5. MILITARY PROBLEMS OF THE GOLIAD CAMPAIGN
To understand what happened at Goliad, it should be borne in mind that the military problems of the Texan Revolution were, essentially, problems of supply; and that the Port of Aransas Pass, with its interior landing at Copano, played an important part in both Texan and Mexican plans. In the years immediately prior to the revolution, Copano had become the principal port for Goliad and Béxar. A Mexican army advancing from the Rio Grande must draw its supplies by mule train from the Mexican interior, unless Copano and Aransas Pass, its gulf entrance, were Mexican controlled. The Mexican campaign in the Texan colonies involved opening Copano as a Mexican port and military base. On the Texan side, there were no means of transport available sufficient to supply, from elsewhere than Copano, a sizable Texan garrison at Béxar. Of the importance of controlling Copano, both Mexicans and Texans had had recent proof; Cos' army had landed there, and Cos had later been starved into capitulation when the Texans, at Goliad, had cut his communication with the coast. Texas, in feeding a besieging army at San Antonio, had had to denude the Texan settlements of supplies.
Since it was essential for the Texans to control Copano in order to prevent its being used as an enemy base, and necessary for the security of Texas that its growing volunteer army should be concentrated, organized, disciplined, trained, and fed, these ends could all be most conveniently accomplished by assembling the Texan troops near Copano, particularly since that vicinity also provided a healthful location, good water (at least at Refugio; Copano was of itself deficient in that respect), and sure access to rations of beef. General Houston planned, therefore, to assemble the Texan forces at and near Copano, and on December 30, 1835, ordered Colonel Fannin to transport the volunteers at the mouth of the Brazos to Copano, by sea. Immediate execution of this order was postponed owing to the disturbances arising from the proposed Matamoros project; and the plans, even of those who favored taking Matamoros, were upset by the added scheme of Dr. James Grant and Colonel F. W. Johnson, who had organized their own Matamoros expedition, for which they had enlisted six companies -- four of infantry, one of cavalry, and one of artillery -- from among the eager and restless American volunteers at Béxar.