Sabine Pass in Jefferson County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Site of Fort Griffin
Renowned for brilliant Civil War victory, Sept. 8, 1863. Confederates in this fort repulsed a fleet seeking to land thousands of Federal soldiers.
Lt. Richard W. Dowling (1838-1867), in civilian life a Houston businessman, commanded fort during enemy assault. His men, mostly Irishmen from Galveston and Houston, had been comrades in arms since Feb. 1861.
Sabine Pass, where Dowling's men (Co. F, Texas Heavy Artillery) were assigned in 1863, was a center for the blockade-running whereby Confederacy exported cotton and obtained in exchange vital goods such as medicines and arms. Here Co. F built Fort Griffin, named in honor of Lt. Col. W. H. Griffin, Confederate commander at Sabine City. Fort was designed by Col. Valery Sulakowski, formerly of the Austrian Army.
Fort Griffin was an earthwork strengthened with railroad iron and ship's timbers. It was unfinished when Confederates learned of approach of 22 ships.
Dowling kept watch, but ordered no response to the early shelling by the Federals. When first ships entered range of Fort Griffin's guns, however, the battle began. Dowling himself served as one of the gunners. The fort sent 137 shells toward the targets. Dowling monument (near here) tells of the victory.
Erected 1969 by State Historical Survey Committee
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Forts and Castles • War, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is September 8, 1863.
Location. 29° 43.963′ N, 93° 52.384′ W. Marker is in Sabine Pass, Texas, in Jefferson County. Marker is located within the Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6100 Dick Dowling Road, Sabine Pass TX 77655, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Richard Dowling (a few steps from this marker); Union Casualties at the Battle of Sabine Pass (a few steps from this marker); Capture of the USS Morning Light and USS Velocity (within shouting distance of this marker); Commodore Leon Smith (within shouting distance of this marker); World War II Coastal Defenses at Sabine Pass (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Fort Manhassett (about 500 feet away); Spanish-American War Fortifications (about 500 feet away); United States Forces at the Battle of Sabine Pass (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sabine Pass.
Also see . . . Fort Griffin - The Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) (Submitted on June 15, 2018, by Brian Anderson of Kingwood, Texas.)
Credits. This page was last revised on November 25, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 14, 2018, by Brian Anderson of Kingwood, Texas. This page has been viewed 182 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 15, 2018, by Brian Anderson of Kingwood, Texas. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.