Sabine Pass, TX II

[The Attack on Sabine Pas, Harper's Weekly, October 10, 1863
- Courtesy of Son-of-the-South ]

Date(s): September 8, 1863


Sabine Pass Battleground State Park (state park), Texas, United States

Campaign(s): Operations to Blockade the Texas Coast (1863)

Battles in Campaign:



  • Union: Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin and Capt. Frederick Crocker, U.S.N.

  • Confederate: Lt. Richard W. Dowling

Principal Forces:

  • Union: 4 gunboats and 7 transports loaded with troops

  • Confederate: Texan Davis Guards


  • About 6:00 am on the morning of September 8, 1863, a Union flotilla of four gunboats and seven troop transports steamed into Sabine Pass and up the Sabine River with the intention of reducing Fort Griffin and landing troops to begin occupying Texas.

  • As the gunboats approached Fort Griffin, they came under accurate fire from six cannons.

  • The Confederate gunners at Fort Griffin had been sent there as a punishment.

  • To break the day-to-day monotony, the gunners practiced firing artillery at range markers placed in the river.

  • Their practice paid off. Fort Griffin’s small force of 44 men, under command of Lt. Richard W. Dowling, forced the Union flotilla to retire and captured the gunboat Clifton and about 200 prisoners.

  • Further Union operations in the area ceased for about a month.

  • The heroics at Fort Griffin—44 men stopping a Union expedition—inspired other Confederate soldiers.

Slide Presentation:



Sabine Pass Battleground - Entrance

Battle of Sabine Pass Mural


  Entrance to Sabine Pass Battlefield Battle of Sabine Pass Mural  

Civil War Coastal Strategy

Natural Advantages - Thriving Coimmerce

Unlikely but decisve Confederate victory

The Battle of Sabine Pass - An Unlikely Confederate Victory Civil War Coastal Strategy Natural Advantages - Thriving Commerce Unlikely But Decisive Confederate Victory

Boosting Southern Morale Drilling and Discipline Confederate Groundwork for Defense Yellow Fever and Union Attack

Fort Griffin
Deadly Accuracy Destroys Ships and Union Invasion Model Reconstruction of Confederate Fort Fort Griffin Details Location of Fort
Fort Griffin Model Fort Griffin Model Fort Griffin Model Cannon at Fort Griffin
Statue of Dick Dowling - Front Statue of Dick Dowling - Rear  
Commemorating the Feat of Dick Dowling and His Forty Two Irish Patriots Dick Dowling Monument - Front Dick Dowling Monument -
  Walking Beam from USS Clifton Walking Beam from USS Clifton  
Commodore Leon Smith Fort Manhassett Fort Griffin Capture of USS Morning Light and USS Velocity
  US Forces at the Battle of Sabine Pass Federal Fatalities at the Battle of Sabine Pass Union Casualties at the Battle of Sabine Pass

Classification1: B


  • Union: 230

  • Confederate: Unknown

Results: Confederate Victory

Battlefield Websites: 

Lodging and Restaurants: Texas Tourism

Recommended Resources:

1 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

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

Revised 11/07/2014