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2Southwestern Historical Quarterly

own way, were responsible for the horrors of Goliad was well known to all Texans in 1836. But Texas had then no time for mortification, and could not afford shame. Harmony in council and unity in action were as necessary after San Jacinto as they should have been when the want of them permitted the shameful sacrifice of Fannin and his men. If those responsible should be pointed out and punished, unity and harmony could not be had. Colonel Fannin, who was dead, and General Houston, now a popular idol, could conveniently be made to shoulder the blame.

And the Texans had, in another sense, a shame-faced feeling that the men of Goliad had let them down. Texas undertook the unequal struggle with Mexico, sustained by an almost insolent dependence on race pride. That Texans were natural soldiers and brave men, and invincible as against Mexican courage, and Mexican numbers, and Mexico's material and means, were the touchstones of Texan valor and Texan faith. In the first capture of Goliad, and at Concepción, Lipantitlan, the taking of San Antonio, and at the Alamo and San Jacinto, this legend of Texan invincibility had been abundantly sustained. Defeat of the Grant and Johnson parties could be attributed to overwhelming numbers and surprise. But if looked to too closely, the defeat and capture of Colonel Fannin would have to be explained; and the explanation admitted that even Texan valor was not proof against hunger, thirst, and tactical errors, and that Mexicans could be brave.

Before such admissions were forced upon the Texans, the story of Mexican faithlessness at Goliad, and of the treacherous deaths of Colonel Fannin and his men, had spread like wildfire over the United States. No other moment in American history has surpassed, in indignation and deep-seated horror, that when the tragedy of Goliad was first made known. The victims of Goliad then fought more effectively for Texas, in death, than they could ever have fought in life, with all their gallantry and courage. The Texans were glad to bury their recollections of the self-seeking, inefficiency, and almost criminal apathy, which had brought about the sacrifice of Fannin's men, and join in the world-wide expression of indignation and horror arising from Santa Anna's ghastly mistake. Texas made provision in land bounties for the heirs of the Goliad victims, and remembered the Alamo, glorified San Jacinto, and cursed Santa Anna and all Mexicans, thereby softening the memory of Goliad and of their own sins. And

Copyright © 1939 Texas State Historical Association

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Harbert Davenport 1936
H. David Maxey, Editor             Webpage of January 1, 2000