cavalry to the number of go or 100. A detachment of Spaight's battalion was likewise detailed for service as sharpshooters on board the boats. About the last of December, 1862, the Federal fleet abandoned their anchorage at Sabine pass and sailed out into the Gulf of Mexico, beyond the bar, no doubt having been notified of the preparations going forward for their attack. The Bell was commanded by Capt. Charles Fowler, with Green Hall as first officer. The Uncle Ben was under charge of Captain Johnson. The Davis Guards and Captain Aycock's company were assigned to duty on the Bell, the former as artillerymen, and the latter as sharpshooters, and the detachment of Spaight's battalion did similar service on board the Uncle Ben. There was a delay of several days on account of obstructions which had been placed in the channel between the mouth of the Sabine river and the lake for the purpose of preventing the passage of Federal vessels. The north wind had made the tide very low again, but about noon of the same day the tide rose and floated the Bell and Uncle Ben, and steaming through the lake toward the town of Sabine pass, they arrived at the wharf at about 10 p. m. of the same evening. Here several citizens of the place came aboard and informed Captain Fowler of the position of the Federal gunboats, which lay at anchor some five miles off the bar. This news was discouraging. It looked as if the game had escaped, but there was a universal desire to run great risk for the chance of success. The Federal fleet at this time consisted of the Morning Light, twelve guns, and the schooner Velocity, carrying four small guns. The number of boats on each side was equal, but here the resemblance in force ceased. Nevertheless Captain Fowler determined to carry out the plan of attack, although the position of the Federal fleet was very different from that which it occupied when the expedition was first designed. The armament of the Confederate boats was very light, and it was not expected to cut much figure in the fight about to take place. The J. H. Bell had a 6-inch rifle gun in her forecastle, and the Uncle Ben two small 12-pounder smooth-bore, old-time guns. The Davis Guards, under Lieut. Dick Dowling, had had some practice and could be relied upon for long range firing, but the sharpshooters could only be effective when brought into close contact with the enemy.
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