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[The Broad Pennant -- Naval Service in the Mexican War] Introduction
[Alvarado] Alvarado
[Court Martial] Court Martial
of Lt. Hunter
[Tabasco] Tabasco
[Tuxpan] Tuxpan
[Vera Cruz] Vera
[Buena Vista] Buena
[Return to Main Menu] Main
[Mexican War Service of the United States Navy]


While the American Army was at rest for a moment at Vera Cruz, preparatory to its movement towards the capital of Mexico, Commodore Perry and General Scott together arranged an expedition against Alvarado, which was to be conducted by a simultaneous attack by sea and land. The land force, 2000 strong, under General Quitman was to move by the road leading from Vera Cruz to Alvarado, and arrive at about the same time that the squadron would appear off the mouth of the river. General Quitman's force accordingly took up its line of March for Alvarado; and Commodore Perry moved his squadron, consisting of the:

Steamer Mississippi, now the Flag Ship
Frigate Potomac
Steamer Vixen
Steamer Spitfire
Sloop Germantown
Sloop St. Mary's
Sloop Albany
Brig Porpoise
Schooner Reefer
Schooner Petrel
Schooner Bonito
Schooner Tampico
Schooner Falcon

With this force an attack was to be made, simultaneously, by land and sea, on Alvarado -- a place famous for having twice disconcerted the Gulf Squadron, or caused it, ingloriously, as I had deemed it, to retire from before its forts. The responsibility of that retrograde movement has elsewhere been disposed of. It certainly rested not on the subordinate officers of the squadron. Just at the time this third expedition against Alvarado was perfected, a little steamer mounting three guns, and commanded by Lt. C. G. Hunter, appeared off Vera Cruz. It was on the day of the surrender of the City and the Castle of San Juan de Ulloa to the American forces. The Lieutenant commanding reported to Commodore Perry; and received from him orders to proceed down the Coast -- to report to Capt. Samuel L. Breese -- and to blockade the river Alvarado. Off went the little steamer with its small complement of officers and men, rather sad that they had arrived at Sacrificios a few days too late to be sharers in the honors of the bombardment and capture of Vera Cruz and her Castle.

What were the purposes of the Lieutenant commanding in view of his mal-apropos time of arrival, the writer knows not. But the action of his little command a few days after, before Alvarado, has certainly made the capture of that place, the standing joke of the war. And though the Lieutenant seemed to incur the responsibility of disobedience to orders, the odium of a court martial -- and certain displeasure in certain quarters -- yet it would seem equally to appear that his countrymen have sustained him in his action, and his government at home, informally, have approved his course by giving him a new command! But the serio-comical farce --(perhaps it should be called without ironing, THE DASHING AND GALLANT MOVE of the Lieutenant commanding the Scourge) -- no doubt surprised the Commander-in-Chief of the Home Squadron and General Quitman of the sure forces, as much as it did the newspaper readers at the North.

The Broad Pennant.  A Cruise in the United States Flag Ship of the Gulf Squadron, During the Mexican Difficulties Together With Sketches of the Mexican War. Rev. Fitch W. Taylor, A. M., USN.    Leavitt, Tron & Co., New York.  1848.

Introduction | Alvarado | Lt. Hunter | Tabasco | Tuxpan | Siege of Vera Cruz | Return to Main Menu

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