Here Captain McClellan
found orders relieving him from duty on General Smith
's staff, and assigning him the charge of the surveys for the improvement of the harbors on the coast of Texas
to Rio Grande
, embracing Brazos Santiago
Christi, Lavacca, and the San Antonio River
This change of employment, trans.
herring him from the land to the sea, was not exactly to his wish; but he set about his new duties with his usual promptness and energy.
We find him at Corpus Christi
in January, 1853, diligently at work upon estimates and reports; and on the 13th of that month he addressed to the Chief Engineer
, General Totten
, a letter giving a general description
of the bars on the coast.
For the rest of the winter and far into the spring he was hard at work.
Here is a taste of his experiences, taken from a letter dated Corpus Christi
, March 9, 1853:--“I left here on the 22d of February, one of the most beautiful mornings I ever saw, bright, clear, and mild, with a nice breeze just in the right direction.
I congratulated myself on the fine start I made, and felt in fine spirits.
Things went on finely for an hour or so. Then the breeze became so strong that I had to double-reef all my sails, and on we went, still handsomely.
But presently the breeze changed into the most violent gale of the winter.
The sea ran in young mountains.
Down we brought the mainsail; and if ever a boat did run under a foresail, I rather think mine did that day. How it did blow!
The spray dashed in your face like hail.
The boat is a magnificent ”