Letter from Daniel Cloud, Alamo Defender
One of the treasures in the DRT Library’s collections is a letter written by Daniel William Cloud, a twenty-two year old lawyer from Kentucky. Written on December 26, 1835 near Natchitoches, Louisiana, and addressed to his “beloved brother,” the letter primarily discusses the circumstances of various family members and acquaintances and describes the weather, soil quality, and business prospects Cloud and his traveling companion, Peter J. Bailey, observed as they traveled through Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana on their way to Texas. In perhaps the most well-known and often-quoted section of the letter, Cloud explains his views on the causes of the Texas Revolution and his reasons for wanting to enlist (all punctuation and spelling in the original document have been maintained here):
Ever since Texas has unfurled the banner of Freedom and commenced a warfare for Liberty or Death, our hearts have been enlisted in her behalf. The progress of her cause has increased the ardor of our feelings, until we have resolved to embark in the vessel which contains the flag of Liberty and sink or swim in its defence. Our Brethren of Texas were invited by the Mexican Government while republican in its form to come and settle, they did so, they have endured all the privations & sufferings incident to the settlement of a frontier country and have surrounded themselves with all the comforts and conveniences of live. Now the Mexicans with unblushing effrontery call on them to submit to a Monarchical, tyrannical, Central despotism, at the bare mention of which every true hearted son of Kentucky feels an instinctive horror followed by a firm and steady glow of virtuous indignation. The cause of Philanthropy, of humanity, of Liberty & human happiness throughout the world call loudly on every man who can, to aid Texas. If you ask me how I reconcile the duties of a soldier with those of a Christian I refer you to the memorable conversation between Genl. Marion & DeKalb on this point, and the sentiments of the latter I have adopted as my own. If we succeed, the country is ours, it is immense in extent and fertile in its soil and will amply reward all our toils. If we fail death in the cause of liberty and humanity is not cause for shuddering. Our rifles are by our sides and choice guns they are; we know what awaits us and are prepared to meet it.
Along with Bailey, Cloud joined the Tennessee Mounted Volunteers and was killed when Santa Anna’s troops attacked the Alamo on the morning of March 6, 1836.