On Tuesday I had the privilege of speaking to the Lone Star Chapter No. 58 of the Sons of the Republic of Texas in Conroe, on “Liberty and Pelícano: A Story of the Texian Navy.” It’s an amazing story, how the fledgling Texas Navy pulled off the capture of a Mexican schooner anchored in a small port on the Yucatán coast, hundreds of miles from Texas. And the story of what became of Pelícano‘s cargo later is even more remarkable.
The attack gets underway:
The first boat, under the command of First Lieutenant Hartwell Walker, was about 100 yards off Pelícano’s starboard side when it was spotted by the soldiers on board the schooner. They rushed to the rail, and let off a volley of musket fire at Walker’s boat. All the shots missed, and the crewmen bent to the oars to get alongside as quickly as they could. Hartwell and his crew scrambled up over the rail before the Mexican soldiers could reload and get off another volley, and began hacking and slashing their way across the deck. Just at that moment, the second boat, commanded by Sailing Master Oliver Mayo, thumped against the port side of the schooner.
It’s a great story, like something out of Forester or O’Brian.