Texas Almanac, 1939-1940 Page: 66
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66 THE TEXAS ALMANAC--1939.
as authorities was partly responsible for
the tragedy of the Alamo.
Following the defeat of Cos, there had
been agitation for a war of independ-
ence against Mexico and several local
assemblies declared Texas a free and
sovereign state, notably one at Goliad
Dec. 20, 1835.
An ill-advised expedition against Mata-
moros was authorized by the provisional
council, although opposed by Houston
and Smith. It was headed by Col. J. W.
Fannin, Col. Francis W. Johnson and
Dr. James Grant. While the main body
was at Goliad a detachment of about
fifty under Johnson at San Patricio was
surprised by Colonel Urrea, advancing
from Matamoros, Feb. 27, 1836, and all
except Johnson and two companions
were slaughtered. On March 2 Grant and
a force of about twenty were surprised
while rounding up horses for Fannin's
cavalry on the Nueces near Agua Dulce
and all but one were killed.
These things were taking place while
the Alamo was under siege and while
civil and military authorities of the state
bickered among themselves.
Fannin remained at Goliad during the
siege of the Alamo. Receiving appeals for
assistance from Travis, he had once
started for San Antonio, but turned back
on receiving word that that place had
been completely surrounded by the Mex-
Battle of Coleto and Goliad Massacre.
After the fall of the Alamo Fannin was
ordered to retreat, but delayed because
he had dispatched a detachment to Re-
fugio to protect the citizens against a
Mexican force threatening that place.
On March 19 he began his retreat, but a
heavy force under Urrea surrounded him
on Coleto Creek and a battle was fought
during the afternoon. Finding his 300
men greatly outnumbered by the Mexi-
cans, he surrendered the following
morning. They were returned to Goliad
and on March 27 were marched out of
camp and, under Santa Anna's orders,
-Othe detachment of 120 men that had
been dispatched to Refugio by Fannin,
most of them lost their lives in conflicts
there and at Victoria, whither they re-
treated. Those who surrendered at Vic-
toria were returned to Goliad and mas-
sacred on March 27 with the remainder
of Fannin's men.
Declaration of Independence.
While these things were taking place
at San Antonio and Goliad, confusion
reigned in governmental circles. When
it became apparent that the provisional
government had failed, a convention was
called to meet at Washington-on-the-
Brazos March 1, 1836. Here on March 2
it declared Texas independent. A Con-
stitution was adopted.
David G. Burnet was named provision-
al President and Sam Houston was again
chosen as commander in chief of the
army. This occurred while the battle of
the Alamo was raging.
President Burnet set up his govern-
ment at Harrisburg. Houston started for
San Antonio, but at Gonzales, on March
13, learned of the fate of the defenders
of the Alamo. At Gonzales he had
found something fewer than 400 men; he
sent orders to Fannin to retreat from
Goliad and himself fell back beyond the
Colorado above Columbus. It was his in-
tention to make a stand here; his force
was strengthened by the arrival of vol-
unteers and he spent several days drill-
ing his men. Hearing of the loss of
Fannin's force, however, he retreated
across the Brazos at San Felipe and
marched to Hempstead, where he spent
several days in camp.
The center of Texas colonial popula-
tion lay in the territory between lower
Colorado and lower Brazos. The succes-
sive tragedies at San Antonio, San Patri-
cio, Agua Dulce, Goliad, Refugio and
Victoria, and the retreat of the Texas
army across the Brazos created panic.
The wild flight of the colonists from the
path of the oncoming Mexican army
came to be known as the "runaway
scrape." It created confusion in mili-
tary as well as civil population because
Houston had difficulty holding in ranks
men whose families had been left behind
in the territory west of the Brazos.
Santa Anna Marches Eastward.
After the victories at San Antonio,
Coleto and near-by towns, Santa Anna
apparently assumed that the war was
over and spread out his army fan-shaped
to sweep the country. With the main
army he drove eastward toward the seat
of civil government at Harrisburg, forc-
ing President Burnet to take refuge with
government headquarters on Galveston
Santa Anna's rapid march eastward
left Houston in his rear and the Texas
conmander followed. Finding Harrisburg
deserted, Santa Anna moved on to the
juiieion of San Jacinto River and i-if-
falo Bayou. Between April 14 and April
18, 1836, Houston's army covered the
distance between Hempstead and Harris-
burg, which was found deserted. On
April 20, the Texans took up position
opposite Santa Anna in his camp at the
confluence of the San Jacinto and Buf-
Battle of San Jacinto.
The arrival of General Cos with 400
Mexicans on the following day increased
Santa Anna's force to about 1,600. Hous-
ton had under his command between 700
and 800. The Mexican superiority in
numbers caused Santa Anna, flushed
with his victories at and near San An-
tonio, to be careless. Seizing the oppor-
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Texas Almanac, 1939-1940, book, 1939; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117163/m1/68/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.