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[107] entire fleet had been ordered to rendezvous to await the arrival of the general-in-chief. On the morning of the 8th a general council of war was held on the Suffolk, when it was decided to indulge in a little supreme strategy. Two gunboats, the Clifton, a New York ferryboat transformed into a warship, and the Sachem, a miserable steam scow which had ‘come down from a former generation,’ were to be sent up the river to ‘draw the fire of the fort’ while General Weitzel with 500 men landed on the Texas shore and marched up to storm it in the rear. At 12 o'clock I went on board the Sachem, and Lieut. John W. Dana to the Clifton for signal duty. We knew the work these two gunboats would do would be of a desperate character. We anticipated a thorough pelting, and we were in no way disappointed. General Weitzel and his men mustered on the banks and moved into position ready for sudden action. The scene now was quite imposing. The large fleet of transports, attended by six gunboats, including the ‘blockader,’ were now ready to assault, capture and possess the southern half of the great State of Texas.

The remarkable Confederate victory which followed is well told in the general orders of Major-General Magruder, and the report of Lieut. R. W. Dowling, which follow:

General orders, no. 154.

Headquarters, Dist. of Texas, N. M. and Arizona, Houston, September 9, 1863.
1. The major-general commanding has the satisfaction of announcing to the army a brilliant victory won by the little garrison of Sabine pass against the fleet of the enemy. Attacked by five gunboats, the fort, mounting but three guns of small caliber and manned by the Davis Guards, Lieut. R. W. Dowling, assisted by Lieut. N. H. Smith, of the engineers, supported by about 200 men, the whole under the command of Capt. F. H. Odlum, steadily resisted the fire, and at last forced the surrender of the two gunboats, Clifton and Sachem, badly crippling another, which, with the others, escaped over the bar. The result of this gallant achievement is the capture of 2 fine gunboats, 15 heavy guns, over 200 prisoners, among them the commodore of the fleet, and over 50 of the enemy killed


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