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Long Beard's Blog

28 Mar 2021

On This Date

Coins | Long Beard

There are many reasons why we as collectors pursue the small and largely round in shape metallic objects with such passion. Of those the top two reasons, both equal, would be their design and history. This weeks blog touches on the latter, history, in what may be a weekly theme. One which uses a particular coin or coins relevant to the day in which a blog is posted. With that, enjoy!




Under Texas law, the history of the revolution and Texas independence must be taught in all public schools. If this weren't enough of a surprise to those unaware, it is taught not once, but twice. In the fourth grade and then again in the seventh. Why this is important to the subject in hand is that it covers the March 27, 1836 Massacre of Goliad. Those of you with a keen eye caught the date, yesterday, while the blog it's self is posted on the 28. A result of being side tracked for which I apologize.




Following the crushing defeat at the Alamo on March 6, the calculating General Sam Houston, headquartered at Gonzales, sent word to Colonel James W. Fannin commanding a small 400 man force of Texans at Goliad "Prompt movements are therefore highly important." as to an advance by the Mexican Army.Fannin, a West Point graduate, saw no urgency in the orders received on the 14 to move thirty miles east to Victoria since daily scouting reports show no such indications. Instead, he increased the alertness around the Spanish mission Presidio La Bahia, which he referred to as Fort Defiance. What Houston had considered, and Fannin would soon learn, was that 1,400 Mexican troops were approaching from the south under command of General Jose de Urrea.




On the morning of the 19 reality set in. A small advance force of Mexican soldiers were now within sight of Goliad. Still no overly concerned, Fannin finally ordered a retreat east, albeit slow and sluggish. So much so was his lack of urgency, that the column was halted at one point to retreive overturned carts at the San Antonio River. Another, to stop for a few hours while the oxen and horse grazed. All the while his men going hungry due to a lack of food stores in the ill planned retreat. Finally on the move once more, it was late afternoon, they now faced the eminent encounter with a small forward advance force of Urrea's army. Despite his West Point training, Fannin once more erred, ordering his men to form a square in the open with canons on each corner rather than to seek cover. However, the Texas held strong. With night fall, the fighting had ceased, fortifications were made by digging trenches and throwing up barricades of wagon, dead horses and the like. By dawn, seeing that the main body of the Mexican army had arrived, Fannin sent out a rider under a white flag of surrender.




General Urrea was not only an officer, but a gentleman as well. Having marched them back to the Presidio, treating them as prisoners of war and tending to the wounded, he sent word south to General Santa Anna, commander of the Mexican Army. In the letter he stated his position on treating them humanely as prisoners should be. Santa Anna, on the other hand, was known by the Texans as "Napoleon of the West". In December of 1835 he decreed that all foreign invaders be treated as pirates and immediately executed. And so, on the afternoon of March 26, Santa Anna's orders were received by Lieutenant Colonel Jose Nicholas de la Portilla, in command of the prisoners at Goliad as General Urrea pushed on. The lieutenant colonel was much like Urrea in his thinking, hesitating on the new orders from Santa Anna as the conflicted with those arriving almost simultaneously from Urrea. After an hour of so of deliberation, on the morning of the 27, the prisoners were divided into groups of four. One, the wounded and sick, remained at the Presidio with the other three were marched in different directions out of Goliad. The mood of the prisoners was cheerful as they jokingly march under the assumption that each had been sent out on foraging missions. Soon, half a mile or so, without warning a hail of bullets filled the air. Those still alive in the moments afterward bayoneted and butchered. At the mission, those able to stand were placed against the wall for a similar fate while the remainder shot where they lay. As for Colonel James Fannin, he requested to be shot in the chest, given a christian burial and that his watch be sent to his wife. He was shot in the face, body burned and the watch kept as a war prize.





Since I do not possess a relative coin for the subject, the 1836 Seated Dollar is courtesy of U.S. Coin Facts and the 8 Reale from Coin Quest.Both of these coins circulated in the Republic of Texas,most likely the 8 reales in greater frequency.




1836 Seat Liberty Dollar, know also as a Gobrecht Dollar. (1836-1839)

89.2% silver, 10.8 % copper

weight: 27 grams

diameter: 39mm

1836 Mexican Republic 8 Reales (1823-1905)

90% silver, 10% copper

weight: 27 grams

diameter: 38.9mm







Comments

Mal_ANA_YN

Level 4

Great details to the story. Any coins or tokens that commemorate the events?

DaNumisMasta

Level 5

I do love the history in your blogs! Keep it up, and I will keep reading! Thanks!

Stumpy

Level 5

Nice, thanks!

CopperCollector

Level 4

Nice history. Just wondering but do you own those coins?

Long Beard

Level 5

Someday. The last paragraph is the disclaimer from where each was sourced for reference purposes only.

Longstrider

Level 6

Here is the info on that book I mentioned above. It's a great read for anyone especially if you are interested in this era. Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers The Texas Victory That Changed American History by Brian Kilmeade

Long Beard

Level 5

I nearly forgot about that one. Remember him promoting it on Fox News.

Mr. B Coins

Level 4

Good job. That is a history lesson I wont forget soon. Beautiful coins. All the best, Mr. B

Kepi

Level 6

Enjoyed your blog! I learned some history from you today.

Longstrider

Level 6

I am familiar with this and other battles of the time. I recently read an excellent book on it. Great histroy. I enjoyed this blog. Thanks.

Golfer

Level 5

Great coin and history lesson. Not much has changed dince then. People are still animals.

Mokie

Level 6

What an interesting and tragic tale. General Sherman put it best “It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell.”

Long Beard

Level 5

William T. Sherman had several quotes which would easily be relevant today.

Very good history read! Thank you!

Mike

Level 7

Well I was wondering how you would incorporate a coin for this event.There was a capped Bust half dollar found near the site of the Alamo.. It was a good read and I enjoyed it. Thanks very much!! .

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