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San Jacinto Day

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by TinCan, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. TinCan

    TinCan Captain Forum Host

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    Fellow Texans near and far, today is San Jacinto Day, a tip of the hat to that band of good ol boys who showed, in just 18 minuets, someone who styled himself, " the Napoleon of the West " what a fight was really all about!
     

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  3. CMWinkler

    CMWinkler Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    For my bride, I put up the 4x6 Texas flag on the pole and the San Jacinto flag with the Goliad flag on the porch. Happy San Jacinto Day.
     
    TinCan, donna and AndyHall like this.
  4. AndyHall

    AndyHall Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    This is an excerpt from an address I gave last September at the Battleship Texas, reflecting on the role of the Texian Navy in the battle of San Jacinto.

    Perhaps the most dramatic contribution made by the Navy to the fight for independence that culminated here was accomplished by the smallest of the Navy’s four schooners, Liberty, and began hundreds of miles from here off the Yucatan coast. There, off the port at Sísal on the evening of March 5, Captain William Brown, Jeremiah’s younger brother, discovered the large trading schooner Pelicano at anchor. Pelicanostood out among the smaller, local craft, and Brown immediately set about a plan to take her. A heavy sea was running, and two of Liberty’s boats were swamped in the process of getting them launched. Brown crammed fourteen men into the one remaining boat, and – remarkably – managed to cut away the stern boat of another neutral ship in the harbor without being observed. After dividing his men again between the two boats, Brown set out again for Pelicano.

    The port superintendant at Sísal was not oblivious to the danger of prowling Texian vessels, and had taken precautions against an expedition such as Brown’s. He had assigned a squad of soldiers to the brig to fend off any attack, and unbent the vessel’s headsails and taken them ashore to make Pelicanomore difficult to maneuver. He even drove a spike through the main boom to immobilize the brig’s largest sail. None of this, of course, was known to Captain Brown and his men at the time.

    The Texians’ two boats crept up from both sides of the schooner simultaneously. The boat approaching from starboard was spotted first, and the soldiers fired off a ragged volley without hitting anything. The Texian sailors heaved at the oars, and managed to get alongside and began scrambling up the brig’s side before the Mexican soldiers could reload their muskets. At that same moment, the other Texian boat reached the port side bulwark, and after a short, sharp fight Brown’s crew had taken the ship. By this time the garrison on short was alerted to their presence, and firing at the captured brig. Brown’s crew managed to Pelicano under way using a canvas deck awning in place of the missing job, and made carefully made their way out of the harbor.

    Such a capture would do credit to any officer and ship’s crew, and exploits like Brown’s would become a staple of future novelists like Frederick Marrayat, C. S. Forester, and Patrick O’Brian. But the story of Pelicano was not done. An inspection of the brig found her to be carrying over 500 barrels of four, apples, potatoes and other stores, things that were both needed by the Texian Army, and needed to be denied to the Mexican Army. So it was, when Pelicano was grounded trying to get into Matagorda on May 18, much effort was expended to save this valuable cargo. In the process of being salvaged, one of the barrels was stove in, and found to contain a smaller keg on gunpowder hidden inside. In all, some 400 barrels of flour and 280 kegs of gunpowder were recovered and turned over to the Texian Army, prompting General Houston publicly to praise Captain Brown and the Navy in a proclamation issued from his camp on the west bank of the Brazos River on March 31, three weeks before the Battle of San Jacinto.

    This may also have been the last time Sam Houston had anything nice to say about the Texian Navy.

    We cannot say, 180 years on, what impact the powder and foodstuffs taken from Pocket and Pelicano had on the events that took place here on the third Thursday in April 1836. Did those 280 kegs of powder make a difference in the outcome of the fight that day? Did the sharp report of the Twin Sisters originate in a keg, hidden in a barrel of apples, in the hold of a merchant brig anchored in a sleepy port in the Yucatan? At this distance, we can probably never answer that question with certainty.

    But what we do know now, and what was clear to Sam Houston 180 years ago, was that the fledging Texian Navy nonetheless played a role in the initial struggle for Texian independence, and early on established a reputation for courage, resourcefulness, and daring that would continue throughout the following decade. The Texian Navy, like the new nation itself, would face darker times in the months and years ahead, the result of poor finances, political in-fighting, and in some cases, personal animosities between prominent men of the Republic. In spite of those things, though, a Texan in September 1836 could stand here, on the edge of Buffalo Bayou, and know that the Texas Navy had performed its role. Today were remember those difficult, dangerous times, and the bold and courageous men who risked their livelihoods and lives in the service of their new country.
     
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  5. TinCan

    TinCan Captain Forum Host

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    Andy,

    A couple of years ago I read where they were looking for the Zavala that was run aground at Galveston. Do you know if they found her?
     

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