As you know, the Alamo fell on March 6, 1836, with none of the men who actually fought the battle left to tell their story; therefore, the Texians told it for them, making it difficult for any of us to know exactly what happened in those last hours and taking nothing away from what was told by the women and children who were allowed to live.
Making it even more difficult is the fact that men like Davy Crockett were killed sometime during the fall of the Alamo. The stories surrounding the life of Crockett were already large in 1836; after his death, they grew tremendously. Even with the poor communications of 1836, the ripples of the fall of the Alamo spread across the state, and the sympathies of the Texians grew warmer and warmer toward the cause of the fallen, if you will.
Battles and skirmishes continued on after the battle at the Alamo, with many prisoners taken by the Mexican armies and held at Goliad. You will remember, of course, that Travis sent messages from the Alamo to Fannin at Goliad asking for help.
And then it was Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836. Under one pretext or another all of the prisoners who could walk were marched out in four separate groups and there a short way from the walls that had been their prison, they were executed.
It is difficult to know exactly how many Texians were murdered that day. Suffice it to say that possibly as many as 342 men lost their lives that day at Goliad. The forty or so men who were wounded and unable to walk were later killed within the prison.
Fannin was the last to be executed. According to multiple sources, he made three requests before he was killed: (1) his belongings be returned to his family (2) he not be shot in the face (3) he be given a Christian burial.
Of course, an officer took his possessions, he was shot in the face, and his body was burned.
“I learned from the interpreter, that Col. Fannin was the last doomed captive of vengeance; that he was ordered to communicate the fact to him; and that Fannin met his fate in a calm and soldier-like manner: that he handed his watch to the officer who superintended his murder, with the request that he would have him decently interred; and that he should be shot in the breast, and not in the head; with all of which the officer solemnly promised to comply; that Fannin was then placed in a chair, tied the handkerchief over his eyes with his own hands, and then opened his bosom to receive their balls.
“Major Miller, who knew Fannin, informed me that the next day he saw him lying in the prairie among a heap of wounded; and that he was shot in the head! We were marched into the Fort about 11 o’clock, and ordered to the Hospital. Had to pass close by our butchered companions, who were stripped of their clothes, and their naked, mangled bodies thrown in a pile. The wounded were all hauled out in carts that evening; and some brush thrown over the different piles, with a view of burning, their bodies.
“A few days afterwards, I accompanied Major Miller to the spot where lay those who were dear to me whilst living; and whose memory will be embalmed in my affection, until this poor heart itself shall be cold in death;-and Oh! what a spectacle!
“The flesh had been burned from off the bodies; but many hands and feet were yet unscathed—I could recognize no one.—The bones were all still knit together, and the vultures were feeding upon those limbs which, one week before, actively played in battle.”
Thankfully, like this witness, there were those who managed to escape their would be killers, and it is from them that the story of the massacre was told.
Suddenly the cry of “Remember the Alamo” was joined with “Remember Goliad!”