it is the general opinion that the enemy will come by land. The Citizens of Bejar have behaved well. Col. Neill & Myself have come to the solemn resolution that we would rather die in these ditches than give it up to the enemy. These citizens deserve our protection and the public safety demands our lives rather than to evacuate this post to the enemy.—again we call aloud for relief; the weakness of our post will at any rate bring the enemy on, some volunteers are expected: Capt Patton with 5 or 6 has come in. But a large reinforcement with provisions is what we need.
    I have information just now from a friend whom I believe that the force at Rio Grande (Presidia) is two thousand complete; he states further that five thousand more is a little back and marching on, perhaps the 2 thousand will wait for a junction with the 5 thousand. This information is corroberated [sic] with all that we have heard. The informant says that they intend to make a decent [sic] on this place in particular, and there is no doubt of it.
    Our force is very small, the returns this day to the Comdt. is only one hundred and twenty officers & men. It would be a waste of men to put our brave little band against thousands.
    We have no interesting news to communicate. The army have elected two gentlemen to represent the Army & trust they will be received.

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