Goliad Massacre Reenactment

In a reenactment of the 1836 Goliad Massacre, Mexican troops lead Texian soldiers out of the Presidio La Bahia, and to the field where the revolutionaries were killed.

GOLIAD — Spectators gasped at the sound of gunfire in an open field near the Presidio La Bahia in Goliad on Sunday. The distant cries of revolutionaries had been silenced.

The violent scene was a reenactment of what took place on another Sunday in March, 187 years ago. It is known as the Goliad Massacre.

A Texian Army unit under the leadership of Col. James Fannin was held captive by Mexican soldiers in Goliad. Fannin’s men were told they would be able to return home. Instead they marched to the place of their deaths.

Two more executions took place inside the walls of the Presidio, one of which involved a blindfolded Fannin. Before his death, Fannin asked the Mexican army to give him a Christian burial and deliver a pocket watch to his wife.

“I ask that I be shot in the chest, not in the face, and to keep your men far enough away not to have my face scorched by the powder,” a reenactor portraying Fannin said.

Among the contingent of reenactors in Goliad were Baytown residents Kevin Plant and John Padgett. Both portrayed members of a Mexican artillery unit.

Plant, who has participated in reenactments since 2015, said he feels history come alive when he is in costume.

“We enjoy telling stories,” Plant said. “There is so much that is lost in history books.”

Plant and Padgett are part of the 1st Texas Naval Squadron, a group that seeks to preserve the legacy of events from the Texas Revolution.

“As reenactors, we show you that these people are not just words on a page,” Padgett said. “We share the voice of those who can’t speak for themselves today.”

On Saturday, Padgett helped prepare a cannon for battle, while using some safety measures.

“It fired blanks, so it was just powder and not projectiles,” Padgett said.

For Presidio La Bahia Director Scott McMahon, reenactments at the historic Goliad site emphasize the importance of preserving history.

“We hope this will instill pride in the hearts of Texans,” McMahon said.

The weekend of the Goliad Massacre retelling includes other events, such as a Saturday night candlelight tour. The tour allows visitors to hear the stories of prisoners and Mexican soldiers.

“It’s the closest we get to 1836,” McMahon said of the candlelight tour.

Leo Bertucci is a Report for America corps member who covers energy and environment for the Victoria Advocate.

Energy and Environment Reporter

Before moving to the Crossroads, Leo Bertucci studied journalism and political science at Western Kentucky University.

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