Notes and Documents
Mexican Gen. Waul" had entered San Antonio, and took the Court
then in session, as well as prominent American (Texas) citizens pris-
oners, and took them off towards the Rio Grande.
At New Orleans the steamer took on board lots of old muskets,
probably bought from the United States, and also ammunition on
board for the use of the Texans.
I saw the Mexican Consul watch from morning till dusk to note
what quantity was shipped, probably to report to his Government.
I also noticed on board the steamer, a certificate, that the boilers
were made of cooper and sound, but it was also rumored that the
hull of the vessel was not sound, and that was the last time that the
Marine Insurance Co. would take risks on it.
Well, we started off one eve in good spirits and full of joyous hopes.
Midway between New Orleans and the Balize we run aground, having
no pilot. After some hours detention we got afloat again, without any
apparent mishap, but about 12 hours afterwards we found the ship
badly leaking. Steam and hand pumps were called into requisition,
also all passengers to bail out water with buckets, but all of no avail;
the vessel was about to sink, water put out the fire of the furnace.
We had two captains on board, one the commander, the other a pas-
senger, and I watched them; they looked very pale; then I suppose I
looked paler, for then I surmised great danger. Having been myself
several times at sea before I was not so easily frightened.
The bar room of the steamer was open free of access to all, but
even the hired hands on board who generally love liquor well, would
not taste or handle-I thought then the thing is about up with us all.
The captain finding it impossible to save the steamer, attempted
to strand it, and he succeded. We ran ashore near Last Island.
It was a dark night, but few stars could be seen, no land visible
when we run fast, but the ship bell tolled by the rocking of the
sinking vessel, sounded to us all as a funeral knell. We had even not
a gale. After the vessel struck fast, I saw one of the ship's frail boats
launched, and broke to pieces against the side of the vessel. I do not
know the fate of its inmates, for it was too dark to recognize features;
perhaps they clambered up on the sides of the wreck.
Soon after the vessel struck, the steamer broke in twain, next the
cabin, which in Texas steamers is above the deck, broke into pieces,
the berths washed out, and some twenty-five of us unfortunates clung
to the roof of the cabin, which was only held together by the oiled
canvass nailed to it to keep rain and sea water out of it. There were
twenty-five of us, on hands and knees holding on as best as we could
5Adrian Woll, a French soldier of fortune, commanded the Mexican army which
captured San Antonio for a short time in September, 1842. Joseph Milton Nance,
"Adrian Woll: Frenchman in the Mexican Military Service," New Mexico Historical
Review, XXXIII, 177-186.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed May 21, 2013.