War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0547 Chapter XXI. ENGAGEMENT OF VALVERDE, N. MEX.

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Numbers 2. Report of Major S. S. Perry, Thirteenth Texas Infantry.


Velasco, April 7, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to lay before you for your consideration the following report:

According to your order, issued to me April 5, I detailed Lieutenant Duff and 25 men of Captain Mosley's company, and proceeded down the coast to San Luis. When about 6 miles from this place I met Mr. Follett with an express from Captain Ballowe, who informed me that the enemy had decoyed off Lieutenant Edwards, Orderly-Sergeant Westervelt, Sergeant Carville, and 5 privates of Captain Ballowe's company, and Alexander Follett, citizen, and that they had passed into the bay in small boats from the steamship, which lay about 2 miles from the fort and near the bar, and he (Mr. Follett) supposed their object to have been to capture the schooner Columbia, loaded with cotton, which was lying in the bay near San Luis Island, or attack the said island. I then ordered one of my party to return immediately and report the above facts to Colonel Bates. I then proceeded to San Luis at a very rapid gait, and arrived there about 10.30 p. m., and immediately ordered out and posted scouts on the east end of the peninsula, and went to the fort and had an interview with Captain Ballowe. During said interview he informed me that the schooner Columbia was captured by the enemy, and that there must have been at least 100 of the enemy on board of her. They also captured a small-boat with passengers (the number I did not ascertain), which had been sent by the enemy out to the steamship, and that he expected to be attacked by the enemy with about 300 men, and that he wanted 100 more men.

I will also state, sir, that the enemy set the schooner on fire, and that it was burning when I got to San Luis. Thus matters stood when I arrived. I detailed a scout from my party, on ascertaining the above, to proceed to Velasco, to report the condition of affairs to Colonel Bates. I went from the island to the mainland for said purpose, and sent Lieutenant Duff with 5 men to re-enforce Captain Ballowe, and also sent orders to Captain Ballowe to have all his small boats concentrated at a point designated by me, intending to follow immediately when I had made the necessary arrangements with my pickets on the mainland.

During my absence, after those arrangements were made, I went to the beach to cross over to the island, at which time I was informed that Captain Ballowe had not concentrated his boats, but had made arrangements for abandoning the island, having sent back Lieutenant Duff, with the 5 men that I sent him and his entire company, under command of his first lieutenant, reserving only 13 men on the island, all of which acts were contrary to my orders, and in my opinion premature and not necessary; and on the arrival of the first lieutenant he informed me that Captain Ballowe and 13 men were coming off the island at once. I then opened the first lieutenant (having waited some time for the arrival of Captain Ballowe) to collect all the small boats that he could, and after considerable delay he succeeded in collecting three or four small boats, which would have only carried about four men each. I then waited with the boats and the men under my command on the east end of the peninsula, momentarily expecting Captain Ballowe's arrival, expecting some information from him. Not daring