28. March 2011 · Comments Off on A Day at Old La Bahia · Categories: Uncategorized

Another weekend in March means book-stuff for me – and this time, being the guest of a writer friend whose book is about the sad fate of James Fannin, and the Texian garrison at the Goliad. His book is here, my review on Blogger News Network is here, my original account of the so-called ‘Other Alamo‘ is here. But today – pictures taken of the re-enactment. It’s a two-day matter, and involves setting up a period encampment within the walls of the old presidio fort.

the texians are coming

The Texians are coming … and no, not costumed much in what you’d have thought they’d be wearing, in the Wild West and all.  At this period,  they dressed more like Mr. Darcy, less like Shane.

Red Rovers

These gentlemen are representing a company of volunteers called the Alabama Red Rovers, recruited by Captain (and Doctor) Jack Shackleford, of Courtland, Alabama. They wore natty red canvas hunting coats, trimmed with cloth fringe. Dr. Shackleford was one of the survivors  of the Goliad Massacre – spared from execution because he was a doctor … and the Mexican Army had a great many wounded.

texians with artillery

The Texians  pulling one of their artillery-pieces onto the field. At Coleto, they had several more than this, pulled by oxen, and an ammunition wagon. They had been expecting to be in Victoria within a day or so of leaving La Bahia, so only had about a day’s worth of food and water.

battle rattle

In the 1830s, this is what ‘full battle rattle’ meant.

mexican cavalry

Unfortunatly, before they could reach safety – they were detected by Mexican cavalry scouts …

clashing scouts

The Texians had no cavalry – only a handful of horseback scouts who knew the country well…

Mexican infantry lines

The Mexican infantry column caught up to them – and rather than abandon the ammunition wagon and dash for the trees along Coleto Creek…

hollow square

They formed a line … well, actually a hollow square, around their cannon, and their wagon of ammunition and powder. There were a lot of reenactors last Saturday, enough for one side of the square…

army of texians They held out for twenty-four hours. No water to swab the cannons, no water for the wounded. The Mexicans brought up their own artillery, raked the square with grapeshot … and that was that.

mexican cannon This one cannon made an incredibly loud noise, by the way… and an awesome puff of grey smoke. In a real 18th-19th century battle, you couldn’t see for all the black powder smoke after about three rounds.

Anyway, Colonel Fannin asked for a truce, and surrendered – he thought under honorable terms. He didn’t speak Spanish, the Mexican officers in the field didn’t speak English … however, one of Fannin’s scouts was a German — Herman Ehrenberg. And one of Urrea’s engineer officers,  Juan Holzinger — was also German. From English to German to Spanish, and back again … lots of scope for misunderstanding, there.

returning The Texians were marched back to La Bahia, under guard – having surrendered their weapons. For the sake of this scene, the weapons are considered surrendered … but knowing how much a replica costs, I wouldn’t leave it out of my hands, either.

sitting down on the job Watching from above….

tenting tonight



Relaxing and getting ready for the candle-light tour – after sundown that night. I missed that, since the tickets for it were sold out by the time we got there. The entire encampment is lit only by candles, lanterns and firelight.

the o-club Well, yeah – it’s the O’Club. The officer’s club, as civilians call it.
kentucky volunteer This gentleman was demonstrating how bullets were cast of molten lead, poured into a little device that looks sort of like a nutcracker … then there was a lever which snipped off the excess lead, open the ‘nutcracker’ and out popped a perfectly round lead ball. He is a volunteer from Kentucky. He is also an Apache Indian. Myself, I was going nuts trying to work out if there were any Lipan, Cherokee or Tonkawa who took an active part with the Texian volunteers. No, he said – for the purposes of this re-enactment, he was a volunteer from Kentucky. Only in Texas, I say.
And that’s what I did on my weekend. You?