Notes and Documents
In six or eight days, the discolored sea told us that we were near
the mouth of the Mississippi, and, ere long, the spider-like tug took
us in charge, and soon we were speeding up the river; and here it
was that I had my first sight of an ocean steamship, which was
hurrying down the pass, and out to sea.
What a contrast greeted usl Hardly a week had passed, and we had
left Richmond with winter firmly rivetted in the lap of spring,
while now, as we passed up the river with the green sward coming
to the water's edge, with a great alligator here and there basking
in the sun on the right; and on our left, Nature was smiling in
her renewed dress of tender green, and the air was redolent with
the perfume of the flowers of the China[berry] tree.
Remaining but a short time in New Orleans, we boarded an
outgoing steamer for Indianola via Galveston, then scarcely more
than a village,6 but beautiful from its wealth of oleanders and roses.
Having discharged freight, we were off to our destination, Indianola7
-long since abandoned as a port of entry-and myl what a swell
over the bar; had the pilot missed his way by but a hair's breadth,
we should have been pounded to pieces in a few minutes-evidence
of which were several wrecks staring us in the face. In one of these
wrecks was Lieutenant William E. Joness (afterwards General of
Cavalry in our army) and his bride, returning from his wedding
trip, but, as fate would have it, she, poor lady, found a watery grave.
Indianola was a much smaller and far less attractive village [than
"In 1850 the population of Galveston was 4,177. United State Census Office,
The Seventh Census of the United States: 185o (Washington, 1853).
7Indianola, presently a ghost town, was located on the west shore of Matagorda
Bay. It was originally called Powderhorn and later Karlshaven by the German
immigrants. For the period 1850-1861, all United States Army posts in Texas were
supplied through Indianola. Before the Civil War, several cattle slaughtering
plants were located there, as were plants for processing turtles and wild turkeys.
On September 17, 1875, the town of six-thousand was nearly destroyed by a
hurricane. In the succeeding years more and more of the ocean traffic was diverted
to Galveston because of its better rail connections. On August 2o, 1886, Indianola
was struck by another disastrous hurricane, after which the remaining inhabitants
abandoned the town and the county seat was returned to Port Lavaca, from which
it had been moved in the 185o's. Dermat H. Hardy and Ingham S. Roberts,
Historical Review of South-East Texas and the Founders, Leaders, and Representative
Men of its Commerce, Industry, and Civic Affairs (2 vols.; Chicago, 1910), I, 366-367.
sWilliam Edmondson "Grumbles" Jones (1824-1864), a native of the Holston
River area of southwestern Virginia and a graduate of West Point in the class of
1848, resigned from the army in 1857. Upon secession, he joined the Confederate
forces and served under J. E. B. Stuart until a disagreement led to his reassignment
as commander of the Department of Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee.
Promoted to brigadier general, effective September 19, 1862, Jones was killed
instantly at the battle of Piedmont in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia on June
5, 1864. Union forces returned his body to his friends, and he was buried in the
yard of the Old Glade Spring Presbyterian Church near the place of his birth.
Ezra J. Warner, Generals in Gray (Baton Rouge, 1959), 166-167.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed February 27, 2015.