The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940 Page: 22
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Robinson and the remnant council-the new convention met the
day it was written, March 1. He did so believing, doubtless, that
the members of the old council were, at least, his personal friends.
And even that imbecile council should have been able to interpret
his letter for what it was-an urgent invitation for an order to
retreat. Futile to the end, the ineffective Robinson could only
write, on March 6:
We . . . instruct you to use your own discretion to
remain where you are, or to retreat, as you may think best
for the safety of the brave volunteers under your command,
and the regulars and militia, and the interest of our beloved
country requires, unless you shall be instructed otherwise by
Genl. Houston, who has by this new convention been con-
firmed and appointed Commander-in-chief of the army of
Texas, militia and volunteers, as well as regulars.
Discretionary orders would have been of small benefit to Colonel
Fannin, who had pleaded for a direct and positive order that
would satisfy his men; but even this discretionary order came too
late to be of use.
He could have retreated, and, of course, should have retreated,
without orders; but that he was "not, practically, an experienced
commander," he had already discovered, for himself. But he was
a good soldier, though not yet ready for the responsibilties
of chief command, and should have been able to guard his men
from the errors that destroyed them so rapidly after March 12.
The fate of the Johnson and Grant parties should have warned
them against going about in small parties of twenty-five or thirty
men. Against this danger General Houston had repeatedly advised
them, but Colonel Fannin had seen it done, with impunity, for
months, in the presence of an unenterprising enemy at B6xar, and
could not be made to realize that he was now facing a different
type of foe. This practice was now especially dangerous, in that
Colonel Fannin's army, while it continued at Goliad, was virtually
blind. He was without cavalry, and every road and trail from
Goliad was now under the observation of the enemy horse. Pressure,
as yet, was but lightly applied; but northern, southern and western
roads were held by enemy scouts, while the lithe horsemen from
Carlos' Ranch kept watch on every movement toward the east.
Fannin's every action was known to Santa Anna in less than
thirty hours; to Urrea, in less than fifteen; while Fannin, in his
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940, periodical, 1940; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101111/m1/30/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.