War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0854 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXVII.

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sist of an open battery in front of the town of Velasco, on the left bank of the river, and has two 18-pounder guns mounted on rather high barbette carriages. The earthwork was recently put in proper shape. These guns are too small for defending the entrance of this important river, but will serve very well as guard guns until the works higher up the river will be finished. The towns of Velasco and quintan are of course exposed to the shells of the enemy, and might be taken any time, if worth taking. The coast from here to the San Bernard is easily defended, as there exists a series of lakes about 1 1/2 miles inshore, extending from the Brazos to the San Bernard. The mouth of this latter river is very difficult of access, having but 1 1/2 feet of water at low tide and shifting sand bars for the extent of half a mile. I found there a 12-pounder gun served by a detachment of 6 men, which I ordered to be removed to the Brazos River, where the citizens try everything to put it in a state of defense. About 7 miles up the Brazos River, where the timbered highland commences, the county of Brazoria is erecting a very formidable obstruction across the river, consisting of a solid layer of live-oak logs from 12 to 20 feet long. The river is there 29 feet deep, and piles will be driven on both sides of this strong barrier to keep it from floating off. About two-thirds of this work is nearly done. I advised those in charge to provide for suitable opening in the middle to let the current and the drift-wood pass through, to be shut by moveable rafts when the enemy appears. I have no faith in solid obstructions of mighty rivers, but it will hold out till spring, I hope. The selection of the place for this work is not exactly what I could wish for, but so far gone already I try to make the best of it. Within canister-shot of this veritable blockade is a battery of two 8-inch siege howitzers, built by order of Lieutenant-Colonel Bates. This work is exposed to the longrange guns of hostile ships. I ordered some alterations to be made on it, both for strength and protection, and located a new battery of two 12-pounder siege guns on the opposite (left) river bank, out of sigh of the ascending boats, and commanding the dam within canister-range. The planters here will furnish me with laborers and most of the material free of charge to the Government, and I therefore will erect for them a casemated battery for those two guns. All this work properly executed, nothing can pass this place; of this I have the fullest confidence. We have but to look out that the works are not flanked by a land force. At this post there is also a section of light artillery-some 50 men-with two iron 6-pounders and good horses, intended to act against any demonstration on the San Bernard, which river can be reached from here in one and three-quarter hours.

To-morrow I leave for the Trinity, and as soon as the work there is under way I will return to the more important Brazos and superintend that work personally. Finally, I request that the sum of $5,000 be set aside by the quartermaster for the engineer department.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Major and Engineer in Charge.


San Antonio, Tex., November 3, 1862.

Col. X. B. DEBRAY, Commanding, &c., Houston, Tex.:

COLONEL: I am directed by the general commanding to write as follows for your information and guidance:

When Virginia Point was fortified, Galveston being deemed untena-