[TEXAS]. GOODRICH, Benjamin Briggs (1799-1860), Signer of Texas Declaration of Independence. Autograph letter signed to his brother Edmund H. Goodrich, Washington, Texas, 15 March 1836. 3 pages, 8vo, integral address leaf on page 4, severely stained (but legible), several holes affecting a few words, rectangular section torn from 2nd leaf with loss of 7 or 8 words in 5 lines, and all but "Go" of signature.
NINE DAYS AFTER THE ALAMO FALLS, A TEXAN VOWS TO AVENGE HIS BROTHER'S DEATH: "...ANOTHER VICTIM SHALL BE ADDED TO THEIR LIST OR I SEE TEXAS FREE AND INDEPENDENT"
An impassioned, emotional letter in which Goodrich informs his brother of the death of another sibling, John C. Goodrich, at the Alamo and vows revenge: "Texas is in mourning, and it becomes my painful duty to inform my relations in Tennessee of the massacre of my poor brother John. He was murdered in the Texean Fortress of San Antonio de Bexar (known as the Alamo) on the night of the 6th...together with one hundred and eighty of our brave countrymen...no one escaped to tell the tale....The Alamo had been surrounded for many days by a besieging army of Mexicans...commanded by Genl. Antonio Lopez Antonio de Santa Anna in person...and every man was put to the sword." Seven defenders, "being all that were left alive, called for quarter and to see Santa Anna, who were instantly shot by the order of that fiendish tyrant." Goodrich describes the deaths of the Texas commander, Col. Travis, and other notables such as Davy Crockett, all of whom, he states, "died like men, and posterity will do them justice." Santa Anna's army remained in Texas "determined to carry on a war of extermination. We will meet him and teach the unprincipled scoundrel that freemen can never be conquered by the hireling soldiery of a military despot....We rush to the combat, and our motto is Revenge, Liberty or Death."
Goodrich, a member of the Texas Convention then meeting at Washington on the Brazos, signed the Texas declaration of independence. Here he vows: "So soon as the Convention...adjourns, I shall proceed forthwith to the army. The blood of a Goodrich has already crimsoned the soil of Texas and another victim shall be added to their list or I see Texas free and Independent." For the next several weeks after the Alamo massacre, Santa Anna's forces kept the Texans in retreat and disarray: "we know not," Goodrich writes, "at what moment we shall be compelled to move our women and children beyond their reach. Their mode of warfare is strictly savage, they fight under a Red banner..." But in a little over a month, Sam Houston rallied the Texans at San Jacinto and won a decisive victory on 20 April 1836, virtually assuring Texas's independence. In spite of its damaged condition, the Goodrich letter is an important document of the Texas independence movement.
Published (evidently from an imperfect transcript) in Jenkins, ed. Papers of the Texas Revolution, vol. 5, pp.80-82.