The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Fannin, James W.
FANNIN, James W., an officer of the Texan revolution, born in North Carolina, killed at Goliad, Texas, March 27, 1836. He was a captain in the Texan service in 1835, and on Oct. 28, at the head of 90 men, with Capt. Bowie, defeated a superior Mexican force near, Bexar. Gen. Houston soon afterward made him colonel of artillery and inspector general. In January, 1836, he set out to reënforce Dr. James Grant, commanding an unauthorized expedition to Matamoros. At Refugio he learned the destruction of Grant's party and fell back to Goliad, which he put in a state of defence. But by Houston's order he marched toward Victoria, and on March 19 was attacked at the Coleta river by a Mexican force under Gen. Urrea. Throwing up a breastwork of wagons, baggage, and earth, the Texans defended themselves with spirit until night interrupted the fighting, Col. Fannin being among the wounded. The battle was renewed on the 20th, but the Mexicans having received a reënforcement of 500 men, with artillery, a capitulation was signed, by which it was agreed that the Texans should be treated as prisoners of war, and as soon as possible sent to the United States. Having surrendered their arms, they were taken to Goliad, where on the 26th an order was received from Santa Anna requiring them to be shot. At daybreak the next morning the prisoners, 357 in number (the four physicians and their four assistants being spared), were marched out under various pretexts, and fired upon in divisions. Fannin was killed last. Many attempted to escape, and were cut down by the cavalry, but 27 are believed to have eluded pursuit.