FEBRUARY 11-13, 1862.-Operations at Aransas Pass, Tex.
Numbers 1.-Major C. G. Forshey, C. S. Army, Engineer of Coast Defenses.
Numbers 2.-Major Daniel D. Shea, C. S. Army, commanding Battalion of Artillery.
Numbers 1. Report of Major C. G. Forshey, C. S. Army, Engineer of Coast Defenses.
CAMP ESPERANZA, PASS CAVALLO, TEX., February 15, 1862.
MAJOR: As this command does not report directly to headquarters, at Houston, I take the liberty to report the matters of much interest transpiring on this portion of the coast. The bark reported to you in my letter on the 5th took her position at Arkansas Pass, and, landing in two boats her small parties of 20 or 30 men, scared off, it would appear, the companies posted there, assumed many liberties, took beef and mutton at their pleasure, burned several houses, shelled the neighboring islands and sand hills in the mornings, to test the presence of a possible rebel arrival during the night, and make themselves at home there.
Major Shea, with detachment of mounted men, went to Arkansas, arriving stealthily, with a hope of capturing the party and relieving the citizens from their great annoyance and peril. In this he was not successful. His presence was discovered, and the commander of the bark Afton came into the Pass with three boats and 28 men, out of range of rifles, his splendid rifles guns from the ship shelling the village and Major Shea's command quite across the island. Major Shea protected any serious casualty, though their well-directed shells (thrown directly, and not as from mortars) burst over their heads several times. At a signal from the boats his guns ceased firing, a flag of truce was sent ashore, and as parley asked with Major Shea.
The commander then came up and held a long and quite communicative his prisoners, taken on the McNeill (already reported by me as captured near this pass), to their families; delivered the letters to Judge's Talbot's family and others residing in the vicinity; said the prisoners were well and kindly treated, messing at his table, &c. He informed the major that he was well informed of all the defenses, could reach the whole coast with his guns, but was not there to fight, but to stop the trade he saw running by the Pass, and that he would do; that his ship could enter that Pass, and he intended to command it and the bays within; would have the small vessels for the important purposes he had in view, with many other saucy remarks needless to relate. The most mortifying remark, however, was that "if Texans were like those he had seen run away on his approach his handful of men could whip five hundred of them."
Major Shea told him that he did not command those men, in answer to the question, but would offer to fight him then, man for man, on shore, and would thank him for the opportunity. He told him, further, that his profession that "he did not want to hurt the people or their property" was belied by the bombardment of the village, with women and children, burning houses &c.