The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948 Page: 130
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the information to Farragut; therefore, owing to the loss not
only of the Hatteras but the Clifton as well, Bell was not able
to prosecute his designs against Galveston.54
Every day the Federal forces delayed in the attack on Galveston
the more difficult became the task. The defenders were busily
engaged in the erection of heavy breastworks and fortifications,
placing the guns of the captured Lane and the destroyed West-
field, whose guns had not been damaged in the explosion and
sinking, in position on commanding promontories. The disaster
off Galveston was soon followed by another blow to Northern
power and prestige; on January 21 an attack, using the same
basic tactics which were successful at Galveston, was made on
the ships in Sabine Pass with an equal degree of success. Two
ships were captured, and the remainder of the fleet was driven
off. Farragut was sore disheartened by the news. In reporting the
action, he said:
There will be no end to this Galveston success until we make a clean
destruction of one of their vessels. They came out, as at Galveston,
with two cotton-packed steamers, in a calm. . . They are growing
bold. ... I have nothing but disaster to report to the Secretary of
the Navy. . I can not get vessels to Bell as fast as he requires them,
in consequence of these disasters."5
Checked all along the coast by the daring and ingenuity of
the defending forces, there was little opportunity in the near
future for a concentrated attack on Galveston Harbor. The block-
ade, however, was maintained in good order, and the defensive
points were occasionally subjected to a cannonading. Galveston
remained in the hands of the Confederates, nevertheless, and
was visited on numerous occasions by blockade-runners during
the remaining years of the war.
54It is interesting to conjecture what the result would have been had not the
lookout on the Alabama been careless. At the time there were no transports in
Galveston Harbor, but there was a considerable force of naval vessels, including
the Brooklyn, on blockade duty. As Semmes reported, had it not been for the
carelessness of the lookout, "[We] would have got into a hornet's nest instead of
the Banks expedition." Banks, in the meantime, had landed near New Orleans.
Semmes to Mallory, May 12, 1863, in ibid., Vol. II, p. 683. For a more detailed
account of the battle, see S. P. Cronwell, Spoilers of the Sea (New York, 1941),
55Farragut to Commander James Alden, January 27, 1863, in Official Records,
Vol. XIX, p. 584.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948, periodical, 1948; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101119/m1/172/: accessed May 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.