Late in 1835, the Mexican army surrendered San Antonio and retreated across the Rio Grande. Texas colonists, including young Belle Wood, rejoiced. No one expected more trouble from Mexico. So when Belle’s brother, Mac, followed Colonel Travis to the Alamo in January as “a precautionary measure,” Belle didn’t worry.
Three weeks later, General Santa Anna reentered San Antonio with thousands of troops, taking the 150 doomed Alamo men by surprise. “The news came upon me like a clap of thunder,” Belle wrote. “My brother, Mac, is dead.”
As Santa Anna marched eastward, panic ensued. All over Texas, people either joined the fight for independence or fled for safety in the mass exodus known as the Runaway Scrape. Belle tells how her family joins the throng pushing to the U.S. border on foot or in every kind of vehicle imaginable. Theirs is a perilous, tragic journey in rain and cold, across sodden prairies and deep mud.
Despite all their trials and difficulties, however, the Texians push on, and throughout Belle’s diary runs the story of a proud people determined to save their families from the ravages of war and to rebuild their homes in this new nation—