Upcoming Battle of Sabine pass Events and Ed Cotham Presentation

August 4, 2010

Make plans now to attend the Dick Dowling Days Civil War Weekend! A series of exciting and educational events will take place on September 11 & 12, 2010, to commemorate the 147th anniversary of the Battle of Sabine Pass at the Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site. The events will include programs presented by the Texas Historical Commission, Friends of Sabine Pass Battleground, and the Jefferson County Historical Commission. The Living History and Reenactment events are being coordinated by Dick Dowling Camp 1295 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Visitors to the Sabine Pass Battleground will see history come to life, explore the army camps and battlefield, and see some of the incredible stories of the era. In addition to military figures, the reenactment this year will feature living historians portraying Kate Dorman, Sara Vosburg, and other historic citizens of Sabine City.

The event will open to the public at 9:00 AM each day. Admission and parking are free and living history demonstrations will be ongoing throughout the day. At 10:00 AM each day, the military trial and execution of Lt. Elijah P. Allen will be reenacted. Allen was a Confederate cavalry officer who was accused of inciting the desertion of his unit while stationed at High Island. He was convicted and executed by firing squad at Sabine Pass in 1864.

At 11:30 AM on Saturday, the Jefferson County Historical Commission will host a Memorial Service dedicated to the men of both sides who fought and died here.

At 2:00 PM each day, the armies will form and clash dramatically in a large-scale demonstration of the Napoleonic battle tactics typical of the American Civil War!

After the gates close to the public at 5:00 PM, dinner will be provided to the participants and staff by the Dick Dowling Camp, Vietnam Veterans of America, and the Boy Scouts.

During dinner, the Friends of Sabine Pass Battleground will present awards to the re-enactors in several categories, including authenticity and educational interaction with the public.
Bring your lawn chairs and spend a day in 1863! For more information, email

The full event schedule, re-enactor and vendor registration, driving directions, and area lodging information can be found on line at

To get us in the spirit for the Dick Dowling Days events, Ed Cotham will be giving a free multi-media presentation on the Battle of Sabine Pass on Friday, August 13, 2010. Ed is the editor of this newsletter and the President of the Friends of Sabine Pass Battleground. He is also the author of four books on Texas in the Civil War, including Sabine Pass: The Confederacy’s Thermopylae. Ed has recently redesigned this Sabine Pass presentation to take into account new information on the ships involved in the Battle of Sabine Pass.
The program will take place on Friday, August 13, 2010, at 7:00 p.m. at the historic Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown museum in Beaumont. Gladys City is located at the intersection of University Drive and US Highway 69/96/287. If you are coming southbound on 287, exit at the "Highland Ave. - Sulphur Dr." exit; proceed down the service road crossing Highland Avenue. At the first U-turn underpass, turn left and proceed northbound about 1/4 mile to University Drive and Gladys City. If you are coming northbound on 287, exit at Highland Avenue and watch on your right for University Drive and Gladys City. Ed will have copies of his books to sell and sign but you are welcome to bring your own copies for him to sign. This lecture is open to the public and no reservations are necessary.

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.