The Trial of Edwin W. Moore
On June 25, after waiting for a new supply of gunpowder to be delivered from New Orleans, Moore slowly began to make his way home, stopping along the way to receive both accolades and payment from the people of Yucatán. He finally arrived home in Galveston on July 14, where he received a hero's welcome. Moore had defended Texas from a possible disaster, and the people loved him. Sam Houston was burned in effigy at the celebration. But Moore couldn't enjoy the party. Once a friendly and outgoing man, he was now exhausted and consumed with bitterness.
Detail from Republic of Texas currency (1840 $50 serial)
Prints and Photographs Collection,
Texas State Library and Archives Commission. #1989/84-16.
Houston was unmoved by the outpouring of public support. The seamen were let go, Morgan was fired as commissioner, and Commodore Moore was immediately served with a dishonorable discharge from the Texas Navy. The letter repeated the charges of disobedience and piracy and added a charge of murder for the execution of the San Antonio mutineers. In addition to Moore, dishonorable discharges were handed out to Commander John Lothrop, commander of the Wharton, and one of Moore's lieutenants, C.B. Snow, who was charged with taking small arms from the wrecked San Bernard in Galveston and delivering them to Moore in New Orleans.
Moore demanded that he, Lothrop, and Snow be given a chance to face their accusers in a court, but no trial was forthcoming. A Congressional investigation cleared Moore of all charges and ordered that such a trial be held. All but three naval officers had resigned in protest of Moore's treatment. Since no body of naval officers existed to hear the case, the court consisted of army officers, headed up by Major General Sidney Sherman. The trial began on August 21, 1844, with Moore up on charges of willful neglect of duty; misapplication of money, embezzlement of public property, and fraud; disobedience to orders; contempt and defiance of the laws and authority of the country; treason; and murder.
The court quickly acquitted Snow and dropped the charges against Lothrop, who died a few days later in a yellow fever epidemic that was consuming Galveston. The trial of Edwin Moore lasted seventy-two days. In the end, the court convicted Moore on four minor counts of disobedience. Houston, along with the rest of Texas, considered the verdict a complete victory for Moore; he vetoed the findings of the court.
To the People of Texas
On September 21, 1843, Edwin W. Moore published a 200-page pamphlet entitled To the People of Texas. Moore's book transcribes almost every important official document pertaining to the Texas Navy between September 1841 and July 1843. Moore's purpose in publishing To the People was to persuade the public, and the Texas Congress, to investigate his firing. It worked; a Congressional investigation found that Moore, along with Lothrop and Snow, had been illegally dismissed and deserved a court-martial in which they could confront the charges against them.