The Georgia Battalion in the Texas Revolution –
This timeline focuses on the origin of the Georgia Battalion in Georgia, its components, and its geographic movements from Macon, Ga., through the Battle of Refugio, to the massacre at Goliad in Texas. The Georgia Battalion, as such, ended with that event. However, some survivors went on to participate in the Battle of San Jacinto and in other endeavors in Texas. The timeline is meant to provide a context for the lives of all those men in the Georgia Battalion who volunteered to ﬁght for the independence of Texas.
It is based on the following sources:
Texas Revolution 1835-1836
Barker, Eugene C. and James W. Pohl.
Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association.
Georgia Battalion in the Texas Revolution
Robert S. Davis
Central Georgia Genealogical Society Inc.
Vol. 7, No. 2 (Sept. 1985): 64-69.
Georgians at San Jacinto
Robert S. Davis
From the Robert S. Davis Collection, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Athens, GA: University of Georgia.
Goliad and the Georgia Battalion: Georgia Participation in the Texas Revolution, 1835-1836
Robert S. Davis
Journal of Southwest Georgia History Vol. 4 (1986): 25-55.
Georgia and the Texas Revolution
Originally published in Georgia Historical Quarterly
Vol. 28, No. 4 (Dec. 1944); scanned from reprint of the original
(Savannah, Ga.: Georgia Historical Society, 1945),
Copyright Georgia Historical Society.
Posted by permission of the Georgia Historical Society.
Massacre at Goliad–Samuel G. Hardaway’s Account
Wallace L. McKeehan, ed.
San Patricio and Refugio Mission
Sons of DeWitt Colony Texas: 1997-2001.
Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association.
The number of members noted at any particular time (except for the original 29) is subject to variation, depending on sources.
Aug/Sept. 1835 — Georgians learn in the press about a possible revolt in Texas against the Mexican dictator Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. “Texas meetings” are held in Savannah and Walthourville.
22 Aug. 1835 — James Walker Fannin, Jr., a native of Columbus, Ga., who had immigrated to Texas in 1834 and settled at Velasco, writes a letter to a United States Army officer in Georgia requesting financial aide and volunteers.
2 Oct. 1835 — A small group of Anglo settlers in the northern state of Coahuila y Tejas in the United Mexican States repulses a detachment of Mexican cavalry near the Guadalupe River at the Battle of Gonzales, in which Fannin serves as captain of the Brazos Guards. The revolution for Texas independence begins.
10 Oct. 1835 — Texans take control of Goliad (formerly La Bahia) on the San Antonio River to cut Mexican supply lines between San Antonio and Copano Bay. San Antonio de Bexar is the capitol the Mexican department of Texas and Copano Bay is the port off Aransas Bay at San Jose Island. Goliad is the location of Mission Nuestra Senora del Espiritu Sano de Zuniga and its fort, Presidio La Bahia.
Here’s a map of the Campaign of 1835.
Early Nov. 1835 — Newspapers in several towns in Ga. report the success of the Battle of Gonzales and the need for more funds and volunteers for the Texas cause.
12 Nov. 1835 — Prominent citizens of Macon convene a meeting to solicit volunteers. William A. Ward is the ﬁrst of the 29 men to sign up, and he soon becomes their leader. A subscription of $3,141 is raised. At a similar meeting in Milledgeville, James C. Winn and others also volunteer.
17 Nov. 1835 — Volunteers from Columbus organize in Girard, Ala., under William A. O. Wadsworth.
18 Nov. 1835 — The number of volunteers from Macon has grown to 82. They set out for Columbus. James C. Winn and his group of 18 men meet up with the Ward group.
Late Nov. 1835 — Passing through Knoxville, Ga., they are given a “lone star” ﬂag by Joanna Troutman.
23 Nov. 1835 — Wadsworth and his 40 men set out from Columbus for Montgomery, Ala.
Late Nov. 1835 — Ward’s men and Winn’s men, now about 100, make it to Montgomery, where they catch up with the Wadsworth group. They all are given free passage down the Alabama River to Mobile on the “Benjamin Franklin” and then go by steamer to New Orleans, La.
Nov./Dec. 1835 — In New Orleans the Ward, Winn, and Wadsworth groups, under the leadership of Ward, gather supplies and get more volunteers, with the total reaching about 220 men.
9 Dec. 1835 — The three groups embark for Velasco, Tex., on the schooners “Pennsylvania,” “Camancho,” “America,” and “Santiago.” Velasco is the port on the Brazos River, just off the Gulf of Mexico, that serves Stephen F Austin’s first major Anglo settlement in Texas.
20 Dec. 1835 — The three groups disembark at Velasco, where they are met by Fannin and Austin, That same day the Texans at Goliad sign a declaration of independence from Mexico.
22 Dec. 1835 — These original volunteers groups organize as a military unit for the ﬁrst time, calling themselves the Georgia Battalion, with Ward as major and commander. Three companies are formed: Wadsworth’s company, with his now 48 men from the Columbus volunteers; Uriah I. Bullock’s company (Bullock replacing Ward) with 57 of the Macon volunteers; and Winn’s company, with 40 of the Milledgeville volunteers. Besides Georgians, all three companies also include men from South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The Georgia Battalion is the only unit in the Texas Revolution to supply its own arms and ammunition, as with rifles borrowed by Ward from the state of Georgia’s arsenal.
23 Dec.1835 — Ward and the three captains invite Fannin to become leader of the Georgia Battalion and he agrees.
25 Dec. 1835 — Still at Velasco, the Georgia Battalion presents itself for service to Col. James W. Fannin, a fellow Georgian and commander of the volunteer troops in Texas, who are stationed at Goliad,
Here’s a map of the Campaign of 1836.
8 Jan. 1836 — To honor the Goliad declaration of independence of Dec. 20, Col. Fannin raises two flags on the “liberty pole” at Velasco. One is Philip Dimmit’s flag of independence from Goliad and the other is the “Banner of the Lone Star” presented earlier to the Georgia Battalion by Joanna Troutman.
23 Jan. 1836 — Texas Lt. Governor James Robinson orders Fannin and the Georgia Battalion, after a month in Velasco, to join the forces at Goliad to move against the Mexicans at Matamoros. They embark from Velasco for Copano.
30 Jan. 1836 — Fannin and the original Georgia Battalion of 220 men disembark in Copano and are joined by Isaac Ticknor’s company of 50 men from Montgomery. This group had arrived at Velasco later than the others. The expanded Georgia Battalion now consists of 270 men.
1 Feb. 1836 — This group marches meets others at Copano and they march 15 miles inland to camp at the Mission Nuestra Senora del Refugio near the Mission River, where they stay for a couple of weeks.
7 Feb. 1836 — While at Refugio Fannin begins to organize a full regiment by designating the four companies of the expanded Georgia Battalion as the First Battalion. Several more companies of volunteers, consisting of about 400 men and including those with Amon KIng, are already in the Refugio area and they join Fannin. They will become a second battalion.
14 Feb. 1836 — Fannin leads the array of companies to Goliad, where they join the small garrison already there. He organizes his various companies into a regiment of two battalions. The First Battalion is the Georgia Battalion. Its companies now are Wadsworth’s, Bullock’s, Winn’s, and Ticknor’s. The Second Battalion is called the Lafayette Battalion. Its companies are Cooke’s “San Antonio Grays,” Burke’s “Mobile Grays,” Deval’s “Mustangs,” Shackleford’s “Red Rovers,” King’s “Paducah Volunteers,” Wyatt’s “Huntsville Volunteers,” Fraser’s “Refugio Volunteers,” Sprague’s “Squad,” and Horton’s “Matagorda Volunteers.” The total number of men in this First Regiment of Texas Volunteers is about 700. Over eighty percent of these volunteers are recruits from the Untied States. Col. Fannin is first-in-command and second-in-command is Lt. Col. Ward.
26 Feb. 1836 — Fannin attempts a relief march to the Alamo (Mission San Antonio de Velero), but turns back and stays at Goliad.
2 Mar. 1836 — The Texas Declaration of Independence is signed at Washington-on-the Brazos (named for Washington, Ga.), and the Republic of Texas is declared. At Goliad Fannin again hoists the “Banner of the Lone Star” of the Georgia Battalion. When it is lowered at sunset, it is accidentally torn but its remnants are still carried by Fannin and his men when they evacuate Goliad on March 19.
4 Mar. 1836 — Gen. Sam Houston becomes commander-in-chief over all men bearing arms in the cause of Texas.
Here’s a map of the location of Texas Army forces on March 5, 1836.
6 Mar. 1836 – The Alamo. The Texans are defeated by Mexican forces under Gen. Santa Anna at the Alamo.
8 Mar. 1836 — As Gen. Urrea’s troops move north from Mexico, settlers at Refugio ask Fannin to help them retreat to his headquarters at Goliad.
10 Mar. 1836 — Fannin sends Capt. Amon B. King with parts of two companies (28 men from the Paducah Volunteers and the Georgia Battalion) from Goliad to Refugio.
Here’s a map of showing the disintegration of Fannin’s command, March 11-22, 1836.
12 Mar. 1836 — King and his men clash with a vanguard of Urrea’s cavalry and then retreat into the old mission Nuestra Senora del Refugio. They are surrounded by Urrea’s forces and send a message to Fannin asking for help.
Here’s a map of the path of the Texas Army, March 13-20, 1836.
13 Mar. 1836 — Fannin sends Ward and the rest of the original Georgia Battalion (about 120 men) to Refugio to help King and his men there. They do the 27-mile march in 6 hours. Upon their arrival, they scatter the Mexican army but remain surrounded, ﬁnding cover in the mission.
14 Mar. 1836 — The Battle of Refugio. Some of Ward’s men go out with King on a punitive mission against Mexican rancheros. While they are out, Mexican Gen. Urrea and his main force of 1,500 men surround Ward and the remainder of his men in the mission. When King attempts to return to the mission, he comes upon the rear of Urrea’s army and is forced to make a stand in the timber on the Mission River within sight of Ward’s command. Both King’s and Ward’s men ﬁght all day and withstand several assaults, using up most of their ammunition but suffering only three wounded. Ward sends word of the situation to Fannin at Goliad, who advises Ward to take his men and retreat for a rendezvous with him at Victoria. Around midnight, Ward breaks out of the mission. Ward and most of the remainder of his Georgia Battalion travel in the direction of Copano through woods and swamps to avoid the Mexican cavalry. King and his company also try to escape during the night.
15 Mar. 1836 — King and his men are overtaken and marched back as prisoners to the mission, now occupied by Urrea’s forces.
16 Mar. 1836 — King and his men, plus those remaining there from Ward’s Georgia Battalion, are executed at Refugio.
18 Mar. 1836 — After several days with inadequate food and water Ward and his remaining men reach the San Antonio River. That night, they cross the river and head toward Victoria on the Guadalupe River.
19 Mar. 1836 — The Battle of Coleto. Fannin and his 350 men, meanwhile, had left Goliad to go toward Victoria on the Guadaluipe River. They are overtaken at Coleto Creek by Gen. Urrea’s forces. Ward and his remaining men, still separated from Fannin, hear the gunﬁre from Coleto as they approach Victoria. They skirt Victoria and spend the night nearby in the Guadalupe swamp.
Here’s a map of the path of the Texas Army, March 20-31, 1836.
20 Mar. 1836 — Fannin surrenders to Urrea. He and his men are taken prisoner and marched back to Goliad. Ward and his men skirmish with the enemy and then scatter back into the Guadalupe swamp, where they spend the night.
21 Mar. 1836 — During the night Ward rallies most of his remaining men, unintentionally leaving 10 men in the swamp. Ward and his diminished Georgia Battalion head for Dimitt’s Landing on the Lavaca River near the coast at Matagorda Bay.
22 Mar. 1836 — Ward and the remaining men (now about 85) of the Georgia Battalion surrender to Urrea at Dimmit’s Landing. They, too, are marched back to Goliad to be imprisoned with Fannin and his men.
23-25 Mar. 1836 — The remaining 10 of Ward’s men continue to hide individually in the swamp and grasslands, gradually ﬁnding each other or moving separately toward Gen. Houston’s army, which is moving east toward the Brazos River. Some of these men are found by scouts from Houston’s army and are welcomed by the army in Houston’s camp on April 2.
27 Mar. 1836 – The Goliad Massacre. On Palm Sunday, Fannin and Ward and almost all their remaining men, over 300, are executed by the Mexican army, though 17 men are spared and 28 escape. At least 83 of the Georgia Battalion die and the Georgia Battalion as such ceases to exist.
28 Mar. 1836 — Gen. Houston has stayed away from the Alamo and Goliad. After two weeks Houston’s army reaches San Filipe de Austin on the west bank of the Brazos River. The next day they leave to march 20 miles north to Groce’s Plantation. Houston uses two weeks there to train his men in military discipline and tactics.
12 Apr. 1836 — Houston leads his army across the Brazos River at Croce’s Ferry.
Here’s a map of the path of the Texas Army, April 16-21, 1836.
16 Apr. 1836 — Santa Anna arrives at Harrisburg, south of Buffalo Bayou, and burns it.
18 Apr. 1836 — Houston and his army arrive on the north side of Buffalo Bayou and see the burnt remains of Harrisburg. He decides to cross the bayou to confront Santa Anna.
20 Apr. 1836 — Houston moves the army east along Buffalo Bayou to the area south of the bayou, where it ﬂows into the San Jacinto River.
21 Apr. 1836 – The Battle of San Jacinto. In the morning, Houston orders the destruction of Vince’s bridge over Sims Bayou. In mid-afternoon, at least 8 survivors of the Georgia Battalion, who have found their way to the Texas army, ﬁght under Gen. Houston in the decisive battle of San Jacinto against the forces of Mexican Gen. Santa Anna. Their rallying cries are “Remember the Alamo!” and “Remeber Goliad!” Texas has won its independence. The various survivors of the Georgia Battalion resume their lives, with some joining the military in Texas or simply living there and others returning to their homes and other locations in the United States.
R. W. T.
A clear and concise narrative with good maps. Thanks for the research.