Letter written by Brig. General Hamilton Bee to Headquarters on August 26, 1862
Bold lettering done by Judy C. Ware for benefits of family research
Headquarters Sub-Mil. Dis. Of the Rio Grande
Corpus Christi, Texas
August 26, 1862
Sir: I have the honor to enclose the official reports of Major A. M. Hobby, commanding this post, of the bombardment of Corpus Christi. It is with great satisfaction that I call the attention of the general commanding the Department of Texas to the judgment and gallantry of Major Hobby, as well as to the satisfactory manner in which he discharged his duty under the trying circumstances in which he was placed. The enemy brought into action seven pieces of heavy artillery, adapted to and using all the modern improvements in projectiles. Our force was two 18-pounder and one 12-pounder guns, manned by inexperienced artillerists, and supported by volunteers but a few days in the service; yet the furious fire of shot and shell by the enemy, after the first few rounds, served but to inspire the men, and their spirit and bravery are worthy of all praise.
After several hours of incessant fire on our little battery, without effect, a force of about 40 men, with a rifled gun, was landed on the beach about a mile from the battery (which, having but a water front, was not able to resist their approach), and slowly advancing, endeavoring to flank it, the three heavy gunboats being within 400 yards of the shore, covering their advance with a continuous fire of grape and canister. So completely did the guns of the boats cover their approach that the advancing force may fairly be considered as equal to two batteries of 24 and 32 pounders. To charge through such a formidable fire seemed hopeless; yet, when almost within musket-range of the battery, Major Hobby led a charge of 25 men and put the marines to fight. At this moment Captain Ware’s fine company of cavalry came dashing into the plain, and but for the peremptory order from Major Hobby in person, would in another moment have cut them to pieces and captured their gun; but when it is considered that this charge would have been made through a flank fire of heavy guns, loaded with grape and canister, at 400 yards distance, and must have resulted in the sacrifice of most of the men, I approve of the order of Major Hobby in restraining them, considering the object to be gained as not commensurate with the almost certain loss.
It is due to Captain Ware and his command to say that, with all its probable consequences, they were not only ready for the work and actually under fire, but were bitterly disappointed at losing the opportunity thus presented.
Foiled in all his plans, the enemy vented his spleen on the defenseless houses of the town for a short time and then withdrew, with his fleet badly crippled, but with what loss we have no means of knowing. Between 400 and 500 shot and shell were fired by the enemy.
One man killed and 1 wounded constitute the casualties among our troops. Major Hobby was struck on the head by a glancing ball, which inflicted but a slight wound. A great many houses in the town were struck, but the damage is slight.
Too much praise cannot be given to the patriotic citizens of Corpus Christi. They removed out into the woods with their families out of fire, and in tents and under trees calmly and confidently awaited the result. They have suffered many inconveniences and privations, especially for want of water, as the drought of this section has been unprecedented, yet they have set a laudable example to their countrymen and added another to the many instances of patriotism which this war has elicited. It is worthy of remark that the citizens of the surrounding counties, for a distance of 100 miles, attracted by the fire of the cannon, with their rifles in hand, repaired to the scene and tendered their services to the commanding officer, demonstrating that when the emergency arises their country can depend on them.
The defenses of the town have been materially strengthened and heavier guns added to the batteries, and should the enemy renew the attack, I feel confident of reporting equally as successful a result.
The attention of the general commanding is specially called to the service rendered by Mr. William Mann, a young gentleman of this place, who, having served at Belmont, Columbus, and Island Number 10, brought all the experience of those well-fought fields to the assistance of his native city, and materially contributed by his gallantry and skill to the discomfiture of our enemies.
Major Buckner, a citizen of Corpus Christi, but an experienced soldier from the Old World, rendered useful service.
Judge H. A. Gilpin, chief justice of Nueces County, was much exposed, and rendered good service, as did many other citizens of the town.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. P. BEE,
Brigadier General, Prov. Army, Commanding Sub-Mil. Dist. of the Rio Grande
Reference: War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0620-621 Chapter XXI. BOMBARDMENT OF CORPUS CHRISTI, TEX., Ohio State University
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