Friday, June 3, 2016

The Zavala: a Republic of Texas Warship

     The Navy of the Republic of Texas consisted of several vessels, one of which was the first steamboat fitted out as a warship in North America.   A used merchant steamboat was purchased in Charleston in 1838, fitted out in New York with six cannons, and sent to Texas.  Powder for the cannons was obtained from the DuPont Company in Delaware.  The ship was renamed the Zavala after Tejano patriot and first Vice President of Texas, Lorenzo de Zavala.  Lack of money kept the ship and its crew in a constant state of turmoil; on one journey across the Gulf, floorboards and furniture had to be burned in the boilers because the coal supply ran out and no more could be afforded.   The ship was used for a while to tow sailboats to Galveston docks, then went to assist the rebel state of Yucatan in its bid for independence from Mexico.  It never fired a shot in any military engagement.
     The ship was tied up to a dock in Galveston in 1843, stripped of anything that could be sold, and left to rot and sink into the mud.  Its remains were discovered in 1987.  Click on the following link to read the fascinating story of the Zavala.

The Zavala

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