The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980 Page: 312
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312 Southwestern Historical Quarterly
both Mexican vessels with which she is in battle on her port side. The
authors indicate that the steamer Zavala carried only five guns, yet the
print shows six gunports on the starboard side. If this large steamer
really carried only five guns she was as lightly armed as were the three
much smaller schooners. It certainly seems illogical that this should be
I find several things disappointing about the prints. Considering the
fact that the schooners San Jacinto, San Antonio, and San Bernard were
built in Baltimore at a time when that port was especially noted for
producing fast sailing schooners with extreme rake of the masts, and
assuming that the Texas navy wanted fast sailers, it is puzzling to note
in the pictures of these ships such slight rake of the masts. One print
shows the steamer Zavala and the schooner San Jacinto sailing toward
each other-both with all sails set. Unless the wind was blowing from
two different directions, the situation pictured seems improbable.
Probably the most disappointing aspect of many of the prints is the
artist's failure to show any evidence of battle scars. Although the authors
report extensive damage suffered by ships during extended bombard-
ment in two or three instances, the artist fails to show a single hole in
the sails or a single piece of damaged rigging. Including effects of battles
would have made the prints seems more realistic. "The Battle of Cam-
peche" shows Mexican vessels quite close to the Austin, but other writ-
ers report that they never came closer than i3/4 miles to the Texan
vessels during the entire battle. A comparison of the two prints por-
traying the Austin reveals several differences, ranging from shape of the
bow, to composition and angle of the bowsprit, to location and size of
the dolphin striker, to number and placement of gunports, to arrange-
ment of the standing rigging, and to presence or absence of boat davits
on the starboard quarter. With so many discrepancies involving this
one vessel, one can only wonder about the accuracy of all of the prints.
In almost every case in which sails are set on the vessels, every sail is
billowed out to the fullest extent. It is difficult to understand how the
wind can be strong enough to fill the sails like that and still leave the
sea as calm as the artist has painted it. In addition, every sail looks as
though it just came from the sailmaker's loft. Not a single one shows
signs of having been patched or repaired, though some of them obvi-
ously must have been damaged by severe weather or by previous naval
Because of the extreme brevity of the narrative portion of Ships of
the Texas Navy, the chief value of the book must lie in the illustrations.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980, periodical, 1979/1980; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101207/m1/356/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.