While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Thomas W. Cutrer

SAN ANTONIO. The schooner of war San Antonio was built in Baltimore by Schott and Whitney and commissioned into the Texas Navy on August 7, 1839. She sailed for a time under the name Asp and was a sister ship of the San Jacinto and the San Bernard. The San Antonio measured sixty-six feet in length and twenty-one feet across the beam and had a draft of 21½ feet. She displaced 170 tons of water. The schooner carried a complement of thirteen officers and sixty-nine sailors and marines and was armed with four twelve-pound medium cannons and one twelve-pound long-range pivot cannon. The San Antonio was commanded from November 1839 through January 1840 by Lt. Francis B. Wright. Lt. J. O'Shaunessy held temporary command in February but was superceded by Lt. Alexander Moore, who served as captain until June 1841, when Lt. William Seeger took command. The San Antonio joined Commodore Edwin W. Moore's fleet at the Arcas Islands off the coast of Yucatán in late August or early September 1840 and spent the next two months cruising off the Mexican coast. At the end of October she returned to her home port, Galveston, bearing home James Treat, the Texas diplomatic agent in Mexico, after a failed attempt to gain recognition for the Republic of Texas. Thereafter the San Antonio was kept on patrol in Texas waters conducting surveying and cartographic operations and suppressing smuggling.

On December 13, 1841, she sailed once more for the Bay of Campeche to cooperate with the rebellious Mexican state of Yucatán. The San Antonio, with the San Bernard and Moore's flagship Austin, reached Sisal on January 6, 1842, but on January 31 she was returned to Galveston with dispatches from Moore, while the remaining two Texas ships cruised the Mexican coast in search of prizes. Secretary of war and marine George Washington Hockley sent orders to Moore by way of the San Antonio to return to port immediately, but the schooner was to call first at New Orleans to land the survivors of a shipwreck and to procure supplies for the fleet. While riding at anchor in the Mississippi River on February 11, 1842, the San Antonio hosted the first and only mutiny of the Texas Navy. While the ship's high-ranking officers were ashore, the sailors and marines were confined to quarters for fear of desertion. After drinking a quantity of liquor smuggled aboard by local boatmen, marine sergeant Seymour Oswald demanded shore leave of the lieutenant of the watch. When denied, Oswald became quarrelsome, and Lt. Charles Fuller called out the guard, of which Oswald was the commander. Oswald issued arms to his companions in rebellion and then struck Fuller in the head with a hatchet. Fuller responded with his Colt revolver. In the ensuing melee Fuller was killed, two midshipmen were seriously injured, and a second lieutenant was knocked below decks and there confined. Oswald and his fellow mutineers were quickly apprehended by the United States revenue cutter Jackson, but only two were returned to their ship; the remaining eight were held in the local jail, and attempts at extradition failed.

From New Orleans the San Antonio ran down to the Arcas Islands and from there to Sisal. Moore then detached her to Laguna to pick up Francis R. Lubbock, a survivor of Governor Mirabeau B. Lamar's Texan Santa Fe expedition, who had escaped his captors and made his way to Yucatán. The ship then rejoined the fleet at New Orleans on July 1. Moore dispatched the schooner to Yucatán on or about October 1 by way of Galveston and Matagorda to attempt to raise funds for the fast-failing Texas fleet. She never reached Campeche, however, but was lost at sea. Although the state of Louisiana refused to return some of the mutineers who had killed Lieutenant Fuller the previous February, and although many witnesses had gone down with their ship in September, Commodore Moore tried those hands in Texas who were aboard his flagship in April 1843. One man was sentenced to fifty lashes with the cat o' nine tails and two more to 100 each. Four others were sentenced to death and were hanged from the yardarm of the Austin on April 26. Sergeant Oswald escaped jail in New Orleans and was never brought to justice. Frederick Shepard, a mutineer who saved his life by testifying against his fellows, was killed in action three weeks later in a battle off Campeche.

Alex Dienst, "The Navy of the Republic of Texas," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 12–13 (January-October 1909; rpt., Fort Collins, Colorado: Old Army Press, 1987). C. L. Douglas, Thunder on the Gulf: The Story of the Texas Navy (Dallas: Turner, 1936; rpt., Fort Collins, Colorado: Old Army Press, 1973). Jim Dan Hill, The Texas Navy in Forgotten Battles and Shirtsleeve Diplomacy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1937; rpt., Austin: State House, 1987). Tom Henderson Wells, Commodore Moore and the Texas Navy (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1960).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Thomas W. Cutrer, "SAN ANTONIO," accessed August 09, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qts01.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...