The Battle of Sabine Pass

Actually the Second Battle of Sabine Pass, the First being a brief skirmish on September 25, 1861, this engagement was the most improbable Confederate victory of the Civil War.

In 1863 the Lincoln administration was eager to deter Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico from trading with the Confederacy.  To accomplish this, Major General Nathaniel Banks ordered Major General William B. Franklin to lead an amphibious force up the Sabine River in Texas, capture  Confederate Fort Griffith and occupy the town of Sabine Pass. 

On September 8, 1863 Captain Frederick Crocker, United States Navy, steamed up the Sabine to attack Fort Griffith, his force consisting of four gunboats and eighteen transports, loaded with 5,000 Union troops.  Opposing this armada were 46 Confederates with six cannon at Fort Griffith.

The Confederates were mainly Irish dock workers who had formed the Jeff Davis Guards at the beginning of the War.  They were commanded by Lieutenant Richard, “Dick” , Dowling, who had immigrated to America from Ireland with his family as a small child.  A successful owner of a chain of saloons before a war, Dowling now faced a military situation that would have alarmed any professional soldier. (more…)

Published in: on May 28, 2010 at 5:34 am  Comments Off on The Battle of Sabine Pass  
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