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[148] inhospitable shore. Brazos, as well as all the islands along the Texan coast, is a sandy desert. One house (deserted) stands to our right, and a mile or so farther toward the interior are two lighthouses, one on each side. Charred ruins show that three dwellings were destroyed by fire some time ago. Nothing but the chimneys remain standing. The foundations of the buildings used by General Taylor for stores can yet be seen; but no other vestige remains. Sand and sand-hills meet the eye in every direction, and for miles there is no covering from the rays of the burning sun by day, nor the heavy, chilly dews by night. Four wells were discovered by our soldiers, but the water is brackish and unpalatable. Around these were collected from thirty to forty head of poor cattle. They were suffering terribly from thirst, and drank with avidity the miserable water that our men gave to them from the wells. The few inhabitants who lived on this desert probably fled as soon as our fleet anchored off the shore; for, as I have before stated, not a human being was to be seen.

This morning, the Exact, one of the transports of the fleet, was discovered by the gunboat Virginia while cruising, about twenty miles from the mouth of the Rio Grande. Thinking her to be a blockade-runner, she gave chase, the Exact running from her as if attempting to escape. The Virginia, however, approached her rapidly, and fired a gun across her bow. This brought the supposed prize to; but on the Virginia hailing, “What steamer's that?” was rather disappointed when the answer was given, “The exact, of the transport fleet;” for by this time she had discovered that she was being chased by one of our own war-vessels. Each took the other for an enemy. A similar mistake to this occurred on the evening of the storm. About seven o'clock the McClellan hailed a dark-painted, suspicious-looking three-masted schooner, ten miles from Cavello. She proved to be the gunboat Kittatinny. We took her for a prize, and she took us for the Alabama.

It has been said that the French occupy Metamoras. This is not true. There are no French troops in the city.

Tuesday, November 3.--This morning the remainder of the fleet joined us. They are the transports Bagley, Pocahontas, and Zephyr, and the war-vessels Monongahela and Owasco. The whole had been waiting nearly three days at the rendezvous. Several rebels have been discovered at work erecting a fort at Point Isabel. They have already two guns mounted, bearing in the direction of the fleet. Their case will be attended to. On Thursday last the Monongahela and the McClellan chased a schooner for several hours, but were unable to come up with her. She was believed to have been a blockade-runner. One of the transports which arrived here this morning reports having spoken the schooner. She proved to have been a prize to the Granite City at the time that we were pursuing her. She had nearly five hundred bales of cotton on board.

About one o'clock P. M., the gunboats Monongahela and Owasco, with the transport Scott--the latter with troops on board — started for the mouth of the Rio Grande on a reconnoissance, for the purpose of landing soldiers on the Texas shore. Captain J. S. Crosby, of General Banks's staff, Captain Griffin, (fleet-captain,) and Captain Strong, of the Monongahela, entered a small boat and reconnoitred the Texas coast. Finding all clear, with no enemy in sight, the order for disembarking the troops was given. The boats of the three steamers were at once lowered, making nine in all. One hundred and forty soldiers then entered them, each man being armed. After the sailors (sixty) had taken charge of the boats, they started for the shore, but in crossing the bar four were capsized, and seven soldiers and two of the crew of the Owasco were drowned. One of the boats, after returning from landing her men, succeeded in picking up a large number of those in the water, and the Mexican shore being much nearer than the other, the bow of the boat was turned toward it; but the Mexicans would not allow it to land, and the boat was compelled to cross the river to the Texas side, where all were placed safely on shore. The landing of the troops in the other boats was effected without difficulty, and during the whole time not an armed rebel was seen. None of the boats of the Monongahela were capsized.

One of the schooners belonging to the fleet drifted from the channel and struck on the bar off Brazos Santiago. A boat's crew was immediately sent to her assistance from the McClellan. The executive officer, Mr. Comstock, was in charge, Captain Phillips, coast pilot, Mr. McHood, Master of Transportation, and Mr. Harvey, Quartermaster of the McClellan, were also in the boat, together with five sailors. Besides rescuing the schooner, it was intended that range lights should be placed on the bar, so that vessels could cross in the night. While running a hawser from the General Banks to the schooner, the boat capsized in the surf, and as she floated, bottom up, among the breakers, every man succeeded in clinging to it. This occurred about five o'clock. The General Banks could not assist them, as she had no boat on board, but, steaming to the McClellan, the facts were communicated to Captain Gray, when a boat was lowered in an instant, and as she left the side of the vessel, Captain Gray said, “Give way, men, give way; do your duty;” to which the boatswain, Mr. Lewis, replied: “Ay, Ay, sir; we'll not come back without them.” Well, the gallant fellow kept his word, for every man was saved, though they had been in the water over two hours, and it was dark before the boat reached them. While relating this, I must not forget to do justice to the Virginia's boat's crew, who have been stationed constantly on board the McClellan. Master's Mate Rogers immediately manned his boat, and also started to their assistance. On the arrival of the fleet off Brazos Santiago, Mr. Comstock and Captain Phillips volunteered their services for the purpose of sounding the bar.

The work of disembarking the troops is nearly

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