Thursday, March 5, 2009

(The 2nd Battle) & (The 3rd Battle) of texas in the civil War

Battle of Galveston” was a decided victory for the Union as it closed an important Confederate port to commerce. Unknown to the Renshaw and the rest of the Union, the victory would be short lived.
Plans for the second battle of Galveston began in November 1862. Maj. General John B. Magruder was given command of the military forces in Texas on November 29 and he immediately set his sights upon retaking Galveston. His plans culminated on New Years Day 1863 at three in the morning as four of his gunboats headed towards Galveston.
The Commanders of the Union forces were Col. Isaac Burrell and Cdr. Renshaw. Cdr. Renshaw still had several of his boats including the Westfield and the Harriet Lane and Col. Burrell had three companies of the 42nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Maj. Gen. Magruder had ships and landing troops.
Shortly after Magruder’s gunboats entered Galveston Bay, he landed also began a land attack. These Confederate troops proceeded to fight their way across the island and into the town itself.
In the end, all of the surviving Union troops had been captured except for the regiment’s adjutant. The Harriet Lane and been boarded and taken over as had two barks and a schooner. Cdr. Renshaw’s flagship the USS Westfield had attempted to come to the aid of the Harriet Lane and instead run aground. The Union naval personnel blew her up at 10:00 am to prevent her falling into Confederate hands.
The final major conflict in not only Texas but for the entire Civil War took place at Palmetto Ranch, also known as Palmetto Hill after April 12, 1865 when General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia.
Between May 12th and 13th 1865 Union Col. Theodore Barrett had detachments from the 62nd US Colored Infantry Regiment and 34th Indiana Volunteer Regiment begin an assault upon the Confederate forces under the command of Col. John “Rip” Ford. Col.
Ford had detachments from the Giddings Regiment, Anderson’s Cavalry Battalion and various other Confederate units. Some reports even say the Confederates received aid from the Imperial Mexican forces located right over the Texas/Mexican border but there has been no real proof of this.
Fighting along the Rio Grande
River between Union and Confederate forces had halted in March 1865 after a cease-fire agreement had been made. On May 11, 1865 Col. Theodore Barrett decided to break this agreement and sent some 250 men from the 62nd US Colored Regiment and 50 from the 2nd Texas Cavalry to attack the various Confederate outposts and camps.
These troops, which were under the command of Lt. Col. David
Branson, were to cross at Point Isabel but foul weather upset these plans and required them to cross at Boca Chica much later in the day. Sometime around 2:00 am on the morning of May 12th, Branson’s troops surrounded what was supposed to be a Confederate outpost at White’s Ranch. Imagine the soldiers’ surprise after staying up all night to do this only to find the outpost was deserted.
Lt. Col. Branson decided to allow his men to find hiding places along the banks of the Rio Grande and rest up for future assaults against the Confederate troops.
Unknown to the Lt. Col., people from the Mexican side of the river could see his men and decided to inform. Confederates as to the locations of the Union troops. Hearing their calls, Branson immediately rousted his men to attack Palmetto Ranch.
After several skirmishes, the Confederate troops seemed to scatter from Palmetto leaving food and horse feed that Branson’s troops made use of.
At 3:00 pm a large group of Confederate troops appeared and caused the Union soldiers to retreat. They attempted to burn the supplies they hadn’t consumed before leaving. By this time Branson decided to send a message to Col. Barrett to apprise him of the situation.
Barrett then left with 200 men of the 34th Indiana Volunteer Infantry and assumed command of the entire force. He and his troops began fighting their way back towards Palmetto Ranch.
Once they reached Palmetto, they destroyed the remaining supplies and decided
to continue onward with the fight. A few miles later Col. Ford’s cavalry attacked them and after heavy fighting Col. Barrett decided retreat was the better part of valor. They had returned to Boca Chica by 8:00 pm and embarked upon the waiting ships by 4:00 am on the morning of May 14th.
Ironically, the final battle of the Civil War was won by the Confederacy.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

(Battle #1) The first battle of Sabine Pass

The first battle of Sabine Pass took place between September 24 – 25, 1862. Sabine Pass is located in Jefferson County. The purpose of the battle was the Union’s plans to operate a blockade of the Texas Coast and to give a point so forces could enter Texas. During this engagement, the Union commander was Acting Master Fredrick Crocker. The Confederate commander was Major J.S. Irvine. The Union forces had the steamer Kensington, a schooner named Rachel Seaman and the mortar schooner Henry James. The Confederates had the thirty men at the Fort Griffith Garrison, an unknown number at the gun battery at Sabine Pass and twenty-five cavalry men that were located about 3.5 miles away. Acting Master Frederick Crocker on September 23, 1862 arrived near Sabine Pass and proceeded to position the Kensington, Rachel Seaman and Henry James just off the entry of the Pass. He and his crew spent the remainder of the day readying for the attack planned for the next day. On the morning of September 24th, Crocker gave the order to cross the bar at Sabine pass and begin firing on the Irvine’s troops at the Confederate shore battery. Initial firing proved to useless against the Confederates because the shells were unable to reach the shore. Quickly realizing the problem, Crocker ordered the ships to continue moving closer until the shells began to hit the Confederate guns.
On the Confederate side they were attempting to fight back but their cannons couldn’t come anywhere near the Union ships. Major Irvine ordered four of the guns spiked, as many supplies as the troops could carry packed up and the evacuation during the night. The following morning Crocker had the schooners moved closer to the battery (which he destroyed) and Sabine Pass the town surrendered on the same day. The number of casualties during the first battle of Sabine Pass remains unknown.
The state of Texas seceded from the United States on February 1, 1861, and joined the Confederate States of America on March 2, 1861, replacing its governor, Sam Houston. During the subsequent American Civil War, Texas was most useful for supplying soldiers for Confederate forces and in the cavalry. Texas was mainly a "supply state" for the Confederate forces until mid-1863, when the Union capture of the Mississippi River made large movements of men, horses or cattle impossible. Some cotton was sold in Mexico, but most of the crop became useless because of the Federal naval blockade of Galveston and other ports.