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[79]

In October, 1862, the Federal fleet entered Galveston bay without resistance. The small force which had been left in the city retired to Virginia point, the city itself being almost deserted by its inhabitants, who had moved with their chattels to Houston and the interior of the State. Communication with the island was maintained by planking over the railroad bridge, and protecting it on the island side with a redoubt and rifle-pits, occupied by a detachment of infantry and artillery. Debray's regiment by frequent patrols day and night satisfied the Federals that we still claimed the city and prevented them from visiting it. A battalion of Federal infantry landed on one of the wharves and took quarters in the warehouses, strongly barricading themselves, but they never ventured into the city.

By the close of November, Maj.-Gen. John Bankhead Magruder came to assume command of Texas, relieving General Hebert, who was ordered to Louisiana [and afterward was in command at Monroe]. The new commanding general had acquired fame for the skill with which, on the peninsula of Virginia, he checked for weeks Mc-Clellan's invading army before miles of empty intrenchments, armed in part with Quaker guns, and by continually moving about his small force to multiply it in Federal eyes. Feeling that something must be done to rouse the spirits of the people of Texas, he resolved to try his hand against the enemy's squadron lying in Galveston bay. Under his instructions two steamboats lying in Buffalo bayou at Houston were travestied into rams and gunboats, armed with one gun each and supplied with two tiers of cotton bales to give them, as the General said in confidence to his friends, an appearance of protection. A third boat was to act as tender. The two gunboats were manned by volunteers of Green's brigade, converted for the occasion into “horse marines,” also by a company of artillery—the whole under command of the brave Tom Green. Capt. Leon Smith was the naval

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