Texas Navy Page: 19 of 43
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novation of the period. The other steamer was
Moctezuma (or Montezuma). Built of wood, she
was a larger ship of 1,111 tons and 204 feet in
length. She had engines of 280 horsepower. In addition
to two 68-pounder Paixhans, Moctezuma
mounted six 42-pounder guns, all much larger and
of longer range than the weapons of the Texans.
Most of the officers and many of the crew were
British; Guadalupe's captain was a commander in
the Royal Navy on leave, the captain of Moctezuma
had resigned from the British Navy to take
command. However, the sailing of these two ships
was delayed by the same type of resourceful diplomacy
which was later used against Confederate
vessels in England during the Civil War. Guadalupe
and Moctezuma were not actually delivered
to Mexico until the winter of 1842.
The Texans followed the Mexican example and
copied the Paixhans shells for use in their own
18-pounders. This new kind of shell, invented by
a French Army officer, contributed importantly to
a revolution in naval construction and warfare by
forcing the installation of armor. The solid shot
used heretofore would drive holes in a ship's sides;
Paixhans shells, exploding within a ship, could be
more destructive. They had been fired in tests but
had not been used in action between ships; thus,
naval experts in Europe and the United States observed
the coming conflict with great curiosity.
Meanwhile, for various reasons-including the
bitter Moore-Houston feud-the Texas Navy declined
while that of the Mexicans improved. By
the autumn of 1842, Texas had only two shipsAustin
and Wharton-capable of going to sea, and
they were in New Orleans almost destitute of men
and in grave disrepair.
The revitalized Mexican Army and Navy vigorously
undertook the task of reconquering the wayward
provinces. British and American observers,
as well as Texans and Mexicans, reported in their
correspondence that Yucatan would be subjugated
by the spring of 1843 and Texas would swiftly
follow. As reports reached New Orleans, Moore,
still commanding the Texas Navy, resolved to go
to Yucatan's aid rather than do nothing and leave
Texas to fight alone later on. While President
Houston publicly agreed with this strategic decision,
he privately acted on the premise that Texas
Here’s what’s next.
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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/m1/19/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .