Texas Navy Page: 8 of 43
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United States, and they were not disappointed. Most
of the men who died in the Alamo came to Texas
in the winter of 1835-1836. Whole companies
brought their own arms and equipment in chartered
vessels from New Orleans and Mobile. By sea Texas
grew swiftly in strength.
As for the Mexicans, President Lopez de Santa
Anna came north from Mexico City, raised an army
and took personal command of a three-pronged attack
on Texas. His columns destroyed or drove before
them virtually every vestige of the Anglo-American
civilization. By 6 March 1836, the Alamo had
fallen; a week later Goliad succumbed. The only
sizable force remaining to the Texans was the haphazardly
organized group of less than a thousand
men under Sam Houston, the new Commander-inChief.
This small army retreated steadily before
Santa Anna's troops while keeping close to the sea
and between the Mexicans and the fleeing women
and children in what Texans termed the "Runaway
Scrape." Texas appeared doomed.
However, Texas had begun to build a Navy. The
General Council of the provisional government authorized
a fleet consisting of four schooners on 24
November 1835. From this date the Navy of the
Republic of Texas may be said to exist, although
formal independence was not declared until 2 March
The first commisioned ship was the former United
States Treasury cutter Ingham, which the Texans
rechristened Independence. This small ship, only 89
feet in length, was commanded by Charles E. Hawkins,
a former U.S. midshipman. Hawkins also became
unit commander of other ships as they were
acquired. Cruising between Galveston and Tampico
during the first three months of 1836, he captured
a number of small coasters and fishing craft and
generally disrupted the vital seaborne communications
of Santa Anna's army.
About twice as large as Independence, the second
ship in this first squadron was the Brutus, commanded
by Captain W. A. Hurd, the former master
Courtesy of the University of Texas Archives.
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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/m1/8/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .