A Memorial and Biographical History of Navarro, Henderson, Anderson, Limestone, Freestone and Leon Counties, Texas Page: 35
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LIMESTONE, FREESTONE AND LEON COUNTIES.
of his force, and were captured and killed.
Fannin, in Goliad, on the 16th of March,
was reinforced by the Twenty-eighth Cavalry.
He then prepared for a retreat; but
just at nightfall a large force of the enemy
was discovered in the neighborhood, when
he remounted his cannon and prepared for
defense. The following account of the disastrous
battle of Colita, which followed, is
copied from an able historian of Texas:
"The morning of the 17th was foggy, and
as no enemy appeared to be in sight, Fannin
concluded to make good his retreat.
After reaching a point about eight miles
away from Goliad, they halted to permit
the oxen to graze. They then resumed
their march, and were within two miles of
Colita creek when a company of Mexican
cavalry was discovered in front of them,
issuing from a point of timber. Urrea
had taken advantage of the fog to get
around and in front of Fannin's force.
Horton's cavalry had gone in advance to
make arrangements for crossing the stream,
and could not get back to their companions.
Two charges of Urrea's cavalry were gallantly
repulsed by Fannin's artillery, which
did great damage to the Mexicans. The
fight was kept up till nightfall, when the
enemy retired out of range and the Texans
prepared for a renewal of the fight in
the morning. Their condition was indeed
critical. Fourteen of their number had
been killed, and sixty others, including
Fannin, were wounded. Urrea received
during the night heavy reinforcements.
With no adequate protection, in an open
prairie, without water, surrounded by an
enemy five times their number, what could
they do but surrender as prisoners of war?
A white flag was raised and the following
terms of surrender agreed upon: That the
Texans should he treated as prisoners of
war according to the usages of civilized
nations; that private property should be
respected and restored, but side arms of
the officers should be given up; the men
should be sent to Copano, and thence in
eight days to the United States, or as soon
as vessel could be procured to take them;
the officers should be paroled and returned
to the United States in like manner."
After surrendering in good faith and relying
upon the honor, in this case at least,
of the Mexican general, the prisoners were
looking forward to a speedy release, and on
Palm Sunday, the 27th, they were expecting
to be forwarded to their homes. But
alas! vain hope! the treacherous scoundrel
to whom they surrendered had broken his
military word and was about to place his
name in the same category as the Caligulas
and N eros and other fiends in human shape.
Without warning and under the pretence
of starting them homeward, the privates
were marched out in four companies,
strongly guarded, from the old mission at
Goliad, where they had been sent. and
where the men of Ward's force were also
confined, and who, too, met the same fate
as Fannin's men. They were taken in
different directions, and within sound of
the officers, whose fate had also been decided
upon, they were brutally slaughtered.
A few, by feigning death and lying still
till dark, escaped. The officers and the
wounded who were still in the fort were
then taken out, and all of them met the
same fate as the privates, Fannin being
the last to suffer death. That Santa Ana,
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Lewis Publishing Company. A Memorial and Biographical History of Navarro, Henderson, Anderson, Limestone, Freestone and Leon Counties, Texas, book, 1893; Chicago, Illinois. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth46827/m1/37/: accessed May 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Palestine Public Library.