Recent blogs have presented selected events of early Texas history, and how God impacted the lives of the heroes who fought for our freedom. One of the most disturbing battles happened near the town of Goliad. Goliad is located on the San Antonio River, just West of Victoria. Sometimes referred to as La Bahia or Fort Defiance, Goliad was an influential town in Texas in 1835.
In late 1835, a division of the Texas army under the command of Ben Milam, captured the Goliad fort, and hoisted their flag of independence. Not long after the victory, Milam turned command of the fort to James Fannin. Upon orders from Sam Houston, Commander Fannin evacuated Goliad to combine his division with Sam Houston near Victoria. On the way, the Texans were surrounded by Mexican army troops near Coleto Creek. Due to the awful circumstance of his troops, Commander Fannin determined that it was best to open surrender negotiations with Generals Urrea and Portilla. At that point the Mexican army had over 1700 well fed and fully armed troops. The Texans had less than 400 malnourished soldiers, with little ammunition. Most of them had no shoes, and only rags for clothes.
General Urrea sent the Texan captives back to Goliad under the command of General Portilla. He told Portilla to not harm the captives. But six days later, Supreme General Santa Anna ordered Portilla to execute all of the soldiers under the command of Milam. So, on Palm Sunday March 27, 1836, Milam and his troops were paraded one-half mile outside of Goliad. They were then divided into three separate groups and were massacred. A few men escaped to tell the sad story of our brave heroes.
Can you imagine the deplorable conditions these Texas heroes had to face leading up to their execution? Many of the soldiers were just young farmhands, and knew little of the horrors of war. John Sowers Brooks was a U.S. Marine veteran, who became an aide to Commander Fannin. Brooks served as chief engineer in charge of the ammunition and artillery. He was wounded in the battle of Coleto, and died in the Goliad massacre. Brooks wrote several important letters from Goliad before his death. One letter ended with: “PS, tell mother I still possess the Bible she gave me when I left home, and that I read it some times.”
Another brave soldier that died at Goliad was private J.G. Ferguson. He wrote an emotional letter to his twin brother Jack dated March 27, 1836, the day of his death. The letter said (in part), “We brothers may never meet on earth again, yet I pray God we may all meet in Heaven. Yes, Jack, though I am surrounded by wicked men, yet I still try to serve the Lord. I have not space on this sheet of paper to write you much more, so farewell. May God bless you and preserve you is my prayer for Christ's sake.” J. G. Ferguson
These men, and others, had the Lord on their mind in the heat of battle. They loved Texas. They loved their families. But so many of them loved God with their whole heart. Today, many people in America may be turning away from God. But they are mistaken. When the bullets start flying and the enemy is at the doorstep, many voices will unite to cry out for God’s help, and return to the Bibles of their forefathers.
And do you know what? The enemy is ALREADY at our doorstep! Now is the time to cry out to God. May America return to the God of our Fathers. King David knew about warfare: “In my distress, I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From His Temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears.” (Psalm 18:6)