War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0190 W.FLA., S.FLA., S.MISS., LA., TEX., N.MEX. Chapter XXVII.

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DECEMBER 7, 1862.-Affair at Padre Island, Tex.

Report of Captain H. Willke, C. S. Army.

CORPUS CHRISTI, TEX., December 8, 1862.

MAJOR: I have the honor to report that on the 5th instant myself, Captain John Ireland, and 7 of his men went on a surveying expedition in the Queen of the Bay, to ascertain the depth of the channel at Corpus Christi Pass by actual measurement. The boat was in charge of Jack Sands, Pat Reil, and Tom Simpson. Corpus Christi Pass is about 5 miles long, and has a far outside to the Gulf and another inside one toward the bay. We found 5 1/2 feet water on the former and 3 1/2 feet on the latter. The wind was very contrary, and it took us one day and a half to ascertain these facts, when we were compelled to case anchor and stay overnight in the middle of the channel, the wind being due north and the channel being too narrow to beat.

On the morning of the 7th we detected the bark Arthur outside, evidently cruising for us, for when they had detected us they stood off into sea to beat back to Arkansas Pass. Captain Ireland and myself went to Mustang Island to watch her, but arrived late at the Gulf shore to find out if she had left any boat behind. We watched her until 11 o'clock, when the wind turned towards the east, and we returned to be boat to weigh anchor.

At 12 o'clock we started homeward. When near the inner bar we detected two of the enemy's launches fully manned, who had come into our rear over the Mud Flats near Shell Bank. They were about 2 miles from us, and we could not find out if there were any more hidden behind the shore, so I gave orders to turn our boat around and run nearly before the wind back toward the Gulf. The boats were in hot pursuit, using both sails and oars, and gained slightly on us, so that they were a little over a mile behind us when we arrived at the bluffs of Padre Island. We ran the Queen ashore close to the hills, jumped out with the most necessary baggage in case we should lost the boat, and took position on the hills, keeping ourselves hid. They came in close, and at about 200 yards we opened fire on them. The first two shots disabled 2 of their men, and they at once changed their course and took position in the center of the Pass, all the while shooting at us, but without any effect, while our balls were flying close to their boats, probably wounding some of them, for they at once went across the channel to Mustang Island, ran both boats ashore and jumped out as fast as they could, leaving everything in their boats except their guns, which were not fastened to their bodies, and ran farther up the beach, taking position about 1,000 yards opposite to us. From there they fired occasionally on us, but their shot fell short, while one of our men at that distance killed one of theirs. When they saw that even at that distance they were not safe against our shot they retired still farther and disappeared behind the hills. During the time the breeze had become stronger and driven their boats from shore. One came right toward us, and Captain Ireland, with 2 men, went waist-deep into water, securing her. He found one dead body and a wounded man in it, besides a good many articles of clothing and arms. The other boat, whose sail was still flying, drifted toward the Gulf, and Jack Sands took a small boat, went over, and took her also. Captain Ireland then succeeded in showing the Queen into deep water, and after securing the corpse of the man who lay shot on Mustang Island we soon afterward