GOLIAD and the FANNIN BATTLE SITE
A survey crew hired by the State of Texas had used ground penetrating radar at the presumed battle site without finding any evidence of the battle. Texas Parks and Wildlife became concerned that the actual battle might actually have taken place outside the Park's boundary. A second survey using experienced metal detectorists confirmed the place of the battle. During the metal detector survey over 200 battle related artifacts were recovered and the probable location of the Texan ammunition cart was determined.
A brief history lesson to refresh your memory................. In early February of 1836 Col. James W. Fannin took possession of Presidio Nuestra Senora de La Bahia. He fortified it and renamed it Ft. Defiance. After receiving news of the approach of Gen. Jose de Urrea and the Mexican Army he determined it would be of little stratigic value to try to defend Ft. Defiance and that it would be more prudent to retreat to the North. Fannin's retreat began on the morning of March 19 with the Mexican Army about two hours behind. Progress was slow and the Mexican Army was able to overtake them about two miles from Coleto Creek. Fannin moved closer to the cover of timber on nearby Perdido Creek and set up a defensive hollow square formation with a cannon at each corner. They survived the first attack with the defensive square intact. The Mexicans retreated except for a few cavalry charges and a few sniper attacks. During the night Fannin and his officers decided that it would be useless to try to sustain another battle due to the lack of water and ammunition. A decision was made to surrender. Santa Anna sent orders that all prisioners were to be executed. They were marched out of the Presidio on Palm Sunday March 27, 1836 and shot. Only a few escaped to tell their story. Fannin was among the last to be executed. He made three requests: that he not be shot in the head, that his belongings be sent to his family and that he be given a Christian burial. He was shot in the head, his belongings were stolen by the officers and his body was burned with the rest of his men and their bodies were left unburied !
Mission Nuestra Senora del Espirito Santo de Zuniga in Goliad, Texas
Presidio Nuestra Senora de La Bahia in Goliad, Texas
On June 3,
Gen. Thomas Rusk's soldiers passed through Goliad and the remains
of Fannin and his men were gathered and buried with military honors near the Presidio.
The spot of the massacre was marked with a pile of rocks. This monument was built
by the State of Texas and was dedicated on June 4, 1938.
balls were found in this small area during the metal detector
survey. It is thought to be the location of the Texan ammunition cart which
was in the center of Fannin's defensive Square.
Small Brass Buckle similiar to a Cartridge Box Buckle
Markings on Sideplate
Large Iron Canister Shot
Archeologists Karen Harry and Gregg Dimmick discuss the battle site.
the site survey some of the
Goliad residents brought out
cannonballs that a relative had unearthed in 1936 while doing
earth work during the construction of the San Jacinto Monument.
volunteers take a break during the excavation.
The gin screw placed there in 1891 is visible in the left side of the photo.