One hundred fifty years ago this evening, on the night of Dec. 1, 1862, the citizens of Galveston came very close to experiencing the destruction of their city. It all started with one man: Thomas Barnett.
Barnett was described by those who knew him as a “bold and daring man.” Others referred to him as “one-armed Tom” because of the arm he had lost in the Mexican War. Because he knew Galveston well, Barnett had been assigned to scout duty by the Confederate commanders. His job was to go to the waterfront at night, survey the enemy positions and report them to his military superiors the next day. On the night of Dec. 1, Barnett went to the waterfront as usual. But this night turned out to be very different from his previous scouting trips.