War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0856 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXVII.

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Houston, Tex., November 6, 1862.


Assistant Adjutant-General, &c., San Antonio, Tex.:

SIR: I received to-day your communication of the 3rd instant, directing me to evacuate Virginia Point should I apprehend an attack upon my line of communication with Houston. I have stated this apprehension in my communications * to you, dated 19th and 25th instant [ultimo]. I felt then, as I do now, the difficulty of my position at Virginia Point in the absence of a supporting force, and the dangers that might result for Houston and the railroad lines converging at Harrisonburg. However, to-day's mail brings us the happy tidings of counter orders given to Sibley's brigade and Baylor's command, which were preparing to march out of the State. If the news is true, and if the general commanding can spare some troops, I could not only hold Virginia Point, but even reoccupy Galveston.

My plan is as follows: One thousand men at Simm's Bayou to cover Harrisburg, with advanced posts at the railroad bridges at Clear Creek and Dickenson's Bayou; 300 gunners at Virginia Point and Eagle Grove to man the guns, with ample provisions for casualties of war; 700 men to support the guns at Virginia Point, and 600 men to be thrown into Galveston Island; total, 2,600 men. Add to these 300 men of cavalry to scout upon the flanks. The enemy has failed to occupy the city; he dare not keep his flag waving over it more than fifteen minutes; he leaves the population in a starving condition; the fences are being destroyed for fuel, and the people are every day applying to us for means of existence. Except a handful of foreigners who seek shelter from our scouts on the wharves under the guns of the enemy the population will welcome our return. We could quarter the troops in rear of the city, intrench ourselves against a landing force, and should the enemy open his fire he would be compelled to bombard a city he has pledged himself to defend. In the absence of railroad communications, which would be impracticable under the enemy's guns, supplied could be furnished to the garrison by wagons coming over the bridge at night. I am ever told that by bringing or shelling a small stream a wagon road could be made with little labor beyond reach of the enemy's fire. One month ago, when the enemy had entered the bay, we had but two 24-pounders left, to answer to from thirty-six to forty- guns, all of superior range. A defense would have bene useless, and a position in which a large amount of property can be injured or destroyed, without any possibility of inflicting injury to the enemy, ought not to be held. Moreover, Virginia Point was not sufficiently garrisoned and the bridge could easily have been destroyed by the enemy, in which case the garrison of Galveston, even in the absence of an enemy's landing force, was doomed to starvation or surrender.

The position of the garrison of Virginia Point is at present nearly as critical, with exception that, if outflanked, starvation and surrender may be avoided by a dash through the enemy' s lines; but should the the general commanding deem expedient to order re-enforcements to this point both Galveston and Virginia Point can be haled. Our position would even be better than it was one mouth agar, because should the enemy open a bombardment he would bear before the civilized world the opprobrium of having destroyed a city of which he had taken nominal possession without being able to hold it. It would be a wanton destruc-


*Not found.