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Remember Goliad–175 Years Ago Today

27 Mar

I am not aware of a specific Stapp connection related to the massacre at Goliad, although I imagine that all Texans of the time (and since) were deeply impacted. I wanted to post this in recognition of the anniversary of historic events of this day. In addition to the description below, I was deeply moved by these letters written to family back home by one of the men executed at Goliad.

From Presidio La Bahia, a brief description of the massacre of 342 men at Goliad:

Around 6:00 a.m. on Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836, after being held captive for one week, Fannin’s men were told to gather up their things. They thought that they were going to the Port of Copano and then on to New Orleans. They were happy and singing. They knew that Colonel Fannin had returned from the Port of Copano the previous day. What they didn’t know was that at 7:00 p.m. the pervious evening, Colonel Portilla had received word directly from General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna to execute the men. About an hour after Portilla received the execution order from Santa Anna, he received another order from General Urrea to “Treat the prisoners with consideration, particularly their leader, Fannin, and to employ them in rebuilding Goliad.”

It was a foggy morning at sunrise. The able bodied men were formed into three groups, and under very heavy guard taken out of the fort. The Mexican troops were lined up on each side of the line of prisoners. One group was taken out on the San Antonio road, another on the Victoria road, and the other on the Copano road. The prisoners had little suspicion of their fate, because each group had been given a different story as to where they were going. One group was told that they were going to gather wood, another to drive up cattle, and the other group was told that they were going to the port of Copano. At selected spots on each of the three roads from one half to three-fourths of a mile from the fort, the groups were halted. After they halted, the guards on one side stepped through the ranks so that all the guards were on one side, they turned and fired at very close range. Those men that where not killed ran and were pursued by the cavalry.

The soldiers then returned to the fort and executed the wounded that were in the chapel. The wounded were taken out and laid in front of the chapel doors. There were about forty of them. They were then shot as they laid on the ground. Colonel Fannin was saved until last. (Note: Fannin’s room was in the south extension of the chapel. The room was separated from the main chapel by a wall. A door from the room opened into the Quadrangle. Fannin’s room is now known as the Flag Room. Today, the doorway has been sealed, but you can see the outline of the doorway.) Fannin was taken outside the chapel, blind folded and seated in a chair next to a trench by the watergate. He made three requests, not to be shot in the face, his personal possessions be sent to his family, and that he be given a Christian burial. He was shot in the face, an officer took his personal possessions, and his body was burned along with many of the other bodies. Not all bodies were burned, some were left where they died. There were 342 men who died in the Goliad Massacre, which is almost twice the number of men who died at the Alamo and San Jacinto combined. Twenty-eight men did escape from the three massacre sites and seventeen men’s lives were spared. It is from the accounts of the men who escaped and were spared that we know what happened at Presidio La Bahia. Francita Alavez, the Angel of Goliad and the wife of General Urrea saved the lives of a number of the men.

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Posted by on March 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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