Galveston, TX

Date(s): January 1, 1863

Location: Please click on link below for map.

Galveston, Texas, United States

Campaign(s): Operations against Galveston [1862-1863]

Battles in Campaign:



  • Union: Col. Isaac S. Burrell and Cdr. W. B. Renshaw, USN

  • Confederate: Maj. Gen. John B. Magruder

Principal Forces:

  • Union: Companies D, G and I, 42nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment and the Blockading ships

  • Confederate:  Four Confederate gunboats and district of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona troops


  • Maj. Gen. John B. Magruder, Confederate commander of military forces in Texas, made the recapture of Galveston his top priority.

  • Four Confederate gunboats headed down the bay toward Galveston at 3:00 am on New Year’s Day, 1863 which was accompanied by an attack by land forces.

  • The Union forces in Galveston were three companies of the 42nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment under the command of Col. Isaac S. Burrell.

  • The Confederates captured or killed all of them except for the regiment’s adjutant.

  • They also took Harriet Lane, two barks and a schooner.

  • Cdr. W.B. Renshaw’s flagship, USS. Westfield, ran aground when trying to help Harriet Lane and, at 10:00 am, she was blown up to prevent her capture by the Confederates.

  • Galveston was in Confederate hands again although the Union blockade would limit commerce in and out of the harbor

Slide Presentation: None

Classification2: B


  • Union: 600

  • Confederate: 50

Results: Confederate Victory

Battlefield Websites:

Lodging and Restaurants: Texas Tourism

Recommended Resources:

1National Park Service summary.

2 Classification:

  • A - having a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war

  • B - having a direct and decisive influence on their campaign

  • C - having observable influence on the outcome of a campaign

  • D - having a limited influence on the outcome of their campaign or operation but achieving or affecting important local objectives

3 Casualties are someone killed, injured, wounded, captured or missing.

Revised 03/29/2013