Little Bits of History

Goliad Massacre

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 27, 2015
Goliad Massacre monument

Goliad Massacre monument *

March 27, 1836: The Goliad Massacre takes place. The Republic of Texas was an independent sovereign country which existed from March 2, 1836 to February 19, 1846. The region had been part of New Spain and also of interest to the French. It had a high Native American population and was largely ignored by European powers. When Mexico fought for its independence from New Spain, Texas was part of the freed region. The area then wished to be free from Mexican rule as well. The Texians – non-Hispanic white residents of Mexican Texas and later the Republic of Texas wished to be separate from their southern rulers. The Goliad Campaign was part of their fight for independence from Mexico and Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.

General José Urrea was in charge of troops sent into Texas and his men surprised Texian troops under Frank Johnson on February 27, 1836 which led to the Battle of San Patricio where some prisoners were taken and some were able to escape back to Goliad and James Fannin, commander of the Texian troops. Several more battles took place over the next month and many more Texians were captured. Although there were some executions as well, several men were able to escape and return to the lines. Eventually the Mexicans had control of the fort at Goliad, Fort Defiance, and were holding all prisoners of war there. The Texians were under the impression they would be set free back in US territory in a few weeks.

Back in December, the Mexican government passed a law stating all armed foreigners taken in combat would be treated as pirates and executed. Urrea had begged Santa Anna for clemency but was denied. Urrea left the fort in the hands of Colonel José Nicolás de la Portilla. Santa Anna sent direct orders to the “Officer Commanding the Post of Goliad” and these were received on March 26. Portilla decided it was his duty to carry out those orders despite receiving countermanding orders from Urrea the same day. On this day, Palm Sunday, Portilla had 303 Texians marched out of Fort Defiance in three columns along three roads. They were driven between two rows of Mexican soldiers who shot them at point blank range. Those who did not immediately die, were clubbed or stabbed to death.

There were forty more Texians who were unable to leave the fort due to their wounds. Captain Carolino Huerta carried out their executions saving Colonel Fannin as the last to be executed, having already witnessed the deaths of the men under his command. He was 32 years old. He asked for three things as they blindfolded him, seated in a chair waiting for death. He wished his personal possessions go to his family, that he be shot in the heart, and given a Christian burial. They stole his possessions, shot him in the face, and burned his corpse. Twenty-eight men escaped death by feigning their demise. Another 75 soldiers were spared because they were taken unarmed. Today, a memorial exists to commemorate where the bodies were finally buried one month later, when Santa Anna was finally defeated and surrendered.

In every country where independence has taken the place of liberty, the first desire of a manly heart is to possess a weapon which at once renders him capable of defence or attack, and, by rendering its owner fearsome, makes him feared. – Alexandre Dumas, père

I believe that the fundamental alternative for man is the choice between “life” and “death”; between creativity and destructive violence; between reality and illusions; between objectivity and intolerance; between brotherhood-independence and dominance-submission. – Erich Fromm

Nationality is the miracle of political independence; race is the principle of physical analogy. – Benjamin Disraeli

Injustice in the end produces independence. – Voltaire

Also on this day: Long Distance Communication – In 1899, the first international radio communication occurred.
Tenerife Disaster – In 1977, the worst aviation disaster took place at Tenerife.
Earthquake – In 1964, Alaska was struck by a powerful earthquake.
Little Blue Pill – In 1998, Viagra was approved by the FDA.
Get it Together – In 1790, the shoe lace and holes were perfected.

* Picture by P6150

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