modore Smith, in command of the naval expedition, that I would attack the enemy's fleet whether gunboats made their appearance or not. The key of the whole position was Fort Point, at the mouth of the harbor, 2 miles below the mouth of the town [?]. This fort was entirely open in the rear, thus affording no protection for our artillery against the enemy's vessels inside of the harbor. The attack from this point was intrusted to Captain [S. T.] Fontaine, of Cook's regiment artillery, supported by six companies of Pyron's regiment dismounted dragoon's, under command of the gallant Colonel Pyron. Wilson's battery of six pieces was to attack the enemy from the center wharf; the railroad ram was sent to the upper wharf. The remainder of the artillery was manned from Cook's regiment and posted in eligible positions. Colonel [J. J.] Cook himself was intrusted with the command of the storming party of about 500 men, composed of details from Pyron's and Elmore's regiments and Griffin's battalion, and furnished with ladders to scale the wharf on which the enemy's land forces were barricaded. BrigadierGeneral W. R. Scurry was placed in command of Pyron's reigment and of the remainder of Sibley's brigade, and Elmore's men, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel [L. A.] Abercrombie, the latter acting as a support for the whole. LieutenantCol. J. H. Manly, of Cook's regiment, was ordered to Virginia Point to defend that work, which was our base of operations, and which was connected with Galveston Island by a railroad bridge 2 miles in length, open to the attack of the enemy.
Leading the center assault in person, I approached within two squares of the wharves, at which point I directed the horses of the field pieces to be removed from them and placed behind some brick buildings for shelter from the anticipated discharges of grape and canister. After allowing the lapse of what turned out to be ample time for Captain Fontaine to reach and occupy his more distant position the guns were placed along a line of about 2 1/2 miles, principally within the limits of the city. It having been agreed that the fire of the center gun should furnish signal for a general attack, I proceeded to carry out this portion of the plan by discharging the piece myself. The signal was promptly responded to by an almost simultaneous and very effective discharge along the whole line. the moon had by that time gone down, but still the light of the stars enabled us to see the Federal ships. The enemy did not hesitate long in replying to our attack. He soon opened on us from his fleet with a tremendous discharge of shell, which was followed with grape and canister. Our men, however, worked steadily at their guns under cover of the darkness. Colonel Cook now advanced with his storming party to the assault; his men, wading through the water and bearing with them their scaling ladders, endeavored to reach the end of the wharf on which the enemy were stationed. Colonel Cook was supported by Griffin's battalion and by sharpshooters deployed on the right and left, in order to distract the enemy's attention. A severe conflict took place at this point, our men being exposed to a fire of grape and canister and shell from the ships as well as of musketry from the land forces. The water was deep, the wharf proving higher than was anticipate, and the scaling ladders, as was reported to me by Colonel Cook, were found to be too short to enable the men to accomplish their object. After an obstinate contest the infantry were directed to cover themselves and fire from the buildings nearest this wharf, which was accordingly done.
The enemy's fire was deadly. The ships being not more than 300 yards from our batteries it was extremely difficult to maintain the positions we had assumed, and some of the artillery men were driven