respective commanders of the steamers Bell and Uncle Ben, by Captains Odlum, O'Bryan, Noland and Aycock, and Lieutenants Dowling and Aikens, of the land forces, and by the engineers, pilots, troops and crews of the expedition.
As there are but few battles to be reported in Texas
during the war, and this naval affair was of a remarkable character, it is deemed proper to insert a full description of the preparations for and execution of it, prepared by an accomplished lady, Mrs. M. Looscan
, wife of Major Looscan
, of the Confederate army, derived directly and personally from the participants in that battle.
Its general tenor and minute detail are evidence of correctness, in addition to the high social standing of the lady.
It was first published in the Houston Post
of May 23, 1895, and is here quoted as supplementary to the report of the commanding general
Capt. Charles Fowler, whose recent death is deplored by all who love and appreciate the highest type of true heroic manhood, was a prominent actor in one of the most daring naval expeditions of the late civil war. The story of this achievement, of which he was chief director, and in which his inspiration called forth all the dare-devil bravery of his followers, was obtained from the lips of men who were with him, who shared his danger, who admired his courage, and who were ready to risk their lives at his bidding.
The engagement to which I refer was the capture of the United States warship Morning Light and schooner Velocity, on January 21, 1863.
Early in December, 1862, Captain Fowler was instructed by Gen. J. B. Magruder, commanding the military district of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, to proceed to the Sabine river and there make selection of two or three steamboats and fit them up as gunboats, for the purpose of attacking the Federal gunboats which were in possession of Sabine pass.
Having been vested with full power of impressment of such materials as might be necessary for carrying out the proposed plans in the shortest possible space of time, Captain Fowler selected the steamboats Josiah H. Bell and the Uncle Ben, the former about