The early history of Galveston, by Dr. J. O. Dyer

The Early History of Galveston. 23
women and children were placed, and between them and the fort were
the camps of the household slaves of the colonists numbering several hundred.
Edwards kept his slaves on the Dart moored near the bay shore. He
had about one hundred all told. The fort, called later Fort Travis by President
Burnet, was on a sandbank in the extreme east end. The fort consisted
of an octagon-shaped earthwork (or sand work); a huge ditch was
dug and the sand piled on the inner margin; a number of huts for the
troops were within the embankment. The fort at first had no guns.
* * *
Along the bay shore were the wrecks of two vessels. One lay out
several hundred feet from Fourteenth Street and was used as a wharf,
vessels tying on to it. Near this wreck was a submerged causeway of
oyster shells and a few worm-eaten piles. Tradition had it that this was
the site of Lafitte's navy yard. At the foot of Twelfth Street lay a large
dismantled brig which had hastily been repaired and painted. This was
Galveston's first hotel. It was run by a Frenchman called Francois, from
New Orleans, who had converted the cabin into a dining room, and had a
few private cabins and a number of sleeping bunks fitted up with sailor's
hammocks. There was no bedding, patrons furnishing their own blankets,
and candles were extra. It is needless to say that Francois' hotel was
filled and that he obtained $5 specie per day for his best accommodations.
A Criolla woman was his cook, and his table board was remarkably good,
as beef, fish, oysters and deer meat, as well as wild fowl, were plentiful.
* * *
Colonel Dyer remained on the sloop for several days, when Hall's
negroes built him a hut, not far from the hotel, where he took his meals.
He brought ashore some clothing and underwear, several blankets and a
few luxuries and medicines. Colonel Graham and his twenty-nine or thirty
men were sent on the Laura up Buffalo Bayou to join the army. The
exact location of the army was not known. On April 23 the President
wrote Secretary of War Rusk, referring to Galveston, "this point must be
kept." He likewise suggested the advisability of the army falling back
on Galveston Island, provided he (Rusk) thought the army not strong
enough to give battle. Probably Burnet thought the last stand could be
made at Galveston more advantageously, as the guns of the war vessels
could assist, the army having no artillery except the two small brass pieces
called the Twin Sisters. In the same letter forwarded by the Laura he
mentioned
"We send you twenty-nine volunteers under command of Captain
Graham. These men arrived on Thursday from New Orleans." Burnet
Referred to Colonel Graham, who had been selected as captain of the
company by Colonel Dyer on account of his fitness for service.
Although long past middle age, Colonel Graham had a history, for he
was the same Colonel Graham who, when a young man, visited Galveston
in 1818. At that time he made a land journey from Vermillion Bridge. La.,
to inquire into the status of the camps of Lafitte, and General Allemande,
and his report to General Ebenezer Ripley, U. S. Army commander on
the border, is on record.
On April 21 President Burnet authorized R. Potter to establish a naval
On April 21 President Burnet authorized R. Potter to establish a naval

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 September 17, 2014.