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Lt.-Colonel Arthur J. Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States, May, 1863. (search)
ged in the slave trade; but he escaped. At the beginning of this war he was captured by the Yankees, when he was in command of the Confederate States steamer Royal Yacht, and taken to New York in chains, where he was condemned to be hung as a pirate; but he was eventually exchanged. I was afterwards told that the slave-trading escapade of which he was accused consisted in his having hired a colored crew at Boston, and then coolly selling them at Galveston. At 1 P. M., we arrived at Virginia Point, a tetede-pont at the extremity of the mainland. Here Bates's battalion was encamped-called also the swamp angels, on account of the marshy nature of their quarters, and of their predatory and irregular habits. The railroad then traverses a shallow lagoon (called Galveston Bay) on a trestle-bridge two miles long; this leads to another tete-de-pont on Galveston island, and in a few minutes the city is reached. In the train I had received the following message by telegraph from C
Benson J. Lossing, Pictorial Field Book of the Civil War. Volume 2., Chapter 22: the siege of Vicksburg. (search)
8, 1862. and encamped on the wharf. In front of the town lay the gun-boats Westfield, Clifton, Harriet Lane, Owasco, Coryphoeus, and Sachem, under the command of Commodore Renshaw, whose relations with the Confederate leaders were so cordial that he enjoyed perfect quiet. General John B. McGruder had been sent to Texas from Virginia, and was then in chief command in that Department. He had so high an opinion of Renshaw's courtesy and conciliatory spirit, that he went from Houston to Virginia Point, opposite Galveston, and passed over one night with eighty men, and inspected the defenses of the city He found the long wooden bridge connecting that island with the mainland in good order and unprotected, and in view of other evidences of a feeling of perfect security, he was satisfied that he might make an easy conquest of the city with a few troops. But could he hold it? Probably not; so he took four steamboats from the adjacent rivers, put guns on them, and fortified them with cot
in a very unsatisfactory state — the harbors virtually or actually in Federal possession, from the Sabine to Corpus Christi, and the valley of the Rio Grande almost abandoned. So, after stopping but a day or two in Houston, lie went down to Virginia Point, opposite Galveston; thence coolly passing over to the city by night, with 80 men, supported by some 310 more, coolly inspecting its defenses and military capacities without resistance or demur. Even the long wooden bridge connecting the city with the main land, with the railroad track leading over it to Virginia Point, were neither broken up nor guarded; so that Magruder had the most liberal facilities afforded him for the enterprise he meditated. He decided that, though he could readily seize the old defenses, he could make nothing of them, and that he must operate by steamboats; as he had advices from New Orleans that more Federal troops were coming. So, collecting guns, troops, and volunteers from the adjacent region, and ste
deration of its past and possibly future usefulness, a mark of consideration which the rebels have improved to bloody advantage. They had exclusive possession of it, coming and going at pleasure, controlling it by means of three batteries at Virginia Point — the north, or mainland end — and by another, on the island end, at a spot called Eagle Grove. A sort of tacit compromise seems to have existed, by which the enemy agreed neither to use the bridge for belligerent purposes, nor to molest thehe signal of the Mary A. Boardman being answered by the flagship Westfield, that vessel came out to meet her, and Com. Renshaw sent an officer and pilot on board, when the Mary's crew learned for the first time that Magruder was in command at Virginia Point, with heavy reenforcements, threatening active hostilities. The Mary A. Boardman crossed the first bar of the harbor in company with the Westfield, just at sunset, the day dying magnificently, the declining sun lighting up the windows of t
by twelve o'clock, and await the signal from the land forces for the attack. They went down, and after midnight arrived close by the fleet. They were discovered, and signal-lights from the fleet at once showed that the enemy were awake and watching for them. They looked anxiously for the signal from shore. Meanwhile the land forces, consisting of detachments from some four or five regiments, under command of Brig.-General Scurry and Col. X. B. De Bray, were moved at about dark from Virginia Point. This is on the main land, and from it a bridge two miles in length crosses Galveston Bay to Galveston Island, being about five miles distant from the city. The battle took place at the city, the gunboats lying along in front of the city in the bay, on the landward side of the island. Colonel De Bray commanded the attacking force, while Gen. Scurry was in command of the reserves. From the bridge they moved down to the city, but met with unexpected delays, and did not reach their po
nd during the next day I received your order in relation to matters in Galveston. During the four days I removed the two 24-pounders, and also the two guns at South battery were unspiked and removed and all of them have been safely landed at Virginia point. I caused the people of the city to be fully notified in relation to matters which you directed they should be advised of. All machinery of any value was removed. The civil authorities removed all county records of every kind and all the ret property of any value, except the 10-inch gun at Fort Point, and a large majority of the population of the city left their houses and the island. The troops having all been removed in accordance with your orders, I left with my staff for Virginia point, leaving a sufficient force to hold the battery at the south end of the railroad bridge, and that evening I reported at this place to Col. X. B. Debray, commanding sub-military district of Houston. It affords me great pleasure to state that
d and their artillery to be removed to the mainland at Virginia point, where sand works had been raised. Indeed, this was asmall force which had been left in the city retired to Virginia point, the city itself being almost deserted by its inhabitan Smith was the naval commander. General Magruder at Virginia point was actively organizing his land forces. The recapmained a day or two in Houston, and then proceeding to Virginia point, on the mainland, opposite to Galveston island, I took. The railway track had been permitted to remain from Virginia point to Galveston, and by its means I purposed to transportant-Colonel Manly, of Cook's regiment, was ordered to Virginia point to defend that work, which was our base of operations,Lieutenant-Colonel Manly sustained the operations from Virginia point with great ability and activity. Capt. W. J. Pendlet former by my order remained in charge of his depot at Virginia point, while the latter discharged gallantly his duties on t
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 12. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), A sketch of Debray's Twenty-Sixth regiment of Texas cavalry. (search)
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 thealveston 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 chattelsfle-pits, occupied by a detachment of infantry and artillery. Debray's regiment, ordered to Virginia Point, by frequent patrols, day and night, satisfied the Federals that we still claimed the city, Adjutant R. M. Franklin, of Debrays regiment, having volunteered to serve as his aid. At Virginia Point General Magruder was actively organizing his land forces. We had about fifteen pieces of fid. Major A. M. Lea, of the engineer corps, having reported for duty to General Magruder, at Virginia Point, on the eve of the attack, was instructed to accompany the General to Galveston. After the
Comte de Paris, History of the Civil War in America. Vol. 2. (ed. Henry Coppee , LL.D.), Book VII:—politics. (search)
e. Magruder took advantage of the respite to study the character of the ground, and to establish relations with the inhabitants of Galveston; he quietly collected his forces along the railroad in sight of the town, near the promontory called Virginia Point, where the great bridge joins the main land But the news he received in the latter part of December made him feel the necessity of acting promptly, so as not to lose the favorable opportunity. Indeed, President Lincoln had appointed a pradd the small gun-boat Sachem, which had come into Galveston the day before to repair her machinery, the Corypheus, that had her in tow, and the transports Saxon and Boardman, which, however, could take no part in the combat. Magruder left Virginia Point at nightfall; he had with him from twelve to fifteen hundred men, and two or three batteries, under command of Colonel Green, of whom we have already had occasion to speak in our narrative of Sibley's campaign in New Mexico. He boldly pushed
reports of transports in the vicinity. I had a distinct view of three other vessels last evening in my ride along the beach, but thought one at least was a small schooner captured some time since. Gen. Heberat, a most accomplished officer, is indefatigable in having everything prepared for their reception. The citizens are leaving and shipping everything of value into the interior. Our forces are occupying positions at each end of the railroad bridge, leading from the island, to Virginia point on the main land, and can boast of fortifications as beautiful and formidable as any of the same extent in the Confederacy. If the enemy attempts to land on the Island they will be met by our forces, and Galveston Island will take rank in history will Manassas and other fields for fierce and successful fighting. If they attempt to bring their vessels into the bay they will meet with difficulties they little expect. There is an unpublished prescription for such presumption. Galves