10 The Early History of Galveston.
two Indians and captured two boys, one of whom was accidentally killed.
Long lost three killed and a number wounded.
Extracts from a letter from General Long, June 22, 1820, at Calcasieu,
to Gen. E. W. Ripley at Vermillion Bridge, La.:
"Colonel Singer's boat stranded and men dispersed. Major Hall had
brought his men from Bolivar to the Sabine, but again left for Galveston.
I will follow him at once with thirty men. One of Lafitte's vessels brought
in two prizes. One of them was carried off by a mutinous crew. I will
order the capture of the privateer and send her in pursuit."
(Author's note: Long, as President of Texas, claimed jurisdiction. The
Iafitte vessel referred to was no longer under Lafitte, but the fleet, having
disbanded, each lieutenant or captain of the former Lafitte fleet acted independently.
These privateers were really pirates and gave Lafitte the
bad name which he did not deserve.)
General Long referred to his men "beating the cannibals, and they now
are on their good behavior."
An interesting item in this letter was: "I cannot take out letter of
marque as I expected." He concluded by asking for provisions. General
Ripley referred to was Eleazer W. Ripley, who had resigned as Brigardier
General U. S. Army in February, 1820, probably to become governor of
Texas, for on June 23, 1820, General Long wrote him that he had resigned
as president and that Ripley had been elected and given twenty square miles
of land and a $25,000 a year allowance from the treasury (empty at that
time-Author). On July 4 he again wrote to say that his mnn failed to get
the privateer, but the Lynx got there before Hall's arrival (the Lynx was
a U. S. vessel). I
General Long said the men of the Lynx robbed his camp and dug up a
corpse to get the gold rings in its ears. He concluded by saying that he
had but one hundred men at the camp at Galveston and "these poor scoundrels
were naked and without provisions. Major Hall had gone with some
boats to Attakapas (man-eating savages' villages-Author). The cannibals
are now close by and friendly. Have not heard from the schooner or
boats commanded by Cotton, Crawford, Dennen, Hays and Alexander. I
cannot use Keels in these waters, study out some other mode of conveyance
(Keels must mean keel boats). I have seized some of Lafitte's small
boats. Some men of Mascatee are here who say they know where $130,000
in specie are buried. The cannibals have burned all houses but one. I am
building a bake house, but we have few arms, and only oysters, fish and
game to eat. I have sent Lieutenant Pitts with the other prize to New Orleans,
but he turned out a big scoundrel." (Author's note: Pitts later lived
An early issue of De Bow's Journal gave many references to Long's
actions at that time. These notices were more sensational than truthful.
"We learn that Spain has only two hundred men in San Antonio and thirty
at Labadie." "We also hear that Long, who is on San Louis Island in Galveston
Bay, has been fighting the cannibals. General Long has written a
friend that these Carrion Indians have already eaten two hundred Americans."
Dyer, Joseph O. The early history of Galveston, by Dr. J. O. Dyer. Galveston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24651/. Accessed August 29, 2014.