Page 28 - Galveston Monthly - September 2017

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28 |
GALVESTON MONTHLY |
SEPTEMBER 2017
Mutineers hanging from the yardarm of the ship
The Texas Navy Association (TNA), a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of the Texas Navy (1836-1846),
had various events planned in Galveston celebrating Texian Navy Day during September. In light of the effects of Hurricane Harvey,
the leadership team of the TNA and the hosting Hawkins Squadron in Galveston decided to cancel all Texian Navy Days events in
Galveston scheduled for September 15-17, 2017, to be rescheduled at a later date to be announced.
piped down, and the four mutineers were locked in irons below
the ship.
On the morning of April 26, the flagship furled its sails and
anchored in a light sea. The officers, wearing their sidearms,
took their places on deck, as did the Marines. The Texas colors
were hoisted and the prisoners were brought forward.
Four ropes were suspended from the foreyard of the ship. Not
one man on board had volunteered to make a hangman’s
noose, until Lt. Alfred Gray finally complied. A Marine
detachment escorted the condemned men forward. Each
man had a noose placed around his neck.
Until this time, the men had somewhat believed that
they would be pardoned and did not show any fear. But
now, the truth flashed upon them and they knew they had
to pay the penalty for their crimes. They commenced to
pray eagerly and piteously for a pardon. A shot from the
ship’s bow gun commenced their march to death.
The four culprits were raised to the yardarm, and their
necks must have snapped in their descent for they neither
struggled nor made the slightest motion. The four bodies
were left hanging for an hour, then the corpses were
lowered and given over for burial at sea. An hour later,
all hands were again called on deck to bury the dead
mutineers. Prayers were said over each of the dead men
as their bodies were committed to the ocean.
The sentence was severe, even by 19
th
century naval
standards, but it was considered by most of the witness to
be necessary. Moore, as the officer in command, was bound by
his oath and the laws of his country to see them executed. It was
the first time in his life that he had to administer the ultimate
punishment to mutineers and it would also be his last.
Ironically, the three mutineers which were spared the death
penalty actually escaped death twice, as their stint in jail
prevented them from boarding the ill-fated
San Antonio
before it
was lost at sea.
In Celebration of Texan Navian Day
gm
Past & Present