December 4, 2009

Lost Burial Place of the Alamo Defenders

About a mile from the site of the Alamo and Pompeo Coppini’s grand cenotaph, is a modest plot in one of the old San Antonio city cemeteries. Only a thick chain and a recently erected historical marker delineates the plot from nearby civilian tombstones.

There are several accounts of what happened immediately after the Alamo fell. Since victors usually write the history, Mexican historians have their take (the official but widely-believed-to-be-inflated report sent to Mexico City by Santa Anna). Historians in the United States seem a little more concerned with what happened to the men who were taken prisoner that morning, or indeed, if there were any prisoners. All accounts say that the bodies were burned and the site of Coppini’s cenotaph is a logical place for the pyre to have been. In Lone Star, historian T.R. Fehrenbach stated: “The charred remains of the Alamo dead were dumped in a common grave. Its location went unrecorded and was never found.” The story of this tiny 10 X 10 plot, surely the least-frequented site in the whole Alamo epic, is best told by the text on the historical marker:

San Antonio Express
July 6, 1906
"August Beisenbach, city clerk of San Antonio states that when he was an 8 year old boy playing on the Alameda (Commerce St.) he witnessed the exhuming of bodies or remains consisting of bones and fragments of bones, of victims of the seige of The Alamo that had been interred near the place where the bodies had been burned and originally buried, and saw their transfers from that place to the old cemetery, on Powder House Hill (Oddfellows Cemetery) this, he states happened in 1856. The fragments of the bodies had first been buried in 1836 and some in 1837. Mr. Beisenbach states that these bodies are buried midway between the monuments of Capt. R.A. Gillespe and Capt. Samuel H. Walker."

GPS Coordinates
29° 25.277, -098° 28.182


Odd Fellows Cemetery
San Antonio

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