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[92] alongside. He informed me that he was sent from the United States transport steamship Cambria, then off the bar, for a pilot, and that they had no idea of the occupation of the city by us. I forthwith ordered a pilot boat, under command of Captain Johnson, to bring in the ship, but through a most extraordinary combination of circumstances, the vessel, which contained E. J. Davis and many other apostate Texans, besides several hundred troops and 2,500 saddles for the use of native sympathizers, succeeded in making her escape. The man Smith, who had, it is said, several times set fire to the city of Galveston before he deserted, had been known as Nicaragua Smith, and was dreaded by every one. He returned to Galveston in order to act as Federal provost-marshal. His arrival produced much excitement, during which some one without orders sent a sailboat to Pelican Spit, now occupied by our troops, to direct the commanding officer there not to fire on our pilot boat, although she was under Yankee colors. The sailboat thus sent was at once supposed to be destined for the Yankee transport. The pilot boat gave chase to her, and the guns from the shore opened on her within hearing of the ship.

Night coming on, I thought it surer, as the alarm might be taken, to capture her at sea before morning, but the Harriet Lane could not move, and our cotton gunboats could not live on the rough sea on the bar. Hence one of the barks, the Royal Yacht, a schooner of ours, the pilot boat, and the Leader, a schooner loaded with cotton, which I had ordered to be sent to a foreign port with a proclamation of the raising of the blockade at Galveston, were directed to be prepared and armed with light artillery. This was done by 2 o'clock the same night, our little fleet being manned by volunteers under the command of Captain Mason, of Cook's regiment of artillery. Unfortunately the wind lulled and none but the pilot boat could reach the enemy's ship. The pilot boat went out under the command of a gallant sailor, Captain Payne, of Galveston. The enemy's ship proved to be a splendid iron steamer, built in the Clyde. I had ascertained from her men taken ashore that she had only two guns, and they were packed on deck under a large quantity of hay, and I anticipated an easy conquest and one of great political importance, as this ship contained almost all of the Texans out of the State who had proved


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