Texas Navy Page: 12 of 43
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stop was Mujeres Island, off Yucatan, which they
claimed for Texas. During the process, the Texans
stocked up on the abundant supply of turtles and
departed without paying for them. Continuing up
the Yucatan coast, the expedition boarded ships and
landed shore parties until finally they were attacked
by a cavalry force and driven back to their ships.
The Texans burned two villages in reprisal, then
tried to force Campeche to pay $25,000 in tribute.
However, the city was surrounded by heavy stone
walls and was well fortified. After an inconclusive
three-hour exchange of gunfire, the two ships
At sea the Texans met with more success-and
diplomatic difficulty. They not only captured the
small Mexican vessels Union, Telegrafo, Adventure,
Rafaelita, and Correo de Tabasco, but also seized
the British merchantman Eliza Russell. The latter
action precipitated a serious diplomatic strain with
Sailing some of the Mexican vessels with prize
crews and scuttling or burning the rest, Invincible
and Brutus headed back for the Texas coast. They
succeeded in evading a superior Mexican squadron
off the coast until 27 August. Then the Mexican brigs
Iturbide and Libertador sighted Brutus as she was
entering Galveston Harbor, and Invincible anchored
off shore awaiting high tide to go in. Although the
exact characteristics of the Mexican vessels remain
unknown, Libertador was said to have
mounted sixteen 18-pounders. In any case, they
were considerably larger and greatly out-gunned the
Texans. Invincible ran aground in the poorly charted
channel into Galveston, and Brutus beached inside
the harbor while trying to come to her aid. Both
later broke up in storms. The last two ships of the
early Texas Navy were gone.
Nevertheless, their cruise was a strategic success
because it had drawn Mexican blockaders away
from the Texas coast for several vital weeks while
Wreck of Invincible by E. M. Schiwetz
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U.S. Navy Department. Naval History Division. Texas Navy, book, January 1, 1968; Washington D.C.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2419/m1/12/: accessed October 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .