The Texas Navy"Friends and Citizens of Texas," March 2, 1836

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Texas in Crisis

At the time this broadside called all citizens to arms and all armed vessels to the coast, the Texas Revolution appeared on the verge of utter disaster. William B. Travis and about 200 men were under siege at the Alamo, and four days later they would meet their immortal fate when Santa Anna ordered the storming of the fortress.

Travis was counting on Colonel James W. Fannin for reinforcements. But Fannin had his own rendezvous with tragedy to keep. A ship carrying the Texas army's whole supply of munitions, clothing, and shoes had been wrecked in early February, and New Orleans insurers had refused to underwrite any more shipments to South Texas. With no supplies, and badly outnumbered by the invading Mexicans, the inexperienced Fannin had withdrawn to Goliad and was unable to organize a relief effort.

On March 19, Fannin and his army were encircled and taken prisoner by one of Mexico's top generals, José de Urrea. What followed became one of the most searing atrocities of the war. Under orders of General Santa Anna, Fannin and his entire command—more than 400 men—were shot to death on March 27, 1836.

While the slaughter at the Alamo and Goliad are unforgettable, it is worth noting the effect on both battles by Texan failure to control the coast. When the insurers dropped Copano and Aransas Pass, Fannin's supply line was fatally crippled. Plans for relief of Copano went awry, and the Texans never succeeded in landing more volunteers there to come to Fannin's aid.

After Goliad, Urrea took possession of Matagorda, Columbia, and Brazoria. He was poised to move on Velasco and Galveston when he learned of Santa Anna's defeat at San Jacinto. Urrea wanted to counterattack. Instead, he was sacked as commander, and his army ordered to retreat to Matamoros.

"Friends and Citizens of Texas," March 2, 1836Back to exhibit

Photostat image reversed for clarity. "Friends and Citizens of Texas," March 2, 1836. Broadside Collection #101, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, 2011/001- 42. 



Page last modified: June 25, 2019