James W. Fannin, Jr., in the Texas Revolution 271
JAMES W. FANNIN, JR., IN THE TEXAS REVOLUTION
IRUBY CUMBY SMITH
4. The Last Days of the Expedition
Nothing now remains to be told of the Matamoros Expedition
except the details of its complete failure. These details make up
principally a "hard luck" story, and while they show both the
American officers and soldiers to have been brave and generous,
they also reveal a carelessness and incompetency, absolutely in-
excusable in both. The Americans in every fight proved them-
selves individually superior to the Mexicans, yet with practically
no concert of action in their movements, this individual bravery
counted for little. Fannin was careless and apparently knew little
of the strategy of retreat. Urrea, on the other hand, was a care-
ful general, but with inferior soldiers accomplished the destruction
of the entire American force only because of his superior numbers.
Unfortunately, we have no letters written from Goliad during the
last days of the expedition except two from John Sowers Brooks
(March 9 and March 10), and these serve only to give us a gloomy
picture of the determination of the Americans to resist to the end.
We have, therefore, to depend for our information of this period
on accounts and reminiscences written after the war, and these, in
many instances, confuse both incidents and dates. For instance,
Bernard's account, which Linn characterizes as the "most correct
and competent extant," even though written shortly after the
massacre in 1836, is inaccurate in saying that before Ward left
Goliad for Refugio on March 12, Fannin had received Houston's
order to retreat to Victoria,"4 when as a matter of fact, the mes-
sage was written after dark on March 11,1* and to reach Goliad
from Gonzales, the place from which it was written, then took
thirty hours.26 Hence it was impossible for Ward to have known
of this order on March 12, and it is not likely, though not impos-
sible, that he knew of it on March 13. Again, other accounts
examined say that Ward left for Refugio on March 13; so it is
"Linn, John J., Reminiscences of Fifty Years in Texas, 150.
'Yoakum, History of Texas, II, 473-475.
"Houston in a speech in the United States Senate; Crane, Life of Hous-
ton, 582; also in Hart's Contemporaries, III, 638.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 23, July 1919 - April, 1920. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101075/. Accessed March 15, 2014.