The Richmond Daily Dispatch
Nov. 6, 1862
|U.S.S. Harriet Lane was among the occupying Northern ships in Galveston.|
(U.S. Naval Historical Center)
GALVESTON, Texas -- We have given the particulars of the successful attack of the Federal ships on Galveston. An setting Mayor was appointed by the citizens to surrender the town, and went on board the Federal flag-ship with two or three citizens. He requested Commodore Renshaw to communicate to him his intentions in regard to the city, informing him at the same time of the abandonment of the city by the military, of the absence of the Mayor and City Council, and of his appointment as Mayor pro tem by a meeting of citizens. The following are the incidents of this mortifying surrender.
Commodore Renshaw replied that he had come for the purpose of taking possession of the city; that the city was at his mercy under his guns; that he should not interfere with the municipal affairs of the city; that the citizens might go on and conduct their business as heretofore; that he did not intend to occupy the city for the present, and until the arrival of a military commander; but that he intended to hoist the U. S. flag upon the public buildings, and that the flag should be respected. Whereupon the Mayor pro tem answered that he could not guarantee to him the protection of the flag — that he would do everything in his power — but that persons over whom he had no control might take down the flag and create a difficulty.
Commodore Renshaw replied that, although in his previous communications with the Military Committee, he had insisted that the flag should be protected by the city, still he thought it would be onerous upon the good citizens, and to avoid any difficulty like that which occurred in New Orleans, he would waive that point, and when he sent the flag ashore he would send a sufficient force to protect it, and that he would not keep the flag flying for more than a quarter to half an hour, sufficient to show the absolute possession. Commodore Renshaw further said that he would insist upon the right of any of his men in charge of an officer to come on shore and walk the streets of the city, but that he would not permit his men to come on shore indiscriminately, or in the night; that, should his men insult citizens, he gave the Mayor the right to arrest and report them to him, when he would punish them more rigidly than we possibly could; but, on the other hand, should any of his men be insulted or shot at in the streets of Galveston, or any of his ships or boats be shot at from the land or wharves, he would hold the city responsible, and open his broadsides on the same instantly; that his guns were kept shotted and double shotted for that purpose; that it was the determination of his Government to hold Galveston at all hazards until the end of the war, and that we could not take the port from him without a navy.
The Mayor pro tem asked his intentions in relation to the railroad bridged. The answer was at first declined; but afterwards, in conversation, he stated that he did not desire the destruction of the bridge if he was not interfered with; that he would permit the train to run up to this side of the bridge with previsions, which must be carried from there to town in vehicles. The train would not be permitted to run to town, and no communication whatever should be held by water.
Commander Renshaw stated in conclusion, that he had already advised the Admiral to send a cargo of flour, to which our party said nothing, and departed.
Shortly after the return of the Mayor and party a detachment of about 150 marines and sailors, including about half a dozen negroes, was sent ashore from the fleet, which landed at Kuhn's wharf, and proceeded silently to the Custom-House, on which, without any interference or demonstrations by the by standers, they raised the U. S. flag.
After half an hour (at 3 P. M.) the flag was quietly taken down, and the detachment marched back through the same streets to their boats, and returned to the fleet. The Mayor pro tem, and Thomas M. League, Esq., subsequently (at 4 P. M.) addressed the people at the market, stating the substance of their interview with the Federal commander.