largest single loss of life in the cause for Texas Independence
occurred on March 27, 1836.
It was on that Palm Sunday when Mexican troops, acting on orders
from Gen. Santa Anna, executed the 341 men under the command of
Col. James Walker Fannin.
The bodies were stripped and left unburied.
Fannin had surrendered his troops to superior Mexican forces after
he was led to believe that his men would be treated fairly.
On June 3, 1836, Texas troops under the command of Gen. Thomas Rusk
gathered the remains of Fanninís men and gave them a military funeral.
A good friend and former colleague when I was employed at The Gonzales
Inquirer, Wallace ďSargeĒ Morgan, is a descendant of J.G. Ferguson.
Ferguson was among those Texans who were murdered at Goliad.
The book, Bounty and Donation Land Grants of Texas, by Thomas
Lloyd Miller, has an entry showing that the heirs of Joseph G.
Ferguson received 1920 acres of land as payment for Fergusonís
service to the Texas Army from January 19 to March 27, 1836.
Morgan was kind enough to share a letter that was written by J.G.
Ferguson to his (Fergusonís) twin brother on March 2, 1836.
It is ironic that this letter was written on the day that Texas
Independence was declared.
This document gives a real insight into the final days surrounding
at Goliad as seen through the eyes of a man who lived and died
From Within Goliadís Walls March 2, 1836
I am now within the walls of this town, waiting for the enemy which
we are expecting daily, for they have already besieged San
Antonio, only one hundred miles distant, and a report tells
us that 2000 troops are coming to attack this place.
Our number of men consists of about 400, all of whom are volunteers
from the states, with the exception of about 30 regulars.
Our commander is Col. Fannin, and I am sorry to say the majority
of the soldiers donít like him - for what cause I do not know -
unless it is because they think he has not the interest of the Country
at heart, or that he wishes to become great without taking the proper
steps to attain greatness.
On last Friday, February 26, we started to San
Antonio to attack the enemy at that place, but we got only two
miles from town and camped for the night. Next morning a Council
of War was called, when it was concluded that we had better to return
here and put the town in a better state of defense.
Which upon the whole was good policy, not only in that respect but
others. One of which is this: all of our provisions in the bread
line was at Cepano and Dimmits Point, forth miles below here, and
it was necessary that we should stay in order to keep the Mexicans
from cutting off our supplies.
Which no doubt would have been done ó and may do it yet ó for there
are no troops at either place to hinder that from being done.
Provisions are and have been very scarce. I have had to live three
days at a time on bull beef and coffee but now our coffee has given
out, and without new supplies, our bread will be gone in a few days.
Then it will be beef all the time. We are not prepared by any means
to stand a siege, inasmuch as we have neither ammunition nor provisions,
so you see we must make decisive battles.
The situation of the country is of a high, dry character. No local
causes for diseases of any kind and the land is first rate. Though
with all the advantages, it is no country for me.
My dislike to the country is a want of society and government, both
of which will hardly be realized shortly, for it is filled up with
people who are for their own emolument, to the exclusion of others.
And when that is the case, you may judge of things as you see proper.
I think I stand a good chance for being Sergeant Mate to the army
at this place as soon as there is something to do in that line.
My time of service will be out April 19, and unless things shall
change for the better, if I should live, you will see me as soon
after that time as I can get to where you live.
It is often
that I think of you all, and wish to enjoy your presence, but perhaps
it may be so that we may never meet on earth again; yet I pray God
we will all meet in Heaven. Yes Jack, though I am surrounded by
wicked men, yet I still try to serve the Lord.
Tell Nancy that I have heard from James and David Wright. They are
both living and doing pretty well.
I have not
space on this sheet of paper to write you much more, so farewell.
May God bless and preserve you is my prayer, for Christís sake.
Your brother, J.G. Ferguson
Star Diary January
13 , 2014 column