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Presidio La Bahia (long post, a must read)

Back in my school days history was not my favorite subject, as I got older I got interested in it, today I love it and love photographing old things as you know by now, I always wondered if there were pictures in the text books back then if I would had cared more about it, this is a amazing old site to me, when I go to places like this it just lights me up, my mind goes to asking questions, like what it was like to live back in those days, how they lived, how did they build a structure like this, things they ate, the things they wore.

When I stand beside a place like this I get all excited, I get chills and thrills, I also get that eerie feeling, especial when I know that over 300 men where gun down right where I stand. it just a event I'll never forget and glad I brought pictures back home to enjoy and tell and show and hope you enjoy them to.

Presidio La Bahia is the site where Goliad history began. The location of the fort had been an occupied site long before Spain arrived in the New World. The Spanish arrived here in 1749 and named the Indian village they encountered Santa Dorotea. As permanent settlement by Spain began, the town of La Bahia (The Bay) grew up around the protection of the fort. This town was the original Goliad, and it became the second largest populated settlement in Spanish Texas.

The establishment of the Royal Presidio La Bahia in the year 1721 was a direct response to encroachment by the French in the Spanish Province of Texas. First founded on the banks of the Garcitas Creek near present day Lavaca Bay, it was erected upon the remains of the ill-fated French Fort St. Louis built by La Salle. This location proved unsuitable and in 1726 it was abandoned and the fort relocated to an inland position near its present location.

The Royal Presidio La Bahia, though an inland frontier fort, became the only fort responsible for the defense of the coastal area and eastern province of Texas.

Soldiers from Presidio La Bahia assisted the Spanish army fighting the British along the Gulf Coast during the American Revolution. This action gives Goliad the distinction of being one of the only communities west of the Mississippi River to have participated in the American Revolution.

I stuck my camera through a gun port to get this picture of inside the fort

On Oct. 9, 1835, a group of Texas citizens, led by Capt. George Collingsworth, entered Goliad and attacked the Mexican garrison stationed at the Presidio, taking possession of the fort.

The first Declaration of Texas Independence was formally declared at the Presidio La Bahia on Dec. 20, 1835, signed by 92 citizens and distributed throughout other municipalities in Texas. Along with it flew the first Flag of Texas Independence.

The darkest day in Texas history, the Goliad Massacre, took place at the Presidio La Bahia on Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836, when Col. James Fannin and 341 men under his command were executed a week after their capture at the Battle of Coleto, under orders of the Mexican Gen. Santa Anna. As the grim news reached the United States, volunteers began streaming in to fight for Texas in the Texas Revolution.

The Mexicans took the Texans back to Goliad, where they were held as prisoners at Fort Defiance (Presidio La Bahia). The Texans thought they would likely be set free in a few weeks. General Urrea departed Goliad, leaving command to Colonel José Nicolás de la Portilla. Urrea wrote to Santa Anna to ask for clemency for the Texians. Under a decree passed by the Mexican Congress on December 30 of the previous year, armed foreigners taken in combat were to be treated as pirates and executed. Urrea wrote in his diary that he "...wished to elude these orders as far as possible without compromising my personal responsibility." Santa Anna responded to this entreaty by repeatedly ordering Urrea to comply with the law and execute the prisoners. He also had a similar order sent directly to the "Officer Commanding the Post of Goliad". This order was received by Portilla on March 26, who decided it was his duty to comply despite receiving a countermanding order from Urrea later that same day.

The next day, Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836, Colonel Portilla had the 303 Texians marched out of Fort Defiance into three columns on the Bexar Road, San Patricio Road, and the Victoria Road, between two rows of Mexican soldiers; they were shot point-blank, and any survivors were clubbed and knifed to death.
Forty Texians were unable to walk. Thirty nine were killed inside the fort, under the direction of Captain Carolino Huerta of the Tres Villas battalion, with Colonel Garay saving one. Colonel Fannin was the last to be executed, after seeing his men executed. Age 32, he was taken by Mexican soldiers to the courtyard in front of the chapel, blindfolded, and seated in a chair (due to his leg wound from the battle). He made three requests: he asked for his personal possessions to be sent to his family, to be shot in his heart and not his face, and to be given a Christian burial. The soldiers took his belongings, shot him in the face, and burned his body along with the other Texians who died that day.

"Remember Goliad!" became a battle cry of the Texas Revolution.

But once Texas won its independence from Mexico, the Presidio La Bahia gradually fell into ruin. It wasn't restored until the 1960s, but now stands as a lasting memorial along with its sister shrines, the Alamo and San Jacinto. Today it is considered one of the most authentic restoration projects in the United States,
Today, a granite monument rises above the burial site of those killed in the Goliad Massacre, just a few hundred yards from the old fort's walls.

For students of history, a visit to the Presidio La Bahia is a must. But for someone less interested in history, but wanting a day away from the city, the fort can be a draw too.

In the evening, after the staff leaves and darkness falls, the Presidio takes on an ambience of peace and tranquility. Many say spirits lurk in the shadows and will occasionally make themselves known to believers. Others say the ghostly music that plays upon the evening air is nothing more than one’s imagination.

Thanks for looking!!!

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