In this blog I shall try to give you an idea of why this town of Goliad is included in this battle cry..just like “Remember the Alamo”….Before I begin, I want to show you a few photos we took at the Presidio La Bahia. This presidio played an instrumental roll in the Goliad Massacre.
This is the sanctuary of the chapel..still used for Sunday church services.
There will be no humor in this blog. I just cannot bear to “get cute” while re-telling the story of so many men dying. I know this seems long, but there just isn’t any way to make it shorter, fearing I would leave an important fact out.
“As part of the Mexican invasion of Texas in early 1836, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and his main force of at least 5000 men followed an inland route toward San Antonio. At the same time, Mexican General Jose Urrea with some 900 troops, left Matamoros and followed a coastal route into Texas.
Citizens of Refugio, the town in Urrea's path, were slow to evacuate. To provide assistance, Col. James W. Fannin, commander of forces at Goliad, sent two relief forces. The first of these groups numbered about 30 men , followed by a larger group of some 150 men . Both of these groups were eventually killed or captured by the Mexicans.
Meanwhile back in Goliad, Fannin and his remaining force of about 350 were called on to aid William Barrett Travis and the Alamo defenders. Afterwards, he was also ordered by Sam Houston to retreat back to Victoria. Due to indecision and carelessness by Fannin, however, he failed to accomplish either of these missions.
After a delay of about five days following Houston's order, Fannin finally began his retreat. It was not long, however, before the Texians found themselves surrounded on open prairie. After several attacks by Urea ,the Texians were being repulsed by the deadly fire of the Mexican Army. By dusk, the Texans had lost about sixty men. Some killed, others wounded against some 200 of the Mexicans. The next day, the Mexican Army received reinforcements and heavy artillery.
Now heavily outnumbered and with no water and few supplies, the Texians waved the white flag of truce the following morning. Believing that they would be taken captive and eventually returned to their homes, the Texians surrendered the morning of March 20. The were escorted by the Mexican Army back to Goliad, as prisoners of war, to the Presidio La Bahia.
When news of their capture reached Santa Anna, however, he was furious that the Texians had not been executed on the spot. Citing a recently passed law that all foreigners taken under arms would be treated as pirates and executed, Santa Anna sent orders to execute the Goliad prisoners. Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836, 303 Texians were marched out of La Bahia into three columns on the Bexar Road, San Patricio Road, and the Victoria Road, between two rows of Mexican soldiers; they were shot point-blank, and any survivors were clubbed and knifed to death. The Texian soldiers corpses were stripped, partially burned and left unburied. Forty Texians were unable to walk. Thirty nine were killed inside the fort.
Colonel Fannin was the last to be executed, after seeing his men executed. Age 32, he was taken by Mexican soldiers to the courtyard in front of the chapel, blindfolded, and seated in a chair (due to his leg wound from the battle). He made three requests: he asked for his personal possessions to be sent to his family, to be shot in his heart and not his face, and to be given a Christian burial. The soldiers took his belongings, shot his face, and burned Fannin's body along with the other Texians who died that day. The entire Texian force was killed except for twenty-eight men who feigned death and escaped.”… (How some escaped will be my next blog .)
This atrocity happened 3 weeks after the fall of the Alamo, and gave Texians the battle cry “Remember the Alamo” and “Remember Goliad”. General Thomas J.Rusk and the Texian Army, afterwards marched to the La Bahia and gathered the bones of Fannin’s men from the terrain to the presidio. From the Presidio La Bahia, the remains were carried in procession to a mass grave and given a military funeral and burial on June 3, 1836.”
Here is the burial site of those brave men…..On each side of the tall center piece you will find engraved all the names of those who died and were buried here …Just walking up on it and sensing the history beneath our feet brought tears to my eyes…
This is the stone relief carving showing the Goddess of Liberty lifting a fallen soldier in chains…very moving..This whole monument is actually a very large gravestone marking the many souls buried beneath it.
And here is a stone plaque at the gravesite, noting the men who were killed on the battlefield before the surrender of the troops to the Mexican Army…They fell at what is now called the Coleto Creek battle..the rest of the men were marched to the Presidio and are beneath the big monument.
Part of the presidio walls..The yellow arrow points to one of the holes for their rifles to fit through…If only these old stone fort walls could talk..sooooo much sad history here.
As I alluded to , there is another story related to the Massacre at Goliad concerning a young woman called the “Angel of Goliad”…I will provide you with that story soon.
I really, really hope you actually took the time to read the whole history of this terrible time in history…
And if you ever, ever get the chance to stop by the little Southeastern Texas town of Goliad… , I dare you to just stay only one night!!
“There never was a good war, or a bad peace.”
~ Benjamin Franklin