May 16th, 1843 -- Austin and Wharton engage the Moctezuma and the Guadaloupe
On this day in 1843, two ships of the Texas Navy--the sloop-of-war Austin and the brig Wharton--won a decisive victory in a return engagement with two Mexican ships off the coast of the Yucatán. The Austin and the Wharton chased the powerful new Mexican steam warship Moctezuma and steam frigate Guadaloupe some fourteen miles before the Austin, having sustained seventeen hits to hull and rigging, withdrew to Campeche. The Austin, commanded by Edwin Ward Moore, and the Wharton, under John T. K. Lothrop, had sailed from New Orleans in April hoping to engage the Moctezuma and to break up a rumored amphibious assault on Galveston Island. The two Texas ships had first engaged the Moctezuma and the Guadaloupe on April 30. Their second encounter, a little more than two weeks later, was a clear victory for the Texans and was immortalized in an engraving on the cylinder of the famed Colt Navy revolver.