The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961

Book Reviews

Yucatan in a show-down battle. As Wells describes the action,
readers can almost smell the smoke, see the flash of guns, and hear
the whistle of round shot overhead. He adds the under-fire com-
ments and reactions of officers and men, including Moore him-
self, to lend realism. After the battle (in which the Texans came
off with the advantage), the Mexican commander limped home to
receive the Cruz de Honor. Moore, by contrast, was recalled to
Galveston in disgrace, charged with disobedience, neglect of duty,
misappropriation of funds, treason, and murder. His enemies had
finally swooped in for the kill. Only a charge of piracy, directed
against him earlier by vengeful Sam Houston, was dropped by the
time he came to trial before a court-martial.
One can almost hear Wells gnashing his teeth as he writes of
the unfair charges made against Moore, of the trial itself, and of
the high-handed manner in which trial records bypassed Congress
and fell into the hands of Sam Houston. Even when Moore was
cleared of all charges except minor counts of disobedience, and
made eligible for reinstatement to his command, Wells appears
to be as displeased as the defendant. The careful reader is inclined
to join in that displeasure.
One fact comes through clearly. If it had not been for Moore,
his often surly but always hard-fighting sailors, and his sometimes
unseaworthy ships, Texas would almost certainly have faced dis-
aster in the 184o's. Texans owe a great deal to the man who did
so much at sea to preserve the independence won on land at San
Jacinto. Just how much we owe, one can judge for himself after
reading Wells' excellent book. It should please everyone who likes
to mix 'Texas history with a rollicking good sea story-except,
perhaps, those purists who refuse to admit that Sam Houston ever
made a mistake. FRANK FIELDS
Goodbye to a River. A Narrative by John Graves. New York
(Alfred A. Knopf), 1960. Pp. 301. Illustrations, bibliography,
note on the author. $4.50.
Goodbye to a River is designated in its subtitle as a narrative
and, to quote from the author's note, "Though this is not a book
of fiction, it has some fictionizing in it. Its facts are factual and

415

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 October 30, 2014.