Page 27 - Galveston Monthly - September 2017

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SEPTEMBER 2017 |
GALVESTON MONTHLY |
27
Orleans Parish jail, the
Austin
,
San Bernard
and
San Antonio
rendezvoused in Mobile, Alabama in early May of 1842 to
pick up supplies from the Texas Consul and to ferry Army
volunteers from Mobile to Corpus Christi. On May 26, Moore
sent Lt. Seeger and the
San Antonio
back to the Yucatán to
collect the remaining $4,000 owed by their government for
the previous cruise. After heading out into the Gulf of Mexico,
the ill-fated
San Antonio
never reached another port, and
is presumed to have been lost at sea in a hurricane off the
Mexican coast. There were no survivors.
Justice at Sea
Almost one year later, the
Austin
and
Wharton
were again in
New Orleans where they were outfitted for an engagement
against Mexican warships off the coast of Yucatán. While
in port, the Texas Navy officers arranged the transfer of the
mutineers from the Orleans Parish jail into their custody.
The ringleader, Seymour Oswald, had escaped. Private Ben
Pompilly had died in his cell, confessing to Lieutenant Fuller’s
murder on his deathbed. The rest of the prisoners were
brought aboard the flagship
Austin
. As they sailed into the
open Gulf of Mexico towards Yucatán, Commodore Moore had
a solemn bit of business to attend to before they engaged the
enemy—the punishment of the mutineers.
On April 21, 1843, Moore ordered all hands on deck to hear
the sentences of the court-martial. The officers came up first;
then the Marines filed in with their bayonets fixed. With the
sailors at their appointed stations, all stood at attention while
their captain read the Articles of War and Navy regulations
concerning mutiny, murder, and desertion. He read the
sentences of the court-martial for Shepherd, Williams, and
Barrington.
Fred Shepherd was acquitted and released for providing
evidence against the others. John Williams was sentenced to
fifty lashes with the cat o’nine tails, and was released until his
punishment would be administered. William Barrington, the
cabin steward who warned Lieutenant Fuller, was spared the
death penalty but would receive a sentence of one hundred lashes
on the following day.
The next day, all hands were called to witness Barrington’s
punishment. The boatswain gave the first blow with the cat, its
nine cords making a reddish tinge which appeared as the whip
was raised for the second stroke; the marks on the back assumed
a purple hue as the flogging continued, then blood began flowing
from the gaping wounds. The ship’s surgeon stood by with his hand
on the culprit’s wrist.
After fifty lashes, the surgeon signaled that he could bear no
more. A shirt was thrown over his back and he was led away. He
did not at any time afterwards receive the other fifty lashes of his
sentence, and the other mutineer, John Williams, did not receive
any. The commander judged that the lesson to the crew was
sufficient.
The hanging was a different story, as Moore again assembled
the men and with great care read aloud the sentences for Private
Antonio Landois, Seaman James Hudgins, Seaman Issac Allen and
Corporal William Simpson. Their sentence was death by hanging.
Moore turned to the four condemned men and gave them until
noon the next day to prepare themselves for death. The crew was
New Orleans Parish jail
Cat O’Nine Tails
The flogging of William Barrington
Past & Present
Images courtesy of James P. Bevill