Louis (Moses) Rose, a soldier of fortune who escaped from the Alamo and contributed to its legends, was born on May 11, 1785, in Laferée, Ardennes, France. He joined Napoleon's 101st Regiment in 1806 and eventually became a lieutenant. In 1814 he was named to the French Legion of Honor for his role as aide-de-camp to Gen. Jacques de Monfort. He served in campaigns in Naples, Portugal, and Spain as well as in the invasion of Russia. Though no one knows when or where he entered North America, he settled in Nacogdoches, Texas, about 1827. There he was employed as a log cutter and hauler at a sawmill owned by John Durst and Frost Thorn and served as a messenger between Nacogdoches and Natchitoches, Louisiana. He joined the Fredonian Rebellion in 1826 and took part in the battle of Nacogdoches in 1832. Rose was a friend of James Bowie and accompanied or followed him to the Alamo in the fall of 1835. He fought in the siege of Bexar that year.
Rose served the cause of Texas independence a fourth time during the siege of the Alamo. He fought for ten days, up to three days before the fall of the fort, and then escaped. He is the source of the story about William B. Travis's drawing a line in the dirt with his sword. Rose got the nickname Moses because of his age at the time, fifty-one. When asked, "Moses, why didn't you stay there in the Alamo with the others?" he invariably replied, "By God, I wasn't ready to die." He was not the only survivor of the battle of the Alamo. Bowie and Travis sent out numerous couriers, including Capt. Juan N. Seguín, to plead for reinforcements, and other men left during an armistice that Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna declared. In 1907 Enrique Esparza reported, "Rose left after this armistice had expired . . . [and] after Travis drew the line with his sword. He was the only man who did not cross the line. Up to then, he had fought as bravely as any man there . . . . Rose went out during the night. They opened a window for him and let him go. The others who left before went out the doors and in the daytime." William P. Zuber, whose parents took Rose in after he left the Alamo, wrote of the escape. Rose went through enemy lines west through San Antonio, then south down the San Antonio River about three miles, then east through open prairie to the Guadalupe River, avoiding roads. He arrived at the Zuber ranch in Grimes County and stayed there for a while before going on to Nacogdoches, where he operated a butcher shop and acted as a witness for numerous heirs of Alamo defenders trying to get land for their service. In 1842 he moved to Logansport, Louisiana, where he lived with Aaron Ferguson's family until his death. Rose, who never married, died in 1851. His brother Isaac had several sons; in 1927 one of Isaac's descendants, Arthur Rose, presented Moses Rose's gun to the Alamo museum.