On 12 August 1862, after removing “three sunken vessels filled with stone,” the U.S. schooner Corypheus, with Acting Volunteer Lieutenant John W. Kittredge on board, slipped into Texas’ Corpus Christi Bay. She was joined that night by several other Navy vessels that together made up Kittredge’s “mosquito fleet.”
The next day, the lieutenant set out in a launch under a white flag for the Corpus Christi wharf, where he was met by the local Confederate commander, Major Alfred Marmaduke Hobby of the 8th Texas Infantry Battalion. Hobby flatly denied Kittredge’s brazen requests that his forces abandon Corpus Christi and that the lieutenant be allowed to come ashore. After some haggling, Kittredge gave Hobby 48 hours to remove women and children from the town.1 The stage was set for the Battle of Corpus Christi.
1. Report of Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Kittredge, 12 August 1862, Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of Rebellion, series 1, vol. 19, 151–52; Report of Maj. A. M. Hobby, C. S. Army, 16 August 1862, Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies in the War of the Rebellion, series 1, vol. 9 (hereafter ORs), 621–22.
2. Ranchero Extra, 19 August 1862.
3. “Lee Cohen Harby,” The Handbook of Texas Online.
4. Anton Felix Hans Hellmuth von Blücher was educated in civil engineering, law, and languages at Berlin’s Friedrich-Wilhelm University and could speak six languages. He left Prussia for the United States in 1845 because of his involvement in antigovernment activities. In Corpus Christi, he served as county surveyor for many years. Reports of Brig. Gen. Hamilton P. Bee, C.S. Army, 21 August 1862, ORs, 619–20.
5. Bruce S. Cheeseman, ed., Maria von Blücher’s Corpus Christi: Letters from the South Texas Frontier, 1849–1879 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2002), 130.
6. Mrs. Frank deGarmo, Pathfinders of Texas, 1836–1846 (Austin, TX: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1951), 150.
7. Lieutenant Governor William P. Hobby Jr. to author, 27 February 1975.
8. John Dunn interviews, 11, 29 May 1939 and 11 June 1940, LaRetama Central Library, Corpus Christi, TX.
9. Deck log of the USS Arthur, 11 December 1861 to 31 December 1862, Record Group 24, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC.
10. Murphy Givens, “Did Union ships Fire Whisky Shells at City?” Corpus Christi Caller-Times, 17 September 2008.