Today in Texas History – March 27

From the Annals of the Revolution –   In 1836, about 340 Texians under the command of Col. James Fannin  were executed by firing squad at La Bahia in  Goliad.  As rebels and “perfidious foreigners” according to Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the Mexican dictator had decreed that all those in arms against the Mexican government were to be treated as traitors.  Most of those executed  had been trying to escape the onslaught of Mexican forces under Gen. Jose de Urrea but had been surrounded on open ground without adequate supplies largely because of Fannin’s incompetence as a military leader.  After the two-day Battle of Coleto, the men voted  to surrender thinking they would be exiled to the U.S.  Other prisoners had been captured in minor skirmishes with Urrea’s forces.   After capture, Urrea, who had previously executed other prisoners he considered to be mercenaries, pleaded for clemency – but Santa Anna ordered the mass execution when Urrea was away from Goliad.  The “Goliad Massacre” was carried out by Lt. Colonel José Nicolás de la Portilla – whose enthusiasm for the deadly work has been debated by historians.  On Palm Sunday, Portilla had between 425 and 445 Texians marched out of the Mission  in three columns on the Bexar Road, San Patricio Road, and the Victoria Road, between two rows of Mexican soldiers.  The Texians  were shot point blank, survivors were were hunted down and killed by gunfire, bayonet, or lance.  About 30 men escaped by feigning death and another 20 or so were granted clemency to act as doctors, workers and interpreters.  Another 75 men were marched to Matamoros for imprisonment.  Remember Goliad – along with Remember the Alamo – became the rallying cry for the remaining Texian Army.

March to the Massacre from the Texas State Historical Association.

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