Dick Dowling Camp 1295 and the Jefferson County Historical Commission will present a memorial commemoration at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Dick Dowling statue at the Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site at 6100 Dick Dowling Road in Sabine Pass.
On Sept. 8, 1863, Confederate Lieutenant Dick Dowling and his understrength artillery company repelled a 22-ship Union armada during the Civil War. The site, now a Texas Historical Commission property, was the site of Confederate Fort Griffin, a strong earthen artillery emplacement guarding where the Sabine River enters the Gulf of Mexico. The 58-acre site highlights the story of the Davis Guard thwarting an attempted Union invasion of Texas at Sabine Pass, a primary Texas port for Confederate shipments of supplies and vital to the war effort. In a battle lasting less than an hour, Dowling and his men disabled and captured two gunboats, resulting in significant casualties and the capture of nearly 350 prisoners. Because of their efforts, ports upstream in Port Arthur, Beaumont and Orange escaped capture and Union forces never penetrated the Texas interior.
During the Spanish American War, World War I and World War II, the area was also the site of a U.S. Army coastal artillery battery. Four historic munitions magazines are still on site. Grounds feature a stately bronze statue of Dowling by Beaumont artist Herring Coe. Also on site are many state historical markers, a monument dedicated to the Union casualties, a reduced scale replica of Fort Griffin, the “Walking Beam” (a large part salvaged from the captured USS Clifton, an interpretive pavilion illustrating the story of the battle, a boat ramp and picnicking and fishing areas.
Bring a brown bag lunch and lawn chairs. Soft drinks and ice will be provided. For information, email Dick Dowling@rocketmail.com