The Irish at Sabine Pass -- September 6-8, 1863

We're rapidly approaching the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Sabine Pass. The occasion is being celebrated as "Dick Dowling Days." Information is available here.

Though a relatively small engagement, Sabine Pass represented perhaps the finest single day's work of any Irish unit, North or South, in the American Civil War. At Sabine Pass, on the Texas coast near the Louisiana border, Galway native Lt. Richard W. "Dick" Dowling, a Houston saloon keeper, commanded the Jeff Davis Guards, a company of the 1st Texas Heavy Artillery Regiment made up wholly of other Irish immigrants to antebellum Texas. With an amazing display of artillery expertise, Dowling's tiny band of Texas Irishmen -- fewer than 50 in all -- drove off a virtual Union armada carrying about 5,000 Federal infantymen, bent on invading southeastern Texas and marching overland to Houston. The President of the Confederacy hailed Dowling's triumph as the "Thermopylae of the Confederacy."  The Davis Guards received the only medals for valor ever awarded by the Confederate Congress. (These medals were made of large Mexican silver pesos hung from Irish green ribbons, and the few that have survived are virtually priceless.)

Dowling's company saved Houston the fate of Atlanta, and a large granite nomument in a public park in central Houston honors the memory of Dowling and his Davis Guards.

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Tags: American Civil War

Comment by Gerry Regan on July 1, 2013 at 11:21am

Michael, consider posting news of the "Dick Dowling Days" on our Events listings too, using this widget:

Comment by Micheal McGreevy on July 4, 2013 at 6:22pm

The event dates are Sept. 7 & 8. Admission is free! Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site, Sabine Pass, Texas. Jed Marum performing all weekend. Battle reenactments, living history, food, music, and more. Email me at for more info.

Comment by Gerry Regan on July 5, 2013 at 10:11am

Mike, thanks for the info. Here's a link to the Events widget, which provides a sharper focus on particular events: We do recommend making use of it to allow all of us to both find and promote member-sponsored events.


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