Southwestern Historical Quarterly
be placed only approximately at two hundred and fifty to three
In the meantime information about the gunboats had gone
through channels to the headquarters of the Trans-Mississippi
Department at Shreveport. On May 5 General Edmund Kirby
Smith, department commander, ordered Hebert to reinforce the
Sabine Pass garrison with a cavalry regiment and a field battery
for the purpose of driving off the Union expedition. Hebert
replied that a plan of attack already had been formulated and
that Griffin would assault at dawn the next day.'8
Riding the shallow waters of Calcasieu Pass that night, unaware
of their approaching enemies, were two Federal gunboats. The
Wave, a new tinclad, side wheel steamer mounting a twenty-
pounder Parrott rifle, a thirty-two-pounder and four twenty-four-
pounder howitzers, was commanded by Lieutenant Benjamin W.
Loring. Another side wheeler, the Granite City, with an arma-
ment of six twenty-four-pounder Dahlgren howitzers, a twelve-
pounder rifle and a twenty-pounder Parrott rifle, lay near by under
command of Acting Master Charles W. Lamson.4 The Granite
City, normally used as a blockader along the Texas coast, was
familiar to the Texans as one of the gunboats which had been
driven from Sabine Pass in the Confederate victory there during
the fall of 1863.
Both vessels had been sent into the pass under orders issued on
April 15 by Commodore James S. Palmer. Their purpose, to pick
up cattle, sheep, and unionist refugees for the Federal Navy, was
far less sinister than that imagined by the Confederates at Sabine
Pass. The Wave had left New Orleans on the 15th, paused in
Atchafalaya Bay for repairs, and arrived at Calcasieu Pass on
the morning of April 24. After shelling the abandoned fort at
12C. Walter von Rosenburg to William C. von Rosenburg, May io, 1864, in
von Rosenburg, "Calcasieu Pass," Confederate Veteran, XXVI, 516; Houston Daily
Telegraph, May 11, 1864.
1xS. S. Anderson to Brigadier General P. O. H6bert, May 5, 1864, Official Records,
Series I, Vol. XXXIV, Pt. 3, 806-807; Brigadier General P. O. H6bert to Colonel
S. S. Anderson, May 5, 1864, ibid., 807. H6bert sent a similar message to Magruder
the next day. Brigadier General P. O. H6bert to Major General J. B. Magruder,
May 6, 1864, ibid., 81o.
14Statistical Data of U. S. Ships, Official Records, Navies, Series II, Vol. I, 97, 238;
Houston Daily Telegraph Supplement, May 11, 1864.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed September 16, 2014.