America's Best History Spotlight
On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.
Battle of Goliad
It was a battle that preceded its more famous cousin, the one where the war for Texas independence took a turn for the worst. Yes, we're talking the Alamo. But the Battle of Goliad, taking place on October 10, 1835, four months prior to the San Antonio fight, would be a skirmish, actually the second, that showed that the Texans were in it to win their independence, and that this battle, a Texas victory, would show the mettle of their cause. The Goliad campaign would continue through the war, with subsequent battles larger than the first, but the history here at the Presido La Bahia recounts the highlights of the event in a historic site across the river from the state park named for the town. Yes, not as famous as that Alamo cousin, but a victory that would rally the men and women of Texas into sustaining a revolution that would eventually lead to a nation state despite the cousin's demise.
- What is There Now
- History Nearby
Battle of Goliad
It was the second skirmish of the war. On October 6, 1835, in the city of Matagorda, Texian settlers elected a captain, George Collinsworth, and decided to march on the Mexican fort at Presidio La Bahia in Goliad, thinking that Mexican General Cos and $50,000 would be there. By the time they left Victoria three days later, the force had swelled to one hundred and twenty-five men. However, they now learned that General Cos and the money was not going to be at the fort, but they pushed forward anyway. When the force arrived that night, they asked the town itself to surrender; the town decided to remain neutral.
The Texians split into four parts and attacked early morning of October 10. There were only fifty Mexican soldiers in the fort when the Texas force hacked through the door, engaged in a thirty minute fight, and accepted the Mexican surrender. The only Texian injured in the fight was Samuel McCulloch, a freed slave. After the war, when the Texas legislature banned freed slaves from living in Texas, McCulloch and his family were excluded from that regulation and allowed to stay.
Twenty Mexican soldiers would excape the fort and warn other garrisons of the Texian's attack. Part of the independence forces left at Goliad would depart for San Antonio within weeks; by October 14, the remaining Texians left to guard Presidio La Bahia marched out for the Alamo, abandoning Goliad.
Image above: Current photo of the Presidio La Bahia. Source: Wikipedia Commons.
Goliad State Park - Located along the San Antonio River, the 188 acre park includes the restored mission of 1749 Nuestra Senora del Espiritu Santo de Zuniga, once the largest cattle operation in the state, the ruins of the 1754 Mission Rosario State Historic Site four miles west, and the Zaragosa Birthplace museum. You can camp, hike, fish, and engage in historical activities here.
Presidio la Bahia - Located across the river from the state park, the fort engaged in the Battle of Goliad and the Goliad Massacre. The fort has exhibits and interpretive programs.
Fannin Memorial - Located just east of La Bahia is a monument marking the burial site of Colonel Fannin and his soldiers.
Fannin Battleground - Fannin Battleground State Historic site is located ten miles east of town and memorializes the Battle of Coleto Creek, one of the clashes during the 1836 Goliad Campaign, which led to the Goliad Massacre. Self-guided tours. No visitor center.
How Much to Visit
Goliad State Park - $3 Adults, Free 12 and under.
Presidio La Bahia - $4 Adults, $1 children under 12, Free 5 and under.
Fannin Battleground State Historic Site - Free.
Goliad State Park - Open daily, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., except Christmas Day.
Presidio La Bahia - Open daily, 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., except major holidays.
Fanning Battleground State Historic Site - Dawn to dusk.
Where Is It Located
Goliad State Park is located at 108 Park Road 6, Goliad, Texas 77963. It is a good place to start your tour of the area attractions. Goliad is ninety-two miles southeast of San Antonio; one hundred and fifty-nine miles southwest of Houston; and sixty-nine miles north of Corpus Christi. The closest major town would be Victoria, thirty miles north of the park, a town of 63,000 people
Goliad State Park and Historic Site
Presidio La Bahia
Area Historic Sites
So what else is there to do near Goliad? Well, there's National Park history up in San Antonio in San Antonio Missions National Historic Site plus more Texas Revolution history at that famous Alamo. South of the town is Padre Island National Seashore for those that want a more natural side trip and the possibility of sighting a sea turtle. West of town you'll find Choke Canyon State Park and south, Goose Island State Park.