War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0878 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXVII.

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NOVEMBER 22, 1862.

Col. J. F. GILMER, Chief Engineer, &c.:

There are no 8 or 10 inch guns now disposable. A month hence a couple of guns of this class may be disposable. Two 24-pounder guns on siege carriages and two 32-pounders on barbette carriages are disposable at Charleston, S. C.

Very respectfully,


Colonel and Chief of Ordnance.


Houston, Tex., November 25, 1862.

General H. P. BEE:

MY DEAR GENERAL: I have received (yesterday) your letter of the 21st instant. If General Hebert desires me to evacuate Virginia Point why in the world does he not give me an order to that effect? I give you below copies of the two communications I have received concerning that operation. The first, dated November 3, reads as follows:

The general commanding directs that should you have cause to apprehend an attack upon your line of communication with Houston you will evacuate Virginia Point, bringing away all guns, ammunition, platforms, &c., and take position with your troops on the Houston side of Simmes' Bayou. All means in your power must be used to keep the enemy from penetrating into the interior.

I am, &c.,


Assistant Adjutant-General.

The second letter, dated November 21, reads as follows:

I am instructed by the general commanding to say to you that the guns at Virginia Point and the tete-de-pont must run no risk of being lost. They must be saved at all hazards, as they are necessary for inland batteries.

I have, &c.,


Assistant Adjutant-General.

You see, my dear general, that the whole matter is subject to the fact that I shall have cause to apprehend an attack upon my line of communication with Houston. Now, Pyron's regiment at Columbus, Green's at Hempstead, and Reily' at Millican can without difficulty be concentrated at Harrisburg or below within sixty hours' notice of the arrival of a landing force, and I apprehend no longer fatal results from an attempt to outflank me at Virginia Point. The evacuation of the point must have disheartening influence upon our people. You are aware of their feelings at the news of the abandonment of Galveston, which was a movement dictated by plain common sense. When the general was informed of it I received a letter his adjutant-general, dated October 8, from which I quote:

If compelled to evacuate Galveston before a superior force of the enemy our must distribute your forces in accordance with previous instructions, so as to hold Virginia Point, the railroad bridge, the passage to Houston and into the interior (Dickenson's Bayou, Buffalo Bayou, Trinity River, &c.).

This was an order which the suggestions above copied cannot rescind. I wish to do my duty irrespective of personal considerations. Did I believe that the interests of the country and policy should require the evacuation of Virginia Point I would proceed to it at once, shrinking from no responsibility and regardless of public censure, to which I attach