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    First Battle of Galveston Bay: Henry W. Washburn Autograph Letter Signed. Four lined pages, 8" x 10", Galveston, October 6, 1862. Washburn, the acting master and executive officer of the USS Morning Light, informs his wife of the details of the naval battle only two days after it took place. While the young naval officer wrote, the scene was calm as the opposing sides participated in a cease-fire to allow the Confederates time to ponder their next move which, the Union Navy hoped, would be surrender. Interestingly, Washburn writes from the Morning Light of his disappointment in the Rebels lack of prowess. In part:

    "I was in hopes the Rebels would make a good fight but they only fired one Gun at us from the Fort and a few from the town. The Gun boats lie off the town in the channel waiting for the Surrender. . . . As we came opposite the Fort they fired at us one Solitary Shot and the Owasco returned it instantly from her 11 in. shell gun the shell burst close to the rebel gun inside the Fort. The other boats fired to quite queck[?] but the Rebels Skedadled away from the Fort mighty quick we could see them running for the town. . . . Capt. Renshaw the Senior Officer hoisted a flag of truce and we ceased firing. They sent of a flag of truce but would not surrender the town. Capt. R. has given them some 3 or 4 days to decide. He don't wish to destroy the town because too many would suffer who are innocent." Washburn's letter continues with an account of his land explorations near the fort. The letter, which refers to other ships (including the Harriet Lane), is playfully signed, "Your Sincere Devoted Long Suffering Bald headed absent Husband, Henry W. Washburn."

    Following the cease-fire, the Confederates evacuated Galveston. Four months later, however, they defeated the occupying Union forces at the Second Battle of Galveston Bay to win back the important harbor. That same month-January 1863-the Morning Light and her crew were captured by the Confederate Navy one hundred miles up the Texas coast. The vessel was destroyed and the Union sailors were held as POWs. Washburn survived and was discharged from the navy in 1866. Very minor dampstaining at the top of page one. Usual folds.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    23rd Saturday
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