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New book revisits feud between Sam Houston and Edwin Moore

A war of charges, insults and invitations to duel hurt the reputations of both Texas patriots

July 8, 2011

Commodore Edwin Ward Moore, wearing the uniform of a Texas Navy post captain. Courtesy of the National Archives and Record Administration.
Commodore Edwin Ward Moore, wearing the uniform of a Texas Navy post captain.
A bitter feud between Texas Revolutionary War heroes Sam Houston and Edwin Ward Moore is revisited in a new book published by SMU's Clements Center for Southwest Studies and the DeGolyer Library at SMU as part of their Library of Texas Series.

Within four years of assuming his post, Moore — the Texas Republic's greatest naval commander — became the mortal enemy of Houston, its greatest army commander. The hatred that burned between them would fuel a fifteen-year war of charges, insults, and invitations to duel that would corrupt the reputations of both Texas patriots before the U.S. Senate, the Texas Congress and the peoples of two republics.

In an effort to regain his reputation among the Lone Star State's populace, Moore published and distributed To the People of Texas: An Appeal in Vindication of His Conduct of the Navy. Among the rarest Texas imprints — only a handful are known in institutional collections — this reprint of Commodore Moore's manifesto has great historical value for those interested in the state's colorful past. 

The volume was edited by Jonathan W. Jordan, who will visit SMU on October 20 to give a lecture and sign books. He is also the author of the New York Times bestseller Brothers, Rivals, Victors: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley and the Partnership that Drove the Allied Conquest in Europe (NAL Caliber 2011) and the award-winning book Lone Star Navy: Texas, the Fight for the Gulf of Mexico, and the Shaping of the American West (Potomac Books 2007).

Texas President Sam Houston, circa 1844. Courtesy of the Texas State Library and Archives.
Texas President Sam Houston, circa 1844.
In the introduction, Jordan writes, "How did it come to this? Indeed, why would Commodore Moore, hailed as the savior of Texas — the republic's own John Paul Jones — require a 204-page 'vindication' of his conduct? Judged from the words and deeds of the antagonists, the acrimony appears to have been a hybrid flower born of three toxic seeds: a divergence over what Texas should become; differences in strategy; and the age-old reality that army generals do not always grasp the best uses of naval power."

The Library of Texas is a series of new editions of important firsthand accounts of nineteenth-century Texas, initiated to fill a need for well-indexed and high quality editions of classic books.  With full introductions written by noted scholars, the books are produced to high typographic standards, are uniform in size, yet distinctive in design, printed on acid-free paper and bound in attractive, enduring materials. 

To the People of Texas can only be purchased through Degolyer Library. Contact Pamalla Anderson at andersonp@smu.edu or 214-768-0829 for more information.

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