War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0209 Chapter XXVII. RECAPTURE OF GALVESTON, TEX.

Search Civil War Official Records

ricade in the position shown by the accompanying sketch and the planks torn up. This barricade was built of planks, timber, and barrels of plaster which were found in the warehouse on the wharf. An entrance was left in the center, and bales of cotton and bags of cottonseed kept near by to close it when necessary.

The pickets were driven in about 11 o'clock at night by a party of cavalry, but no attack was made that night.

Shortly after 1 a.m. on the 1st instant the pickets came in and reported that there was artillery in the market place. Captain Shrive went out to reconnoiter, and confirmed the report. Colonel Burrell posted his men behind the barricade, signaled to the gunboats, and prepared for the attack. Between 2 and 3 a.m. the enemy opened fire from twelve or fifteen pieces of field artillery, to which the gunboats replied.

The fire from shore seemed to be directed principally upon the warehouse, where the men slept, but as they were all lying down behind the barricade there were but few wounded.

After an hour's firing an attempt was made to carry the wharf by an infantry assault, which was repulsed by our men, and at the same time a gun was planted on the end of the brick wharf so as to enfilade the barricade, but the gunners were driven from their piece after the first fire.

After the moon went down [between 4 and 5 o'clock] the Harriet Lane was attacked by three armed river boats. About 500 infantry were on board each boat, protected by cotton bales, which were piled up on the decks. The Lane engaged the foremost of the boats, ran into and sank it, but her bowsprit and rigging got foul in some manner, and before it was cleared the other two boats ran one on each side of her, and the infantry behind the cotton bales poured a terrific fire upon the deck of the Lane, which in a very short time almost annihilated her crew. The enemy then boarded and took her.

When these three boats attacked the Lane two others were seen to the west of Pelican Island, threatening to come down Bolivar Channel, where the Westfield lay. Commander Renshaw attempted to get under way, but grounded. The Clifton was signaled to and came to the assistance of the Westfield, but could not get her off. By this time the rebels had got two or three pieces of heavy artillery in position at Fort Point and opened fire from them. The Clifton went down toward the point, engaged and silenced the battery, then went up to the town, and, together with the Owasco, turned her guns upon the Lane and her captors. After firing a short time a flag of truce was raised on the Lane, and a boat with some rebel officers put off for the Clifton. The object of this flag I did not ascertain.

It was now about 8 o'clock. Captain Renshaw ordered the Saxon and Mary Boardman to come near the Westfield and take off the crew, as he intended to blow her up. The crew was all got off, with the exception of Captain Renshaw, Lieutenant Zimmermann, two other officers, and the crew of the captain's gig, who remained until the last to fire the vessel. The fire was applied, Captain Renshaw was descending the ladder, and all the rest were in the boat, when [at 8.45] the after magazine prematurely exploded, and they were all blown up with the vessel.

The steamers then got under way and ran out under the fire from the battery at Fort Point. Two of the enemy's boats started in pursuit, but did not dare to cross the bar. The transports then left for New Orleans, and the gunboats remained to blockade the harbor.