Fannin Battleground Historic Site is the commemorative location where Col. James W. Fannin surrendered to Mexican Gen. Urrea after two days of brutal warfare. The surviving men were taken prisoners of war, and most were executed by orders from Santa Anna. The episode helped fuel the fight for independence. Today, a stone monument in honor of the Texans that fought in this battle stands at the site.
Backstory and Context
As night fell, the Texan forces were severely suffering having lost seven and another 28 being wounded. The soldiers dug trenches and waited out the night, but upon sunrise, were met again with Mexican fire. Col. Fannin decided that they would have to surrender if the rest of them were going to survive. Fannin was able to strike a deal with Urrea. According to the Texas Historical Commission, "It is believed they drafted terms, which consisted of a guarantee that they would be treated as prisoners of war, their wounded given medical attention and all prisoners would eventually gain freedom by release to the United States. Urrea made it clear to Fannin that he could not ratify those terms, but would use his influence with Santa Anna on the Texian’s behalf. The signed document states the surrender was 'subject to the disposition of the supreme government.'
The prisoners were held at Goliad and joined by 80 more men from the Georgia Battalion who also succumbed to Gen. Urea at Dimmit's Landing. Despite the terms agreed upon with Urea, Santa Anna demanded that the prisoners be killed. However, about 20 men were able to escape the massacre. According to the Texas Historical Commission, "the execution of Fannin’s command served to inflame the Texas cause, and when Texian forces attacked Santa Anna’s command on April 21, 1836 at San Jacinto, the battle cry rang out 'Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!'"