tained definitely that nothing had yet been done. I then learned that Captain Crocker now intended to make the attack on Tuesday morning, and that he had dispatched a gunboat to warn me to keep back, in order that the enemy might not see the transport fleet, but the gunboat only stopped some of the rear vessels of the fleet, missing the leading vessels entirely.
By this series of misfortunes, the attack, which was intended to be a surprise, became an open one, the enemy having had two nights' warning that a fleet was off the harbor, and, during Monday, a full view of most of the vessels composing it; besides, twenty-four hours of valuable time and good weather were uselessly consumed.
After consultation with Captain Cocker on Monday night, it was determined that the Clifton should go into the harbor at daylight, and make a reconnaissance, and that further operations should be determined by the report received from Captain Crocker.
He went in, made his reconnaissance, and signaled for the other vessels to come in. I therefore sent all of the transports which it was supposed could cross the bar, and found the greatest difficulty in getting over any vessels drawing more than 6 feet. About 10 o'clock, 700 infantry, one battery of field artillery, and eight heavy guns were inside of the bar, and a transport, with 700 infantry, was hopelessly aground. A tug drawing 6 feet was sent to her assistance, but had to return, not being able to reach her.
In company with General Weitzel and Captain Crocker, I made a reconnaissance of the Texas shore; small boats grounded in mud about 125 feet from the shore.
The shore itself is a soft marsh, and parallel to it, and about 50 feet inside of it, is a narrow strip of sand, on which is a road. This road strikes the water and high ground about one-half mile below the fort, at which point there is an old fort. Sailors wading sank into the mud above their knees; soldiers loaded with muskets and rations would have sunk to their middle.
The fort completely commands the road and the channels of the entrance, and contains six guns, three of which are, in my opinion, 9-inch guns, one a 7 or 8 inch rifled gun, and two others on siege carriages.
The channel divides about 1,000 yards below the fort, and the two channels unite at a short distance above it.
As there were four gunboats available for the attack, the following plan was adopted in conjunction with Captain Crocker: Three of the gunboats were to move up the channel to the point of separation; there two of them, the Sachem and the Arizona, were to take the channel to the right, and were to pass the fort by that channel, drawing its fire. The Clifton was to take the left-hand channel, moving slowly up, and, when about half a mile distant, was to go at full speed, within grape and canister range, and engage the fort at close quarters. General Weitzel was to keep near the Clifton with a boat containing 500 infantry, who were to land as soon as the Clifton began to go at full speed at the old fort; from there they were to advance upon the fort as skirmishers, endeavoring to drive the enemy from his guns, while the Clifton engaged the fort at close quarters. The fourth gunboat, the Granite City, was to support this movement.
While the arrangements necessary to carry out this plan were being made, the troops that were in the transport aground on the bar were brought in, to be in readiness to assist General Weitzel's movement in case of necessary.