Sabine Pass: The Confederacy's Thermopylae (Google eBook)

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University of Texas Press, Jan 1, 2010 - History
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In an 1882 speech, former Confederate president Jefferson Davis made an exuberant claim: "That battle at Sabine Pass was more remarkable than the battle at Thermopylae." Indeed, Sabine Pass was the site of one of the most decisive Civil War battles fought in Texas. But unlike the Spartans, who succumbed to overwhelming Persian forces at Thermopylae more than two thousand years before, the Confederate underdogs triumphed in a battle that over time has become steeped in hyperbole. Providing a meticulously researched, scholarly account of this remarkable victory, Sabine Pass at last separates the legends from the evidence.

In arresting prose, Edward T. Cotham, Jr., recounts the momentous hours of September 8, 1863, during which a handful of Texans—almost all of Irish descent—under the leadership of Houston saloonkeeper Richard W. Dowling, prevented a Union military force of more than 5,000 men, 22 transport vessels, and 4 gunboats from occupying Sabine Pass, the starting place for a large invasion that would soon have given the Union control of Texas.

Sabine Pass sheds new light on previously overlooked details, such as the design and construction of the fort (Fort Griffin) that Dowling and his men defended, and includes the battle report prepared by Dowling himself. The result is a portrait of a mythic event that is even more provocative when stripped of embellishment.

  

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Galveston bartender Dick Dowling & his Irishmen singe the Yankee's beards. Read full review

Contents

SETTING THE SCENE
9
THE ADMIRAL AND THE FORTS
17
ATTACKING TEXAS
25
FROM BAR TO BATTLE
36
COTTONCLADS WITH CANNON
46
PLANNING A VICTORY
64
TEXAS IS THE TARGET
83
SABINE PASS AS A STEPPINGSTONE
92
ATTACK OF THE GUNBOATS
125
PRAISE AND BLAME
159
THE WAR ENDS FOR FORT GRIFFIN
174
CONCLUSION
184
REPORT OF LIEUT R W DOWLING COMPANY F COOKS TEXAS ARTILLERY CONCERNING THE BATTLE OF SABINE PASS
203
ANNOTATED LIST OF SABINE PASS BATTLE PARTICIPANTS
205
UNION CASUALTIES AT THE BATTLE OF SABINE PASS
208
NOTES
211

THE NAVY MAKES ITS PLANS
97
THE EXPEDITION DEPARTS
103
REVISING THE PLAN
110
HOLD THE FORT AT ALL HAZARDS
117
BIBLIOGRAPHY
247
INDEX
263
Copyright

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Page 11 - Mexico, at the mouth of the river Sabine, in the sea, continuing north along the western bank of that river.
Page 2 - was so just, so sacred, that had I known all that has come to pass, had I known what was to be inflicted upon me, all that my country was to suffer, all that our posterity was to endure, I would do it all over again.
Page 22 - the forts can be passed and we have done it, and can do it again as often as may be required of us.

About the author (2010)

Edward T. Cotham, Jr., is an independent scholar based in Houston, Texas. He has served as president of the Houston Civil War Roundtable and is the author of Battle on the Bay: The Civil War Struggle for Galveston.

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