couple of those camps himself. When they had milked Ord dry, they threw him
on a horse and took him along.
Thus John Ord had an excellent view of the battlefield when Santa Anna's
cannon broke the American lines south of the Trinity. Unable to get his men
across to safety, Sam Houston died leading the last, desperate charge
against the Mexican regulars. After that, the American survivors were too
tired to run from the cavalry that pinned them against the flooding river.
Most of them died there. Santa Anna expressed complete indifference to what
happened to the Texans' women and children.
Mexican soldiers found Jim Bowie hiding in a hut, wearing a plain linen
tunic and pretending to be a civilian. They would not have discovered his
identity had not some of the Texan women cried out, "Colonel Bowie--Colonel
Bowie!" as he was led into the Mexican camp.
He was hauled before Santa Anna, and Ord was summoned to watch. "Well, don
Jaime," Santa Anna remarked, "You have been a foolish man. I promised your
wife's uncle to send you to Acapulco safely, though of course your lands
are forfeit. You understand we must have lands for the veterans' program
when this campaign is over--" Santa Anna smiled then. "Besides, since Ord
here has told me how instrumental you were in the abandonment of the Alamo,
I think the Emperor will agree to mercy in your case. You know, don Jaime,
your compatriots had me worried back there. The Alamo might have been a
tough nut to crack ... _pues_, no matter."
And since Santa Anna had always been broadminded, not objecting to light
skin or immigrant background, he invited Bowie to dinner that night.
* * * * *
Santa Anna turned to Ord. "But if we could catch this rascally war
criminal, Crockett ... however, I fear he has escaped us. He slipped over
the river with a fake passport, and the Indians have interned him."
"Si, _Senor Presidente_," Ord said dully.
"Please, don't call me that," Santa Anna cried, looking around. "True, many
of us officers have political ambitions, but Emperor Iturbide is old and
vain. It could mean my head--"
Suddenly, Ord's head was erect, and the old, clear light was in his blue
eyes. "Now I understand!" he shouted. "I thought Travis was raving back
there, before he shot himself--and your talk of the Emperor! American
respect for Indian rights! Jeffersonian form of government! Oh, those
ponces who peddled me that X-4-A--the _track jumper_! I'm not back in my
own past. I've jumped the time track--_I'm back in a screaming
"Please, not so loud, _Senor_ Ord," Santa Anna sighed. "Now, we must shoot
a few more American officers, of course. I regret this, you understand, and
I shall no doubt be much criticized in French Canada and Russia, where
there are still civilized values. But we must establish the Republic of the
Empire once and for all upon this continent, that aristocratic tyrannyDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>