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Republic of the Río Grande and Texas

And well might Love look with hope to the navy to render effective service against Mexico. In less than two years Texas had built up its second navy and that organization was attracting attention in Mexico. At the time of the arrival of the French fleet off Vera Cruz, in 1838, the Texan Secretary of the Navy W. M. Shepherd had breathed a sigh of relief; "and in accordance with Houston's pressure for economy, disbanded the naval personnel down to the skeletonized crew that manned the unseaworthy 'receiving ship' -- Potomac."[31]  Plans, however, were already under way to create a new Texas navy; and by the time the French fleet sailed from Mexican waters in April 1839, leaving on the Mexican coast only one uncaptured schooner, and taking off to France the remaining Mexican vessels, the S. S. Charleston, a steam side-wheeler, had been purchased and converted into a man-of-war, and brought into Galveston harbor in March 1839, where she was promptly rechristened the Zavala in honor of the first Texan Vice President. At the time of Admiral Baudin's visit at Galveston in May the Texan navy was practically nonexistent. It consisted of the receiving ship Potomac, which was never completely seaworthy, and the steamer Zavala. A secret resolution passed unanimously by the Texan Senate on January 16, 1839, urged that Texas purchase the recently captured Mexican fleet from the French[32]  in addition to the ships contracted for and under construction in the United States. The French, however, were not ready to give up their prize collection, consisting of the twenty-four-gun Iguala, three beautiful brigs, and two schooners.

During the summer and early fall other Texan naval units came off the shipways and hastened to fill the gap left by the withdrawal of the French fleet.[33]  In June, the schooner San Jacinto, with four medium twelve-pounders and a long nine-pound brass cannon mounted on a pivot, reached Galveston. Her sister ship, the San Antonio, arrived in August, and the San Bernard, identical in armament with the San Jacinto, reached Galveston in September. The 400-ton gun brig Colorado (later rechristened Wharton), with sixteen medium eighteen-pounders, was delivered in October. Two months later, the flagship Austin entered Galveston Bay, a 600-ton ship mounting at the time eighteen medium twenty-four-pounders and two medium eighteen-

31. Jim Dan Hill, The Texas Navy: in Forgotten Battles and Shirtsleeve Diplomacy, p. 108.

32. Ibid., pp. 113-114.

33. R. G. Dunlap to M. B. Lamar, New York, July 21, 1839, in Garrison (ed.), Diplomatic Correspondence of Texas, 1907, I, 410-414.

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AFTER SAN JACINTO: The Texas-Mexican Frontier, 1836-1841
Joseph Milton Nance, 1963