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Kids' imaginations soar at Goliad Massacre re-enactment

By KBell
March 26, 2011 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated March 25, 2011 at 10:26 p.m.

Texian Army volunteers march towards the battlefield before re-enacting the Battle of Coleto Creek during the 26th Annual Goliad Massacre Re-enactment at Presidio La Bahia on Saturday.

GOLIAD - One by one, Texian soldiers fell into the wildflowers outside Presidio La Bahia on Saturday afternoon.

In a re-enactment of the Battle of Coleto Creek, Mexican soldiers would march the survivors into the fort, where they awaited execution.

But an hour before the Texian surrender, two 11-year-olds sat underneath a tree, unconcerned about their fate in what came to be known as the Goliad Massacre.

Jacob Marcum and Nathaniel Carney, both fifth- graders in Harlingen, were with the Refugio Militia in Presidio La Bahia's 26th annual Goliad Massacre Living History Program.

"I just finished the second skirmish, and it was really fun," Nathaniel said. "I was the medic, so if people could die, I'd run up to them with rags, and I would help them out."

Nathaniel pulled white rags stained with red out of his knapsack. Underneath them was a pistol.

"Every so often, I would open fire on them because I have a cap gun," he continued.

Clad in moccasins, tan trousers, a period hat and with a tomahawk hanging off his belt, Nathaniel looked every inch the part of an early 19th century kid - except for the braces peeking out of his constant smile.

"We've been doing re-enactments..."

"For like five years," Nathaniel's friend, Jacob, finished his sentence.

The duo said they've been participating in re-enactments around the state thanks to their fathers, who got them involved with the fun.

"We're all interested in the weapons and history and stuff," Jacob said.

Bouncing facts back and forth, the fifth-graders recited everything they'd learned about the fight for Texas Independence in Goliad.

"Sometimes we learn from school, but most of the time, we learn here," Nathaniel said.

With their militia was Dusty Springfield, a 32-year-old re-enactor with a top hat as high as his beard is long.

His first re-enactment was one of the Civil War, which he attended at the age of 8.

"You learn so much history living it than you do reading a book," Springfield said.

That makes re-enactments rewarding, Springfield said, especially for kids.

"It's not an iPod, but it's hours of entertainment," he said. "It teaches you to use your imagination, be creative, and not have to rely on modern conveniences or batteries."

With the Battle of Coleto Creek quickly approaching and their tragic destinies looming, Jacob agreed the excitement of the re-enactment is like none other.

"For me, going to a re-enactment, I think it's better than a video game."



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