Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Battle of Coleto (March 19–20, 1836)

Goliad was a town about 90 miles from San Antonino where about Col. James Fannin was in command of over 300 Texan troops.

On March 14 Fannin received an order from General Houston to withdraw to Victoria. Instead of acting immediately, Fannin waited for his troops to return from Refugio, not knowing that they had already been defeated. Fannin was indecisive and waited too long before beginning the march to Victoria.

Fannin began a slow retreat with many wagons, carts, etc. The carts were heavily loaded, the hungry oxen were tired and unruly, and progress was slow.

On March 18 Urrea’s advance force met Fannin and his troops in a series of brief fights. On March 19, while Fannin and his men rested in a field near Coleto Creek, General José de Urrea’s troops surrounded them.

Fannin assembled his 300 troops in a square and three times drove back the Mexican army of 450 to 600 men. The Mexican soldiers had the advantage of fighting from the cover of the woods surrounding the prairie.

With no choice but battle, Fannin chose to stand and fight near Coleto Creek. In the Battle of Coleto, the Texas rebels were pinned down without cover. The next morning, Mexican reinforcements arrived, giving Urrea several hundred more troops.

On March 20, Fannin and his officers decided to surrender to General Urrea. Captives were marched to Goliad, and Urrea told them they were not going to be killed, but Santa Anna ordered the captives to all be shot on March 21. The tragedy became known as the Goliad Massacre.
Battle of Coleto (March 19–20, 1836)

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