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[197] high-pressure steamboats used in the transportation of cotton on Buffalo Bayou protected with cotton bales piled from the main deck to and above the hurricane roof, and these, under the command of Captain Leon Smith of the Texas Navy, in cooperation with the volunteers, were relied upon to recapture the harbor and island of Galveston. Between night and morning on January 1, 1863, the land forces entered the town, and the steamboats came into the bay, manned by Texas cavalry and volunteer artillery. The field artillery was run down to the shore, and opened fire upon the boats. The battalion of the enemy having torn up the plank of the wharf, our infantry could approach them only by wading through the water and climbing upon the wharf. The two steamboats attacked the Harriet Lane, the gunboat lying farthest up the bay. They were both so frail in their construction that their only chance was to close and board. One of them was soon disabled by collision with the strong vessel, and in a sinking condition ran into shoal water. The other closed with the Harriet Lane, boarded and captured the vessel. The flagship Westfield got aground and could not be got off, though assisted by one of the fleet for that purpose. General Magruder then sent a demand that the enemy's vessels should surrender, except one, on which the crews of all should leave the harbor, giving until ten o'clock for compliance with his demand, to enforce which he put a crew on the Harriet Lane, then the most efficient vessel afloat of the enemy's fleet, and, while waiting for an answer, ceased firing. This demand was communicated by a boat from the Harriet Lane to the commander on the Clifton, who said that he was not the commander of the fleet, and would communicate the proposal to the flag officer on the Westfield. Flags of truce were then flying on the enemy's vessels, as well as on shore. Commander Renshaw refused to accede to the proposition, directing the commander of the Clifton to get all the vessels, including the Corypheus and Sachem, which had recently joined, out of the port as soon as possible, and that he would blow up the Westfield, and leave on the transport lying near him with his officers and crew. In attempting to execute this purpose, Commander Renshaw and ten or fifteen others perished soon after leaving the ship, in consequence of the explosion being premature. The general commanding made the following preliminary report:

This morning, the 1st January, at three o'clock, I attacked the enemy's fleet and garrison at this place, captured the latter and the steamer Harriet Lane, two barges, and a schooner. The rest, some four or five, escaped ignominiously under cover of a flag of truce. I have about six hundred prisoners and a large quantity

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