War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0219 Chapter XXVII. RECAPTURE OF GALVESTON, TEX.

Search Civil War Official Records

they had been our own men. Captain Wainwright and Lieutenant Lea, of the Federal Navy, were buried with masonic and military honors in the same grave; Major Lea, of the Confederate Army, father of Lieutenant Lea, performing the funeral services.

Having buried the dead, taken care of the wounded, and secured the captured property, my exertions were directed to getting the Harriet Lane to sea. The enemy's ships fled to New Orleans, to which place one of their steam transports was dispatched during the action. I knew that a large naval force might be expected to return in a few days. I therefore ordered the employment at high wages of all the available mechanics to repair the Harriet Lane, her main shaft having been dislocated and her iron wheel greatly disabled, so that the engine could not work. The United States flags were ordered to remain flying on the custom-house and at the mast heads of the ships, so as to attract into the harbor any of the enemy's vessels which might be bound for the port of Galveston. A line of iron buoys which we had established for the guidance of his ships in the harbor were displaced and so arranged as to insure their getting aground.

On the 3rd of January, I being then on board of the Harriet Lane, a yawl-boat, containing several men, in command of a person named Thomas Smith, recently a citizen of Galveston, and who had deserted from our army, was reported alongside. He informed me that he was sent from the United States transport steamship Cambria, then off the bar, for a pilot, and that they had no idea of the occupation of the city by us. I forthwith ordered a pilot boat, under command of Captain Johnson, to bring in this ship, but through a most extraordinary combination of circumstances the vessel which contained E. J. Davis and many other apostate Texans, besides several hundred troops, and 2,500 saddles for the use of native sympathizers, succeeded in making her escape. The man Smith, who had, it is said, several times set fire to the city of Galveston before he deserted, had been known as Nicaragua Smith, and was dreaded by every one. He returned to Galveston in order to act as Federal provost-marshal. His arrival produced much excitement, during which some one without orders sent a sailboat to Pelican Spit, now occupied by our troops, to direct the commanding officer there not to fire on our pilot boat, although she was under Yankee colors. The sail-boat thus sent was at once supposed to be destined for the Yankee transport. The pilot boat gave chase to her, and the guns from the shore open on her within hearing of the ship.

Night coming on, I though it surer, as the alarm might be taken, to capture her at sea before morning, but the Harriet Lane could not move, and our cotton gunboats could not live on the rough sea on the bar. Therefore one of the barks, the Royal Yacht, a schooner of ours, the pilot boat, and the Leader, a schooner loaded with cotton, which I had ordered to be sent to a foreign port, with a proclamation of the raising of the blockade at Galveston, were directed to be prepared and armed with light artillery. This was done by 2 o'clock the same night, our little fleet being maned by volunteers, under the command of Captain Mason, of Cook's regiment of artillery.

Unfortunately the wind lulled and none but the pilot-boat could reach the enemy's ship. The pilot-boat went out under the command of a gallant sailor, Captain Payne, of Galveston. The enemy's ship proved to be a splendid iron steamer, built in the Clyde. I had ascertained to be a splendid iron steamer, built in the Clyde. I had ascertained from her men taken ashore that she had only two guns, and they were packed on deck under a large quantity of hay, and I antici-