he kattk of Sabie Pass
In a low mud fort where the River Sabine
Reaches the sea across a bar,
A boy-like chief, with forty men
And six old guns, sat counting them,
And wondering if such a force could stem
Attack by men of war.
AFTER the surrender of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, and of
Port Hudson on July 9, two objectives in the Southwest
were considered by Lincoln's government-Mobile and
Texas. Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, commander of the
Department of the Gulf, was in favor of attacking Mobile first;
for he knew that eventually it had to be taken and that each
day of delay meant stronger defenses to be overcome. "Consid-
erations of general policy," writes A. T. Mahan, noted American
naval historian, "connected with the action of France in Mexico
and the apparent unfriendly attitude of the Emperor, Napoleon
III, toward the United States decided otherwise."
In Lincoln's cabinet meeting of July 31, Secretary of State
William Seward said that Louis Napoleon was "making an effort
to get Texas" whereupon Seward urged "the immediate occupa-
tion of Galveston also [of] some other point."2 Later that same
day Secretary of Navy Gideon Welles, in company with Secretary
of War E. M. Stanton and General-in-Chief W. H. Halleck, asked
whether a demonstration was to be made on Texas to protect and
guard the western frontier and whether Indianola was a better
point than Galveston. "Halleck said he did not know,-had not
thought of that. 'Where,' said he, 'is Indianola?' "
Six days after this meeting Halleck notified Banks that there
were "important reasons why our flag should be restored in ..
Texas. .. Do this by land [ing] at Galveston, at Indianola, or
at any other point you may deem preferable ... the movement
'A. T. Mahan, The Gulf and Inland Waters (New York, 1883), 185.
2Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles (Boston, 1911), I, 90.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101121/. Accessed August 31, 2015.