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, 1836 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.

                                                                     
                                                              Monument at the Fannin Battleground State Park



                                  
                            

A massive gin screw ( slightly to right of center in photo ) was placed to mark the
location of the battle by Solomon Parks, Sr. on October 15, 1891.  It replaced a pile
of rocks placed at the site by William L. Hunter who was a survivor of the Massacre.

   

                                      

Many musket 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.

       

                                             
                                            These musket balls were found in a tight grouping in the large hole shown.
                                   The Center of the previous photo is the presumed ammunition cart location.

                                                               Small Brass Buckle similiar to a Cartridge Box Buckle

                                                                                                    Brass Sideplate           

                                   

                                                                                              Markings on Sideplate








      

                   Large Iron Canister Shot

  Archeologists Karen Harry and Gregg Dimmick discuss the battle site.

During 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.

                                                     

 Archeologists and volunteers take a break during the excavation.  
The gin screw placed there in 1891 is visible in the left side of the photo.