place in our hands the control of all the railway communications of Texas; give us command of the most populous and productive part of the State; enable us to move at any moment into the interior in any direction, or to fall back upon the Island of Galveston, which could be maintained with a very small force, holding the enemy upon the coast of Texas, and leaving the Army of the Gulf free to move upon Mobile, in accordance with my original plan or whenever it should be required. The expedition sailed from New Orleans on the 5th day of September. Its organization and command had been intrusted to Major General W. B. Franklin. The gunboats assigned to the expedition by Admiral Farragut were under command of Captain Crocker, a skillful and brave officer. He was thoroughly acquainted with the waters of the Sabine Pass, having been stationed there for many months, and was anxious to participate in the expedition. The forces were organized for operations upon land. The gunboats were intended to assist and cover their debarkation and movements upon the coast. At various points, between the Sabine and Galveston, a landing was practicable and safe. Unless the weather or the forces of the enemy should intervene, nothing could prevent successful debarkation of troops at some point upon the coast.
General Franklin's instructions were verbal and written. He was directed to land his troops 10 or 12 miles below Sabine Pass, or at some other point on the coast below, and proceeded by a rapid movement against the fortifications constructed for the defense of the Pass, unless the naval officers should find, upon reconnaissance, that the works were unoccupied, or that they were able to take them without delay. Nothing was wanting to secure the success of the expedition. The troops were in good condition, the weather fine, the sea smooth, and the enemy without suspicion of the movement. Instead, however, of moving below the Pass and effecting a landing of the troops, General Franklin states in his report that it was determined that Captain Crocker should enter the Pass and make an attack directly upon the works. The gunboats (originally lightly constructed merchant vessels) were unable to make any impression upon the works. They soon run aground in the shallow water and narrow channel of the Pass, under the guns of the fort, and were compelled to surrender. The enemy's position was occupied and defended by less than 100 men. The troops under General Franklin made an unsuccessful, and, as it appeared afterward, a feeble effort to land within they bay, after the loss of two gunboats and returned to New Orleans without attempting a landing below upon the coast in rear of the works. Had a landing been effected, even after the loss of the boats, in accordance with the original plan, the success of the movement would have been complete, but as it regarded the occupation of Sabine Pass and operations against Houston and Galveston, the enemy had at this time all his forces in that quarter, and less than 100 men on the Sabine.
The failure of this expedition having notified the enemy of our purposes, it was impracticable to repeat the attempt at that point. The instructions of the Government being imperative, I then endeavored, without delay, to carry out my instructions by a movement toward Alexandria and Shreveport, or, if possible, across the southern part of Louisiana to Niblett's Bluff. The attack upon Sabine Pass was made on the 8th of September. The fleet returned on the 11th; on the 13th, orders were given for the overland movement. The troops were rapidly transferred to the Teche Bayou, and organized for this expedition, but it was soon found impracticable, if not impossible, to enter Texas in that direction. The country between the Teche and the Sabine was without supplies of any kind, and entirely without water, and the march across that