Friends of Sabine Pass Battleground Application

February 9, 2009

Group aims to preserve Sabine Pass battleground site
Associated Press

A new group is seeking members to support a historic Civil War battlefield along the Texas-Lousiana state line.

The 58-acre Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site in Texas includes a statue of Confederate Lt. Dick Dowling and an interpretive pavilion illustrating the story of the Sept. 8, 1863 battle.

Control of the site was transferred from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to the Texas Historical Commission.

“With THC’s encouragement, we have now set up Friends of Sabine Pass Battleground to help with the mission of preserving and interpreting the historical events in the Sabine Pass area,” said Texas author and historian Ed Cotham.

During the battle, a fleet of Union gunboats and transports carrying 5,000 troops was turned back by Dowling and 46 men of Company F, 1st Texas Heavy Artillery.

The Confederate force was comprised mostly of Irish dock workers and laborers from Houston and Galveston.

The attacking gunboats fired from the Louisiana channel of the pass and from the Sabine Pass Lighthouse on the Louisiana side of the river.

After about 45 minutes of gunfire, the Union invasion fleet retired. Two gunboats surrendered and 50 Union troops were killed and 350 were captured. The Confederates suffered no casualties.

The Friends group has applied for nonprofit status with the Internal Revenue Service and is in the process of soliciting charter members. Its annual dues are $25.

“We hope to put out a newsletter and provide public input on the restoration of the battleground and its monuments and markers, many of which were damaged by recent hurricanes,” Cotham said.

Cotham is the author of “Sabine Pass: The Confederacy’s Thermopylae” (University of Texas Press).

The battleground is about 1.5 miles south of the town of Sabine Pass, Texas.



Please enroll me as a member of the FRIENDS OF SABINE PASS BATTLEGROUND for the current calendar year.

Enclosed is $25 for an individual charter membership for the calendar year. Check or money order should be made payable to FRIENDS OF SABINE PASS BATTLEGROUND and mailed to the address below.

(Please print)

Address____________________________Apt. No._______


Phone Number__________________________________________

E-Mail Address (optional)________________________________________

130 Lena Lane,
Lumberton, Texas 77657

Membership is good for one year (January – December)
FSPB has applied to the IRS for 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status.

Reviews and Awards

Chapter on Union Naval Strategy in Texas
"Devotees of American Civil War literature should find their horizons broadened and their understanding of the war enhanced by this book." —Donald S. Frazier, author of Cottonclads
“Ed Cotham has provided for posterity a fine rendering of one of the more amazing battles in American History. Not only was the Battle of Sabine Pass a heroic scale Texan victory, but Cotham tells that larger-than-life story with historical context and clarity that makes the story of Dick Dowling and his stalwarts that much more amazing.” Dr. Don Frazier, Chairman of the History Department at McMurry University and Executive Director of the Grady McWhiney Research Foundation
Released January 2006 by University of Texas Press Reviewers have said this about the book: "Journals of nineteenth-century U.S. Marines are rare, and Henry Gusley's is a truly outstanding account of the shipboard experiences and observation of an enlisted marine...Edward Cotham's scholarship in the introduction and in annotating the journal is outstanding, and he has drawn on the appropriate sources. This is one of the best jobs of editing in the field." Joseph G. Dawson III, Professor of History at Texas A&M University "I found Gusley's notebook fascinating, informative, and ultimately moving...Civil War historians will find the information about the inner workings and day-to-day life aboard U.S. naval vessels patrolling the Gulf of Mexico and the major river systems of the Trans-Mississippi interior highly informative...This book should also find a popular audience. Bright, literate, constantly upbeat, and good-humored despite the many difficult circumstances he found himself in, Gusley is good company for his readers." Patrick Kelly, Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas at San Antonio.