War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0204 W.FLA.,S.ALA.,S.MISS.,LA., TEX.,N.MEX. Chapter XXVII.

Search Civil War Official Records

port Cambria, from New Orleans, would be at Galveston with men within forty-eighty hours, and to warn her off.

We brought to New Orleans between 70 and 80 men from the Westfield, arriving on the morning of January 4, and a few hours later I was astonished to learn that we were followed by all the gunboats and that Galveston Harbor had been left entirely unprotected.

The rebel land force, probably not less than 3,000 men, was commanded by General Magruder. The railroad and bridge from the mainland to Galveston, which had never been cut by us and which was in the full control and use of the rebels, furnished them an easy and rapid means of transportation and attack, and was undoubtedly one of the prime causes of the disaster.

Respectfully,

WM. L. BURT,

Major and Aide-de-Camp to Brigadier-General Hamilton.

[Inclosure No. 3.]

HEADQUARTERS, Galveston, Tex., December 29, 1862.

SIR: In obedience to orders, upon arriving at this place on the evening of the 24th instant, after consulting with the commander of the blockading fleet, I landed the three companies of my command, which were with me upon the transport Saxon, on the end of Kuhn's Wharf, and quartered them in the warehouse there. I have taken possession of the city as boldly as I could with the small force at my command, and have thoroughly reconnoitered the built-upon portions of the city up to within range of their battery at Eagle Grove, which is apparently well built, mounting three guns. They have also one gun at the draw, which is about midway of the bridge. Upon Virginia Point they have a strong battery, mounted with heavy guns. From the best information obtainable I judge their force in this immediate vicinity to be about 2,000 strong.

During the day we control the city, but at night, owing to our small force [as the balance of my regiment has not yet arrived], I am obliged to draw in the pickets to the wharf on which we are quartered. I, think there are still living upon the island about 3,000 persons, a large proportion of whom are women and children. A great many of these people are almost entirely destitute of the means of subsistence, a the enemy will not allow anything to be brought over from the main-land, thinking doubtless to make them disloyal by starvation. The naval officer in command has contributed all he could spare from his stores and my men have shared their bread rations with them. I believe the larger part of the residents now here to be loyal and really desire to remain in the city, and that common humanity calls upon us to render them assistance. This, in my judgment, can best be done by placing the city under martial law as soon as my force is large enough, and forcing the rich, who are mainly the secessionists, to feed the poor. I would most respectfully urge upon your consideration the necessity of sending provisions for immediate relief. These can be sold to them at Government prices, thus conferring a real charity, without subjecting them to the mortification of being beggars. Under the existing circumstances I have thought it best to send one of my staff, Quartermaster Burrell, and Mr. Long, the engineer, who accompanied us here, to report to you in person. These gentlemen will explain in detail the state of affairs, and the importance of the knowledge which they can convey