For the Union side on what happened at Sabine Pass, read a story which appeared in Harper's Weekly on October 10, 1863. Also, see a journal entry by a Union soldier that was on one of the transports, the Continental, which is seldom found on any lists of ships and boats in the expedition. >

For General Bank's Official Report (and excuses) use this link >

There was many a Confederate that was inspired to write an ode or poem about the events at Sabine Pass The best, in my view, was written by an Irishman in New Jersey who was impressed with the valiant Irishman, Dick Dowling and the Davis Guard, the Shamrocks on the Sabine. To read his poem entitled The Ballad Of Dick Dowling use this link >

For Lieutenant Dick Dowling's Official Report of the battle use this link >

The Dick Dowling link will also take you to the Appendix information regarding the battle. Included in that is a roster of the Davis Guard and who among them was most probably at the battle, a list of others involved in the battle or right afterwards, a list of those interested through the years to the point of some involvement and some information of commemorations of the battle, the Davis Guard and/or Dick Dowling.

Lieutenant Dick Dowling was promoted to Major, Sergeant David Fitzgerald was promoted to Lieutenant.The Davis Guard, by order of General Magruder, was given the honor of having the words, `Sabine Pass' embroidered on their caps with a laurel wreath in gold thread.

< Major Dick Dowling

Immediately after the battle, all the prisoners were loaded aboard the Roebuck and the Uncle Ben and taken to Beaumont.From Beaumont they were railed to Houston. In Houston the prisoners were kept in the courthouse.After a short while the Union prisoners were taken to Camp Groce where they joined the men of the 42nd Massachusetts and the men from the Harriet Lane.The Camp Commander was Colonel John Sayers.

One of the unit's captured was the 48th Ohio Regiment. They made lore for their regiment when for their entire time in prison they kept hidden the regimental flag. Most of that time it was worn in a shirt sewn between the shirt and its lining. It was never found and made its way back to Ohio when the prisoners were paroled.

............................................The "Prison Flag" of the 48th Ohio Regiment >

During and after the battle, it was noted that some Union survivors swam to the Louisiana side of the channel. In case some of them swam back to the Texas side at another point or got lost in the bayous and came back into Texas, Dowling wanted to warn people from Sabine City to Beaumont to be alert for Yankee stragglers.He called for a volunteer to ride to all points from the fort to Beaumont with the warning.

Robert W. McDaniel, wrote in his book, Patillo Higgins and the Search for Texas Oil, that according to family tradition, his great uncle, Robert James "Jim" Higgins volunteered for the assignment. Higgins, who many say was at the battle wanted the opportunity to check on his family which he had sent from Sabine City to Beaumont.

< Robert "James" Higgins

Dowling told Higgins to take a flag with him and find a prominent point enroute and place the flag where it could be easily seen from a distance.This was to mark a marshalling point for area locals to bring any prisoners they might capture.Dowling would send some troops behind his route to man the location in a few days.

The location Higgins chose was a mound just outside of Beaumont that had served as a Confederate training camp for Captain George W. O'Brien's unit (Company E, Likens' Battalion) early in the war.Some of the buildings they built were still there.That mound would later figure strongly in the life of Robert James Higgins' son, who was born three months after the battle.The name given that place by O'Brien's men was Camp Spindletop.

Both the Sachem and the Clifton were repaired and used by the Confederates.Colonel Spaight's Battalion, less Captain Keith's artillery unit was sent to join Richard Taylor's forces in Louisiana.Colonel Griffin, who had been stationed at Galveston, was sent back to Sabine City to again take command of the area.


The First Texas Union Calvary under E. J. Davis, for the second time, returned to New Orleans in their boats. Twice they were poised to land in Texas, at Galveston in January of 1863, and at Sabine Pass.

In October the unit was again asked to dismount their horses and climb aboard ships for an invasion of Texas. This time they would be a part of a 7,000 man force under Major General Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh Dana, pictured to the left. They landed at Brazos Santiago in early November. They were quickly in Brownsville and in Fort Brown which was evacuated by Colonel James Duff's 33rd Texas Calvary. Duff pulled back to the Nueces. From Brownsville, two columns advanced from the fort looking for Confederates. One went up the coast capturing Corpus Christi, Aransas Pass, and all of the Matagorda Peninsula.

On Matagorda Island the Union forces found Confederates dug in at Fort Esperanza. This fort was reinforced and had other improvements made by another Confederate Irish artillerist, David T. Shea. It had eight heavy guns, ten foot high parapets, and walls fifteen feet thick. The fort was built and the guns laid to face an enemy coming by the sea. The Union force had come from the vunerable land side and settled in for a siege which the fort was not prepared to face. The siege began on November 27, 1863. The Union infantry brought up supporting artillery and Union ships began to appear at sea. The Confederate commander, Colonel William R. Bradfute, decided it would be better to withdraw his force in face of the growing number of Union forces surrounding him. He dicided to do it while he could, rather than lose his men to capture or worse. The 500 Confederates manning the fort spiked the guns, blew up the magazine and withdrew. Union forces then occupied the fort, and Indianola on the mainland as well. Seven warships supported the Union takeover of the Matagorda Peninsula and of Indianola. Armed reconaissance on land and sea were begun immediately.

David T. Shea and his artillery unit together with a large number of refugees withdrew to Port Lavaca. They were fired upon by two Federal steamers. The Union ships demanded the town's surrender. Shea refused to yield the town and the town underwent a tremendous bombardment. The town withstood the barrage and held out. Credited with greatly helping during this situation with assistance, supplies, food and morale was a Mrs. Dunn.

The other column headed by Colonel E. J. Davis' First Texas Calvary, went along the Rio Grande to Rio Grande City. Davis and his calvary unit raided deep into Texas. They went as far north as the King Ranch taking cattle to feed the Union troops.

With Brownsville in Union hands, the cotton route to Matamoros and Bagdad was changed to Laredo and Eagle Pass. The cotton was ferried across the Rio Grande at Laredo and Eagle Pass to the Mexican side and then carried overland to its destination.

General Magruder took the field himself to check the Federal advances upon the Red River. The Confederates felt Dana's force was too small to do anything but hold the coastal area. They feared a larger attack from the Federal forces that had won at Port Hudson and Vicksburg.