Alamo relics: Need help with identifying


1st Lieutenant
Jul 28, 2015
I believe in Phil Collins' book on Alamo related documents and artifacts he has collected over the years he discussed the excavations at The History Shop. Apparently the most common artifact found, and it was by far the most common, was the lowly iron horse shoe. It was supposed that the site of The History Shop was on top of a place where horses were shod. This could have been related to the Mexican army, the Texan army, the activities at the mission, the period from about 1850 when the site was taken over by the U.S. Army, then the Confederate army, then the U. S. Army again until the 1870's when they Army moved operations to a near by fort, or a civilian business like a stable or blacksmith shop. There was a lot going on in the area and without a firm context for each item you can't make an educated guess of whether or not it was even there during the famous siege. In the Collins book there is a photograph of a short sword that was dug up at the site during construction work many years ago. It is identified as a sergeant's sword. It looks like it could have been a foot artillery sword and has been identified as such in many eBay auctions, but, in fact, it is a sword for a fraternal organization and dates to after the Civil War. The hilt is a pattern that appears in old Ames catalogs but there are many versions of the hilt and it was married to various styles of blade. In one example it was paired with old Ames made bayonets that were produced for the U.S. Navy and show a date and an inspector's mark. This version was thought by some to represent an undocumented pattern naval cutlass from the 1870's but it was instead someone trying to use surplus equipment. From what I've read, the Alamo did have a fraternal organization that held meetings in it during the latter half of the 19th century, which provides a convenient source for the sword. Iron artifacts can look much the same over years of production and without carefully documented excavation notes you can rarely attribute them to a particular time period.
The area of the History shop was purchased by Samuel Maverick and used as a stable for many years before leasing it to the US Army for the same purpose.