War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0480 W.FLA., S.ALA., S.MISS., LA., TEX., N.MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

Search Civil War Official Records

DECEMBER 29, 1863.-Skirmish on Matagorda, Peninsula, Tex.


No. 1.-Major General Cadwalter C. Washburn, U. S. Army, commanding detachment Thirteenth Army Corps.

No. 2.-Lieutenant Colonel Frank S. Hesseltine, Thirteenth Maine Infantry.

No. 3.-Captain Edmund P. Turner, Assistant Adjutant-General, C. S. Army.

No. 4.-Colonel A. Buchel, First Texas Cavalry.

No. 1. Report of Major General Cadwalter C. Washburn, U. S. Army, commanding detachment Thirteenth Army Corps.


Fort Esperanza, Tex., January 2, 1864.

GENERAL: In addressing you yesterday, I mentioned that I had sent an expedition up the peninsula. They returned all safely last night. The infantry, according to the programme, drove the enemy's pickets down the peninsula until they saw our mounted the enemy's pickets below. The enemy then abandoned their horses and took to a boat. Two men and 13 fine horses were captured, and 11 men escaped. Just at this moment the enemy's cavalry were seen charging down on the rear of our little force, fully 1,000 strong. Our men, who were of the Thirteenth maine, and commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Hesseltine, prepared immediately to receive them. Retiring to the cover of some sand hills along the beach, they constructed of drift-wood and sand a hasty protection, where they resisted all attempts to dislodge them. The gunboat Granite City in the meantime poured 150 rounds into them with telling effect. Night found our men still besieged, and the rebels hung around until nearly morning, when they drew off and were seen no more.

Our men remained in their stronghold until about 2 p.m. the second day, when they marched down the beach when the gale so far moderated as to enable the gunboat to take them aboard. Soon after our men had evacuated their position, the rebel gunboat Carr came across from Matagorda, and commenced to shell the abandoned position. In the meantime the prevailing norther had increased to great violence, and drove the rebel boat ashore high and dry.

Captain [James H.] Strong, of the Monongahela, lay off opposite to her during the night, and represents that the next morning she had disappeared, though a wreck was seen where she lay. He is confident they burned her to prevent her from falling into our hands. I had made all my arrangements to go up to day, through Matagorda Bay, and capture her if still aground, but the information just sent me by Captain Strong, as well as the tempestuous day, have prevented the move. The first pleasant day I shall much hope that she is destroyed, for being so light draught, she can easily keep out of our way, and might do us on some occasion great harm. She is one of the boats that participated in the Galveston affair one year ago.

The enemy has or had four boats in the upper end of Matagorda Bay, above the reef, all of which, I learn from reliable citizens, they have been arming and clothing with cotton lately, and the people have been


*For report of Commander James H. Strong, U. S. Navy, see Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy, December 5, 1864.