Battle of Galveston Anniversary Events-2011

December 21, 2010

On January 7-9, the Galveston Historical Foundation will be coordinating a wide range of activities to mark the 148th anniversary of the Battle of Galveston. As in the past, I will be leading some walking tours on Saturday and Sunday of the Strand area. New this year, I will also be leading some Segway tours of the East End historic district showcasing some of the figures in Galveston history with Civil War connections. If you have never been on a Segway before, come join us and try it out. I think you will really enjoy the experience. Attached below is the press release issued by GHF. You can make reservations online at this website (which contains more information about the cost and times, etc.

Ed Cotham

GHF Press Release

In January 2011, Galveston Historical Foundation will mark the 148th anniversary of the most important military event in Galveston’s history: the January 1, 1863 Civil War Battle of Galveston. Commemorative events that will take place on January 7, 8 and 9 in Galveston’s historic downtown include a battle re-enactment, living history encampments and a collodian photography demonstration. Numerous commemorative battle tours will take place as well, including walking tours of Galveston's downtown and Broadway cemetery, a boat tour of Galveston Harbor and a Segway Tour of Galveston's East End neighborhood.

Living history encampments will be established by the 19th- Century Living History Association, Inc. and the 1st Texas Infantry. The public is invited free of charge to visit the encampments from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The Union encampment will be located on Postoffice Street at 19th Street. The Confederate encampment will be located on Santa Fe Place and 26th Street. Reenactors participating in the event are required to pre-register before January 3, 2011. For reenactor registration, click here.

Also free to the public, a reenactment of the battle will occur on Strand Street, between 23rd and 20th streets, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 8 and 1 p.m. Sunday, January 9.

Photographer Bruce Schultz will demonstrate wet-plate collodian photography. Using the same chemicals and methods utilized by 19th-century photographers, Schultz will offer visitors the rare opportunity to preserve their image on a tin-type photograph. For more information on this historic method of photography, click here.

Galveston Historical Foundation’s series of commemorative tours will offer full details and descriptions of many aspects of the battle by several experts in the field.

Civil War walking tours will be led by noted author and Civil War historian Edward T. Cotham, Jr., visiting the sites of the battle. Cotham’s books, including “Battle on the Bay: The Civil War Struggle for Galveston,” will be available for purchase and signing. The tour begins at the Peanut Butter Warehouse and ends at Custom House, where Cotham's books will be on sale. Cotham will be available to sign copies.

Cotham also researched and wrote the Battle of Galveston Harbor Tour, being offered each weekend in January.

A Civil War Segway tour will also be offered, focusing on the East End residential area and the civilians that participated in the battle as well as the prominent Galvestonian’s who had Civil War careers.

A Civil War tour of the Broadway Cemetery will include visits to the grave of Confederate General John Bankhead Magruder, the monument to those who perished during the Battle of Galveston, and the graves of other notable Civil War figures.

The Civil War Battle of Galveston, which took place during the early morning hours of January 1, 1863, is widely acknowledged as the most important military event in Galveston’s history.

Played out on both land and sea, in a drama that unfolded over the course of several months, the Battle of Galveston ended with Confederate forces driving out the Union ships that had held Galveston Harbor since October, 1862. As part of the Union blockade of the Texas coast, Commander William B. Renshaw and his squadron of eight Union ships demanded surrender by Confederate Forces of Galveston Harbor, the most important Texas port, on October 4, 1862.

But Confederate Major General John Bankhead Magruder led a successful campaign to retake Galveston early on New Year’s morning, January 1, 1863. Confederate “cottonclads” struck from the rear of the Union squadron. A naval battle ensued with Magruder’s forces retaking Galveston. Confederate losses numbered 26 killed and 117 wounded. Union losses included the captured infantry and the Harriet Lane, about 150 casualties on the naval ships, and destruction of the Westfield. The port remained under Confederate control for the rest of the war.

GHF is currently soliciting sponsorships and donations to assist with the costs for hay, firewood and rations for the living history encampments. If you would like to donate, contact Jami Durham at 409-765-3409.

For more information about Battle of Galveston Commemoration tours, tour reservations or for information on re-enactor guidelines, visit or call Galveston Historical Foundation at 409-765-7834.

Battle of Galveston Tickets and Reservations

Space is limited on all guided tours. Advanced reservations are recommended. Galveston Historical Foundation does not guarantee availability the day of the tours.

•Tickets are non-refundable. Tours will take place rain or shine.
•Pets and recording devices are not allowed on any of the tours.
•Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF) reserves the right to cancel tours in the case of severe weather or combine, or cancel, tours if minimum reservations per tour are not reached.
•In the event of a cancellation by GHF the ticket price will be refunded less service charges.
•Parking is available on many of the streets and lots within walking distance of all tour start points.
•The Battle of Galveston Walking tour begins at 20th Street and The Strand. (Limit: 40 participants per tour)
•The Battle of Galveston Harbor Tour boards at the Texas Seaport Museum at Pier 22 and Harborside Drive. (Limit: 48 participants per tour)
•The Civil War Segway Tour departs from the 1861 Custom House, 502 Postoffice Street.
•The Civil War Cemetery Tour begins at the Episcopal Cemetery on Broadway at 40th Street. (Limit: 25 participants per tour)

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.