Since Nov 1, 2001
Several historians have given similar reports on the "Bloody arm flag of Goliad" said to have been made by Captain Phillip Dimmitt. On December 20 1835 the first declaration of Texas independence was signed at Goliad in the chapel of the Presidio by members of Dimmitt's command then stationed at La Bahia. After signing, the group went into the quadrangle and "amidst rapturous hurrahs, the flag of Texas Independence was hoisted and unfurled to the wintry wind".
The flag was described as being made of white domestic, two yards long and one yard wide. "In the center was a sinewy arm and hand, painted red, grasping a drawn sword of crimson." The flag pole was made from a tall sycamore tree found on the banks of the San Antonio River.
Most of the accounts on this flag ceremony quote as their source of information, the memoirs of John James and Nicholas Fagan.
The Dimmitt flag has now become the accepted flag of Goliad and is frequently displayed by business houses around the Goliad Square.
The Goliad Massacre
On Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836, after being held captive for one week, the men were told to gather up their things. They thought that they were going to the port of Copano and then on to New Orleans. They were happy and singing. They knew that Colonel Fannin had returned from the Port of Copano the previous day. What they didn't know was that at 7:00 p.m. the pervious evening, Colonel Portilla had received word directly from Santa Anna to execute the men. About an hour after Portilla received the execution order from Santa Anna, he received another order from General Urrea to "Treat the prisoners with consideration, particularly their leader, Fannin, and to employ them in rebuilding Goliad."
At sunrise the able bodied men were formed in three groups and under very heavy guard taken out of the fort. One group was taken out on the San Antonio road, another on the Victoria road, and the other on the Copano road. The prisoners had little suspicion of their fate because each group had been given a different story as to where they were going. One group told that they were going to gather wood, another to drive up cattle and the they they were going to the port of Copano. At selected spots on each of the three roads from one half to three-fourths of a mile from the fort, the groups were halted. After they halted, the guards on one side stepped through the ranks so that all the guards were on one side, they turned and fired at very close range. Those men where not killed ran and were pursued by the cavalry.
The soldiers then came back to the fort and executed the wounded. There were about forty of them. Colonel Fannin was saved until last. He was taken outside the chapel, blind folded and seated in a chair. He made three requests, not to be shot in the face, his personal possessions sent to his family and that he be given a Christian burial. He was shot in the face, an officer took his personal possessions and his body was burned along with many of the other bodies. Not all bodies were burned, some were left where they died. There were 342 men who died in the Goliad Massacre, which is almost twice the number of men who died at the Alamo and San Jacinto combined. Twenty-eight men did escape from the three massacre sites and seventeen men's lives were spared. It is from the accounts of the men who escaped and were spared that we know what happened at Presidio La Bahia. Francita Alavez, the Angel of Goliad and the wife of General Urrea saved the lives of a number of the men.
Of the multiple banners that flew over DeWitt Colony territory and those under which DeWitt colonists served and died, this famous flag is one which originated solely within and is unique to the DeWitt Colony and a symbol of contribution of the region to the Texas Independence movement. The banner can be said to be the counterpart in concept and message of resistance as the early "Don't Tread on Me" flags of the American Revolution. Some say it was made from the white silk of the wedding dress of Empresario DeWitt's daughter, Naomi, and was flown by DeWitt Colonists reinforced by volunteers from the other settlements at the confrontation with the Mexican army in October 1835 over the Gonzales cannon (Battle of Gonzales). Other reports suggest it was made after the confrontation during the muster at Gonzales for defense of Texas and the assault on Bexar.
The Zavala Flag. Proceedings of the Texas Independence Convention of 11 Mar 1836: "On the motion of Mr. Scates, the Rainbow and star of five points above the western horizon; and the star of six points sinking below, was added to the flag of Mr. Zavala accepted on Friday last. Mr. Taylor introduced the following resolution: Resolved that the word "Texas" be placed, one letter between each point of the star on the national flag." The banner above is most often depicted as the first official flag of the Texas Republic proposed by Vice-President of the new Republic of Texas, Lorenzo de Zavala. The proceedings appear to indicate that Zavala proposed a simple Lone Star flag which if white on blue was essentially that of Scott's flag of the War Party without the word "Independence," or the left part of Burnet's naval flag. It is unclear whether any of the proposed modifications including the indicated lettering were ever employed.
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