ATM_Marshall-Trimble-Logo-with-backgroundWhat happened to the bodies of those killed at the Alamo?

Steve Frost
Petersburg, Virginia

San Antonio Alcalde Francisco Antonio Ruiz gave the most concise account of the aftermath of the Texas Revolution battle that ended on March 6, 1836.

Soldiers buried the Mexican corpses in the graveyard, but when it was full, dumped the rest of the bodies in the river.

In terms of the Texian defenders, Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna sent out dragoons to nearby forests to bring in wood and branches. They took all the bodies to Alameda Road and built a funeral pyre. At about three the next afternoon, the soldiers began placing dead bodies over the bed of wood and kindling, with another pile of wood placed on top of the bodies. They repeated this until all the bodies were stacked. At 8 p.m., they lit the fires.

The charred remains reportedly smoldered for days. The Alamo defenders’ ashes stayed for a year until they were buried in unknown locations.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. . His latest book is Arizona’s Outlaws and Lawmen; History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write:  Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at

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