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[80] commander. General Magruder at Virginia point was actively organizing his land forces.

The recapture of Galveston occurred January 1, 1863, and was reported by General Magruder to Gen. Samuel Cooper, adjutant-general, as follows:

Galveston, February 26, 1863.
Sir: On my arrival in Texas I found the harbors of this coast in the possession of the enemy, from Sabine river to Corpus Christi; the line of the Rio Grande virtually abandoned, most of the guns having been moved from that frontier to San Antonio, only about 300 or 400 men remaining at Brownsville. I resolved to regain the harbors if possible, and to occupy the valley of the Rio Grande in force. The latter would be a very serious undertaking on account of the scarcity of supplies in Mexico and the difficulty of transporting them across the desert from eastern Texas. Having announced this determination as soon as I arrived on the Sabine, Capt. A. R. Wier, of Cook's regiment of artillery, commanding a fort on that river, stepped forward and volunteered with his company to man a steamboat on the Sabine and to clear the pass. This officer and this company had the honor to be the first volunteers for the desperate enterprise of expelling the enemy's fleet from our waters.

I remained a day or two in Houston, and then proceeding to Virginia point, on the mainland, opposite to Galveston island, I took with me a party of 80 men, supported by 300 more, and passing through the city of Galveston at night I inspected the forts abandoned by our troops when the city was given up. I found the forts open in the rear, and taken in reverse by every one of the enemy's ships in the harbor. They were therefore utterly useless for my purposes. The railway track had been permitted to remain from Virginia point to Galveston, and by its means I purposed to transport to a position near to the enemy's fleet the heavy guns hereinafter mentioned, and by assembling all the movable artillery that could be collected together in the neighborhood I hoped to acquire sufficient force to be able to expel the enemy's vessels from the harbor.

Meeting here Capt. Leon Smith, whom, from my acquaintance with him in California, I knew to be of great experience in steamboat management, I employed him

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John Bankhead Magruder (2)
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