This Week in the Civil War - 687

Oct 25, 2013

From New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 23, 1863 Commodore Henry Bell, commander of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, informed Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles by letter that Union General Nathaniel Banks had requested transports to convey himself and a force of Union troops to the mouth of the Rio Grande River in Texas, with the express purpose of occupying the island of Brazos Santiago at the mouth of the river. 

Bell acknowledged that Banks’ expedition would place Union troops in a “remote position,” “will necessitate an increase of naval forces in the Gulf,” and would require “at least three efficient vessels of a class superior to gunboats” to secure army transports and supplies going to Brazos Santiago.  Bell predicted that the expedition would sail “probably to-morrow or the day after.”