The Texas NavyCharges Against Commodore Hawkins, circa April-June, 1836

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Jeremiah Brown (?-?) &  William S. Brown (?-1838)

William S. Brown and his brother, Jeremiah, were captains of the Liberty and the Invincible, respectively. Brown captured the Mexican trading vessel Pelicano on March 3, 1836, but resigned just nine days later because of a quarrel with Commodore Charles Hawkins, as related in this letter.

That same day, Jeremiah Brown was placed in irons by Commodore Hawkins; later, however, Hawkins released him. Under Jeremiah's command, the Invincible engaged and destroyed the Mexican brig-of-war Bravo and captured the American brig Pocket and its full cargo of supplies intended for the Mexican army.

Later, the Invincible was charged with returning General Santa Anna to Mexico after his release as a Texas prisoner of war. However, Texas volunteers prevented the sailing from taking place. Jeremiah Brown and his ship spent the summer of 1836 cruising Mexican waters, where they defended the Brutus in a scrape with the Vencedor del Álamo and blockaded Veracruz for several days.

Meanwhile, William S. Brown returned to command. He was placed in charge of two captured Mexican vessels, the Comanche and the Fanny Butler. Later named captain of the privateer Benjamin R. Milam, he died before the ship was ready for service.

Jeremiah Brown took the Invincible to New York for repairs but was relieved of duty upon his return to Texas in March 1837. His ultimate fate is unknown.

William S. Brown, complaint against Commodore Hawkins, 1836Charges against Commodore Hawkins of the Texan Navy

  Charge 1st Ungentlemanly and tyrannical treatment of my-
self and crew while in Galveston Bay as private
individual, my crew looking up to me for protection.

              Having tendered my resignation on the day previous
which was granted.

  Charge 2nd Ordering my crew on shore from the
Flora, and placing a pistol to my head and
saying, that he would blow my brains out if I
should say one word to him, taking me at
same time on board his vessel a prisoner.

  3rd Forbidding me to speak to any one on board
or any one to speak to me, on pain of being put in
irons. Several friends came on board to see
me and I was forbidden intercourse with
them. One of my crew asking me if I would
avail myself of the use of a blanket—both
were immediately ordered in irons, in which sit-
tuation I remained until next morning, when I
was released by the Sec of the Navy.

  4th When on my return on board the Flora I
found many of my personal goods misplaced and
lost, my crew on shore stating to me that they
had been refused any assistance whatsoever &
most of them objected to join the regular army find-
ing no other way to procure __ [?] support.

  5th The Carpenter of the Liberty was refused his tool
chest from on board the Durango, on which
vessel it was placed. Captn Hawkins forbidding
any thing  to be removed, a guard being placed
on the Durango.

  6th Paying Scott $100 for a trip from Matagorda
he Scott being a passenger from ___ [?] place to Galveston.

  W.H. Brown

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Page last modified: June 25, 2019