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[550] This duty, by no means pleasant, as it entailed a march of about one thousand miles, over a country mostly deserted, sterile, and with long waterless stretches, was entered upon, if not cheerfully, at least with becoming soldierly fortitude. The regiment was on the march when the report was received that General Sibley, confronted by a largely superior force, and short of supplies, was falling back on San Antonio. Hence a new counter-order, and the regiment went to camp on the Bernard river. During these marches and counter-marches, and mainly in camp, the fine appearance of the regiment attracted the interest and curiosity of the people around. Drills on horseback and on foot, and dress-parade, enlivened by a very creditable band, were attended by ladies and gentlemen in carriages and in cavalcades; negroes, too, would flock around, and enjoyed the sight as they would have done a circus. Hence came the self-given name of ‘The Menagerie,’ which clung to the regiment, and by which its old members still delight to designate it.

In July, 1862, the Colonel, by reason of his seniority in rank, was called to command the Eastern Sub-District of Texas, with headquarters at Houston, leaving the regiment to the efficient care of Lieutenant-Colonel Myers. Nothing happened for several months to break the monotony of camp life, except patrols on the coast, on which duty landing parties from the blockading squadron, in search of fresh meat, were captured or otherwise punished, and induced to cease their depredations.

Meanwhile General Herbert having been ordered to send to Arkansas all the infantry stationed in Texas, except two regiments, remonstrated against that disposition which left the State unprotected. His remonstrance was met with the curt answer that ‘Texas must take her chances.’ The authorities at Richmond seem to have overlooked the fact that the loss of the Rio Grande frontier, the only point to be depended upon for obtaining army supplies, might be a fatal blow to the Confederate States. General Herbert, despairing of a successful defence with his reduced force against an attack by sea, ordered the small forts, erected at Galveston, to be dismantled and their artillery to be removed to the mainland at Virginia Point, where sand works had been raised. Indeed, this was an era of despondency and gloom for the people of Texas.

In October, 1862, the Federal fleet entered Galveston Bay without resistance. The small force which had been left in the city retired to Virginia Point, the city itself being almost deserted by its inhabitants, who had moved with their chattels to Houston and the interior

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