Slaughter at Goliad: The Mexican Massacre of 400 Texas Volunteers

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Overview

Texas lost many volunteers during its hard-won fight for independence from Mexico, but one harrowing episode stands out. Following a one-sided battle on the prairie near Coleto Creek, two hundred and fifty mostly-American prisoners were marched back to the presidio at Goliad where they were joined by more than two hundred others. Subsequently, on orders from Santa Anna, they were brutally slaughtered on Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836.The loss of so many fighting men in a single day was, at the time, one of the ...
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Overview

Texas lost many volunteers during its hard-won fight for independence from Mexico, but one harrowing episode stands out. Following a one-sided battle on the prairie near Coleto Creek, two hundred and fifty mostly-American prisoners were marched back to the presidio at Goliad where they were joined by more than two hundred others. Subsequently, on orders from Santa Anna, they were brutally slaughtered on Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836.The loss of so many fighting men in a single day was, at the time, one of the largest in U.S. history. The reaction in Texas was one of horror, fear, and, for some, a lust for revenge. The revulsion felt throughout the United States turned American sympathies against Mexico and its efforts to preserve territorial integrity. Based on extensive research, this book offers a powerful description of what happened and an astute analysis of why it happened. For historical background, it also presents an overview of Texas and Mexican history and the factors that led to the massacre.

As a career military officer, author Jay A. Stout offers insights not grasped by other writers on the subject. He pays particular attention to the leadership on both sides during the revolution and discusses why the massacre has been largely ignored in the years since. Stout deglamorizes the fight against Santa Anna and his army, while at the same time acknowledging the Mexican perspective and the motivations of Mexico's leaders. The author's dynamic writing style, combined with the compelling subject matter, makes this book attractive to everyone interested in military, Texas and American history.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591148432
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2008
  • Pages: 242
  • Sales rank: 1,404,202
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jay A. Stout, now a senior analyst in the defense industry, spent twenty years as a U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot flying F-4s and F/A-18s. During the Gulf War, he flew thirty-seven combat missions. An Indiana native and 1981 graduate of Purdue University, he lives in San Diego, California. Stout is also the author of Hornets over Kuwait, The First Hellcat Ace, Hammer from Above: Marine Air Combat over Iraq, and other books.
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Table of Contents

Preface     ix
Introduction     xiii
Bloody Beginnings     1
Americans in Texas     15
James Walker Fannin and the Texas Revolution     26
The Volunteers     41
The Matamoros Expedition     59
Fannin at Goliad     72
Urrea's Invasion     84
Clash at Refugio     97
Flight from Goliad     107
Battle on the Prairie     119
The Weapons     133
Overnight Misery     141
Surrender     148
Return to Goliad     163
The Massacre     174
The Survivors, the Butchers, and an Angel     188
Mayhem, Victory, and Marking the Bones     202
Epilogue     209
Acknowledgments     215
Notes     217
Bibliography     227
Index     237
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2013

    Jay Stout¿s Slaughter at Goliad: The Mexican Massacre of 400 Tex

    Jay Stout’s Slaughter at Goliad: The Mexican Massacre of 400 Texas Volunteers is a compelling history of the Texas fight for independence from Mexico in 1836. The primary focus as stated in the title is the events that took place around Goliad at the Presidio La Bahia in March of that year. The strength of the book is the telling of the seldom mentioned skirmishes and battles that took place during this period. These include the fight at San Patricio, another at Refugio, the advance on Matamoros and the main event; the Battle of Coleto Creek. Even the first battle for the Alamo is covered to give the reader the full sense of the Anglo-Texas fight with the various Mexican armies. Unlike other works on the Texas revolution Stout’s book does not focus on the second battle for the Alamo, the James Bowie, David Crockett and William B. Travis fight to the death. Nor does it single out the Battle of San Jacinto as the only Texan victory. The Battle of Coleto Creek is vividly written with a captivating description of Colonel William Fannin and his volunteers including the little known role played by General Sam Houston. According to the book, Fannin made mistakes but also did a much better job of command during the battle than some have previously recognized.
    Unfortunately, Stout lays out a premise that is based on a 21st century standard of military leadership and command, rather than the practical ability or experience of the Texan volunteers of 1836. General Houston, Colonel Fannin and the Mexican General Jose’ Urrea faced many challenges that required little time to plan, prepare or game out. Yet they all had a role in the revolution and this historic event that exhibited their strengths and weaknesses as military commanders and men in these deadly endeavors.
    Stout describes the weapons both forces used, as well as the challenges of supply, communication and command of the soldiers involved. His research is thorough and the book reflects that effort. The relationship between settlers and volunteers is explored and is insightful. According to Stout, most volunteers came to Texas for adventure rather that rewards such as land grants.
    Slaughter at Goliad: The Mexican Massacre of 400 Texas Volunteers, by Stout- a retired Marine pilot, is a wealth of knowledge and an important addition to any library or history of the Texas Revolution of 1836. Some interesting conclusions can be draw from the book regarding the strategic military value of both the Alamo and Presidio La Bahia. A student of Mexico’s rich history also would gain from the military, political and financial challenges Santa Anna faced regarding Texas during this time. Slaughter at Goliad is an important compliment to previous works on the subject of Texas’ revolutionary history.

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