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[634] number daily increased in consequence of the severity of the Confederate conscription law. Hunted down by merciless adversaries, and not being sufficiently numerous to resist them on the soil of Texas itself, they sought to gain those regions where the Federal flag afforded them a safe refuge. Most of them had for some time proceeded first to the Mexican frontier, and thence had gone to New Orleans by sea. Thus, in the beginning of August, about sixty young men, nearly all settlers of German origin, had united to fly from the tyranny of the government of Texas, and to sustain each other on their march to Mexico. They thought they had taken all necessary precautions to conceal their project from the adventurers of every description who infested those semi-savage regions. But they were betrayed; and on the 9th of August about one hundred of these ruffians, under the lead of one Lilley, surprised their camp on the borders of Nueces River, about sixty-four kilometres from the Rio Grande. The Unionists had taken no precaution to guard against a surprise, and Lilley, falling upon them while asleep, deprived them of every chance of resistance. Some were killed while defending themselves, the wounded were finished with the revolver, and most of the remainder, once captured, were massacred in cold blood amid the most cruel tortures. Such was war in a country where no right was recognized except that of the strongest, and where the whites rivalled in cruelty the aborigines whom they pretended to civilize. This massacre intimidated the most daring and stopped emigration. The occupation of Galveston would have favored such emigration, for it offered a refuge to fugitives easy of access. It might even have been made the point of departure for a hostile movement against the government which had dragged Texas into secession. This government determined to anticipate such danger by recapturing Galveston; and although its design was not realized before the first of the year 1863, it is proper that we should speak of it in this place, for this operation must be considered as the sequel of those we have just related.

Magruder, the able defender of Yorktown, had been appointed to the command of all the forces stationed in Texas during the month of December. As soon as he had arrived he set himself to work to prepare for the projected attack against Galveston. The

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