War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0212 W.FLA.,S.ALA.,S.MISS.,LA., TEX.,N.MEX. Chapter XXVII.

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would be a very serious undertaking, on account of the scarcity of supplies in Mexico and the difficulty of transporting them across the desert from Eastern Texas. Having announced this determination as soon as I arrived on the Sabine, Captain A. R. Wier, of Cook's regiment of artillery, commanding a fort on that river, stepped forward and volunteered with his company to man a steamboat on the Sabine and to clear the Pass. This officer and this company had the honor to be the first volunteers for the desperate enterprise of expelling the enemy's fleets from our waters.

I remained a day or two in Houston, and then proceeding to Virginia Point, on the main-land, opposite to Galveston Island, I took with me a party of 80 men, supported by 300 more, and passing through the city of Galveston at night I inspected the forts abandoned by our troops when the city was given up. I found the forts open in the rear, and taken in reverse by every one of the enemy's ships in the harbor. They were therefore utterly useless for my purposes. The railway track had been permitted to remain from Virginia Point to Galveston, and by its means I purposed to transport to a position near to the enemy's fleet the heavy gun hereinafter mentioned, and by assembling all the movable artillery that could be collected together in the neighborhood I hoped to acquire sufficient force to be able to expel the enemy's vessels from the harbor.

Meeting here CaptainLeon Smith, whom from my acquaintance with him in California I knew to be of great experience in steamboat management, I employed him in the quartermaster's department, placing him as a volunteer aide on my staff. I intrusted to his charge all the steamers on the Sabine River and in the bayous emptying into Galveston Bay, and at the same time directed that those on the Sabine should be fitted out forthwith. Learning subsequently that the enemy had landed at Galveston a considerable force [strength unknown], I directed CaptainLeon Smith, without delaying preparations on the Sabine, to fit up as gunboats the steamers Bayou City and Neptune, and to employ two others as tenders, for the purpose of supplying the larger vessels with wood. At the same time I received information that other Federal troops were on the way to Galveston. I therefore directed that the work on the last-mentioned steamer should be carried on night and day, and that captains and crews should be forthwith provided for them.

Fearing that the enemy might land troops at Galveston and fortify himself there, I determined to make the first attack at that point, with the object of destroying in detail his land forces as fast as they might arrive. Captain Wier, who had first volunteered, was therefore, with his company, ordered from the Sabine on board of the Bayou City. Captain Martin, commanding a company of cavalry, having arrived from New Iberia, La., volunteered his services, and was likewise assigned to duty on board the same steamer. When the boats designed for the Galveston expedition were nearly ready I called for volunteers from Sibley's brigade, then stationed in the neighborhood, under orders for Monroe, La. It is proper to state that I had previously ascertained that the services of these troops at Galveston would not delay a moment their departure for Louisiana, they being unable for want of transportation to move in that direction. This call was for 300 men. It was promptly responded to, Colonels Green and Bagby volunteering to lead the men of their respective regiments. After these officers had volunteered Col. James Reily, commanding the brigade, also offered to lead the troops from his command, but his services in that capacity were