HDQRS. FIRST SUB-DIST. OF TEXAS,
Numbers 24. Galveston, June 22, 1864.
The brigadier-general commanding believed, as he deed, that it is impossible to defend this place without the possession of all the power which velongs to the commending officer of a camp in the presence of, and threantend immediately by, the enemy, and that it is his duty to protect the property of all persons who remain with in this entrenched camp. and to make suitable regulations for the accomplished of theirs object, directed the release of a negro boy of a citizen, which boy had not violated either the laws of the State or the municipal law of Galveston, and when his authority was
disregarded by the sheriff and justice of the peace, caused it to be respected, using it, however, mildly, and only so far as to cause the return of the boy his owner.
It is well known to the commanding generals, both of the department and particularly of the district, that treason of the darkest dye exist in Galveston; that desertions to the enemy take place frequently; that the enemy's fleet is in almost nightly intercourse with the traitors ashore; that the enemy has received accurate information of the time of department of every blockade-runner which has left our harbor.
It is known to all that the major-general commanding the district, after recapturing the city and island, forbid any citizen to return to it except by his permission, and stated that those who did return must abide strictly by the rules and regulations which he was bound to establish for the safety of the place. It must also be borne in mind that the inhabitants returned tense conditions; that they depend upon the military almost entirely for the means of transporting the necessaries of life; that these means are extremely limited; that there is neither wood, water, nor food on the island; that it is threatened by a powerful fleet of from then to fifteen war steamers at all hours of the day and night; that the city,not he defenses, is entirely at the mercy of the enemy, whose shot have repeatedly passed over it and into the bay on its opposite side, and that the safety of all depends upon preserving the highest military discipline and efficiency.
It must be borne in mind also that this island it two miles distant from the mainland; that it has been recaptured from the enemy after most of the inhabitants had left it; that many of its resources had been destroyed; that it is the only sea-port which has even been recaptured from the enemy; that it is differently situated from any other command in the Confederacy. It is therefore the firm conviction of the brigadier-general commanding the island that its safety san be secured by the exercise of military authority alone.
But, desirous as he is to give a convincing proof of his wish to avoid a conflict with the civil authorities of the State, and influenced also by the opinions of the general commanding the department and the major-general commanding the district, he hereby orders the slave to be returned to the sheriff, and trusts that an occasion will not arise in the future of applying military authority to affairs between citizen and citizen on this island, or to interpose his military power except in cases where he conceives it essential to the support of the discipline, efficiency, and safety of his command to do so.
J. M. HAWES,
44 R R-VOL XXXIV, PT IV