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At Galveston the position of affairs was as follows: The town, attacked and taken by Commodore Renshaw on Oct. 10, 1862, the Rebels flying upon the appearance of the gunboats, had remained in a comparatively deserted position under their control. It was held merely as a landing-place for future operations, and occupied principally by Union refugees, fugitives from the terrorism of the interior. We had barely the city and the island upon which it stands, a mere sand bank, thirty miles long, not over two in width, and connecting with the interior by a bridge of two miles in extent, built upon cedar piled. Over this bridge the Galveston and Houston railroad crosses the West Bay and enters the city. Unfortunately, no attempt had been made to destroy this structure, in consideration of its past and possibly future usefulness, a mark of consideration which the Rebels have improved to bloody advantage. They had exclusive possession of it, coming and going at pleasure, controlling it by means of three batteries at Virginia Point – the North, or mainland end – and another on the island end, at a spot called Eagle Grove. A sort of tacit compromise seems to have existed, by with the enemy neither agreed to use the bridge for belligerent purposes, nor to molest the Harriet Lane, on duty guarding it, while she refrained from shell practice on the batteries until an active necessity arose for doing so, contenting herself with mutely menacing them and commanding both the bridge and the four miles space intervening between it and the city. In what sanguinary shape the contingency appeared will presently be narrated.
Citation: New York Tribune. 19 January 1863. Gift of Steven and Susan Raab.