MATAGORDA INCIDENT
 


Apprehended Loss of Capt. Rugeley and 21 Men.

Dispatches have been received from Gen. Magruder’s Headquarters stating that Capt. Rugeley and his company proceeded out on Matagorda bay the other day, in three launches, and two of the launches capsized in a severe wind that sprang up in the night. Eighteen men from the capsized boats finally succeeded by swimming and wading in reaching the shore near the east end of the bay, and proceeded to the camps of some of our troops. The fate of Capt. Rugeley and 21 men who were in another launch, was not known, and Col. Buchel immediately sent men to find them if possible, but the men had not returned, nor was any further information received at the time the courier left. It is to be hoped that they may have effected a landing in some other part of the bay shore. The object of his expedition by water is not stated.

The Galveston News, Houston, Texas, Wednesday, January 6, 1864, Volume XX, No. 42
 

There were several accounts of the failed action in newspapers, letters, interviews, etc. which give conflicting information. The report and article written by Capt. Rugeley are considered the most accurate.

Captain Rugeley's Report Camp Wharton, Dec. 31, 1863
Capt. Marmion's Letter - December 30, 1863 The Fate of Rugeley’s Men
Burkhart's Account Particulars of the Disaster in Matagorda Bay
Nell Wilkinson Letter The Affair on the Peninsula
Mrs. Duncan Gordon's Account Brown's Regiment Report
Capt. Edward Salmon Rugeley "Caney Article"
Company D, 35th Texas Cavalry (Brown's Regiment) Captain Rugeley's Response to "Caney's" Article

Diary of Thomas Linn, Drummer 16th Ohio Vol. Infantry written from Decrow's Point
 

 


THE MATAGORDA INCIDENT
By Shirley Brown

 

 

I. CONTEXT
 

The Matagorda Incident may not be as well-known as larger events of the Civil War, but it is just as memorable to the families and friends of the young men who gave their lives for the cause in which they believed. The horrors of war were brought to the front doors of the residents of Matagorda, Texas, when twenty-two men perished in the midst of an expedition against Federal troops. They perished not as the result of hostilities but as the result of severe weather.

 

Approximately ninety men from the Matagorda County area joined Company D, 6th Texas Infantry and fought in Arkansas, Virginia and Georgia.1 The younger and older men were left as the home guard in Matagorda. The defense of the town would have been impossible without Captain Rugeley’s company being stationed there.

 

 

II. OVERVIEW
 

The Federals, in an effort to destroy trade from Texas to Europe through Brownsville and Matamoros and to stop blockade runners from bringing supplies to Confederate troops, took possession of the most important ports along the Texas coast. By the middle of November 1863, Federal troops occupied nearly a third of the Texas coastline and were heading for the main port of Galveston. Any loss of ports on the Texas coast to the Federals would allow their invasion forces heading inland to be supplied by the United States Navy.

 

Separating Matagorda Bay from the Gulf of Mexico was a thin strip of land known as the Matagorda Peninsula. The area around Pass Cavallo, the entrance into Matagorda Bay, was occupied by Federal forces on November 30, 1863.

 

The shallow waters inside the bay prevented the larger Federal warships from entering the bay, but also limited the Confederates to using shallow draft small gunboats inside the bay. The Union warships could remain in the Gulf of Mexico and fire their guns over the peninsula into the bay at the smaller Confederate vessels. Both sides were trying to build up their defenses in and around Matagorda Bay.

 

Captain Edward S. Rugeley (1822 - 1897) and his Company D of Brown’s Regiment, Texas Cavalry were stationed to protect the town of Matagorda and the surrounding area. The company had just been formed from other units on October 1863. Many of the men were from Navarro and Colorado counties.6 Captain Rugeley and the company had arrived in Matagorda on October 24th. Matagorda’s proximity to the Gulf also necessitated the marine service command of Captain James R. Marmion (1830 - 1895). Anchored in Matagorda Bay were the cotton-clad gunboat, the John F. Carr, armed with two guns, the Lucy Gwinn, used for transportation, and the Lizzie Lake, a stern wheeler. The guns were officered and manned by members of Cook’s regiment of artillery, stationed at Galveston.

 

During late December 1863, Federal gunboats had been seen plying the waters along Matagorda Peninsula for two or three days looking for a way to outflank Matagorda Bay without losing their lines of supply from the sea.

 

Captain Marmion was leading the John F. Carr and the Cora on patrol in Matagorda Bay. He learned that the Federals had landed approximately three hundred men on the Matagorda Peninsula and their gunboats remained off the coast supplying cover for their men on shore. The landing party was in the process of throwing up breastworks of log and sand to repel any further Confederate cavalry attacks. Captain Marmion brought the Carr into a position directly opposite the Federal gunboats which were on the gulf side of the peninsula. The landing party was caught in the middle, and Marmion knew that if any of his shells missed the landing party, they had a chance of hitting the Federal gunboats. The Carr was run in as close as possible to the shore, putting it approximately one and one-half miles from the sand fort and about two miles from the enemy gunboats.

 

Late in the morning of December 30, 1863, firing broke out between the Federal troops and the Confederate cavalry. The Union gunboats began firing in support of their landing party, moving closer to shore as they shelled the cavalry positions. Eventually the firing stopped, and the soldiers went back to constructing their fort. A haze which had been lingering over the area, began to lift, and Captain Marmion had a clear view of the Federal position and opened fire on the Union soldiers, stopping their work again. Then he began firing on the Federal gunboats and they returned fire.

 

Since the landing party was not making any progress on the fort, one of the Federal gunboats began moving back down the coast to Pass Cavallo to bring up reinforcements. The second gunboat moved out of range of the Carr’s guns.

 

Captain Marmion also recognized the need to bring up reinforcements. So far he had only halted the landing party from working on their fort when actively firing. When shelling stopped, work resumed. He also knew the Confederate cavalry presently on the Peninsula was not sufficient to attack the Federal infantry on their own. When Captain Marmion saw the Federal gunboat sail back down the coast he correctly assumed that she was going for reinforcements. On the afternoon of December 30th, Captain Rugeley received a communication from Captain Marmion, of the gunboat John F. Carr, through Captain Crofts, of the Cora, that if he should hear firing from the Carr, which was then lying from 1000 to 1200 yards in the bay from the Peninsula, and almost opposite the town of Matagorda, to come over with or send a detachment of thirty men. Not long after receiving this request, Rugeley heard firing and immediately called for volunteers from his company to go with him to the Carr. According to one account, Rugeley asked for volunteers, telling them he would go with them as commander, but he could not order them to help in the defense of the Peninsula. All present wanted to go and were disappointed that only the best armed would be chosen from the volunteers. Nevertheless, five more men than originally chosen succeeded in getting on board the Cora, which was to carry Rugeley and his men across the bay to the Carr.

 

Rugeley and his men, consisting of one lieutenant, four non-commissioned officers, thirty-five privates, and three volunteers from the town of Matagorda, reached the Carr about sunset.

 

Captain Marmion informed Rugeley that the enemy, from forty to fifty strong, had been building breastworks during the evening until the shots from his gun caused them to stop. Captains Rugeley, Marmion and Green Hall (ca 1834 - 1890) of the Carr met and all agreed that the Federals on the peninsula vastly outnumbered the Confederates and would be even stronger the next day after reinforcements arrived. The officers agreed to make a night attack on the enemy’s encampment. A force, consisting of fifty-seven, including fifteen from the gunboat, would land on the peninsula, reconnoiter the enemy’s position, ascertain their number, and, if deemed prudent attack.

 

In the meantime, a scout was sent ashore to determine how close small boats could approach the Peninsula without having to wade. He returned around nine p.m. and stated that there was from twelve to eighteen inches of water to within two hundred yards of the shore. The launches were readied and preparations made to go ashore.

About nine o’clock two trusted men were selected to go on shore to determine the strength of the enemy’s forces. They soon returned and reported the enemy’s number about sixty and the attack was to be made; all were anxious to go.

 

The launches were ordered ready and preparations made to go ashore. Fifty-seven men left the Carr. Thirty-six went on board the largest launch and thirteen men on the next largest launch. Both of these boats were manned by good oarsmen. The third, a skiff, was occupied by Captains Marmion, Hall, Rugeley, and five others.

 

The three boats left the Carr, which was riding at anchor in about four feet of water, and about 1000 to 1200 yards from the Peninsula, between 9:30 and 10 p.m. The day had been warm and beautiful; many of the brave men were in their shirt sleeves. After rowing half way to the shore, a terrific norther blew up, and Rugeley suggested a return to the Carr, which was sanctioned by the other officers in the boat; therefore, the launches were ordered back, none supposing for a moment that the small boats could not be rowed back safely in a few minutes, as the distance was only about five to six hundred yards. Rugeley’s sole purpose in ordering the return was the welfare of the men. If they had reached the peninsula with a cold and heavy norther blowing, and found the enemy stronger than anticipated, and unable to return to the gunship by the small boats, the men would have been compelled either to fight or pass the enemy lines, unobserved, and march twenty-four miles to the head of the peninsula where Confederate forces were stationed. This would have caused great suffering by the men, as the night proved to be one of the coldest ever known in South Texas.

 

Captain Rugeley gave the command to return to the gunboats; however, the small boats were soon separated. The fury of the storm was churning the waters of the bay and it was freezing cold. The skiff, with Rugeley and seven others aboard, after hard work, reached the gunboats while the others continued on, it is believed towards the peninsula.

 

The other two boats were not so lucky. The largest launch was within 150 feet of the steamer Cora, when one of the oars broke, and, as the boat was tossed around in the rough water, each wave helped to fill the boat. In those few moments occurred scenes never to be forgotten. William Selkirk (1845-1915) recalls how one of the two brothers who remained in the boat helped him pull off his boots, then he took off his coat and jumped overboard to get away from the sinking launch. He swam what seemed like a mile to shore, where he met a fellow soldier. They went ten miles down the beach, running all the way to keep warm, to a house. Some seven or eight others arrived there after Selkirk.

 

All those who left the launch immediately after being swamped were saved. Others clung to the launch until they either drowned or upon reaching the shore were so numb from being cold and wet that they could not walk and there froze to death. All in the second boat were saved, as she filled in shallow water.

 

While attempting to reach the gunboats, several of Rugeley’s men discharged their guns, and immediately rockets were fired from the gunboats, and Rugeley believed this is when the enemy left their entrenchments. Many of the enemy had already returned to their ship when the storm came up.

The night being bitter cold and the wind blowing fiercely, no aid from either the Carr or the Cora could be rendered. It was hoped that all men were able to leave their boats and go to one of the homes on the Peninsula. However, the following morning proved otherwise.28 Of the thirty-six men in the launch twenty-two lost their lives, including Captain Rugeley’s brother.

 

When daylight showed the frozen beach and the icicles that hung from the salt cedars, the survivors loaded the bodies of the men that could be found on the gunboat and fought their way back across the bay in the very face of the norther.

 

It was several days, however, before the last body, Henry Gibson, was found.Heartbreaking was the sight of the bodies of the McKinley brothers, Daniel and Thomas, locked in each other’s arms.

 

That night the bodies were “laid out” in the parlor of the Colorado House, a hotel in Matagorda. Travel was almost impossible due to the weather, so no messengers were sent to the plantations that night. The hotel was crowded for the New Year’s Eve Ball that was never held. The men “sit up” with the bodies and the ladies helped in the kitchen. The next morning riders set out to take the news to the plantations. Every home was in mourning and was offering hospitality to other mourners from the outlying districts.

 

Over a three-day period, funeral services were held by Christ Church of Matagorda for many of the men. Most of the men were buried in one area of Matagorda Cemetery.

Captain Rugeley wrote in his report: “Fifteen minutes longer and the whole party would have landed, and I believe we could have taken the enemy, as they numbered but few, if any, more than we did. . . .Never did an undertaking at its commencement appear more auspicious or one which ended more disastrously.”

 

The storm which sprang up on the night of December 30th continued to roar for a number of days. Federal reinforcements from Pass Cavallo finally arrived early December 31st; however, due to the weather, troops could not land. The order was eventually given to evacuate all Federal troops and return to Pass Cavallo. Despite the weather, the evacuation was successful; leaving the Confederates to control the Matagorda Peninsula.

 

This winter was remarkably severe, the cold weather continuing nearly the entire month of January, and will be remembered as being fraught with the most fatal consequences to the Confederate troops in Matagorda Bay.

 

An Ohio newspaper reported “The Texas papers have long accounts of fighting with our troops on the Peninsula, opposite Matagorda. In an attempt to land a force from the rebel gunboat J. F. Carr to attack the Union troops who had thrown up fortifications on the Peninsula, one of the rebel launches was overturned in a gale, and twenty-two men drowned.”

 

One of the Federal units stationed on Matagorda Peninsula was part of the 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The drummer, Thomas Buchanan Linn (1842-1921), included the following entries in his diary: Wednesday, Dec. 30. 1863 - Rained some this forenoon. Battalion drill this afternoon. Wind raises tonight and is blowing a Nor'Wester; Thursday, Dec. 31, 1863 - Very cold and wind blowing from the North West all day. Pickets expected to be attacked last night.38 The expected attack was halted by the fatal norther.

 

List of men lost between December 30 and 31, 186339 [Official date of death December 31, 186340]

 

Name, Rank & Approximate Age Birthplace or Residence & Occupation

Jesse Mathews, First Sergeant, age 23 London, Virginia, merchant

John H. Jones, Jr., Second Sergeant, age 29 Mobile, Alabama, planter

Daniel A. McKinley, Corporal, age 22 Cabarrus, North Carolina, farmer

Alfred D. Hines, Private, Bugler, age 23 Washington, Texas, stock raiser

George M. Bowie, Private, age 18 Dallas, Alabama, planter

William G. Copeland, Private, age 19 Pike, Alabama, stock raiser

Julius M. Conner, Private, age 22 Madisonville, Tennessee, farmer

Joyce U. Howell, Private, age 18 Dallas, Alabama, farmer

William M. Meneley, Private, age 33 Illinois, overseer

Andrew J. May, Private, age 32 Arkansas, overseer

James B. Seaborn, Private, age 18 Greenville, Virginia, stock raiser

Benjamin H. Walton, Private, age 21 Missouri, clerk

Thomas M. McKinley, Private, age 18 Tennessee, farmer

Thomas M. Wadsworth, Private, age 18 Matagorda, Texas, clerk

Fielding C. Secrest, Private, age 25 Colorado County, Texas, merchant

Jacob G. Secrest, Private, age 20 Ft. Bend County, Texas, stock raiser

Henry Gibson, Private, age 19 Matagorda, Texas, student

Augustus C. Johnson, Private, age 18 Carroll, Louisiana, student

Julius Shaw, from Gunboat John F. Carr

James A. Rugeley, Volunteer, age 17 Matagorda, Texas, student

Edwin B, Lake, Volunteer, age 18 Alabama, clerk 7

James A. Duggan, Volunteer, age 35 Merchant

 

 

III. SIGNIFICANCE

 

Matagorda was far removed from most of the more significant battles of the Civil War, but its location brought the war to its doorstep. Hardly a family in Matagorda was unaffected by the incident that claimed twenty-two men and volunteers in Captain Rugeley’s company. The loss of family members and friends reached beyond Matagorda to several other counties. The New Year’s Eve Ball planned for December 31, 1863, was cancelled, and it would be almost twenty years before New Year’s Eve would once again be a time of celebration in Matagorda. All of the men were of marriageable age, and several young women in Matagorda who lost their sweethearts that fateful night never married.

 

The defense of Matagorda Peninsula and Pass Cavallo continued to be significant until the end of the war. Federal patrols continued to blockade Pass Cavallo to keep necessary supplies from reaching Matagorda and thus mainland Texas while preventing cotton and other exports from leaving Matagorda for foreign markets. The men in Captain Rugeley’s company sought to protect their homeland, and for some, the price was their lives.
 


 


Company D, 35th Texas Cavalry (Brown's Regiment)
 


THIRTY-FIFTH TEXAS CAVALRY [BROWN'S]
. The Thirty-fifth Texas Cavalry (Brown's) organized in October 1863. As there were two units with the number designation of the Thirty-fifth Texas Cavalry, this unit was named after its leader Reuben R. Brown. The other Thirty-fifth Texas Cavalry (Likens's) was led by Col. James B. Likens. When Reuben R. Brown was promoted to colonel, he was placed in charge of a newly-organized battalion that was made of the remnants of his Twelfth Texas Cavalry (Brown's), Rountree's Texas Cavalry, and an assortment of men who wanted to transfer from the Thirteenth Texas Infantry into a mounted unit. The Thirty-fifth was broken down into thirteen companies, some of which shared the geographic origins of its men. For example, Company A, the former core of the Thirteenth Texas Infantry, was known as the "Columbia Blues," since they had formed in Columbia, Texas. Company B was predominately from Brazoria and Colorado counties. Company C men were from Starr and Milam counties. Companies D and F held men from Navarro and Colorado counties. Company G held men from Hardin, Brazoria, and Matagorda counties. Finally Company H held men from Galveston and Fayette counties.

The leader of the unit, Reuben R. Brown, arrived in Texas in 1835 and took part in the ill-fated Matamoros Expedition of 1835–36. In carrying out raids for horses in South Texas, he escaped the battle at Agua Dulce Creek but was captured and brought before Mexican Gen. José Urrea. Eventually, he was taken as one of the Matamoros prisoners and held captive for eleven months before he escaped. Though he initially returned to his home state of North Carolina, he was soon back in Texas, where he owned a plantation in Brazoria County. Early in the Civil War he was assigned the Twelfth Texas Cavalry Battalion.

At the time of its organization, Brown's Thirty-fifth was composed of 927 men, including supporting officers Lt. Col. Stephen William [S. W.] Perkins (often misconstrued as Samuel W. Perkins), and Maj. Lee C. Rountree. The battalion's first duty was to challenge the Federal encampment at Fort Esperanza, located in Matagorda Bay. This fort, which had been recaptured by the Union earlier that year, was a direct threat to Indianola, one of Texas's largest seaports. Although an action was made, on December 29, 1863, the defenses of the fort proved too strong. Through desertion and casualties, Brown found his Thirty-fifth reduced to only twenty-nine officers and 409 men after the affair at Indianola. On February 22, 1864, it fell into the position of sentinel of the coast. Although Brown's Thirty-fifth officially surrendered with the other Trans-Mississippi units at Galveston on June 2, 1865, many of its units had unofficially disbanded in mid-May.

Handbook of Texas

Co. D Brown’s 35th Texas Cavalry
Formerly Co. D Brown’s 12 Battn Cavalry
Formerly Rugeley’s Co II – 13th Regt. Inf.
Capt. Ewd. S. Rugeley
Lieut. Alex. I. Rugeley
1st Lieut. Wm. F. Davis
2nd Lieut. Wm. H. Wiggins
2nd Lieut. Virginius Turner

April 30, 1862 Roll shows 20 men transfd from Inf. Cos (E & G), 4 (Bates’) Regt. Tex. Vols. To this Co. by Special Order 424 Dept. Hdqrs. Apr 3, 1862

June 30/62 Roll shows 17 men transfd to form Co “F” by General Order from Dept. Hdqrs June 17, 1862

Captions and Record of Events – Co.D, 35 Texas Cavalry. (Brown’s)
Mch & Apr, 1862 – Camp near Columbia, Brazoria County
May & June, 1862 – Camp Chocolate
July & Aug, 1862 – station of company not stated
Sept & Oct, 1862 – Camp Nellie, Matagorda County
Nov & Dec, 1862 – Camp Nellie
Jan & Feb, 1863 – Camp Colorado, Matagorda County, Texas
Mch & Apr, 1863 – Camp Colorado
Sept & Oct, 1863 – Camp near Matagorda, Matagorda Co. – The company left Velasco on October 23rd for Matagorda County and arrived on the 24th, distance traveled sixty miles. The company being on detached service.
Jan. & Feb, 1864 - Matagorda

Members of Co. D who were a part of the regiment at the time of the Matagorda Incident
 

 


Men Who Died in the Matagorda Incident on  the Night of December 30th & 31st, 1863

There were many variations of the names in the numerous documents associated with the Incident.
The service records were used as the primary source of the names in the following list.

 

 

NAME

AGE

BIRTH

BIRTHPLACE

PARENTS

OCC

RANK

NOTES

1

George Milhouse Bowie

18

Bowie
Bible
20

23 Jan 1844

Dallas Co, AL 

Bowie Family
Cedar Lane

1860-Mat Co.

George John Bowie
Frances Sophia Millhouse Bowie

 

Pvt
Co D 35th Cav

g/s of John Burgess Bowie
Sarah R. Harwell Bowie
Bowie Bible – d Jan 1864 age 20 Mat Bay Disaster

2

Julius M. Conner

22

 

Madisonville, TN

Lived in Colorado Co, TX?

Possibly
Trenton
Connor &
Sarah Harbert

Farmer

Pvt
Co D 35th Cav

Christ Church Records
buried Jan. 3

3

William G. Copeland

19

 

Pike, Alabama

 1860-Mat Co

G. J. Copeland
Jane Copeland

Stock Raiser

Pvt
Co D 35th Cav

 

4

James A. Duggan

35

 

 

 

Merchant

 

Volunteer
Christ Church Records
buried Jan. 4

5

Henry Gibson

19

 

C 1845 MS
Matagorda, TX

 

1860-Mat Co

John H. Gibson
Edith Marion Booker

Student

Pvt
Co D 35th Cav

Christ Church Records
buried Jan. 2

6

Alfred D. Hines

23

C1839

Washington, TX

 

1860-Burleson TX

James Russell Hines
Laura Jane Evans

Stock Raiser

Bugler
Co D 35th Cav

Christ Church Records
buried Jan. 3

7

Joyce U. Howell

18

 B c 1845

Dallas, AL

 

1860-Mat Co

Samuel Howell? d 1856
Julia Howell d 1863

Farmer

Pvt
Co D 35th Cav

Christ Church Records
buried Jan. 2

8

Augustus C. Johnson

18

 

Carroll, LA

John J. Beulow Johnson &
Emily Susan Gayle Ridder Johnson

Student

Pvt
Co D 35th Cav

Christ Church Records
buried Jan. 4

9

John H. Jones, Jr.

1860 wife M. R. W. Jones

29

B c 1842

 

Mobile, AL

 

1860-Mat Co

John H. Jones, Sr.
Caroline Colgin

Planter

2nd Sgt
Co D 35th Cav

24 in 1860 MC Census
Christ Church Records
buried Jan 2

10

William M. Meneley

33

 

Illinois

 

Overseer

Pvt
Co D 35th Cav

Christ Church Records
buried Jan. 4

11

Edwin B. Lake

18

 

AL

B MS

1860-Yalabousha, MS

Levin Lake & Harriette Angeline Crawford

Clerk

 

Volunteer
Christ Church Records
buried Jan 4

12

Daniel A. McKinley
Ancestry
Daniel Penick McKinley

22

5 Jul 1836
Rocky River, NC
30 Dec 1863
Matagorda

Cabarrus, NC

1860-Colordo Co, TX

Stephen McKinley
Dovey Louisa Robinson

Farmer

2nd Cpl
Co D 35th Cav

Christ Church Records
buried Jan. 3

13

Thomas Milton Kerr McKinley

18

C 1844 Rocky River, Cabarrus, NC
 

NC

 

Stephen McKinley
Dovey Louisa Robinson

Farmer

Pvt
Co D 35th Cav

Christ Church Records
buried Jan. 3

14

Jesse Mathews

23

B 1838

Loudoun, VA

Simon Matthews
Susanna Fritts

Merchant

1st Sgt
Co D 35th Cav

Christ Church Records
buried Jan 3

15

Andrew J. May

32

B c 1831

 

Arkansas

1860-Mat Co

 

Overseer
for H. J. Powell

Pvt
Co D 35th Cav

Christ Church Records
Buried Jan. 4

16

James Abercrombie Rugeley
                                   

17

 

Matagorda, TX

1860-Mat Co

John Rugeley
Eliza Clopton

Student

Volunteer

(younger brother of E. S. Rugeley)

17

James B. Seaborn

18

 

Greenville, VA

 

Stock Raiser

Pvt
Co D 35th Cav

Christ Church Records
Buried Jan. 3

18

Jacob G. Secrest

20

 

Colorado Co, TX

1850-Ft. Bend Co, TX

Washington
Hampton
Secrest
Comfort Bostick Robinson Secrest

Merchant

Pvt
Co D 35th Cav

Christ Church Records
Buried Jan. 4

19

Fielding C. Secrest
[Fielder]

25

 

1850-Ft. Bend Co., TX

Washington
Hampton
Secrest
Comfort Bostick Robinson Secrest

Stock Raiser

Pvt
Co D 35th Cav

Christ Church Records
Buried Jan 3

20

Julius Shaw

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gunboat John F. Carr carpenter

21

Thomas Mackey Wadsworth

18

B 1845
marker at Mat Cem

Matagorda, TX

 

1860-Mat Co

Albert
Wadsworth
& Mary
Mackey

Clerk

Pvt
Co D 35th Cav

Christ Church Records
buried Jan. 2

Has a marker in family plot-possibly a cenotaph

22

Benjamin H. Walton

21

C1841

Missouri
1860-Caldwell, Burleson Co., TX

Jacob Walton &
Sophia Jenkins

Clerk

Pvt
Co D 35th Cav

Christ Church Records
Buried Jan. 4

 

 


Service Records
 


George Milhouse Bowie

George Milhouse Bowie, the oldest child of George John Bowie (1819 – 1861) and Frances Sophia Milhouse Bowie (1826 – 1899) was born in Dallas County, Alabama on January 23, 1844 and died in Matagorda Bay December 30-31, 1863.  His siblings born in Alabama were: Harris Walker Bowie (1845 – 1917), Sarah Rebecca Bowie (1847 – 1847) and Laura Frances Bowie White (1848 – 1891). The last four siblings were born on the Bowie plantation in Matagorda County, Texas: Mary Jane Bowie Duncan (1851 – 1903), Anna Milhouse Bowie (1853 – 1860), Freeman King Bowie (1855 – 1857) and Philip Milhouse Bowie (1859 – 1915).

Co. D, 35 TX Cavalry (Brown’s Regt.) – Private-Private
Enlisted Nov. 9, 1861 at Camp Winston by Ira R. Lewis for 12 mos.
Value of horse $250, equip $40. Reenlisted for the war Apl. 10, 1862, Velasco by R. R. Brown
Muster Rolls
Mch-Apr 1862 – Not Stated – age 18
May & June 1862 – Not Stated
July & Aug 1862 – Present
Sept & Oct 1862 – Absent – Scouting Matagorda Peninsula
Nov & Dec 1862 – Present
Jan & Feb 1863 – Present
Mch & Apl 1863 – Present
Sep & Oct 1863 – Present
Dec 31, 1863 – Appears on a quarterly return of deceased soldiers of the organization named above, for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1863 – Died Dec 31, 1863 – Matagorda Bay - Drowned
Jan & Feb 1864 – Drowned in Matagorda Bay on the 31 Dec 1863, but not known at the time the rolls were made up Final statement rendered
 


Julius M. Connor


Co. D, 35 TX Cavalry (Brown’s Regt.) – Private-Private
Enlisted Oct. 27, 1861? at Columbia by J. W. Brooks for 12 mos.
Value of horse $180, equip $25. Reenlisted for the war Apl. 12, 1862, And transferred from Capt. Harrison’s infantry Bates Regmt by Special order no. 424 Apl 3 Dpt Hqrs
Muster Rolls
Mch-Apr 1862 – Not Stated – age 22
May & June 1862 – Not Stated
July & Aug 1862 – Present
Sept & Oct 1862 – Present
Nov & Dec 1862 – Present
Jan & Feb 1863 – Present
Mch & Apl 1863 – Awol since Apl 26th
Sep & Oct 1863 – Present
Dec 31, 1863 – Appears on a quarterly return of deceased soldiers of the organization named above, for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1863 – Died Dec 31, 1863 – Matagorda Bay - Drowned
Jan & Feb 1864 – Drowned in Matagorda Bay on the 31 Dec 1863, but not known at the time the rolls were made up Final statement rendered
 


William G. Copeland

Co. D, 35 TX Cavalry (Brown’s Regt.) – Private-Private
Enlisted Nov. 9, 1861 at Camp Winston by Ira R. Lewis for 12 mos.
Value of horse $175, equip $25. Reenlisted for the war Apl. 12, 1862, And Muster Rolls
Mch-Apr 1862 – Not Stated – Age 19
May & June 1862 – On extra duty in Battalion Qr Masters Department from May 1
Appears on a Receipt Roll for pay for May 1862 - Occupation Teamster – 25c per day – Sandy Point, Tex.
Appears on a Receipt Roll for pay for June 1862 – Occupation Teasmster – May 16–May 31/16days – 25c
July & Aug 1862 – Present - On extra duty in Battalion Qr Masters Department from May 1
Sept & Oct 1862 – On extra duty in Battalion Qr Masters Department from May 1  - name does not appear in column of names present
Nov & Dec 1862 – On extra duty in Battalion Qr Masters Departments - name does not appear in column of names present
Jan & Feb 1863 – On extra duty in Battalion Qr Masters Departments - name does not appear in column of names present
Mch & Apl 1863 – On extra duty in Battalion Qr Mr Dept since May 1, 1862 - name does not appear in column of names present
Sep & Oct 1863 – Present
Dec 31, 1863 – Appears on a quarterly return of deceased soldiers of the organization named above, for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1863 – Died Dec 31, 1863 – Matagorda Bay - Drowned
Jan & Feb 1864 – Drowned in Matagorda Bay on the 31 Dec 1863, but not known at the time the rolls were made up Final statement rendered

Appears on a Receipt Roll for pay for 186_ - Occupation Teamster – 25c per day – Sandy Point, Tex. – unknown month
 


James A. Duggan

 


Henry Gibson


Co. D, 35 TX Cavalry (Brown’s Regt.) – Private-Private
Enlisted Aug 21.1863 Galveston by E. S. Rugeley for the war
Sept & Oct 1863 – Not Stated – Remarks: Attached to Co. C. order R. R. Brown Sept. 18, 1863
Appears on a List of men absent from the organization named above. List dated Velasco Oct. 23, 1863 – Date of absence Sept. 1863; Length of absence Indefinite; Cause of absence: This man appears on Rolls of Co. C, but does duty with Co. D.; By whom granted Lt. Col Brown
Dec 31, 1863 – Appears on a quarterly return of deceased soldiers of the organization named above, for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1863 – Died Dec 31, 1863 – Matagorda Bay - Drowned
Jan & Feb 1864 – Drowned in Matagorda Bay on the 31 Dec 1863, but not known at the time the rolls were made up Final statement rendered
 


Alfred D. Hines


Co. D, 35 TX Cavalry (Brown’s Regt.) – Private-Private
Enlisted Mch 9, 1862? In Navarro Co. by Capt. W. Melton for 12 mos. – Pay due from enlistment
Value of horse $200, equip $25. Reenlisted for the war Apl. 10, 1862 in Velasco by R. R. Brown
Muster Rolls
Mch & Apl – Not Stated – Age 23
May & June 1862 – Not Stated
July & Aug 1862 – Present
Sept & Oct 1862 – Absent Without Leave
Nov & Dec 1862 – Present
Jan & Feb 1863 – Absent – Detailed to go to Washington County, Tex for horses Jany 18 – Taken sick while there and still absent – by order Maj Perkins
Mch & Apl 1863 – Absent – Detailed for Ten days from Jany 18 to go to Washington County for horses – Taken sick while there and still absent
Sep & Oct 1863 – Present
Dec 31, 1863 – Appears on a quarterly return of deceased soldiers of the organization named above, for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1863 – Died Dec 31, 1863 – Matagorda Bay - Drowned
Jan & Feb 1864 – Drowned in Matagorda Bay on the 31 Dec 1863, but not known at the time the rolls were made up Final statement rendered
 


Joyce U. Howell
Co. D, 35 TX Cavalry (Brown’s Regt.) – Private-Private
Enlisted Nov 9, 1861 at Camp Winston by I. R. Lewis for 12 mos – Reenlisted for the war Apr. 10
Value of horse $175, equip $30
Enlisted April 10, 1862 in Velasco by R. R. Brown for the war
Muster Rolls
Mar & Apr 1862 – Not Stated – Age 18
May & June 1862 – Not Stated
July & Aug 1862 - Present
Sept & Oct 1862 – Absent – Scouting Matagorda Peninsula
Nov & Dec 1862 – Present
Jan & Feb 1863 – Present
Mar & Apr 1863 – Present
Sept & Oct 1863 – Present
Dec 31, 1863 – Appears on a quarterly return of deceased soldiers of the organization named above, for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1863 – Died Dec 31, 1863 – Matagorda Bay - Drowned
Jan & Feb 1864 – Drowned in Matagorda Bay on the 31 Dec 1863, but not known at the time the rolls were made up Final statement rendered
 


Augustus C. Johnson

Co. D, 35 TX Cavalry (Brown’s Regt.) – Private-Private
Enlisted Nov 9, 1861 at Camp Winston by I. R. Lewis for 12 mos – Reenlisted for the war Apr. 26
Value of horse $240, equip $30
Enlisted April 26, 1862 in Velasco by J. E. Love for the war
Muster Rolls
May & June 1862 – Not Stated – Age 17 - Appointed 4th Corp from the ranks June 1 – Recapitulation shows all corpls present for duty
July & Aug 1862 - Present
Sept & Oct 1862 – Absent – Scouting Matagorda Peninsula
Nov & Dec 1862 – Absent – Absent on Scout
Jan & Feb 1863 – Present
Mar & Apr 1863 – Present – Returned to ranks Mch 1
Sept & Oct 1863 – Present
Oct 23, 1863 – Sent to hospital at Columbia and furloughed by Dr. Lune Surgeon in charge
Dec 31, 1863 – Appears on a quarterly return of deceased soldiers of the organization named above, for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1863 – Died Dec 31, 1863 – Matagorda Bay - Drowned
Jan & Feb 1864 – Drowned in Matagorda Bay on the 31 Dec 1863, but not known at the time the rolls were made up Final statement rendered
 


John H. Jones, Jr.

Co. D, 35 TX Cavalry (Brown’s Regt.) – Private-Sergeant
Enlisted May 1, 1861 at Columbia by R. R. Brown for the war
Muster Rolls
May & June 1862 – Not Stated
July & Aug 1862 – Present
Sept & Oct 1862 – Present
Nov & Dec 1862 – Present – Appointed 4th Sgt Nov. 7 _____ A. W. Thompson promoted to Sgt. Major
Jan & Feb 1863 – Absent – Detailed to bring absentees into camp Feby 21st
Mch & Apr 1863 – Present – Promoted from 4th to 3rd Sgt Mch 1st and from 3rd to 2nd Sgt. Apl 1st.
Sept & Oct 1863 – Present
Dec 31, 1863 – Appears on a quarterly return of deceased soldiers of the organization named above, for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1863 – Died Dec 31, 1863 – Matagorda Bay - Drowned
Jan & Feb 1864 – Drowned in Matagorda Bay on the 31 Dec 1863, but not known at the time the rolls were made up Final statement rendered
 


Edwin B. Lake – Volunteer

Born in Mississippi 1845 or 46
1850 South of the Yalobusha River, Yalobusha County, MS
Parents: Levin Lake (Sep 6, 1817 Dorchester Co, Maryland – Jan 25, 1911 Oxford, Lafayette Co., MS)
Maj. Levin Lake, Co B, F-S 19th MS Infantry CSA – Discharged on April 9, 1865
and Harriette L. Crawford ( Dec 6, 1823 Dorchester Co, Maryland – Apr 29, 1905 Oxford, Lafayette Co, MS)
Father was a merchant age 32 b Maryland and mother age 26 b Maryland
Children all born in MS
Margaret J. 8, Albert C. 6, Edwin B. 4, Eliza 2

1860 Census – Mississippi, Yalobusha County, PO Oakland
Levin Lake, 42, b MD, Merchant
H. A. Lake, 35, b MD
Jennie, age 18, b M
Albert C., age 16 b MS – buried Oxford Memorial Cemetery – Standford Battery, MS, Lt. Arty., CSA
E. B., age 13, b MS
Eliza B, age 11 b MS
Ellen B., age 9 b MS
Kate, age 7 b MS d Nov 5, 1887, married Garner buried Oxford Memorial Cemetery
Maggie, age 4 b MS – d Dec 16, 1884 buried Oxford Memorial Cemetery
Laura, age 1 b MS d Feb 24, 1904 buried at Oxford Memorial Cemetery

Parents buried at Oxford Memorial Cemetery, Oxford, Lafayette Co, MS
 


Daniel A. McKinley


Co. D, 35 TX Cavalry (Brown’s Regt.) – Private-Corporal
Enlisted Jany 6, 1862? At Velasco by W. N. Payne for 12 mos
Value of horse $200, equip $35
Reenlisted for the war; Transferred from Capt. Harrison’s infantry Compy Bates Regt Apl. 12 by Special order No. 424, Apl 3 Dpt Hqrs
Muster Rolls
Mch & Apr 1862 – Not Stated – Age 22
May & June 1862 – Not Stated
July & Aug 1862 – Absent – Sick in Hospital
Sept & Oct 1862 – Absent – Detailed to hunt horses
Nov & Dec 1862 – Present
Jan & Feb 1863 – Present
Mch & Apr 1863 – Present
Sept & Oct 1863 – Present
Dec 31, 1863 – Appears on a quarterly return of deceased soldiers of the organization named above, for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1863 – Died Dec 31, 1863 – Matagorda Bay - Drowned
Jan & Feb 1864 – Drowned in Matagorda Bay on the 31 Dec 1863, but not known at the time the rolls were made up Final statement rendered
 


Thomas M. McKinley

Co. D, 35 TX Cavalry (Brown’s Regt.) – Private-Private
Enlisted Dec 4, 1861? At Camp Nellie by W. F. Davis for the War
Muster Rolls
Nov & Dec 1862 – Sick in quarters – Name does not appears in column names present
Jan & Feb 1863 – Present
Mch & Apr 1863 – Present
Sept & Oct 1863 – Present
Dec 31, 1863 – Appears on a quarterly return of deceased soldiers of the organization named above, for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1863 – Died Dec 31, 1863 – Matagorda Bay - Drowned
Jan & Feb 1864 – Drowned in Matagorda Bay on the 31 Dec 1863, but not known at the time the rolls were made up Final statement rendered
 


Jesse Mathews

Co. D, 35 TX Cavalry (Brown’s Regt.) – 1st Sgt – 1st Sgt
Enlisted Nov 9, 1861 at Camp Winston by Ira R. Lewis for 12 mos.
Value of horse $200, equip $35. Reenlisted for the war Apl. 10  at Velasco by R. R. Brown & Appd 1 Sgt April 10 from 5th Sgt – Recapitulation shows all Sgts present for duty
Muster Rolls
Mch-Apr 1862  - Not Stated – Age 23
May & June 1862 – Not Stated – Recapitulation shows all Sgts present for duty
July & Aug 1862 – Present
Sept & Oct 1862 – Absent – Scouting Matagorda Peninsula
Nov & Dec 1862 – Present
Jan & Feb 1863 – Present
Mch & Apl 1863 – Present
Sep & Oct 1863 – Present
Dec 31, 1863 – Appears on a quarterly return of deceased soldiers of the organization named above, for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1863 – Died Dec 31, 1863 – Matagorda Bay - Drowned
Jan & Feb 1864 – Drowned in Matagorda Bay on the 31 Dec 1863, but not known at the time the rolls were made up Final statement rendered
 


Andrew J. May

Co. D, 35 TX Cavalry (Brown’s Regt.) – Private-Private
Enlisted Nov 28, 1861? At Camp Winston by E. S. Rugeley for 12 mos
Value of horse $200, equip $25. Reenlisted for the war Apl. 10, 1862
Muster Rolls
Mch-Apr 1862  - Not Stated - Age 31
May & June 1862 – Not Stated
July & Aug 1862 – Present
Sept & Oct 1862 – Present
Nov & Dec 1862 – Present
Jan & Feb 1863 – Present
Mch & Apl 1863 – Present
Sep & Oct 1863 – Present
Dec 31, 1863 – Appears on a quarterly return of deceased soldiers of the organization named above, for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1863 – Died Dec 31, 1863 – Matagorda Bay - Drowned
Jan & Feb 1864 – Drowned in Matagorda Bay on the 31 Dec 1863, but not known at the time the rolls were made up Final statement rendered
 


William M. Meneley


Co. D, 35 TX Cavalry (Brown’s Regt.) – Private-Private
Enlisted Apl 29, 1862 at Columbia by E. S. Rugeley for 12 mos
Value of horse $250, equip $30
Muster Rolls
Mch & Apr 1862 – Not Stated – Age 33
May & June 1862 – Not Stated
July & Aug 1862 – Present
Sept & Oct 1862 – Absent – Scouting Matagorda Peninsula
Nov & Dec 1862 – Present
Jan & Feb 1863 – Present
Mch & Apr 1863 – Present
Sept & Oct 1863 – Present
Dec 31, 1863 – Appears on a quarterly return of deceased soldiers of the organization named above, for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1863 – Died Dec 31, 1863 – Matagorda Bay - Drowned
Jan & Feb 1864 – Drowned in Matagorda Bay on the 31 Dec 1863, but not known at the time the rolls were made up Final statement rendered
 


James Abercrombie Rugeley - Volunteer
Younger brother of Capt. E. S. Rugeley
Son of John Rugeley &  his second wife, Eliza Clopton Rugeley
 


James B. Seaborn

Co. D, 35 TX Cavalry (Brown’s Regt.) – Private-Private
Enlisted Nov. 9, 1861 at Camp Winston by I. R. Lewis for 12 mos.
Value of horse $200, equip $30. Reenlisted for the war Apl. 10, 1862, Velasco by R. R. Brown
Muster Rolls
Mch-Apr 1862 – Not Stated – Age 18
May & June 1862
July & Aug 1862 – Present
Sept & Oct 1862 – Absent – Scouting Matagorda Peninsula
Nov & Dec 1862 – Present
Jan & Feb 1863 – Present
Mch & Apl 1863 – Present
Sep & Oct 1863 – Present
Dec 31, 1863 – Appears on a quarterly return of deceased soldiers of the organization named above, for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1863 – Died Dec 31, 1863 – Matagorda Bay - Drowned
Jan & Feb 1864 – Drowned in Matagorda Bay on the 31 Dec 1863, but not known at the time the rolls were made up Final statement rendered
 


Fielding C. Secrest

Co. D, 35 TX Cav (Brown’s Regiment) – Private-Private
Enlisted April 24, 1861 in Galveston by Capt. Saunders for the War
Muster Rolls
Sept & Oct 1863 – Present
Dec 31, 1863 – Appears on a quarterly return of deceased soldiers of the organization named above, for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1863 – Died Dec 31, 1863 – Matagorda Bay - Drowned
Jan & Feb 1864 – Drowned in Matagorda Bay on the 31 Dec 1863, but not known at the time the rolls were made up Final statement rendered
 


Jacob G. Secrest

Co. D, 35 TX Cav (Brown’s Regiment) Private-Private
Enlisted April 24, 1861 at Galveston by Capt. Saunders for the War
Muster Rolls
Sept & Oct 1863 – Present
Dec 31, 1863 – Appears on a quarterly return of deceased soldiers of the organization named above, for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1863 – Died Dec 31, 1863 – Matagorda Bay - Drowned
Jan & Feb 1864 – Drowned in Matagorda Bay on the 31 Dec 1863, but not known at the time the rolls were made up Final statement rendered
 


Julius Shaw

 


Thomas M. Wadsworth

Co. D, 35 TX Cav (Brown’s) – Private-Private – Enlisted January 1, 1863 – Camp Nellie by E. S Rugeley for the War
Muster Rolls
Jan & Feb 1863 – Present
Mch & Apl 1863 – Present
Sept & Oct 1863 – Present
Dec 31, 1863 – Appears on a quarterly return of deceased soldiers of the organization named above, for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1863 – Died Dec 31, 1863 – Matagorda Bay - Drowned
Jan & Feb 1864 – Drowned in Matagorda Bay on the 31st Dec 1863 – But not known at the time the rolls were made up. Final statement rendered
 


Benjamin H. Walton

Co. D, 35 TX Cav (Brown’s Regt.) – Private – Private – Enlisted October 24, 1862 in Velasco, by W. McMaster for 12 months Value of horse $175.00, equip $25.00, reinlisted for the war Apl 10 & transferred from Capt. Harrison’s infantry Co Bates Rgt. Apl 12 by Special order No. 4 24 Apr 3, Dpt Hqrs.
Muster rolls
Mch & Apl, 1862 – Not Stated – Age 21
May & June 1862 – Not Stated
July & Aug 1862 – absent – Detailed to hunt horses – 7 days
Sept. & Oct, 1862 - Present
Nov & Dec 1862 – Sick in quarters
Jan & Feb 1863 - Present
Mch & Apr 1863 - Present
Sept & Oct 1863 - Present
Dec 31, 1863 – Appears on a quarterly return of deceased soldiers of the organization named above, for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1863 – Died Dec 31, 1863 – Matagorda Bay - Drowned
Jan & Feb 1864 – Drowned in Matagorda Bay on the 31 Dec 1863 but not known at the time the rolls were made up. Final statement rendered
 

 


Newspaper Articles Concerning the Matagorda Incident
 


Camp Wharton, Dec. 31, 1863.

News arrived here to-night, that Capt. Rugeley with a company of men, left Matagorda Tuesday night, to cross the Bay to the Peninsula, for the purpose of rescuing the Houston Videttes (Henderson’s company) and the Norther caught them, and grounded their boats. The fate of the men is unknown.

At Churchill’s Ferry, on the Bernard to-day, heavy cannonading was heard in the direction of Caney. The firing commenced at 9 o’clock, A. M., and continued incessantly until 12 M., when it ceased entirely. Something is going on.

Three of our men were wounded in a skirmish on the Peninsula Tuesday.

VIDETTE.

Tri-Weekly Telegraph, Houston, Texas, January 5, 1864

 


The Fate of Rugeley’s Men.

Extract from a private letter, dated

“Camp Wharton, Jan. 2, 1864.


Capt. Rugeley embarked with some forty or fifty men, in three small boats, during the night. Shortly after they started, a severe norther sprang up, which was so severe as to swamp the frail barks; and the brave men, who had thus risked their lives to rescue their comrades, were buffeted about the bay all that night. Next day some twenty reached the shore to safety, but entirely naked, and almost frozen to death, as the day was a bitter cold one. The captain also reached the shore in safety, with several others; but fourteen were still missing. The day passed, and the night was freezing cold. The next morning—New Year’s day—the fourteen were found. But—oh, God! How? On the beach, drowned and frozen. How horrible to think, that fourteen young and brave men should meet with such a death!

This is the most horrible calamity that has occurred on the Texas coast during the war. In a skirmish, the other day, three of our men were wounded; and the loss of the enemy has only been nine men taken prisoners! I have heard to-day that the cold was so severe yesterday, at the mouth of the Bernard, that some of our men became speechless. The Yankees are having a terrible time of it on the Peninsula. It is reported that they are short of rations, clothes, wood and water. If this is the case, they will probably “change their base” shortly.

Tri-Weekly Telegraph, Houston, Texas, January 5, 1864

 


Particulars of the Disaster in Matagorda Bay.


A letter from on board the steamer John F. Carr, dated the 2d inst., gives the following account of the disaster of Captain Rugeley’s Company. It was determined by Capts. Rugeley, Hall and Marmion to reconnoiter the position of the enemy on the night of the 30th ult. For this purpose they proceeded to the shore from the steamers Carr and Cora. In one launch and two ___ boats. Thirty one men of Capt. Rugeley’s company, two volunteers, Capts. Hall, Rugeley, Lubbock and Marmion, together with men from the Carr, making an aggregate of fifty seven in all left the two steamers, and having proceeded about half a mile from the steamers, (the distance to the shore being three-quarters of a mile) a norther suddenly sprang up. Orders were at once given to return to the steamers, but while in the act of doing so a squall suddenly struck the frail boats. The one with Captain Marmion succeeded in reaching the shore. The men in the yawl, leaving her, were saved, also all who left the launch.  Pilot Robert Decrow, private Thomas McGehee, of Wood’s regiment, and carpenter Julius Snow, of the steamer Carr, (the two former ____ returned) being in the launch, advised all the party to leave her and follow them, but could not prevail on them to do so.

The night being bitter cold and the wind blowing fiercely, a number of them perished, as no aid from either of the steamers could be rendered. Supposing the men had all left their boats and gone to the nearest habitation on the Peninsula, no fears as to their ultimate safety were entertained until the following morning (31st), when some of them were discovered still on shore, apparently trying to save others. Capt. Green Hall (Marine Department) and Sergeant Ghering (Co. B, Cook’s regiment) volunteered to risk going on shore in the “Dingy,” to lend what aid they could. This was at 7 a. m.; and, when they left, taking the only boat the steamer had.

At 3:30 P. M. the gale still continuing, Mr. Geo. F. Patillo and Capt. Marmion went ashore on two cotton bales, and it was not till then that they discovered the lamentable disaster that had occurred. They proceeded to the fort on the outer beach where they found one of their men, private Forrestier of Captain Rugeley’s company, who was unable to proceed farther. Leaving with his brother, they proceeded up the Peninsula to Mr. Eidelbauer’s [Idlebrook/Eidlebach], a distance of nine miles, when they found five others of the same company. They then proceeded to Forrestier’s five miles further up the Peninsula where they overtook Capt. Hall and Sergt. Ghering, who had gone there to send dispatches to Col. Brown. From them they learned that ten others had gone on to Caney.

At half past 4 P. M., two of the steamers hauled off and steamed down the Peninsula. The other, a very large one, remained abreast the Carr.

On the morning of the 1st Messrs. Patillo and Marmion returned to the Fort, and thence to the Bay shore, when they discovered that the Carr had gone to Matagorda, but the Cora still remained.

It being late in the night they remained until morning (Jan. 1). During the day of Dec. 31st, previous to leaving the Carr, three of the enemy’s steamers approached the Carr, two of them taking position, opened upon the Carr firing about 100 shots nearly all of which passed directly over and near, but none taking effect.

They gathered as many of the arms as they could carry which were found in the launch, launched the “Dingy” and went on board the Cora. At 12 the Carr returned, when they went on shore and gathered all the dead that could be found, namely:
Jesse Matthews, Ord Serg.
John H. Jones, 2d Sergeant
McKinley, Corporal
Privates
J. L. Seaborn
Henry Gibson
Joyce Howell
Secrest
Hinds
Wadsworth
McKinley
Copeland
Connor
Jas. Rugeley
of Co. D. Brown’s regiment and
Mr. Dugan, a citizen volunteer; total, fourteen.

They also got the yawl and what clothing they could find, as most of the drowned men had stripped themselves.

Thirteen of the last party went below to Williams’, on the Peninsula. Ten of these have returned, and the other three are on the Peninsula and safe.

The cause of the men perishing is ascribed entirely to their remaining on the boat contrary to the advice and entreaties of Mr. Decrow and McGehee. All who left the boat were saved. There are still six persons missing.

The letter closes with the following postscript: “Since writing the above, it had been ascertained that two others are missing. The Cora has returned from the Peninsula with six more bodies, leaving two to be accounted for—namely, Julius Snow, carpenter of the Carr, and private Bowie, of Capt. Rugeley’s company.”

Galveston News Tri-Weekly, January 11, 1864

 


THE AFFAIR ON THE PENINSULA.
 

The following letter was written to a friend regarding the brilliant affair on the Peninsula, who has forwarded it to us. We know Col. Brown well and cannot conceive the failure of the expedition was through any want of activity on his part. We also know that Col. Buchel has the best reputation as an active and vigilant officer. We must suppose that the whole affair was one of those unaccountable circumstances that will sometimes happen—accidents in the best regulated families. We will guarantee that the next engagement these officers and men are in, they will show a better result than they have in this.

Editor Telegraph—I send you a letter from the front sketching our recent exploits on the peninsula. It tells a plain unvarnished tale, and discloses how Buchel was shelled out, how Brown was done Brown, and how a whole brigade of the “noblest men ever commanded by any General,” after bringing to bay 200 Yankees without artillery, failed to catch them. This brilliant exploit deserves to be commented upon. It is a happy illustration of the motto of our General commanding, “attack the enemy at once and furiously.”—It is in fine relief to the behavior of John Wharton after the battle of Perryville, when surrounded by the enemy, and one of his officers suggested to him the propriety of forming his men, and John cried out,” Form hell—charge!” It furnishes a pretty page to be bound along side the record of Tom Green’s exploits on the Teche, and shows how we may feel the enemy without fighting. Observe the discipline displayed. It is true, indeed, that in the attack (which was not made) there was some straggling over many miles, and horses did break down, and the men could not be got together in many hours, but in the retreat there was no straggling, the men kept well up together, and advanced back to camp with great activity, and without loss in men or horses.

Notice also, that our scouts must have been on the alert, when the Yankees had not escaped for more than six hours, though distant four hundred yards from us, til their embarkation was discovered. How admirable too was the disposition for battle. Though the scene of action was upon a barren beach, there was no haste on our part. The enemy threw up breast works, and we threw out flankers and skirmishers. There can be no doubt that had the enemy not been afraid to remain there, we should have captured the whole 200—especially, as from the position our troops occupied their gunboats could take no part in the action, without danger to their own troops.

Seriously, this affair is very disheartening. It destroys confidence in our troops and the officers. I have always thought these troops, especially, among the very best in the service. I know Col. Reub Brown to be a man of true pluck, and his men are the very stuff of which heroes are made, but this is a very blundering beginning towards bearing off the palm.                    V
 

The Tri-Weekly Telegraph, Houston, Texas, January 13, 1864

 


HEADQUARTERS, BROWN’S REGIMENT,

Camp on Cedar Bayou, Dec. 31, 1863.
 

On yesterday morning, our scouts brought in reports of the Feds landing on the peninsula, some 200 strong. Our brigade was instantly on the move—went to the mouth of Caney, 8 miles distant. Four companies of Buchel’s regiment were ordered back, while Brown’s regiment kept on the move. We heard that the enemy was about seven miles from the mouth, but before we came up with them, we found it to be eighteen miles. There was a steamer anchored out to sea, about one mile from the beach, and opposite the Feds. When they saw our force approach, they made a double-quick march down the beach for two miles. Our regiment, in column, took behind the sand hills, with the intention of flanking them, which we did not do under two miles. When we came opposite the boat, (which followed their men,) they opened fire upon us, and kept up a continual fire all afternoon—broadside after broadside. The firing began about one o’clock.

The peninsula here is about one mile broad, and so boggy that we could not get along at all. The brigade scattered in every direction in order to get down the peninsula safely; but I reckon a great many separated to get out of line of the shot and shells, but it was of no use; they plowed up the dirt all around us, to the dismay of many.

After the Feds saw that we had flanked them, they stopped and formed into a hollow square, then in to a line of battle. Very soon they retired up the beach some 300 yards, and commenced throwing up logs for a breastwork, with the intention of fight. When this was done, our column halted for some half hour waiting for the stragglers to come up. Some never came up at all, their horses being jaded and broke entirely down. When Cols. Brown and Buchel saw that they were not likely to get the force together, they made an “about face,” marched up the peninsula for half a mile, so as to bring the enemy between us and their gun boat. This was just at dark. The troops were brought into a line of battle and made to dismount, every sixth man holding horses. Picket guards were put out some four hundred yards distant. Scouts were set up and down the beach, and they were to report any information of interest to headquarters.

The plan of attack was thus: Skirmishers were to be thrown out from the right, left and centre, who were to bring on the attack, when the rest of the brigade was to advance within four hundred yards of the enemy, and then charge the breastworks. The line was formed about 8 o’clock, and we were kept in line until 12 o’clock.|

There was a company of minute men down the Peninsula below the Feds, and Col. Buchel wanted to get that company with him. So he sent several couriers down to hunt it up. The courier did not return until 12 o’clock, and then reported that they could not hear any thing of Capt. Henderson’s company.

The commander then thought it was time to make the attack. So scouting parties were sent out afresh to see if the Feds were still in their nest. After being gone about one hour, they came back and reported no enemy in sight. The boat still remained about 400 yards from shore, and kept pouring in fire upon us, though not as rapidly as before, until 11 o’clock.

At dark the enemy began to throw up signal lights of rockets and blue lights, which was for help to come to them. They also hoisted a large red light at half mast, and very soon another boat came up. These signals were renewed every half hour. I am well convinced that the enemy took to their boats as soon as dark set in; for, as the last boat left the shore, they sent up a loud hurrah.

The Colonels, seeing the game was up, had to show their generalship in order to get us out of the scrape.

We began the retreat in good order over the worst prairies I ever saw and at a full gallop.—When the boat saw us, (for the moon was bright,) they threw about twenty shells at us, but no one was hurt. After we got about five miles from the place, we formed into line. We got on the beach, and away we went, never off the lope, till we found ourselves in camp just as day was breaking.

In my opinion, we should have taken those Yanks certain. After being shelled all afternoon and part of the night, not to get our pay was scandalous. We should have charged their lines on foot (and not waited until stragglers came up) when we had flanked them.


The Tri-Weekly Telegraph
, Houston, Texas, January 13, 1864

 


[SEE FOLLOWING ARTICLE IN WHICH CAPT. E. S. RUGELEY CORRECTED SOME ERRORS IN THIS ARTICLE.]


Caney, Texas, Jan. 4, 1864.

Mr. Cushing—Though not one of your regular correspondents, I purpose to give you the particulars of one of the most heart rending calamities of the war. On Tuesday last, the 30th ult., Col. Buchel, with a detachment from his own and Brown’s regiment, had a skirmish with the Yankee forces on the Peninsula opposite Matagorda, but the enemy, three hundred strong, having thrown up the breastworks on the sand hills, the Colonel did not think it prudent to attack them as they were also under cover of a gunboat in the Gulf. These Yankees landed in the rear of Capt. Henderson’s party of scouts, who were forced to abandon their horses and save themselves by crossing the Bay in a small boat to Matagorda. She was reinforced in the evening by about 38 picked men under Lieut. Turner, were ordered on board a ship launch, including two men from the gunboat to pull them ashore.

The crew of the gunboat, J. F. Carr, 13 or 14 in number, were in another launch, and the officers and volunteers, seven or eight in number in a smaller boat. Some of the men objected to going on the larger launch as it was overloaded; they, however, pushed off in these three boats to attack three hundred Yankees in their breastworks. They knew there was desperate work before them, but all were in high spirits and full of hope, determined to conquer or die, as all of them knew that it was victory or death, or what they considered worse, a Yankee prison. When about two hundred yards from the shore, a very heavy norther blew up, which would have facilitated their landing. Lieut. Turner, in command of the launch containing 27 men, ordered the boat to stop and await the arrival of the boat containing the other officers. When it came up, to the great surprise of the men, they were ordered to return to the steamers, about one mile out in the Bay, and the Norther dead ahead. The boat containing the officers, not being so heavily loaded as the other two, reached the steamers in safety. The second boat, containing the crew of the gunboat, lost an oar, swamped and drifted ashore with the men clinging to her, but the launch with 38 men and only two experienced seamen filled and sank within about one hundred yards of the steamers, the waves breaking heavily over her.

Lieut. T. ordered the men to jump overboard and hold on to the boat, and let her drift them ashore; but there was such confusion that but few obeyed him. About one hour after the boat filled he could touch bottom. He then endeavored to get the men to leave and wade ashore, with the assistance of Robert Deckrow [Decrow]. He prevailed on all who could swim to leave it, they fearing to remain longer, as they were thoroughly chilled and exhausted. All who could swim left the boat and reached the shore in safety, except James Seaborn, a brave and noble fellow, who replied to his officer, that “George Bowie can’t swim, and I will save him or perish with him.” He remained and perished with his friend, when it would have been an easy matter for him to have reached the shore alone.

After the men had reached the shore, exhausted, naked and nearly frozen, they unanimously refused to go to the Yankee camp, the fires of which were plainly visible, preferring rather to perish than to surrender. At this time it was sleeting heavily. A part of the men, under the direction of Mr. Robert Deckrow, proceeded down the peninsula to the house eight miles distant.

Another party under Lieut. Turner started to pass the Yankee Fort and reach the house 9 miles up the Peninsula. In order to pass the Fort, they were forced to keep up the bay shore for some miles, traveling through wire-grass chapparel and sand burrs barefooted—and chilled to such an extent, that when one fell he could not rise again without assistance. The party under Lieut. Turner, finally reached the house of Mr. Idlebrook [Eidlebach], whose kind attentions soon revived them.

The party that accompanied Mr. R. Deckrow succeeded some 36 hours afterwards in reaching the guard boat and were safely landed in Matagorda. The conduct of Mr. R. Deckrow throughout these trying circumstance, is spoken of by all in the highest terms and praise; many attributing their safety entirely to his courage, coolness and sound advice and directions. Many instances of true courage and self-sacrificing devotion occurred among the men in their efforts to aid and assist each other. Lieutenant Turner speaks in the highest terms of Elijah Roberts, and Moses Vandorn; also of G. E. Van Benthuysen of Co. B., Cook’s regiment heavy artillery, who pulled off his coat and wrapped it around one of the men who had fallen from cold and fatigue. He remained with him and finally succeeded in bringing him to the fort and saving his life, such courage deserved reward. The fort had been abandoned by the Yankees soon after dark with such precipitation that they left blankets, overcoats, and oil cloths, which together with the fires left burning were the means of saving the lives of several of our men who were unable to proceed any further. Twenty-two persons are supposed to have perished from the cold, and the water. Twenty of the bodies have been recovered, and buried in Matagorda. Two are still missing.


CANEY.


The Tri-Weekly Telegraph
, Houston, Texas, January 13, 1864

 


Matagorda, Jan. 18th, 1864


ED. NEWS.—Some misstatements having been made both in your paper and the Telegraph, by correspondents who have attempted to give the facts in regard to the heavy loss of life in Matagorda Bay, on the night of the 30th December, 1863, I feel it my duty to set facts, as they did exist, before the public, and request you to give publicity to them in your paper. You will find them herewith enclosed. By complying with this request, you will much oblige.
 

Yours, very respectfully,
 

E. S. RUGELEY, Capt. Co. D. Brown’s Regt. T. C.

Matagorda, Jan. 18th, 1864

ED. NEWS.—I am not in the habit of writing for newspapers, nor would I now but for the purpose of correcting some errors in a communication from Caney, and over the signature of “Caney,” and which appeared in the Telegraph, in its issue on the 13th of the month. The writer sets out by stating that Col. Buchel, with a detachment of his own and Col. Brown’s Regiments, on the 30th December, attacked the Yankee forces on the peninsula, but finding them 300 strong, and behind breast works, deemed it prudent to retire. On the following morning, he says, the gunboat John F. Carr shelled the enemy in their breast works, and during the evening was reinforced by thirty-eight picked men and some volunteers, but does not mention under whose command, and that at 9 o’clock P. M., Lieut. Turner was ordered on board a ship launch with thirty-eight men, including two men from the gunboat to pull them ashore, while thirteen or fourteen of the crew of the boat went in another launch, and the officers and volunteers, seven or eight in number, in a smaller boat. He then added that they pushed off in those boats to attack 300 Yankees in their breastworks, determined to conquer or die, as all know that it was victory or death, or what they considered worse a Yankee prison, and when in about two hundred yards of the shore, a very heavy “Norther” blew up, and much to the surprise of the men, they were ordered to return to the steamers, or gunboats, which were lying about one mile out in the bay, and the wind dead ahead. Then comes the account of the swamping of the launch in their efforts to reach the gunboats, the loss of life, and of the noble and generous friendship of four or five men in trying to save the lives of their comrades from a watery grave. Now, sir, for the facts, as far as I know and can learn from those who were on the ill-fated launch in which so many brave and noble spirits were lost. On the evening of the 30th December last, I received a request from Capt. Marmion, of the gunboat John F. Carr, that if I should hear firing from his boat, which was then lying from 1000 to 1200 yards in the bay from the Peninsula, and almost opposite the town of Matagorda, to come over with or send a detachment of thirty men. Not long after receiving this request, I saw firing from the Carr, and immediately called for thirty of the best armed men belonging to my company to go with me to the Carr. This call was most cheerfully responded to, in fact, the whole company present were exceedingly desirous of going, and many thought it hard, indeed, that only the best armed should be taken.—Five more men, nevertheless, of those who were intended to be left, succeeded in getting on board of the steamer Cora, which was to carry us across the bay to the gunboat Carr. Five volunteers from the town of Matagorda accompanied us, to-wit: Capt. Lubbock, A. C. S.; Mr. Wilcox, of the Signal Corps, Mr. Duggan, James Rugeley and Edward Lake, making in all, officers included, 42 men. On arrival at the Carr, I was informed by Capt. Marmion that the enemy, from forty to fifty strong, had been busily engaged during the evening building breastworks, but that the shots from his gun had caused them to desist. Upon consultation with Capts. Marmion and Hall, it was determined that we would land our force, consisting of 57 all told, (this includes 15 from the gunboat,) on the Peninsula, reconnoiter the enemy’s position, ascertain their number, and, if deemed prudent, to attack them, otherwise to return to the gunboat. In the meantime, Mr. Decrow had been sent ashore to ascertain the depth of water between the boat and the Peninsula, and to learn how near the small boats could approach the Peninsula without having to wade. Mr. Decrow returned about 8 ½ or 9 o’clock P. M., and stated that there was from twelve to eighteen inches of water to within two hundred yards of the shore. The launches were then ordered to be got ready and preparations made to go ashore. Lt. Turner, with 35 men, (and not 38 as stated by “Caney,”) went on board of the largest launch, capable of carrying, in smooth water, from 40 to 50 men, as stated by the marine officers present. Thirteen men then went on the next largest launch. Both of these boats were manned by good oarsmen. The third, a skiff, or dingy, was occupied by Capts. Marmion, Hall, Lubbock, myself and Wilcox of the Signal Corps, and three soldiers. We left the gunboat, which was riding at anchor in about four feet water, and about 1000 to 1200 yards from the Peninsula, at 9 ½ or 10 o’clock P. M. After pulling about half way to the shore, a Norther blew up, and I suggested a return to the steamboat, which was sanctioned by the officers in the boat with me, and accordingly the launches were ordered back, none supposing for a moment that the small boats could not be rowed back to the steamer with safety and in a few minutes, as the distance was short, say from five to six hundred yards, and not as “Caney” states, one mile. My sole object in ordering the return was the welfare of the men. Had I reached the Peninsula with a cold and heavy Norther blowing, and found the enemy stronger than anticipated, and not able to return to the steamer by the small boats, I would have been compelled either to fight or pass their lines or pickets, unobserved, and march 25 miles to the head of the Peninsula, where Cols. Buchell and Brown had a part of their forces stationed, which could not have been done without great suffering by the men, as the night proved to be one of the coldest ever known in Southern Texas. Therefore, the propriety of the order for a return to the steamers, where all could be more comfortable. Had the night continued as favorable as when first set out, there was every reason to believe that the enemy might have been surprised and captured, provided they did not exceed in numbers what has been stated above. Providence, however, thwarted our plans; the largest launch, containing Lieut. Turner and 35 men, when within one hundred yards of the Cora, filled and sunk, and 22 brave and noble spirits were either drowned or frozen to death. All those who left the launch immediately after she filled were saved, others clung to her until they either drowned or were so benumbed on reaching shore that they could not walk, and there died. All in the second boat were saved, as she filled in shallow water.—The dingy reached the steamer safely.

The list of the dead are as follows:

J. Matthews, Orderly Sergt
John H. Jones, 2d Sergt
D. A. McKinley, Corporal
Privates
J. [T.] M. McKinley
J. M. Connor
F. C. and J. G. Secrest
A. C. Johnson
A. J. May
W. M. Meneley
B. H. Walters [Walton]
A. D. Hines
J. [T.] M. Wadsworth
Henry Gibson
W. Copeland
J. W. [U.] Howell
J. Seaborn
(S. M. Brien [G. M. Bowie?] missing)  all of my company.

Volunteers
James Rugeley
Edward Lake [Edwin] and
Duggan.

Julius Snow [Shaw?], carpenter of the gunboat, also missing.

“Caney” evidently wishes to make it appear that the expedition was a very rash and foolish one, and that the men, though willing to go, thought it a desperate and hazardous undertaking. I deny, Mr. Editor, in the first place, that neither Lt. Turner or the ….remaining portion damaged.

Galveston Tri-Weekly News
, February 7, 1864

 


The Texas papers have long accounts of fighting with our troops on the Peninsula, opposite Matagorda.

 

In the attempt to land a force from the rebel gunboat J. F. Carr to attack the Union troops who had thrown up fortifications on the Peninsula, one of the rebel launches was overturned in a gale, and twenty-two men drowned.

 

The Highland Weekly News, Hillsboro, Ohio, February 25, 1864
 


Wintry Weather in War.
The Fearful Freeze of January, 1864.
Snow and Sleet in Galveston--Fatal Finale of a Confederate Expedition on the Peninsula.

The present frigid spell of weather recalls the "hard winter" of 1864, generally conceded to have been one of the coldest on record. A register of the thermometer for that period is not attainable, but the following extract from The News of January 8--then an exile in Houston--shows that things were pretty well "friz" hereabouts at that time.

"Passengers who came up from Galveston yesterday inform us that when they left the city in the morning the streets were covered with snow that had fallen the night before to the depth of an inch on the average. A sleet had followed the snow, converting it into a hard, compact crust, sufficient to bear the weight of a man, and thus made excellent sleighing had there been any means of putting it to that use. It appears that the snow did not extend to the mainland.

A Fatal Expedition

This winter--that of '64--was remarkably severe, the cold weather continuing nearly the entire month of January, and will be remembered as being fraught with the most fatal consequences to the Confederate troops in Matagorda bay, the facts being about as follows: It was decided by Captains Rugeley, Hall and Marmion to reconnoiter the position of the federal forces on Matagorda peninsula on the night of December 30, 1863, and for this purpose they left the Confederate steamers John F. Carr and Cora, which were at anchor in Matagorda bay, and proceeded to the shore in one launch and two yawl boats. Thirty-one men from Captain Rugeley's company, two volunteers, Captains Hall, Rugeley, Lubbock and Marmion, together with men from the Carr, making an aggregate of fifty-seven men in all, left the two steamers and having proceeded about half a mile (the distance to the shore being about three-quarters of a mile), a norther suddenly sprang up. Orders were at once given to return to the steamers, but while in the act of doing so a squall suddenly struck the frail boats. The one with Captain Marmion succeeded in reaching the steamers, but the launch and one yawl were driven ashore. The men in the yawl were saved, as also were those leaving the launch. The night was bitterly cold and the wind blowing fiercely, a number of the men--some twenty--perished.

Graphically Described.

A writer in The News at the time gave the following graphic description of the disaster:

"The ill-fated launch was not so fortunate. Mr. Dickson and others who survived the terrible death say that after she was lost sight of by Captain Lubbock, she had foundered and sunk within 100 yards of the steamer Cora, and 150 yards from the Carr in 5 or 5 1/2 feet of water, and within 700 or 800 yards of the beach. That they fired their guns and pistols and sent up cries of distress, hoping the steamer would come to their relief. Owing to the darkness of the night, the howling of the wind and the rolling of the waves and breakers--and no officers on board who could control them--the men became frantic and bereft of all reason. Mr. Dickson thinks if he could have got the men out of the launch and to hold to her sides, she would have rose and floated them to the beach. Some of them did get out, but a sufficient number to keep the boat off the bottom did not. He remained as long as he could and then started for the beach. Others soon followed. Of those who were accustomed to the water and were good swimmers, fourteen gained the beach, and, being acquainted with the peninsula, they found houses and saved their lives, though some came near dying and would have done so but for those with them. The twenty-two yet in the boat remained too long; they gained the beach, most of them, yet, O my God, horrid and heart-sickening to relate, they froze to death. Two remained in the boat, brothers, and died in EACH OTHER'S ARMS.

"Unfortunately those who gained the beach did not know where to go, and if they did, had not the power. Some walked 100, some 200 and others 300 yards, and as far as half a mile, and then froze to death. Out of the thirty-six men in the launch, only fourteen escaped the most heart-rending and awful death that has ever taken place. Most of those who thus perished, it not all, were the first and among the best and most promising young men of the country. Several the darling sons of parents whose hopes were centered in them, and were far from the age of manhood, and whose extreme youth and inexperience called loudly for the exercise of more than ordinary care on the part of those in authority, who had accepted their youthful aid in the defense of their country, met a death too dreadful to relate."

Galveston Daily News, January 10, 1886
 


A Melancholy Memory.
Recollections of a Survivor of the Fatal Peninsular Campaign.

Mr. William Selkirk, a well-known resident of Galveston, furnishes The News with the following interesting sketch of his participation in the ill-fated expedition to Matagorda peninsula, in December, 1864:

"Your article, Wintry Weather in War, in Sunday's News, January 10, 1886, recalls an event in which I took a part. On the night of December 30, 1868, under orders of Captain Marmion, I had charge of the tiller of the launch, which was crowded with thirty-six men, under command of Lieutenant Turner, with Decrow and McGee at the oars. We had gotten about half way between the steamers and the shore, when the nor-wester struck up. Captain Marmion ordered each each boat to return to the steamers. Our launch was within 150 feet of the steamer Cora, when Decrow's oar broke, and, as she swung around in the trough of the sea, each wave helped to fill the boat. In these few moments occurred scenes never to be forgotten. One of the two brothers who remained in the boast pulled off my boots, then I took off my coat and jumped overboard to get away from the sinking launch. It must have been at least a mile to shore, where I arrived in company with Mr. ____ Walker. We went down the beach ten miles to a house, running all the way to keep warm, some seven or eight others reaching there immediately after us. The occurrences of that night would fill a good-sized book  if related in detail. Of the thirty-six men in the launch twenty-one lost their lives. None of the officers should be censured for any part they took in the matter. Each soldier went into it of his own will. Captain Rugeley asked the men to volunteer, telling them he would go with them as commander, but could not order them to such duty. I do not recollect Mr. Dickson mentioned, but think he was an officer from the steamer John F. Carr, as there were several in our launch who did not belong to Captain Rugeley's company. Your description, while correct in the main points, is not strictly so, and would require much space to do the subject justice. The cold weather was something similar to the last two or three days. I would like to hear from any of the survivors of our launch, should they see this.

Galveston Daily News, January 12, 1886
 

 


Members of Co. D who were a part of the regiment at the time of the Matagorda Incident

Names highlighted in yellow were known to have participated in the Incident
 


William C. Allston/Alston – appointed Bugler after Matagorda Incident
Joseph H. Baker – Parolled in Columbus at the end of the war
Edward F. Bass
N. Banlefelt?
John Bolin
Henry L. Borden
Andrew J. Brazil – appointed 1st Corporal from 4th Corporal on Jan. 1, 1864
James W. Brown

Charles D. Bruce – Enlisted Feb 22, 18674 at Matagorda by E. S. Rugeley
J. H. Buns
Alexander Burkhart – Sept-Oct, 1862 - Scouting Matagorda Peninsula – Appointed 2nd Sgt from 4th Sgt on Jan 1, 1864
John F. Burnet
James Cockrill/Cockrell
Thomas Cockrill
John D. Cogburn
George K. Davis
William F. Davis
William Dial
Gustave Dreyling
John Duncan, Jr.
Edwin G. Edwards – Jan & Feb 1864 – sick in quarters
George D. Edwards -
Charles H. Evans – Jan & Feb 1864 - appointed 3rd Corp from the ranks
Alexander Forestier
Henry H. Freeman – Jan & Feb 1864 – sick in quarters
William Gillen
John E. Glass
John H. Gunn
Hugh W. Hawes – Jan & Feb 1864 – sick in quarters
John D. Hawkins
Quin M. Heard – Jan & Feb 1864 – appointed 1st Sgt from 3rd Sgt on the 1st Jany 1864
Robert J. Horton
William W. Hughes – Jan & Feb 1864 Appointed 4th Corp from the ranks
Leander A. Hunt – Sept & Oct 1862 – Scouting Matagorda Peninsula
Charles E. Jones – Jan & Feb 1864 – absent sick
Freeman G. Jones
Henry Kramm
William Mitchell
Albert G. Moore – Appointed 4th Sgt from 1st Corporal Jany 1, 1864
Charles B. Neathery
Thomas S. Neathery
Joseph A. Newman
Ilairio Nieto
Frank O’Brian
Noble Osburn
Edwin W. Owen
James T. Parks
Elijah Roberts
John T. Sargent
James R. Scates- Appointed 3rd Sgt from 5th Sgt  Jany 1, 1864
William Selkirk
Charles R. Shapard
James P. Shapard – Jan & Feb 1864 – sick in quarters
James A. J. Smith - Jan & Feb 1864 – sick in quarters
Gayle Talbot
William F. Tamlyn
William F. Taylor
Richard G. Turner – Surgeon
Virginius B. Turner
Moses M. Van Dorn
James M. Wadsworth
Marcus M. Wadsworth – Appointed 5th Sgt from 3rd Corporal Jan 1, 1864
Dexter Walcott
William L. Walker – Jan & Feb 1864 – Appointed 2nd Corp from the ranks
John Walnut
DeWitt C. Wentz
William H. Wiggins
Henry Williams
Samuel N. Young

 

Matagorda civilians also participating

Robert Decrow
Thomas McGehee

 

Families who sheltered some of the men over night in their homes on the Peninsula
Eidlebach
Forestier
Williams

 

               

Copyright 2005 - Present by E. S. Rugeley Chapter 542 UDC
All rights reserved

Created
Feb. 1, 2005
Updated
December 18, 2014
   

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