The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

The Union steamer Ella Morse returned on the morning of May
8 and approached within 500 yards of the gunboats before her
captain became suspicious and attempted to signal them. A
broadside from the Granite City in reply confirmed the Federal
officer's fears and he retired rapidly from the pass amid a hail of
bullets from Confederate sharpshooters along the banks.22 On the
morning of May to a blockader, the New London, anchored in-
side the bar five miles down the pass and tried to signal the war-
ships. Receiving no reply, the ship's master sent a cutter up the
pass under an ensign who fired on the Granite City's Confederate
flag, believing it to be a joke. An answering volley killed him
instantly, the boat crew surrendered, and the New London with-
drew after learning the fate of the cutter and its men.23
Thereafter Federal blockaders were forced to pay strict atten-
tion to Calcasieu Pass because of the threat posed by the two
newly acquired Confederate gunboats. In the latter part of 1864,
however, it was decided to strip the warships of their armament
and use them as blockade-runners. On the foggy night of Jan-
uary 20o, 1865, both steamers ran out past the gunboat Chocura
whose leaky boilers never allowed it to catch up. The Wave,
loaded with lumber, headed for the Rio Grande, while the Granite
City, renamed the Three Marys, came out empty and set a course
for the Texas coast to pick up cotton or other cargo. During the
afternoon of January 21 the Granite City was run aground by an-
other blockader under the Confederate shore batteries at Velasco.
It apparently floated off later and escaped, however, for the ex-
gunboat was reported to be at anchor in the harbor at Tampico,
Mexico, on June 17, 1865, after the Civil War had ended.24
The battle of Calcasieu Pass, coming as it did in the spring
E. Kirby Smith, May 7, 1864, ibid., 812; report of Brigadier General James E.
Slaughter, May 7, 1864, ibid., Series I, Vol. XXXIV, Pt. 1, 912.
22Report of Major J. Simpson, May lo, 1864, ibid., 914; Houston Daily Telegraph,
May 11, 1864.
28Report of Acting Master Wells, May 11, 1864, Oficial Records, Navies, Series I,
Vol. XXI, 248-249; report of Acting Ensign Howard, May 11, 1864, ibid., 249.
24Report of Lieutenant Commander Richard W. Meade, January 24, 1865, ibid.,
Series I, Vol. XXII, 17-18; report of Acting Volunteer Lieutenant James R. Beers,
January 21, 1865, ibid., 18; Franklin Chase to Gideon Welles, June 17, 1865, ibid.,
221; Marcus W. Price, "Ships that Tested the Blockade of the Gulf Ports, 1861-1865,"
American Neptune, XII, 254.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed November 25, 2015.