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Letter from Daniel Cloud, Alamo Defender

December 26, 2008

First page of Daniel Cloud's letter to his brother, December 26, 1835.

First page of Daniel Cloud's letter to his brother, December 26, 1835.

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.

Second and third pages of Cloud's letter.

Second and third pages of Cloud's letter.

Final page of Cloud's letter, which he ends by telling his brother, "If I were with you, I could talk enough to tire you. I hope we shall meet."

Final page of Cloud's letter, which he ends by telling his brother, "If I were with you, I could talk enough to tire you. I hope we shall meet."

Click here for a full citation of the documents and images included in this entry.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. R.A.Nelms permalink
    February 24, 2010 8:16 pm

    my grandmother was Rosa Cloud Born 1880 died 1969 or 1970. Her grandfather or great grand father was the brother to Daniel Cloud.
    my aunt has the family bible of all the family names and their birth dates with their dates of death.
    she passed away in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s.

    the earlier names are faint becasue of the type of ink they used to write with.

    any way, I would like to thank you for all your work in keeping the memory of Daniel Cloud alive!

    Kudos to you

  2. Robin Cloud permalink
    July 31, 2010 10:12 pm

    I just wanted to thank you for having the Daniel Cloud letter online. I have a copy of it’s contents, but have never seen the original

  3. Marion Drennen permalink
    October 16, 2010 4:09 am

    I’m so thrilled to see this. Daniel Cloud, Jr’s brother that he was writing to (see in lower left corner of page 4) was Isaac Branson Cloud.

    Could I please have permission to show this letter on my Family Tree? I’ll give you credit (the link).

    Also, do you have a full transcript?

    Marion Drennen

  4. stephanie pietras permalink
    October 18, 2010 9:52 pm

    Greetings! Daniel and Isaac are in my lineage as well. I would be very interested in knowing if this has been duplicated or if I could have permission to attach it to my family tree.
    How wonderful to find this amazing document. It makes me proud to be a Cloud decendant.

    thank you for your wonderful work!
    Stephanie Pietras

  5. June 22, 2012 5:34 pm

    I am very proud to see this letter and would love to see it in person someday. The pride when seeing D.W.’s name on the wall of the Alamo is something I can not describe. I remember being told as a child that I had family that fought and died at the Alamo battle and glad that I can pass that knowledge and history down to my children.

    JB Cloud
    Abilene, Texas

  6. drtlibrary permalink*
    July 3, 2012 9:31 am

    Anyone is welcome to visit the library and see the original letter, and we especially enjoy sharing the document with Cloud family members and descendants. Be sure and stop in next time you’re in San Antonio! Our hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm; a list of holiday closures is available at We can also mail you a black-and-white or color copy of the letter and a transcription of the text, which you can request by submitting an email to

  7. Emily Majors permalink
    August 21, 2012 8:03 pm

    Daniel Cloud was my 6xs great uncle (5xs g grandfather is John Buck Cloud). While completing my research to join the Daughter’s of the American Revolution I discovered Daniel’s involvment in the Alamo and am so proud to be related to him, and all of the Cloud family. Thank you for posting this letter. I hope to one day see it in person.

    Emily Majors
    Kansas City

  8. Valerie Cloud permalink
    December 8, 2013 8:31 am

    I am married to John Cloud, whose father is William Cloud. They are descendants of Daniel Cloud. We have a copy of the letter that my father-in-law gave us and each one of our daughters. He will be 93 in March. I am so thankful he kept good documentation, since now with age he has a failing memory. My daughters and husband are so proud of their family legacy.

  9. February 14, 2014 11:55 pm

    This letter was written to Daniel’s brother John Buck Cloud. If you note on the letter that Daniel made his J’s like I’s as seen with the words Jackson and Judge. He did not have a brother named Isaac or any brother whose name started with an I.

    Another descendant who has done genealogy research into this matter posted on their genealogy page this info. This is a transcription of a letter from Daniel William Cloud, hero of the Texas battle for Independence at the Alamo, to his brother, John B. Cloud, addressed to Russellville (sic), Logan County, Ky. It was reprinted in a San Antonio paper dated Sunday, June 30, 1912. The account says that the original letter is in the possession of Sam C. Slack of San Antonio — grand nephew of the writer. (Daniel’s sister, Clarissa Cloud, had married to John W. Slack, who died two months before he wrote this letter.) (The letter also appeared in The Hope Star (Hope, Arkansas), April 18, 19?? and the Natchitoches, La. Times April 7, 1939.) The letter was acquired by the Cloud Family Association and they subsequently donated it to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and a facsimile of it now hangs in the Alamo.

    As a descendant of John Buck Cloud, I would appreciate if DRT would research Daniel William Cloud’s genealogy and the old newspaper printings above to confirm this letter was addressed to John Buck Cloud and add this information. The only living brothers Daniel had at the time was John Buck Cloud who died in 1840 and possibly Joel who was born in 1801 and listed with an unknown death. Mordecai died in 1829 and Emmaline in 1832.

  10. michael james cloud permalink
    July 13, 2014 12:54 pm

    Im proud to see and read this as he is my cuz. what a brave cloud member proud to be a direct descendent of william cloud.


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