Slaughter at Goliad

The Mexican Massacre of 400 Texas Volunteers
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Published:April 1, 2008
By Jay A. Stout (Author)

Silver Medal winner for "Military Non-Fiction" category

Military Writers Society of America 2008 Awards

The Sons of the Republic of Texas Presidio La Bahia Award, 2nd Place

Texas lost many volunteers during its hard-won fight for independence from Mexico, but one harrowing episode stands out. Following a one-sided battle on the prairie near Coleto Creek, 250 mostly American prisoners were marched back to the presidio at Goliad where they were joined by more than 200 others. Subsequently, on orders from President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, they were brutally slaughtered on Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836. The loss of so many fighting men in a single day was, at the time, one of the largest in U.S. history. The reaction in Texas was one of horror, fear, and, for some, a lust for revenge. The revulsion felt throughout the United States turned American sympathies against Mexico and its efforts to preserve its territorial integrity. Based on extensive research, this book offers a powerful description of what happened and an astute analysis of why it happened. For historical background, it also presents an overview of Texas and Mexican history and the factors that led to the massacre.

As a career military officer, author Jay Stout offers insights not grasped by other writers on the subject. He pays particular attention to the leadership on both sides during the revolution and discusses why the massacre has been largely ignored in the years since. Stout deglamorizes the fight against Santa Anna and his army, while at the same time acknowledging the Mexican perspective and the motivations of Mexico's leaders. The author's dynamic writing style, combined with the compelling subject matter, makes this book attractive to everyone interested in the military, Texas, and American history.

List Price: $29.95
Member Price: $23.96
Product Details
  • Subject: Military History
  • Hardback : 240 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (April 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 159114843X
  • ISBN-13: 9781591148432
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 17.12 oz
  • "Jay Stout deftly details the little-known—and deeply disturbing—tale of blunder and bluff that, on Palm Sunday 1836, led to the incredible Mexican massacre of hundreds of American captives at a long-forgotten Texas outpost. Powerful and fascinating." — W.E.B. Griffin, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

Jay A. Stout, now a senior analyst in the defense industry, spent twenty years as a U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot flying F-4s and F/A-18s. During the Gulf War he flew thirty-seven combat missions. An Indiana native and 1981 graduate of Purdue University, he now lives in San Diego, California. Stout is also the author of Hornets over Kuwait, The First Hellcat Ace and Hammer from Above: Marine Air Combat over Iraq, among other books.

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Customer Reviews

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Average Customer Reviews
5.00 Stars
Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
By: Joel Rudy
In ?Slaughter at Goliad?, Jay Stout recounts the horrific tale of the single largest loss of American warriors until the American Civil War. Goliad, Texas is located only 80 miles from the most famous site of the Texas Revolution, the Alamo. Why is it that many of us have never heard of this place? By the conclusion of the book, Stout posits his answer to this question. Stout provides the reader with an abbreviated course on Mexican history, including the rise of the militaristic despot, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. While not directly related to this battle, Santa Anna definitely influenced the massacre. His ?Tornel Decree? declared anyone who took up arms against Mexico to be a pirate. Under Mexican law at the time, this meant death for any volunteer who had taken up arms. After the battle the commanding Mexican officer, General Jose Urrea, used this document and a letter from Santa Anna to the officer responsible for the slaughter to justify the murderous actions of his men. After providing the strategic context of the Mexico-Texas relationship in 1846, Stout described the material incentives offered to bands of volunteers, such as the New Orleans Greys and the Alabama Red Rovers who came to the Texas frontier. With the motivations of both sides clearly described, Stout delivers a factual accounting of the final days of these 400 volunteers, including James Walker Fannin?s aborted attempt to send a relief column to the Alamo, which was under siege only weeks before these men met their murderous end. Using personal diaries from both belligerents as source material, Stout was able to recreate a vivid image of the battle for the reader. After 120 men held off a Mexican army during the battle of Matamoros a few days earlier, the 270-person contingent held off a second Mexican army at the Battle of Coleto creek. At the end of first day of battle, scores of Mexicans lay dead or wounded, at an American cost of only 9 dead and a few dozen wounded. General Urrea understood the Americans would have continued to inflict grievous harm on his army, so he accepted the conditional surrender terms of the Americans. With these honorable surrender terms in mind, the American prisoners marched back to Goliad under the impression they were to be paroled to return to the United States. At this point, General Urrea?s least capable commander received a letter from Santa Anna, setting into motion events that would forever change Texas history. At the Alamo, 182 Americans gave their lives in pursuit of an independent Texas; almost 400 volunteers paid that same price at Goliad. At the Battle of San Jacinto, less than a month later, the Texan volunteers rallied to the battle cry of ?Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!? At this battle, General Sam Houston finally defeated Santa Anna, leading to the birth of the Republic of Texas. As time went by, the battle cry was halved to only ?Remember the Alamo!? Stout?s analysis offers very compelling arguments as to why this event was selectively forgotten from American history. Stout brings to life this horrific event, remembering the brave men who fought and died for Texan Independence. He does these men a great justice by keeping their stories alive. Stout certainly knows how to tell a tale ? I couldn?t put the book down after I started it. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.


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