fame gained in this war, but I would not have credit won at the expense of any risk to our cause.
I desire very much to have the 20-pounder Parrott guns you spoke of. You thought you could spare me three of them.
General Rains has gone away with his gimcracks; he was not at all practical; everything I received from him was vague and visionary. He was here about a week and did not commence work. The President ordered him to Charleston.
The submarine boat sent to Charleston found that there was not water enough under the Ironsides for her to pass below her keel; therefore, they decided to affix a spike to the bow of the boat, to drive the spike into the Ironsides, then to back out, and by a string to explode the torpedo which was to be attached to the spike.*
[DABNEY H. MAURY.]
HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION,
Fort Brown, Tex., August 24, 1863.
Captain EDMUND P. TURNER,
A. A. G., Dist. of Texas, Houston, Tex.:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your communication of the 14th.
All the powder has already been shipped to the interior. It goes as the property of the owners, and they will present the necessary papers at Houston to enable them to get their pay in cotton. I am also sending to Alleyton all the public property here, and there will be but little remaining in a few days. The two 24-pounders are still here, and very much in my way. I desire to use them if the enemy comes, but will probably lose them should be come in force, as there is no transportation that could then be relied on.
I find it impossible to retain the troops at this place; the sickness increases, and they must go to sanitary camps. The presence of troops is required along the whole line of the Rio Grande to prevent smuggling of cotton, as there is a good deal of it being attempted.
There are no rumors of speedy invasion at this place. Some deserters from the Federal navy say that they intend to attack Galveston on the 1st of September. I shall be informed of a contemplated attack here, as the commercial intercourse between New Orleans and Matamoras is principally in the hands of our friends.
The gunboats of the enemy are still off the mouth; the commanding officer remarked that he would remain until the 10th of next month.
I am anxiously expecting some news of the French, and should I ascertain that they will not arrive here until after the sickly season, I trust that the commanding general will order me to return to the interior, and give me a command in the field suited to my rank. I believe I may do some good should the French come to Matamoras, otherwise there is no necessity for my remaining here, as the cotton business is now systematically arranged by Major Russell, and my presence not necessary in connection with it; my force is too small to make any successful defense, and I do not aspire to lead a retreat. Will the general write me particularly on this subject?
Should the enemy advance by way of Saluria, it will be evident that their intention is to go to San Antonio, succeeding in which, they cut off the trade to the Rio Grande effectually, and the few cavalry which I could gather together should, in my opinion, be withdrawn from the
*This letter incomplete.