August 27, 1845 Article 1



Latest from Texas


The steamer Undine arrived here yesterday morning, bringing us Galveston papers to the 23rd inst.  The following communication from Capt. Grice embraces the latest news from Corpus Christi, with a narration of anything of interest which occurred on the voyage.  It will be seen that up to the time when the Undine left Corpus Christi there was nothing there of war but the rumors.


                                                          On Board Steamer Undine

                                            Ascending Mississippi River, Aug. 26, 1845.



We left Corpus Christi on the 18th inst.  All is quiet at the United States encampment.  Gen. Taylor had succeeded in removing all the troops of the 3d and 4th regiments of Infantry and a large proportion of the public stores to Corpus Christi, where his head-quarters are at present established.  A breastwork of earth had been thrown up and nearly completed.  A few pieces of ordnance, procured in the town, were brought into requisition.  No certain information concerning the advance of the Mexicans had been received; but it was rumored that Arista was assembling a large force at Matamoros and along the Rio Grande.  The U. S. Dragoons, under command of Col. Twiggs, had crossed the Colorado, and were on their march to Corpus Christi – all well.  A company of Mexican traders were expected in the next day.  The location of the encampment is salubrious and pleasant, being immediately upon the beach of the bay, and open to the sea breeze.  The health of the camp was good.


We left Aransas Bay at 6 o’clock, on the evening of the 21st.  The schooner Florida, with coal, &c., from New Orleans, had just arrived; schooner Rosella, Shipman was preparing for sea, to leave in a few days; steamer Monmouth repairing at St. Joseph’s Island.  The wreck of the schooner Swallow, on Aransas bar, had been stripped of her masts, sails, rigging, &c., and some of her cargo saved.  A sale was to take place on the 22d inst.


We arrived at Galveston on the 23d inst., replenished wood and water, and left at noon on the 24th.  The steamship John S. McKim was in port, and advertised to leave at 8 o’clock that afternoon.  The ship Constellation, Capt. Jackson, and the brig Reaper, Capt. Bretton, were also in port – the former loading for Genoa to sail in five days.


At 5 o’clock in the afternoon of the 24th inst., when about forty-five miles east of Galveston, we experienced a very heavy squall of wind and rain from the south-east, accompanied by vivid flashes of lightning and a constant roar of thunder, which continued for the space of fifty minutes.  This was followed by a dismal night and a heavy sea; however, we received no injury.


On the morning of the 28th, at 10 o’clock, we passed the S. W. Pass of Vermilion Bay.  We saw a steamer at anchor near the light-house, which was supposed to be the White Wing, bound for Aransas, although no smoke nor signs of moving were discernible.


Nothing off the S. W. Pass of the Mississippi river bound in.




The latest news which we see from Austin is to the 13th inst.  The Convention was still in session, but it was anticipated that their labors would close on the 23d inst., Saturday last.


The Houston Telegraph of the 20th contains the letter of E. Allen, acting Secretary of State, to the Hon. Ashbel Smith, informing him of the rejection by the Senate of the preliminary propositions to negotiate a treaty with Mexico on the basis of the separate independence of the Republic, and telling him, that under such circumstances it is unnecessary for him any longer to continue to discharge the duties of minister to the European Governments.  Why, we thought that Ashbel Smith had told the editors of the New York Journal of Commerce that the purpose of his very hasty, but very mysterious, visit to England was — not to carry on or keep open diplomatic relations, but to close them in a becoming manner; although it now appears he was “driving away,” or, in the more polished Houstonic phrase, coquetting with those European Governments until advised by his locum tenens that he might come home, as all future labor to defeat Annexation would be but labor in vain.


News of the arrival of the Dragoons, under the command of Col. Twiggs, at San Antonio, had reached Galveston.  They performed their march at the rate of twenty miles per day, and with very little sickness among their number – 450.  They are expected to join the army at Corpus Christi under Gen. Taylor.


A committee of the Convention, to whom the subject was referred, state that the expenses of the new State Government for the first year will be $44,500.  They estimate the next revenue for a year at $47, 492.25; and by raising the tax on land, which they suggest, from one-tenth of one per cent to one-fifth of one per cent, thus equalizing it with the specific tax, they estimate that the yearly revenue will be $65,492.52.


The idea of annulling the present Constitution, and of forming a Provisional Government until Texas assumes its position as a State of the Union, which was bruited by many, has not been entertained by the Convention; nor do we hear anything of the formation of the territory into two States, about which some of our Northern contemporaries seemed to be so very much troubled.




                                                                A Squall in the Gulf

                                                    Stramer Undine, August 26, 1845.


Messrs. Editors. – Having travelled but little along our western coast, I had no conception of the rapidity with which a squall rises in the Gulf of Mexico, until late experience taught me something of its terrors.


One the 23d inst., at 12 o’clock, M., I took passage at Galveston on board of the steamer Undine, Captain Grice, bound to this port; and after the vessel proceeded over the bar, a dead calm prevailed over the surface of the “deep blue sea,” and the appearance of the heavens seemed to promise a pleasant evening; but at about 5 o’clock, P. M., “a long, low, black” cloud was seen in the south-east, and in less than thirty minutes we experienced the full force and fury of a squall of wind and rain, rather exceeding in violence and blow I had ever before encountered “out o’ sight of land.”  The sea did not run mountains high, but the “floodgates of heaven” appeared to have opened, and driven by vivid shafts of electricity upon us, the rain fell in torrents!  The roar of the thunder was long and continuous, and the lightning appeared to strike the water all around the steamer, as if to summon the spirits of the deep to the assistance of “Undine.”  Whether they made their appearance or not I could not say, as the moment was to me too auful for making discoveries; one fact, however, is very certain – Undine performed her part most admirably.  Capt. Grice instructed his engineer to let on an extra supply of steam, and by keeping her head to windward she weathered the gale without receiving the slightest damage.


I had never before experienced a blow at sea on board of a steamer, but if I should ever be caught in one, I hope the vessel will prove herself as graceful a sea boat, and be as well managed, as was the Undine on this occasion.


Yours, &c,                                          S.


Source: The Daily Picayune, August 27, 1845, p. 2, col. 4.



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