The Early History of Galveston. 5
Culebras, or Snake Island (Galveston). Colonel Hall was with the men at
Perry's camp, and he later described the friendly intercourse with the
Indians. On the 12th of September, 1816, after having established his camp,
Aury's government was inaugurated with great flourish. He had four hundred
men, several prizes and a number of negroes. A newspaper containing
the government orders was published by Samuel Bangs. The negroes were
confined in a stockade, and an Admiralty Court was installed on November
16, 16. Lafitte's men from Louisiana, and adventurers, now made Aury's
force -slihundred. His fifteen vessels, small craft belonging to Venezuela,
Carthagena, Grenada and La Plata, were reinforced by two privateers from
New Orleans with heavy armament. These ships swept the gulf, and brought
in so many prizes that the government was self-supporting.
Louis Aury was a Carthagenian who was enlisted by General Herrera to
help the Mexican patriots under President Morales. He was appointed
by Herrera, as stated, on September 12, 1816, military and civil governor
cf Texas and Galveston Island (called then San Luis or Culebras). The
Mexican flag was raised and Peter Rousselin was appointed minister of
November 24, 1816, Gen. Francisco Xavier Mina arrived with three hundred
men and several vessels. He was described as a swarthy giant with a
rather brutal face, but was a distinguished Spanish soldier who had fought
against Napoleon. Failing in an attempt to wrest the Floridas from Spain,
he sailed to help Aury. About this time Colonel Perry returned with a force
of one hundred men. Texas then had few Spanish camps with small garrisons.
Mina on arrival commenced to throw up a large earthwork on the
bay shore near Fourteenth Street. Aury's camp was to the east. Perry
was at Bolivar again. (Mina was -not at Bolivar, as Yoakum says.) Mina
had a new fine war brig called El Congresso Mexicano and several small
Having -received recruits from Guitierrez at Natchitoches the three commanders
sailed on April 1, 1817, with a force of nearly one thousand men,
for the port of Soto la Marina, which they took on April 6. There was a
disagreement between the commanders. The main force remained with
Mina who, fortifying the town, won a number of victories in the interior,
but was finally defeated and captured at Venadito in September and shot.
Perry, with seventy-five men and Captain Gordon, marched several hundred
leagues to Matagorda Bay; then determined to capture Bahia, the scene of a
former triumph. He had invested the town when Arredondo arrived with
heavy reinforcements completely surrounding Perry's forces. Perry blew
his brains out. iLouis Aury returned to Galveston with a few hundred men
to find Lafitte nhis former camp, having appropriated some of Aury's
huts and small boats. Several of Aury's guards entered Lafitte's service.
Aury remonstrated with Lafitte, but Lafitte, lured by Aury's success as a
privateer, refused to vacate. Lafitte had three times the force Aury had;
so Aury, after sending an appeal to Herrera denouncing Lafitte, sailed away
again, making a second attempt to wrest Florida from Spain, joining Sir
Gregory McGregor. He finally married a rich widow in New Orleans and
removed to Havana and was still alive in 1845. Two letters, it is claimed,
are in existence written by Commodore Aury. One written on July 21.
Dyer, Joseph O. The early history of Galveston, by Dr. J. O. Dyer. Galveston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24651/. Accessed March 5, 2015.