Numbers 7. Report of Brigadier General T. E. G. Ransom, U. S. Army, commanding Third Brigade, of the capture of Confederate battery at Aransas Pass, and expedition against and capture of Fort Esperanza.
HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES,
North end of Mustang Island, Texas, November 18, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to Special Orders, No.-, dated Headquarters Department of the Gulf, Brazos Santiago, Tex., November 15, 1863, I embarked with the Thirteenth and Fifteenth Maine, Twentieth Iowa Infantry (two companies), First Engineers, Corps d'Afrique, and two boat howitzers, on the transports assigned by Colonel Holabird, assistant quartermaster, leaving orders for the Thirty-fourth Iowa Infantry and the battery, which were to arrive from Brownsville, to embark on the steamer Warrior and follow the expedition.
At sunset on the 16th instant, I disembarked the Thirteenth and Fifteenth Maine, Twentieth Iowa Infantry, and the two boat howitzers, through the surf near the south end of Mustang Island, and at once moved my force in a northerly direction up the beach, with a strong line of skirmishers in my front. Meeting no enemy, I moved rapidly, and by 4 a.m. on the morning of the 17th had made about 18 miles. I halted at this point, allowed the troops to rest until daylight, and again pushed forward.
The enemy's skirmishers made a faint show of resistance about 1 mile south of their camp, when I deployed the Thirteenth Maine, and, advancing in line, drove them to their camp on the north end of the island, where the garrison, consisting of 9 officers and 89 men, with a battery of three heavy guns, surrendered to me within further resistance, and unconditionally. I at once placed Colonel Isaac Dyer, Fifteenth Maine Infantry, in command of the post, and made provision for the care of prisoners and captured stores, which consisted chiefly of three heavy guns, the small-arms of the prisoners, one schooner, and ten small boats, all in good condition.
I herewith forward descriptive lists of the prisoners and schedule of captured property.* There are about 140 horses and mules and 125 head of cattle on the island. Scarcity of forage has compelled me to let them run at large and subsist on the scanty growth of grass on the island.
Colonel H. D. Washburn, Eighteenth Indiana Infantry, commanding the troops on the steamer Saint Mary's, disembarked a portion of his troops (Eighteenth Indiana) at the south end of the island, the remainder (Eighth Indiana) near the north end of the island, and, by a forced march, reached me at this point about two hours after the surrender.
After my forced night march of 22 miles up the beach, my command was completely exhausted and foot-sore. Both officers and men are entitled to great credit for their perseverance and zeal in accomplishing the march, and dragging the artillery by hand with them.
The co-operation of the United States naval forces, under Commander James H. Strong, in the Monongahela, merits and receives my entire approbation. He advanced soon after daylight, and searched for the enemy's works, making excellent practice with his guns, bursting 11-inch shell, as I afterward learned, in the enemy's camp. The conduct of the naval party, consisting of Acting Ensign H. W. Grinnell and 10 seamen of the Monongahela, in charge of two howitzers, in landing and accom-