the years, students of Texas
history have found numerous stories relating to cannons that
were used in battle by both sides during the Texas Revolution.
It is safe to say that the majority of that military hardware was
in the hands of the Mexican army at one time or another. Some were
lost to Texas settlers in battle and probably the most famous one
was actually loaned to the citizens of Gonzales,
by the Mexican army garrison in San
Antonio, to protect them from Indian attacks. The Gonzales
cannon is said to have been the first one fired in anger against
elements of the Mexican army - known as the "Come
and Take It Cannon," this one gets the majority of attention.
However, cannons were located at most installations that were in
the hands of the Texas army, including Fort Defiance at Goliad.
In 1836 the majority of Texas defenders were at the Alamo
and Fort Defiance. When the Alamo
came under attack, Gen. Sam
Houston ordered the commander at Goliad,
Col. James Fannin, to proceed to the Alamo
and reinforce the garrison.
Although Fannin started out to rescue the Alamo defenders several
of his wagons broke down and he lost many supplies less than two
miles from Goliad.
After a council of war with his officers Fannin returned to Fort
Defiance. And sadly, when he finally decided to retreat from the
fort, his army was overtaken and surrounded by Mexican cavalry.
Fannin surrendered his troops with the belief that the men would
eventually be freed - but an order from Mexican Gen. Santa Anna
demanded that all the Texans be executed and indeed, most of them
It's been 180 years since the Alamo
and Goliad battles,
but down through the years people have continued to look for historic
relics, with cannons probably being the most sought after. According
to the Handbook of Texas, Col. Fannin retreated from Goliad
with no less than nine cannon - where they are today is anybody's
guess. No doubt they were captured by the Mexican army, however,
that army was ordered to leave Texas after the Battle
of San Jacinto - were the cannons simply discarded or taken
back to Mexico? That remains a mystery.
Sept. 14, 1937, an article appeared in the Hallettsville Tribune
stating that a cannon had been found by A.V. Shaw of Beeville
in the courtyard at what was once Fort Defiance at Goliad.
The report also indicated that this was the third cannon found out
of 16 that Col. Fannin was said to have buried. According to the
article, Shaw had previously excavated two other cannon that were
claimed by the state.
Shaw found the third cannon while working under a special permit
issued by the Catholic Church. Evidently the church kept the relics
he found and gave him a percentage. The article states, "The third
cannon, found this week, will become the property of the church."
It seems Shaw used a divining rod and a new invention, by Charles
Meyer of San Antonio,
called a "radio metal detector" to find the relics.
According to information found on the Internet, there is a brass
cannon on display at Goliad
State Park; perhaps this is the one found by A.V. Shaw.