Charles F. Fuller

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Republic of Texas
Charles F. Fuller
Lieut. Navy
Feb. 11, 1842
Full Name: Charles F. Fuller
Location: Section:Republic Hill, Section 2 (C2)
Row:U  Number:17
Reason for Eligibility: Republic of Texas Veteran; Texas Navy 
Birth Date: unknown 
Died: February 11, 1842 
Burial Date: Reinterred January 15, 1955 
FULLER, CHARLES F. (? ~1842) Charles F. Fuller, lieutenant in the Republic of Texas Marine Corps, is believed to been a native of Washington, D. C. After moving to Texas, he worked in the Navy Yard in Galveston and, after enlisting in the Republic of Texas Navy and Marine, he was commissioned as a lieutenant and was assigned to the schooner-of-war, the "San Antonio."

After sailing throughout the Caribbean in early 1842, the "San Antonio" was called to port, but, before returning to Texas, the crew first landed in New Orleans to drop off survivors of the "Sylph," an American ship that had wrecked. While in New Orleans, the crew also set out to obtain supplies for the other ships in the Navy, the "Austin" and the "San Bernard." On February 11, 1842, the high officers went ashore, but denied leave to the crew for fear of desertion. Lt. Fuller was left in command.

Seymour Oswald, sergeant of Marines, who had been punished several times for insubordination and who was drunk on contraband liquor, argued with Lt. M. H. Dearborn, the officer in charge of the deck, after his mandate for leave was denied. An argument ensued and Lt. Fuller came up on deck to investigate. He placed Lt. Dearborn in charge of the restrained marine guards to try to prevent a mutiny, but Oswald, outraged at Fuller's actions, proceeded to attack him with his hatchet, but missed. During the struggle, Fuller was shot and killed by Seaman Benjamin Punippelly and two other midshipmen were wounded.

Oswald and his cohorts, after locking the other officers below deck, left the "San Antonio" in two boats, but were quickly apprehended by the U. S. revenue cutter, the "Jackson," whose captain heard the shot that killed Fuller. All of the men who took part in the mutiny spent the night in jail, though two were later returned to the "San Antonio." The remaining spent the next year in jail until Commodore Moore could figure out what to do with them.

That next year, Commodore Moore, in April, 1843, finally held proceedings to court martial and punish the mutineers of the "San Antonio," though, New Orleans refused to release some of the men and others died when the "San Antonio" was lost at sea. The remaining eight men were charged with mutiny, murder, or an attempt to murder, and desertion. Frederick Shepherd, who turned states evidence against the others, was acquitted and released, but died three weeks later in battle. John Williams, William Barrington, and Ed Keenan were found guilty and were given 100 lashes with the cats-o-nine-tails. Antonio Landois, William Simpson, Isaac Allen, and James Hudgins were found guilty of all of the charges and hanged on April 26, 1843, from the yardarms of the "Austin." Sergeant Oswald, who started the mutiny, escaped from the New Orleans jail and Seaman Benjamin Punippelly, who killed Lt. Fuller, died while in custody, before being turned over to Commodore Moore.

With no family to claim his body, Charles F. Fuller was buried in the Girod Cemetery, which belonged to the Episcopal Christ Church Cathedral. The cemetery was New Orleans' first large protestant burial ground and was the final resting place to many of the city's former leaders. Later that same year, Midshipman Fielding R. Culp and Captain Robert Oliver, also veterans of the Republic of Texas Navy, were buried alongside Fuller. Fuller's headstone in the Girod Cemetery read: Sacred to the memory of / Charles F. Fuller / Lieutenant Texas Navy / Who fell in the execution of his / duty in suppressing a mutiny on board / the Schooner of War San Antonio / 11 Feb 18[4]2.

In 1945, due to neglect, the city health department condemned the cemetery as a burial ground. Suffering from even more neglect and subsequent years of vandalism, the cemetery languished until July 30, 1953, when the city ordered the removal of all the remains.

When the Sons and Daughters of the Republic of Texas heard what was to happen to the graves of three Republic of Texas veterans, they had their bodies returned and buried in the Texas State Cemetery with full military honors on January 15, 1955.

Information taken from: Devereaux, Linda Ericson, ?The Texas Navy,? Ericson Books, Nacogdoches, Texas, 1983. Douglas, Claude L, ?Thunder on the Gulf: The Story of the Texas Navy,? Turner Company, 1936; reprint, Old Army Press, 1973. "The Texian," Vol. 2, No. 4, January 3, 1955, published by the Sons of the Republic of Texas; "The Crumbling World of Girod Cemetery", Dixie, Times-Picayune States Roto Magazine, August 29, 1954; "SAN ANTONIO." The Handbook of Texas Online. [Accessed Sat Nov 23 14:18:41 US/Central 2002].
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