The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996 Page: 176
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
standing, he reasoned, or the population of the city would starve. His
fleet could control the town, he believed, but at least a few hundred in-
fantrymen, which were difficult to obtain at this time, would be required
for patrol and guard duty. Quickly he sent a celebratory message to Far-
ragut in New Orleans outlining his achievement and position, request-
ing that troops be diverted from Louisiana, and telling of the pro-Union
sentiment he found in the city.2
Confederate Texans found little to celebrate during the Christmas
season of 1862. The military situation in the state was a shambles. With
little opposition, enemy troops had occupied most of the strategic points
along the Texas Gulf coast. The Confederate garrison had evacuated
Galveston in October, after only feeble resistance. Friends and family lay
dead on the distant battlefields of Virginia, Tennessee, and Arkansas.
And finally, the ignoble venture into New Mexico, launched amid high
expectations the previous year, had failed dismally, adding more names
to the casualty list. As a result of these reverses, a feeling of pessimism
gripped the population.2
The New Mexico disaster had nearly ruined both Confederate
Brigadier General Henry Hopkins Sibley and his brigade. In July 1862,
after bringing his disorganized and demoralized command back from
the territory, the general faced serious charges-cowardice and drunk-
enness. Confederate Adjutant-General Samuel Cooper ordered him to
Richmond, Virginia, for an explanation. While he tended to this matter,
Sibley placed his senior colonel, James Reily of the 4th Texas Cavalry, in
temporary command of the brigade. The unit he was to lead, however,
no longer existed. After their losses in the far west, the men had depart-
ed for home for sixty days. Because of a lack of supplies, officers extend-
ed the furlough and as a result, troops remained scattered across the
state on through December.4
2 Renshaw to Farragut, October 5, 1862, ORN, Ser. I, Vol. XIX, 259-260.
9 Robert M. Franklin, Speech to Camp Magruder United Confederate Veterans, April 2, 1911,
Galveston, Texas, 4, Texas and Local History Collection, Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Texas
(repository cited as TLHC); Ezra J. Warner, Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders
(Baton Rouge. Louisiana State University Press, 1959), 131-132, Hayes, Galveston, I, 525, Gener-
al Clement A. Evans (ed.), Confederate Mzlztary History: Library of Confederate States Hzstory, Written by
Distinguished Men of the South (12 vols.; Atlanta: Confederate Publishing Co., 1899), XI, 78; John
B. Magruder to Samuel Cooper, Feb. 26, 1863, War of the Rebellion A Complatzon of the Official
Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, comp. Lieutenant Colonel Robert N. Scott (70 vols. in
128: Gettysburg: National Historical Society, 1972), Ser. I, Vol. XV, 211-220 (cited hereafter as
4 Jerry Thompson, Henry Hopkns Sibley. Confederate General of the West (Natchitoches, La.:
Northwestern State University Press, 1987), 3o9-318ff; Theophilus Noel, A Campaign From Santa
Fe to the Missisippi- Being a History of the Old Sibley Brigade from Its Fzrst Organzzation to the Present
Tzme; Its Campaigns in New Mexico, Anzona, Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas in the Years 1861-2-3-4,
ed. Martin Hardwick Hall and Edwin Adams Davis (Houston: Stagecoach Press, 1961), 61-62; S.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996, periodical, 1996; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101217/m1/224/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.