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Report of Captain Benjamin F. Neal, C. S. Army to Col. Lovenskiold on July 13, 1862


*** It is helpful to know that “in writing his official reports, Captain Neal frequently identified his position on Shell Bank Island merely as ‘dredge boat.’”  (Ref. 3004)  

According to naval historian and author, Dr. Norman C. Delaney, “Neal used his base camp on Shell Bank Island, ‘near the Dredge Boat’ [and] using his binoculars, could observe enemy movements on Mustand Island, about six miles distant.”  (Ref. 3004)  The Maltby Brothers’ Civil War by: Dr. Norman C. Delaney, Texas A&M University Press, College Station, 2013   

All letters in bold done by Judy C. Ware 


SIR: To-day, about 11 o'clock, the picket guard reported a launch coming down the cut toward the dredge-boat. I immediately ordered the company down, and observed that they were approaching the dredge under a flag of truce. I notified them to land on the opposite side of the channel, some 200 or 300 yards from the dredge, when I took a boat, accompanied by Captain Ware and Lieutenant Conklin, and went over to them. The interview lasted some half an hour. The officer, second in command I presume, stated that his object was to pass to Corpus Christi Cavanos and another Mexican gentleman and his lady, who was then at Saint Joseph's Island. I consented that they should go down on board the Rebecca, and have given orders to Lieutenant Russell to carry them down and report them to you. I had no opportunity of asking or ascertaining how Cavanos got on board the bark, further than he was in [New] Orleans when that city was taken by the enemy. I therefore leave it for you to investigate the whole matter when they arrive in Corpus [Christi]. Sergeant Bradley has just arrived from Lamar, and says that the enemy held Captain Brown for the purpose of piloting the schooner down to Corpus Christi. They also say that Kittredge, who is in command of the expedition, stated at Lamar that 15,000 troops would be landed on Saint Joseph's Island in a few weeks. I think that is only bombast. I have sent a party of men to Lamar to-night to burn the Monte Christo, as they are going up for her on Monday for the purpose of carrying out the cotton they have captured. I presume you can get more accurate information from Cavanos. I shall, hold my position here until ordered or driven away.

Very respectfully,

Benjamin F. Neal,   Captain, Commanding Camp Aransas


*** Captain James A. Ware was 30 years old at this time.

This letter can be found on page 613 of the Congressional Serial Set U.S. Government Printing Office, 1883

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