War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0152 W.FLA., S.FLA., S.MISS., LA., TEX., N.MEX. Chapter XXVII.

Search Civil War Official Records

officer in command ordered the gun to be spiked and the barracks fired, and the men retreated across the low, open grounds toward the city. I joined them soon after they left the battery, and the five vessels of the enemy, having passed entirely around the Point into the harbor, continued to throw shot and shell at us until we passed out of their range. Upon the fleet turning up the channel toward the city the two 24-pounders in battery on the bay side, near the east end of the city, opened fire on them, but our shot fells short, and the vessels having now come up to our flag-of-truce boat, ceased firing and took our messenger on board their flag-ship, and the fleet came to anchor.

The assemblage of vessels off the bar on the day previous had given us every reason to expect an attack, and during that day and the morning of the 4th I had made arrangements with the railroad company to be ready with transportation to meet any emergency that might occur. Having some time previous to this been ordered by the general commanding this department to withdraw our troops from the city in case the enemy should bring to bear against out position such a force as to overcome our defenses at Fort Point and enable them to command the harbor, and after the gun at Fort Point was silenced, having no further effective means of defending the harbor or protecting the city from bombardment by the enemy or inflicting any injury on them, immediately after our troops had abandoned Fort Point I ordered the two guns which were in position at South Battery, on the south side of Galveston Island, to be spiked, and all our material at that and other points in the city to be taken to the railroad depot, which was done.

At about 3.30 p.m. out flag-of-truce messenger returned to the city, bearing a demand from the enemy for the surrender of the city and demanding an immediate answer. I sent a messenger with the answer that I should not surrender the city, directing the messenger also to say to the commander of the fleet that there were many women and children, and to demand time to remove them. After some negotiation it was agreed that no attack should be made upon the city for four days; that during the time we should not construct any new or strengthen any old defenses within the city, and the fleet not to be brought any nearer the city. This arrangement gave us ample time for the removal of all who desired to leave the island, and also for the removal of our troops and material of every kind.

On the night of the 4th you reached the city, and during the next day I received your orders in relation to matters at Galveston. During the four days I removed the two 24-pounders, and also the 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 the county records of every kind and all the records of the city corporation and of the district court. The railroad company removed all their material of every kind, and by 11 a.m. of the 8th we had removed all the Government property of any value except the 10-inch gun at Fort Point, and a large majority of the population of the city had 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.