shadow of the impossibility of an independent
confederacy was casting a gloomy sky over
the sunny South.
After the recovery of Galveston island, no
other operation of importance occurred until
September, 1863, when the Federals attempted
to effect a lodgment at Sabine City,
the terminus of a railroad. The blockade of
Sabine Pass was temporarily broken by the
capture of two United States gunboats, outside
the bar. Afterward the Confederates
erected a fort at Sabine City, defended by a
formidable battery of eight heavy guns, three
of which were rifled. A detachment of 4,000
men, with gunboats, from Banks' army, made
an attempt in September, 1863, to take Sabine
City, but met with ignominious defeat,
losing two gunboats, 100 men killed and
wounded, and 250 as prisoners. The garrison
of the fort consisted of only 200 Texans,
of whom only forty-two took part in the action.
These were presented by President
Davis with a silver medal, the only honor of
the kind known to have been bestowed by
the Confederate government.
On the 26th of July this year General
Houston died. See his biography on another
page, to be found by the index.
The Rio Grande being a national boundary
line, it could not be blockaded by the United
States; but General Banks, after his failure
to capture Sabine City, endeavored to take
Brownsville, and thus at least cripple the trade
between Texas and Mexico. Late in October,
1863, supported by a naval squadron
under Commander Strong, Banks sailed with
6,000 troops from New Orleans for the Rio
Grande. The immediate command, however,
was given to General Napoleon Dana. By
November 2 the force reached Brazos Santiago,
and on the 6th took Brownsville, and
soon afterward Corpus Christi, Aransas Pass,
Cavillo Pass and Fort Esperanza at the
mouth of Matagorda bay. By the close of
the year Indianola and the Matagorda peninsula
were also in the hands of the Federals.
The Texans made but a show of resistance,
withdrawing from the coast defenses west of
the Colorado. But this possession of Texan
forts was of short duration. After a few
months the Federals withdrew from all except
Brazos Santiago, leaving the duty of guarding
the coast to the navy, which soon afterward
captured several Confederate vessels.
Banks' next scheme to obtain pos-ession of
Texas was by an entrance from the northeast,
from Red river; but this famous " Red river
expedition " also ignominiously failed. The
Texans were too much for that Yankee army.
At the battle of Pleasant Hill, however, the
Texans suffered a serious defeat; Sweitzer's
regiment of cavalry, about 400 strong, was
almost annihilated by the Federals; and they
also lost the battle at Pleasant Grove; but
in the great battle of Sabine Cross Roads the
Texans gained a great victory.
During the month of September Brownsville
was captured by her old enemy, Cortina,
under peculiar circumstances. A French
force of about 5,000 took Bagdad, at the
mouth of the Rio Grande, with the object of
taking possession of Matamoras, where Cortina
was then in command. Brownsville was
at that time occupied by Colonel Ford with a
considerable force of Texan cavalry, and Brazos
Santiago was still held by the Federals.
On the 6th the French began to move up the
right bank of the river, and their advance became
engaged with Cortina, who had marched
with 3,000 Mexicans and sixteen pieces of
artillery from Matamoras to meet them.
There seems to have been some understanding
between Ford and the French commander,
for during the engagement the former ap
HISTOR OP TEXS.
Lewis Publishing Company, publisher. History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families. Chicago. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth29785/. Accessed March 14, 2014.