The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 23, July 1919 - April, 1920 Page: 272
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
safe to conclude that Bernard was mistaken either as to the date
of Ward's departure, or as to the time of the arrival of Houston's
message. Linn himself published his Reminiscences in 1883 and
confuses the date of February 14 with March 14. Thus there are
several discrepancies in the accounts which have been left us; yet
from a study of these accounts and by a comparison of them with
Urrea's Diario, published in 1838, we can pretty accurately arrive
at the correct conclusions both as to the time and the details of
For convenience, let us consider the last days of the expedition
under the following heads: (a) the orders to retreat; (b) the
division of Fannin's forces; (c) the retreat; (d) the battle of the
Coleto; (e) the surrender of Fannin's men; (f) the massacre.
(a) The Orders to Retreat
On March 4, 1836, Houston was elected commander-in-chief of
the army of the Republic of Texas, and on March 7, he took the
field with the determination of relieving Travis in the Alamo."7
To aid him in this determination, he sent an order from the Colo-
rado by way of Gonzales to Fannin to meet him with all his avail-
able forces on the west side of the Cibolo.RS This order went
through the hands of Colonel Neill,29 commanding at Gonzales,
and it was forwarded to Fannin at Goliad, reaching there on March
1 1.n0 However, on reaching Gonzales and learning of the fall of
the Alamo, Houston adopted another course,81 and sent the fol-
lowing letter to Fannin:
Headquarters, Gonzales, March 11, 1836.
To Colonel J. W. Fannin, Commanding at Goliad;
Sir: You will as sbon as practicable after the receipt of this
order, fall back on Guadalupe Victoria, with your command and
such artillery as can be brought with expedition. The remainder
will be sunk in the river. You will take the necessary measures
for the defence of Victoria, and forward one-third the number of
"Brown, History of Texas, II, 587.
"Houston to Collingsworth, March 13, 1836; Yoakum, History of
Texas, II, 473-4.
"Yoakum, History of Texas, II, 104.
"Ayres' Journal, Lamar Papers.
"Houston to Collingsworth, March 13, 1836; Yoakum, History of Teaes,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 23, July 1919 - April, 1920, periodical, 1919; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101075/m1/278/: accessed June 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.