Texas Maritime Museum

The Battle of Campeche

Maritime History, Texas Navy

The Battle of Campeche Bay Featured The Sloop Austin

The Battle of Campeche

The Battle of Campeche Bay was fought by the Texas Navy ships the Austin and the brig Wharton.

On April 30, 1843, on a cruise off of the Yucatan, the Austin and Wharton intercepted the Mexican vessels the Moctezuma, the steam frigate Guadaloupe, two brigs, and two schooners and attacked. Although overwhelmingly the stronger, the Mexican fleet withdrew, and a running fight ensued for about two hours. The commander of the Montezuma and twenty of his crew were killed and the siege of Campeche was raised as a result of the action.

Although the Austin and Wharton succeeded in temporarily driving the Mexican fleet from Yucatan waters, the Wharton was damaged by a sixty-eight-pound shot. Additionally, during the fighting when one of her own guns exploded she lost two men and had four wounded.

In a return engagement with the Mexican fleet on May 16, 1843, the Austin and the Wharton pursued and engaged the Moctezuma and the Guadaloupe for fourteen miles. While not a decisive victory, the Mexican fleet suffered the most damage and loss of life.

This battle was later the subject of the engraving on the famed Colt Navy revolver. The battle scene was memorialized by Samuel Colt in an engraving on the cylinder of the famed 1851 and 1861 Colt Navy Revolvers and the Colt 1860 Army Revolver. This was an expression of gratitude to Commodore Moore who in 1837 had purchased Colt Paterson Revolvers for the Republic of Texas Navy.

Visit the Texas Maritime Museum to view our Texas Navy Exhibit and examine this model of the Austin.

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Battle of Campeche, Maritime History, Texas Navy

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