At the conclusion of the daytime events on Saturday, it's time for the re-enactors to portray what might have happened the night before the Goliad massacre. The Candlelight Tour is one of the most popular events of the weekend. Please note: Tickets are limited to 700 people and normally sell out by early Saturday afternoon.

The tour takes the visitor back to the fateful night before what would become known as the Goliad Massacre. The tour begins at sunset, and the visitors suddenly find themselves entering a moment in time long ago. The tour begins with the meeting of a lady at the Sally Port (Main Gate) on the Southside of the presidio.

Where possible, lighting for the reenactment is as it would have been in 1836, candles, lanterns, and campfires.

 

It's Saturday night, March 26, 1836, and the re-enactors no nothing beyond that moment in time. Palm Sunday is the next day. Fannin and his men have been defeated at the battle of Coletto Creek and taken prisoner about one week earlier. They are held captive in the small chapel at the presidio.

There are wounded on both sides, very little food and water for both the Mexican troops and Fannin's men. There was water from the San Antonio River, but it was murky and not clean, because of the flooding from heavy rains. It had been a cold and wet winter, which added to the misery. The winter of 1835 - 36 had been one of the coldest and wettest in memory.


The Alamo in San Antonio has fallen to General Santa Anna. Santa Anna has ordered food and supplies from the Mexican troops at the presidio to be moved to San Antonio to support his troops. Because of the movement of food to San Antonio, the daily ration of the Mexican soldiers at the presidio has been cut down to one small bag of corn.

 

Picture at right: Doctors from Fannin's command tending to Mexican wounded in the Barracks. They complain to the Mexican officers that there is a need for drinking water for all of the wounded. The discussion becomes heated and the Mexican officers walk out of the room.

The tour moves on to meet with Mexican soldiers in their camp.
In the Mexican camp, the tour hears from a Mexican soldier about the shortage of food and water and how most of their supplies have been diverted to General Santa Anna's army in San Antonio. Food and water is rationed to everyone.

 



 
 

A courier from General Santa Anna arrives around 7:00 p.m. with orders to have all of Fannin's men executed the next day (Palm Sunday) as pirates. Commander of the presidio, Colonel Portilla and his officers are shocked. They know of the congressional decree of December 30, 1835, that captured armed rebels must be executed as pirates. But these were professional soldiers and Colonel Portilla and his officers find the killing of unarmed men offensive.

Colonel Portilla had also received earlier orders from General Urrea, to "Treat the prisoners with consideration, particularly their leader, Fannin, and to employ them in rebuilding Goliad."

 
 
 
 
 

Picture at right: The tour is stopped outside of the chapel by Mexican soldiers. A loaded cannon is placed in front of the chapel doors, waiting for any problems from the prisoners. The tour guide explains that members of the tour group are relatives of those inside the chapel. The Mexican officer reluctantly allows the tour group inside the chapel.

Inside the chapel it is dark, with only the light of candles. There are dozens of wounded men, all wanting water and food. The suffering of the men rings out as the tour group walks among them. They reach out, trying to touch the tour group. But the group knows they are not allowed contact with them.

 


 
 
 
 

After visiting the chapel, the tour ends. Everyone in the tour group walks away knowing the fate of the men is just a few hours and pages of Texas history away.

 
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