Last May, I received an email from Admiral Bill Rouse of the Texas Navy asking if he could nominate me to the governor’s office to receive an Admiral’s commission. What? I had heard of the Texas Army (even put together a story on them back in the day), but not the Texas Navy. Turns out, that is part of the reason the current Texas Navy exists -- to remember the ones from the past.
The first Texas Navy came about in 1835-36 as Texas declared independence. The ensuing fight against Mexico made clear the need to fight on the Gulf waters, and through a lot of wheeling and dealing, four ships became the Texas Navy with the mission of thwarting Mexican shipping vessels and keeping supply lines from New Orleans open. The efforts worked and, in addition to a lot of other acts, the Invincible crew prevented Santa Anna from receiving supplies and troops, thus ensuring the Texas victory at San Jacinto. A terrific article is here from the Houston Chronicle.
So the first Navy went away after the war officially ended, but Texas Independence was slow to be recognized and a second Texas Navy formed in 1840 to continue the fight against aggression on the high seas! This Second Navy had seven ships under the command of Mirabeau Lamar. Against the wishes of Sam Houston, Lamar sought and found victory in Campeche, returning to cheering Texans on Galveston’s shore. But by 1845, that Texas Navy lost support and the US Navy would absorb it when Texas officially became a state in 1846.
Today’s Texas Navy
The mission of the current Texas Navy, brought back by governor proclamation in 1958, is to preserve and promote an appreciation of the historic character and heroic acts of the Texas Navy, to promote travel by visitors to historical sites and areas in which the Texas Navy operated, to conduct in the broadest sense a public relations campaign to create a responsible and accurate image of Texas and encourage Texas communities, organizations and individuals, as well as governmental entities, to participate with actions and money in pursuit of these objectives. There is also the mission of finding the sunken Invincible off Galveston’s East End. You can read all about the Texas Navy right here. We would love to have your support!
I’m honored to be welcomed by this group and encourage all of us to remember those who went before us. I’ll receive my commission tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. aboard the tall ship Elissa!
Have a sail of a weekend!