Today is the anniversary of the slaughter of unarmed Texas solders who’d surrendered to Mexican General Jose de Urrea. The General had promised to send them to New Orleans. But General Santa Ana countermanded Urrea and insisted that all rebels should be shot.
The prisoners were marched out of the fort at Goliad for a few miles, then lined up. Mexican soldiers opened rifle fire. A few Texans managed to escape the slaughter, swimming across Coleto Creek, and carried the news to General Sam Houston. And thus the battle cry at San Jacinto: “Remember the Alamo, Remember Goliad!”
I blame in all on James W. Fannin, one of the most inept officers ever to be placed in command of troops. Fannin intended to march to the aid of the Alamo defenders, but he couldn’t get organized. When he did take to the trail he halted after a few miles when a wagon broke down. And he discovered he’d forgotten to bring food for his troops. Back to the fort and start over.
Eventually Fannin bivouacked in a small depression, where Urrea surrounded him, taking the high ground. Fannin believed that surrender was his only option.
Fannin was executed at Goliad, shot when seated in a chair because of his leg wound. He requested that he be shot in the heart and not the head, that his belongings be returned to his family, and that he given a Christian burial. In fact he was shot in the head. Mexican soldiers appropriated his belongings and threw his body onto a heap of corpses.
James W. Fannin’s name survived him, in a way. The State of Georgia named a County after him.
March 27, 2017.
“Fate is a rat.” – Leo Durocher.