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Fort Brown.

This fort, now held by Capt. Hill, with 400 United States troops, and invested by Capt. Ben McCullough, with 1,500 Texan troops, is memorable in the Mexican war. Its siege then is thus described by a correspondent of the New York Commercial:

"The American army of occupation under General Taylor arrived opposite Matamoras, on the Rio Grande, between 11 and 12 o'clock on the morning of the 28th of March, 1846, and eight days afterward, where had previously been erected a staff for the American ensign, the fortifications of Fort Brown were commenced. This extraordinary military defence is an earth work of immense size, having six bastions, and is capable of comfortably accommodating five or six regiments.

"The fort was planned or carried out with a most extraordinary expedition, under the supervision of the then Captain, now Major Mansfield. Approaching it from Point Isabel, the American side, you perceive the tops of the highest houses in Matamoras, which is on the opposite side of the Rio Grande river. The visitation of the Fort is on a point formed by the remarkable and numerous bends of the river, consequently it is actually surrounded by Mexican territory, as at the time it was occupied by Major Brown, the sea-shore opposite was one continued line of forts and connected batteries.

"At this time Fort Brown stood a siege which has no parallel in history. For many days some six forts, commanding all the sides, front and rear, poured into the fort shot and shell; at night the very heavens were illuminated by the fuses of the destructive missiles. There were no bomb-proof chambers; it was simply an open enclosure of perhaps an acre of ground. The small number of men left for its defence under Major Brown was its protection (a hint, perhaps, suggesting comfort for our soldiers in Forts Pickens and Sumter) for there were not many people to be killed, and as our soldiers had no powder or ball to reply with, all they could do was to look out for their safety.

"To accomplish this, the men dug what they termed gopher holes," the sentinels on the walls of the fort as they noticed a flash, would cry out from which battery might be expected a shell, and the men on the moment would run into the gopher hole that protected them from the battery named by the sentinel. Sometimes the Mexican shots were so rapid, and the weather was so warm, from the 1st to the 8th of May, that our soldiers, with scanty food, were almost worn out in the running from one protection, gopher hole or bomb-proof chamber, to another. In this long attack of eight days but one soldier was killed; Major Brown was wounded in the thigh by a splinter, which wound subsequently, owing to the excessive heat, gangreened and killed him, and the brave hero was buried at the foot of the flag-staff he so nobly defended.

"Since the time of the events referred to, many changes have taken place to strengthen Fort Brown, and a large town has grown up in its vicinity. Lieutenant Hill, who is now in command, says he will maintain it.

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E. C. Brown (3)
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