A Sketch of Debray's Twenth-sixth liegiment. 551
of the State. Communication with the Island was maintained by planking over the railroad bridge and protecting it on the Island side with a redoubt and rifle-pits, occupied by a detachment of infantry and artillery. Debray's regiment, ordered to Virginia Point, by fre- quent patrols, day and night, satisfied the Federals that we still claimed the city, and prevented them from visiting it. A battalion of Federal infantry landed on one of the wharves and took quarters in its warehouses, strongly barricading themselves, but they never ventured into the city.
By the close of November, Major-General John Bankhead Ma- gruder came to assume the command of Te.xas, relieving General Herbert, who was ordered to Louisiana.
The new Commanding General had acquired fame for the skill with which, in the peninsula of Virginia, he checked for weeks McClellan's invading army before miles of empty entrenchments, armed, in part, with Quaker guns, and by continually moving about his small force to multiply it in the Federal eyes. Feeling that some- thing must be done to rouse the spirits of the people of Texas, he resolved to try his hand aj^ainst the enemy's squadron lying in Gal- veston Bay. Under his instructions two steamboats, lying in Buffalo Bayou, at Houston, were travestied into rams and gunboats, armed with one gun each, and supplied with two tiers of cotton bales to give them, as the General said in confidence to his friends, an appearance of protection. A third boat was fitted out to act as tender. The two gun-boats were manned by volunteers of Green's brigade, converted for the occasion into horse inarines, also by a company of artillery, the whole under the command of the brave Tom Green. Captain Leon Smith was the naval commander ; Adjutant R. M. Franklin, of Debrays regiment, having volunteered to serve as his aid.
At Virginia Point General Magruder was actively organizing his land forces. We had about fifteen pieces of field artillery, manned by details from Cook's regiment of heavy artillery. The infantry were told off to drag the artillery by hand and to carry ladders, to be used for storming the wharf where the Federals were quartered. Companies B and E, of Debray's regiment were to act as escort and couriers. The whole land force amounted to about 1,000 men.
All dispositions having been perfected on land and on water, on the 31st of December, by nightfall, the column was set in motion to Gal- veston, over the railroad bridge, on a six miles silent march by a dim moonlight, soldiers laboriously hauling the guns and carrying the ladders. Upon reaching the city the guns were placed in battery at