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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Sabine Pass in Jefferson County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Capture of the USS Morning Light and USS Velocity

 
 
Capture of the <i>USS Morning Light</i> and <i>USS Velocity</i> Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Anderson, June 10, 2018
1. Capture of the USS Morning Light and USS Velocity Marker
Inscription. After Texas seceded from the Union at the onset of the Civil War, the state's ports were included in a Union blockade of the South. The proximity of Sabine Pass to Galveston made it a strategic point for both the Union and Confederacy. In January 1863, Gen. John B. Magruder, commander of the Confederate Military District of Texas, in an attempt to open Sabine Pass for shipping, ordered an assault on the two sentry Union warships. Using "cottonclads," riverboats armored with cotton bales that afforded effective protection from enemy fire, Confederate forces under command of Maj. Oscar W. Watkins engaged the Union blockaders. Consisting of the Uncle Ben and the Josiah H. Bell, this bantam fleet was designated the "Second Squadron of Magruder's Navy." On board the Josiah H. Bell, the Davis Guard of the First Texas Heavy Artillery, an all-Irish unit, served under Lt. Richard "Dick" Dowling. It manned a Columbiad artillery piece, supported by sharpshooters from the 2nd Texas Cavalry and Spaight's Battalion; additional forces from Spaight's Battalion served similar roles on the Uncle Ben.

In the ensuing battle on Jan. 21, 1863, the cottonclads seized the initiative, and the engagement lasted roughly two hours. The frigate Morning Light was neutralized first, compelling the lesser-armed Velocity,
Capture of the <i>USS Morning Light</i> and <i>USS Velocity</i> Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Anderson, June 10, 2018
2. Capture of the USS Morning Light and USS Velocity Marker
a converted blockade runner, to strike its colors. Union casualties were minimal, but the battle resulted in the capture of the two ships, $10,000 worth of supplies and 109 Union prisoners of war. Although only temporarily lifting the Union blockade and presaging a decisive battle later in 1863, the battle demonstrated the Davis Guard had the ability to defend the Texas coast successfully.
 
Erected 2006 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 13429.)
 
Location. 29° 43.988′ N, 93° 52.396′ W. Marker is in Sabine Pass, Texas, in Jefferson County. Touch for map. Marker is located within the Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6100 Dick Dowling Road, Sabine Pass TX 77655, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Site of Fort Griffin (within shouting distance of this marker); Richard Dowling (within shouting distance of this marker); Union Casualties at the Battle of Sabine Pass (within shouting distance of this marker); Commodore Leon Smith (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); United States Forces at the Battle of Sabine Pass (about 400 feet away); Federal Fatalities at the Battle of Sabine Pass (about 400 feet away); World War II Coastal Defenses at Sabine Pass (about 400 feet away); Fort Manhassett (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sabine Pass.
 
Categories. War, US CivilWaterways & Vessels
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 14, 2018. This page originally submitted on June 14, 2018, by Brian Anderson of Kingwood, Texas. This page has been viewed 61 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 14, 2018, by Brian Anderson of Kingwood, Texas. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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