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[147] discovered that they knew much that was of great importance to the generals commanding. They said that revolvers and powder in large quantities were manufactured at New-Brownsville, and that the former sold at two hundred and fifty dollars each, rebel money. General Magruder, they say, is now at Houston. He has only two thousand troops (cavalry) there, the remainder of his army being scattered about at various places, the most being at Galveston and Sabine Pass. At the former city there is also a regiment of heavy artillery. There is a formidable fort near Brownsville, on the Rio Grande, called Fort Brown. Brigadier-General Bee is in command. Since receiving this news, I learn from another party that General Bee has been superseded, and Brigadier-General Slaughter appointed to the command. About the time we picked up these men, we could see along the Texas coast the sand-hills of Isla del Padre. The distance, however, was very great, and even with the aid of a glass they looked dark, and resembled trees in appearance. As the sun was setting, we approached nearer land, and though no human habitation was seen, we were observed from the shore, as a column of dense smoke was seen to rise from the sand-hills immediately in our front, instantly followed by a second and a third, and though each of the latter rose far to our right, they were plainly visible from the steamer's deck. About seven o'clock, when the sun had disappeared, and hills and sea were enveloped in darkness, far as the eye could reach, a bright light was seen, and a moment later the heavens were illuminated by the answering signal-fires along the coast, reminding one of “Bonnie Scotland” in feudal times, when the beacon-lights burst forth in a blaze from every hill-top, calling to arms the clans of the numerous chiefs, or warning them of threatened danger. I have no hesitation whatever in saying that in less than one hour the whole South was startled with the news of our arrival off the mouth of the Rio Grande.

Sunday was a bright and beautiful day, though the heavy swell was not very agreeable to those who had not yet recovered from sea-sickness, and many of the officers in consequence were in danger of throwing up their commissions. The flag-ship cruised around for several hours in search of the steamers which had lost the fleet in the night, and we approached within four miles of the mouth of the Rio Grande del Norte. To the left, in Mexican waters, I counted thirty-seven sail of blockade-runners; but could not see a single steamer, though toward evening an officer from one of the gunboats reported that later in the day a French man-of-war and another steamer were with the fleet of blockade-runners. The Leviathan had assisted the McClellan in searching for the missing vessels of the fleet, and at three o'clock in the afternoon the whole, with the exception of the Monongahela, Owasco, (the latter having the Zephyr in tow,) the Pocahontas, and the Bagley, were together and lying opposite Brazos Santiago. The McClellan approached close in shore, in three and a half fathoms, and a close examination was made of the mouths of the Brazos and Boca Chica Passes. We then steamed slowly along the shore, running in about five fathoms, when, once more joining the fleet, we headed for Brazos Santiago bar, and anchored for the night about a mile distant — sea running high, weather sultry.

At an early hour this morning the bar was examined, and casks laid down as buoys. Nine feet of water was found upon the bar, and once over, navigation was easy. We accordingly commenced preparing to enter the harbor, and the light-draught steamer General Banks, with the Nineteenth Iowa on board, got under way, and was soon rising and falling amid the foam of the huge breakers; but as she steamed gallantly on and crossed the bar in safety, the soldiers on board gave three hearty cheers, which were heard on the flag-ship and answered by the waving of hats and handkerchiefs. She crossed the bar at precisely twelve o'clock noon, and from that moment Texas was ours. The General's despatch-boat — the little steamer Drew--followed, and she went capering along like a frisky young coquette of sixteen, bounding over the bar like a cork. The Clinton, with the Thirteenth and Fifteenth Maine regiments on board, was the third to cross, and it was her good fortune to be the first to disembark her troops, the soldiers of the Fifteenth Maine first touching Texas soil. The next moment, the flag of this regiment, followed by that of the Nineteenth Iowa, was raised. Thus the men from the extreme northern point of the Union were the first to raise the flag of America over the soil of the extreme southern point, and finish the work so gloriously begun, of planting the banner of freedom in the last State in rebellion, over which the Stars and Stripes have not waved for some time.

On landing on Brazos Island, the Fifteenth Maine, Colonel Dwyer, accompanied by Major Von Hermann, of General Banks's staff, started for Boca Chica, took possession of the Pass, and encamped there, throwing out pickets. No resistance whatever was offered, and no human beings have yet been seen on the island or elsewhere, if I except the repulse of two companies of cavalry by the guns of the T. A. Scott, Captain O'Brien, which anchored off the mouth of Boca Chica this morning, and opened upon the rebels who had attempted to cross. The same transport the night previous anchored off the mouth of the Rio Grande, and amused herself by keeping up an almost constant fire upon the Mexican vessels crossing and recrossing the river. The old salt was a few miles wrong in his reckoning; for he afterward stated that he “thought he was peppering away at the damned rebels in Boca Chica instead of the harmless Mexicans on the Rio Grande,” so that we shall probably have to make an apology for the slight mistake of firing upon their vessels while engaged in a contraband trade with the rebels on the Texan shore.

Those of your readers who have ever visited Ship Island can have a good idea of this barren,

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