in all simplicity, that their prudent captains were personally afraid. Pursued and overtaken, Colonel Fannin's men deployed, coolly and bravely; and, as calmly as veterans could have done, formed a hollow square. The ammunition cart broke down and brought them to a halt. Surrounded in the open prairie, without protection, flank or rear, without water, and without food, they had reached their end. But they did not recognize that fact. They fought courageously and calmly through the long afternoon, and only quit when their sympathy for the sufferings of their wounded became more than human feelings could endure.
That they were told that their capitulation was an honorable one, and that they would soon be sent to New Orleans on parole, and in that belief, surrendered, there can never be a doubt. Whether there was such a capitulation, or whether General Urrea only promised, as he claimed, to intercede with Santa Anna for some such terms, is now beside the point. Santa Anna was solely responsible, on any version of the facts, for the cruel and heartless killing of Fannin's men.
Few events in American history have so gripped the imaginations of the American people as did this bloody and futile slaughter; and no other happening on the North American continent has more profoundly influenced human affairs.
Paroled and landed at New Orleans, the men who died at Goliad would have become so many witnesses to the incompetence and worse, of the Texan leaders; to the strange apathy of the Texan people; to the anarchy existing in the Texan government; to Texas' lack of appreciation for the brave volunteers who had hearkened to her call.
They would have become four hundred advocates of toleration for Mexico, in four hundred homes of cultured Americans in every portion of the United States. Even our racial egotists, weltering in insolence and pride, would have been forced to the admission that the Mexicans, even though not as our people, were not at all bad. Any thought of American interference in the internal affairs of Mexico, or forcible conquest of Mexican territory, would have been banned for two generations from all right-thinking American minds.
That any good could come to Mexico from killing them, only