Commodore Moore and the Texas Navy. By Tom Henderson
Wells. Austin (University of Texas Press), 1960. Pp. 20o3.
The British Navy had its Nelson; the United States Navy had
its John Paul Jones; the second Texas Navy, during the perilous
years of the Republic, had its Edwin Ward Moore.
History has taken care of the fame of the first two; it has not
been so kind to the third. Few are the Texans who ever heard of
the Texas Navy, much less of Commodore Moore. In his new
book, Commander Wells dedicates himself to the task of bridging
that lamentable gap in our Texas heritage.
It is easy to see why the subject should appeal to Wells. As a
Texan, an Annapolis man, and a fighting officer on fighting ships
in the South Pacific and off Korea, he is a technically competent
and brilliantly vocal champion of the gallant Moore. Moore, too,
had served in the United States Navy before coming to Texas, and
had languished long in the rank of Lieutenant. It was impatience
to advance, as well as a thirst for action and adventure, that led
Moore to accept the Texas command. Few naval officers get the
chance to jump from Lieutenant to Commodore by changing
From the beginning, Wells leaves no doubt as to where his
allegiance lies. He is a Moore man, all the way, and his book is
focused on Moore rather than on the Navy. Rushing to his hero's
side as if to help him repel boarders, Wells skilfully weaves several
wars into the single tapestry of his narrative. There is naval war
with Mexico. There is the bitter and unrelenting feud between
Moore and Sam Houston (" ... that master of chicanery .. ").
There is the day-to-day war Moore wages on short funds and
shorter supplies. And there is a personal vendetta declared by the
author against all who frustrate Moore and block his wishes.
Under Wells' competent authorship, all these wars make good
reading. He has done his research work carefully, but does not
bog down in needless detail. He writes vigorously, with sympathy
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101190/. Accessed March 13, 2014.