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THE ANGEL OF GOLIAD
By Harbert Davenport ca. 1950
History tells no finer story than that of the “Angel of Goliad”, the Mexican lady whose merciful heart, unyielding courage, and almost unbelievable exertions induced Urrea’s officers to evade, and partially disobey, Santa Ana’s orders to shoot all prisoners, and to mitigate the rigors of the prisoners’ lot. In the words of Dr. Joseph H. Barnard, one of the beneficiaries of her mercies: [Linn: Reminiscences of Fifty Years in Texas, 171-175]
“I must not here omit the mention of Senora Alvarez, whose name ought to be perpetuated to the latest times for her virtues, and whose action contrasted so strangely with that of her countrymen, and deserves to be recorded in the annals of this country and treasured in the heart of every Texan. When she arrived at Copano with her husband, who was one of Urrea’s officers, Miller and his men had just been taken prisoners. They were tightly bound with cords, so as to completely stop the circulation of blood in their arms, and in this state had been left several hours when she saw them. Her heart was touched at the sight, and she immediately caused the cords to be removed and refreshments furnished them. She treated them with great kindness, and when, on the morning of the massacre she learned that the prisoners were to be shot, she so effectually pleaded with Colonel Garay (whose humane feelings so revolted at the order) that with great personal responsibility to himself, and at great hazards at thus going counter to the orders of the then all-powerful Santa Ana, resolved to save all that he could; and a few of us, in consequence, were left to tell of that bloody day.
“Besides those that Colonel Garay saved, she saved others by her connivance with some of the officers, who had gone into the fort at night and taken out some whom she had kept concealed until after the massacre. When she saw Dr. Shackelford, a few days after, she burst into tears and exclaimed, ‘Why did I not know that you had a son here? I would have saved him at all hazards!’ * * ‘ It must be remembered that when she came to Texas she could have considered its people only as rebels and heretics, the two classes, of all others, most odious to the mind of a pious Mexican. And yet, after everything that had occurred to present the Texans to her view as the worst and most abandoned of men, she became incessantly engaged in contributing to their wants and in saving their lives. Her name deserves to be recorded in letters of gold among the angels who have from time to time been commissioned by an overruling and beneficient power to relieve the sorrow and cheer the hearts Of men; and who have, for that purpose, been given the form of helpless women.”