Some years ago, I was visiting the Alamo. The Long Barracks lives up to its name. It is a long, narrow building with entrances at each end and has been converted into an extension of the museum, with display cases along each wall. It was not crowded that day; a loose line of people moved down one side and up the other.
I was about thirty feet from the front entrance when I looked up to see a man walking toward me between the lines. He was dressed in period costume: rust-colored pants tucked into black boots, a brown belt with a plain brass buckle, and a white shirt that had a pointed collar with undone string ties dangling down on either side of the front placket. The shirt did not have proper cuffs. Instead a buttoned pleat fastened the sleeves at the wrists.
He was about six feet tall, with dark blond hair that curled down around his collar. His face was weathered and tan, and although I could not see them well, I believe his eyes were blue. But the most striking thing about him was that he was carrying what looked to me to be a Sharps buffalo rifle. He was holding it properly, the forestock in his left hand and the muzzle pointed safely toward the floor. The rear vernier sight was folded down.
I watched him carefully until he was so close to me that staring would have been rude. I looked down, felt him go by me and saw his shadow pass. Then when I looked up, he was gone. He was so tall and the crowd was so sparse that I could not have lost him in the people around me, and it was so far to the door that he could not have crossed the distance during the brief time I looked away from him. He had simply disappeared.
I am fairly certain he was among the Alamo heroes who fell to Santa Ana's army, but to this day I wish I knew which one.