He slipped through the fortress walls about midnight and ran into the woods where he hid in a drainage ditch, escaping the enemy forces which had encircled the area for more than a week. He carried with him a final plea for help, a final plea for some kind of action. “Let the Convention go on and make a Declaration of Independence , and we will then understand and the world will understand, what we are fighting for,” it said. But there were other messages, some hastily scrawled on small pieces of paper, some only trinkets that members of the garrison wanted relatives to have. For each of the men he left behind knew he was doomed. And so John Smith, a red -haired carpenter and engineer from Hannibal, Missouri, rode into the night seeking help for the men left at the Alamo. Three days later the garrison was wiped out to the man.