During the American Civil War, Houston served as a headquarters for General John Magruder, who used the city as an organization point for the Battle of Galveston.After the Civil War, Houston businessmen initiated efforts to widen the city's extensive system of bayous so the city could accept more commerce between downtown and the nearby port of Galveston. In 1900, after Galveston was struck by a devastating hurricane, efforts to make Houston into a viable deep-water port were accelerated.
According to historian David Mc Comb, "[T]he brothers, on August 26, 1836, bought from Elizabeth E. The town suffered another setback that year when a yellow fever epidemic claimed about one life out of every eight residents.
In 1840, the community established a chamber of commerce in part to promote shipping and navigation at the newly created port on Buffalo Bayou.
Railroad spurs from the Texas inland converged in Houston, where they met rail lines to the ports of Galveston and Beaumont.
Sizable numbers, however, came through the domestic slave trade.
New Orleans was the center of this trade in the Deep South, but slave dealers were in Houston.