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The Battle of Goliad was a second fight that decided the future of Texas.
The Battle of Goliad in itself wasn't a very large battle, but the fact that it gave the Texas army reason to win the war and gain independence makes it important. In the Battle of Goliad, the Texas Revolution was anything but over.
The Battle of Goliad was the prelude to many of the more decisive and important battles of the Texas independence struggle and for this reason, this battle is a very important one. It was after this battle that the Mexican troops successfully captured San Antonio and crushed the Texian Army at the Alamo. All that remained was for General Santa Anna to march on Goliad and put an end to the rebellion. But Colonel James Fannin refused to surrender. On March 27, 1836, Fannin and his men were surrounded by Mexican forces and surrendered. They were taken to Goliad where they were executed in what would come to be known as the Goliad Massacre. Alamo and the massacre at Goliad would then become the battle cry which would eventually lead to the Texas victory and write a new page in Texas history.
The Battle of Goliad has a long and complicated prelude. Around 1835, the Mexican President Antonio Lopez Santa Anna was beginning to show his very radical and brutal tactics. At the same time, the original inhabitants of the Texas cities began to grow tired of the Mexican Texas settlements and their methods. Since the Mexican governance had just transitioned from federalist to centralist model, the people of Texas grew exceptionally wary of the governance and staged some rebellions in the beginning of 1835. It was at this time that General Santa Anna thought of sending more troops to Texas.
The geography of Texas also plays a huge role here. The majority of the Mexican army was stationed at Bexar. All of the provisions and artillery that were sent from the Mexican interior had to come through Copano Bay. The artillery and provisions that would be received at the port then went to Bexar, through Goliad. Goliad is located near the San Antonio River and is a middle ground. The Presidio la Bahía is a small place wherein some of the Mexican armies were stationed. When the petty rebellion broke out, Santa Anna thought of bringing another able general, General Cos. When the Texan army got to know of this general, who would also be bringing a huge sum of $50,000, they thought of this as the perfect opportunity to capture or kill him at Goliad.
Goliad, as the Texan army already knew, was not a strong ground for the Mexican army. Hence, the original inhabitants set out to capture this Mexican officer and send a message to the Texas colonists. While the general had already crossed Goliad by the time they set out, they continued their march to Presidio la Bahia and eventually managed to easily ambush the Mexican army. The Goliad campaign was therefore a win for the people of Texas, as they wrote a very significant page in the history of the Texas revolution. It brought upon a chain of other events which would eventually defeat the Mexican cavalry and army and would gain an independent status for Texas. This battle is a definite prelude to the Goliad Massacre, wherein around 450 Texans were killed. This later fueled the fire which led Texans to a victory at the Battle of San Jacinto. 'Remember Goliad' was in fact one of the two battle cries that won Texans their much-yearned freedom.
The Battle of Goliad, in a way, was a prelude to the Goliad Massacre. This battle took place in 1835 and the massacre took place in early 1836. After the Battle of Goliad or the Goliad campaign was successful, Fannin set up his camp for the Texan army at the fort near Goliad. This became a stronghold for the Texians and hence, was also one of the places that Santa Anna wanted to overthrow first and foremost. Fannin's stubbornness is thought to be one of the most potent reasons behind the Goliad Massacre since he refused to flee from the fort even after Sam Houston had issued his warnings. This led to the Battle of Coleto Creek and Fannin had to surrender with his men by the end.
The Texas Revolution was fueled by the atrocity of this day and the way in which Santa Anna showed no sympathy towards anyone when it came to political agendas. The Goliad campaign and the Goliad Massacre are therefore symbolic of a wave that took over the people of Texas and how they used this as a motivation for drawing the Mexicans out of their land.
The Battle of Goliad left Santa Anna yearning to regain his power and hence, he took some decisions that were quite bloody. In December 1835, the Texans managed to gain control over San Antonio, which was a very important place in 19th-century Texas. Hence, Santa Anna and his Mexican army had to regain it through one of the bloodiest battles, known as the Battle of Alama. Through this battle, Mexican soldiers regained San Antonio and could successfully set their eyes on the next ground, which was Goliad. When Sam Houston got to know of an army of Mexicans approaching the Texan station of Goliad, he asked Fannin and his men to retreat to the city of Victoria. Fannin paid no heed and waited until two of his most able men and their soldiers fell. By the time he and his army started for Victoria, it was too late and the Mexican forces, led by General Urrea, had already reached Coleto Creek, where the armies fought.
The Texan army was outnumbered and was unable to match the pace of the Mexican cavalry. Hence, Fannin and his men were forced to surrender. Even though General Urrea had promised Fannin that he and his men would not be harmed, Santa Anna was very clear with his intentions. He asked that the Texan army be led back to the fort at Goliad. Even after repeated pleas, Urrea was unable to convince Santa Anna to forgive the army and not take their lives. Finally, Santa Anna asked for the Texan soldiers to be brought outside the fort and executed relentlessly. This was a major setback for the Texas revolution since Fannin was the only person trained in warfare and was their only hope against the highly able Mexican forces. Around 450 people were executed outside the fort that day, which came to be known as the Goliad Massacre.
The Goliad Massacre was a very bold and relentless move by Santa Anna and for this reason, the people of Texas became even more convinced that they needed independence from Mexicans even more quickly. The Goliad Massacre acted as a catalyst and eventually led to the most important battle of the Texas war, which was the Battle of San Jacinto. During the Battle of San Jacinto, the Texan army used 'Remember Goliad' as one of their battle cries, which shows the impact that the massacre must have had on their psyche. Most importantly, the people were impacted by the loss of their most able general, Fannin. Even though Fannin was stubborn enough to neglect the orders and advice sent by Governor Sam Houston, his contribution to the independence of Texas and the creation of the Republic of Texas is unmatched. At the same time, this massacre also acted as a reason for the United States of America to withdraw its support of the Mexicans. Even they saw that Santa Anna's move was very dangerous and inhumane, which ultimately added to the strength of the Texan army.
Located near the San Antonio river, Goliad was important to both the Mexicans as well as the Texans in different ways. While the Texan army was adamant about making sure that they gained more power and ammunition by intercepting any of the generals that were making their way to the largest army station of the Mexicans, the Mexicans were trying to avoid this. One of the biggest aims of Santa Anna, the Mexican governor of the time, was to not let any of the rebellions take full form. Hence, he contested the efforts with a strong hand and killed hundreds of soldiers from the Texan army without a second thought.
On October 10, 1835, the Battle of Goliad was fought, which was a skirmish at most. The skirmish started with the intention of making sure that General Cos, who was to arrive from Mexico with lots of ammunition and money, was captured and all of his money seized. This was largely in vain because the Mexicans realized the scale of the siege being orchestrated and hence, General Cos and his men avoided it completely.
However, even when the Texans realized that they will not be able to get their hands on the $50,000 that General Cos was traveling with, they did not let go of their hope of capturing Presidio la Bahia at Goliad. They marched and when the village and its people decided to remain neutral in the battle, they simply broke into Presidio la Bahia without any resistance from the Mexicans. The Mexican army, in fact, did not even know of these intruders before it was already too late. The Texans took control of Presidio la Bahia and suffered from very minimal loss. This was because there were very few men at Presidio la Bahia. The only few men who escaped went ahead and told Santa Anna of what had happened. There were only a couple of deaths and all were from the Mexican side. Less than 10 people were injured, all but one of whom were Mexicans. Only one Texan army member was injured. When the Republic of Texas was established, this Texan army member and his family received special treatment for his contribution to gaining freedom.
The Battle of Goliad is remembered to date in spite of the fact that it was only a skirmish because it fits into a much larger picture. The narrative that most people do not see is that the Battle of Goliad acted as a catalyst for a string of events that eventually won the Texans their independence.
Why was the Battle of Goliad important?
The Battle of Goliad was fought because the Texan army got to know that Mexican General Martin Perfecto de Cos was on his way to Bexar and would pass through Presidio la Bahia. The Texan army saw this as the perfect opportunity to show their power to General Antonio Lopez Santa Anna, who had ordered Cos to arrive with many men and provisions. After the battle, the Texas army emerged victorious, which lead to a string of other events at the beginning of 1836. It also led to the mass killing of the Texan army.
Colonel James Fannin refused to surrender. He and his men were surrounded by Mexican forces and surrendered. They were taken to Goliad where they were executed in what would come to be known as the Goliad Massacre. As a result of the battle, all of the Texian soldiers were killed, since the Texas settlers were essentially acting by the Mexican law. This event is now known as the Goliad Massacre. It was a significant turning point in the Texas Revolution and helped motivate future rebels. Santa Anna's brutal tactics also turned public opinion against him in both Mexico and the United States of America. The Battle of Goliad was one of the first battles of what is now known as the Texas Revolution. It was also one of the first battles in which Texan troops fought as an organized unit.
How many died at Goliad?
The death toll for the Battle of Goliad was relatively low. This is because most of the Mexican soldiers were not present at Presidio la Bahía when the attack took place. Some of the Mexican soldiers even managed to escape and tell the Mexican officers stationed at Bexar about the attack and the Texan victory thereof. Hence, only one to three people lost their lives in this battle. The total number of people wounded as a result of the battle did not exceed 10.
At the same time, all but one wounded soldier was a Texan. This person's family was eventually allowed to stay in Texas even though the Texan legislation did not initially allow for the same. All of the other casualties were from the side of the Mexican army. This means that the Battle of Goliad was a very successful one for the Texas revolution, although it did lead to some of the most bloody events later on.
Where was the Battle of Goliad fought?
The Battle of Goliad was fought in Goliad, Texas. It was one of the first battles of what would become the Texas Revolution.
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