Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Next Meeting

          The next meeting of Captain James W. Bryan Camp 1390 will be from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, at A-MAZEN Seafood and Steak, 339 W. Prien Lake Road, Lake Charles, La. We’ll have nominations for officers and go over the by-laws with the members. Please come to this very important meeting. Also, if you haven’t already paid your 2013 dues, please do so right away. The amount for renewals is $42. Send checks to Adjutant Luke Dartez, 908 Henning Road, Sulphur, La. 70665-7673. Thank you.

USS Harriet Lane (Naval History and Heritage Command)


          The U.S. Navy began a blockade of Galveston Harbor in July 1861, but the town remained in Confederate hands for the next 14 months. At 6:00 am on October 4, 1862, Cdr. W.B. Renshaw, commanding the blockading ships in the Galveston Bay area, sent Harriet Lane into the harbor, flying a flag of truce. The intention was to inform the military authorities in Galveston that if the town did not surrender, the U.S. Navy ships would attack; a one-hour reply would be demanded.

          Col. Joseph J. Cook, Confederate military commander in the area, would not come out to the Union ship or send an officer to receive the communication, so Harriet Lane weighed anchor and returned to the fleet. Four Union steamers, with a mortar boat in tow, entered the harbor and moved to the same area where Harriet Lane had anchored. Observing this activity, Confederates at Fort Point fired one or more shots and the U.S. Navy ships answered.

            Eventually, the Union ships disabled the one Confederate gun at Fort Point and fired at other targets. Two Rebel guns from another location opened on the Union ships. The boat that Col. Cook had dispatched now approached the Union vessels and two Confederate officers boarded U.S.S. Westfield. Renshaw demanded an unconditional surrender of Galveston or he would begin shelling. Cook refused Renshaw’s terms, and conveyed to Renshaw that upon him rested the responsibility of destroying the town and killing women, children, and aliens.

Renshaw threatened to resume the shelling and made preparations for towing the mortar boat into position. One of the Confederate officers then asked if he could be granted time to talk with Col. Cook again. This officer, a major, negotiated with Renshaw for a four-day truce to evacuate the women, children, and aliens from the city. Cook approved the truce but added a stipulation that if Renshaw would not move troops closer to Galveston, Cook would not permit his men to come below the city. The agreement was finalized but never written down, which later caused problems. The Confederates did evacuate, taking all of their weapons, ammunition, supplies, and whatever they could carry with them.

          Renshaw did not think that the agreement allowed for all this but, in the end, did nothing, due to the lack of a written document. The fall of Galveston meant that one more important Confederate port was closed to commerce. But the port of Galveston was not shut down for long.

[National Park Service article]

Members of Camp 1390 at Sabine Pass on September 8.

Members Attend
Sabine Pass Event

          SABINE PASS, Tex. – Members of Captain James W. Bryan Camp 1390 and friends from the Mechanized Cavalry went in the first annual Ronnie Fox Memorial Ride in procession September 8 to the 149th annual Reenactment of the Battle of Sabine Pass.

        The ride is in tribute to the memory of our recently departed compatriot Ronnie Fox, who enjoyed attending the event and promoting the Sons of Confederate Veterans there.

          The reenactment was small this year but well received by the public. There are big plans for next year to have a 150th anniversary event that will draw hundreds of reenactors. In the actual battle, the Union was planning to invade Texas through Sabine Pass with an initial invasion force of 5,000 troops, four gunboats and 18 troop transports. The expedition was led by Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin for the Army, and Lt. Frederick Crocker for the Navy. Sabine Pass was defended by 1st Lt. Richard W. “Dick” Dowling and his 47-man, Irish-Texan, contingent of Company F (Jefferson Davis Guards) of the 1st Texas Heavy Artillery in Fort Griffin, an earthen structure. Dowling had four 32-pounders and two 24-pounders at his disposal to defend against the attack. The battle opened at 6:30 o'clock in the morning of September 8, 1863 when the gunboat U.S.S. Clifton entered the pass to bombard the fort and reconnoiter the Confederate position. However Dowling kept his men under cover to mask their numerical weakness. After an hour of shelling, the Clifton withdrew. At 3:40 o'clock that afternoon, the assault began. The pass was divided up the middle by a long oyster reef, which divided it into the Louisiana channel on the east and the Texas channel on the west. The Clifton entered the Texas channel while U.S.S. Sachem and U.S.S. Arizona steamed up the Louisiana channel. The U.S.S. Granite City was to escort the transports up the Texas channel to protect the transports off-loading the Union troops. The gunboats entered the pass and opened fire on the fort. The Irish-Texans had placed range markers in the pass during practice and were ready to zero in on the invading ships. Confederate gunners opened fire when the enemy ships reached the 1,200 yard range marker. After a few rounds, the steam drum of the Sachem exploded, scalding many men to death, and disabling the ship. The Arizona ran aground. The Clifton charged up the Texas channel but the Irish-Texan artillerymen blasted its tiller rope, causing it to run aground and also exploded its steam drum. The Arizona had to be pulled off the Louisiana shore, and the Granite City retreated and no troops were landed. The fleet soon turned around and headed back to New Orleans. Texas was saved from invasion, and Houston and Beaumont were saved from the fate of other southern cities, like Atlanta and Vicksburg. The battle lasted only about 45 minutes but 56 U.S. sailors and soldiers were killed, about 350 captured, along with the gunboats Clifton and Sachem. Dowling and his men suffered no casualties at all. The Davis Guards received the thanks of their country. Maj. Gen. John B. Magruder, Confederate commander of Texas, honored the men with a special badge and the Davis Guards were presented special medals from the citizens of Houston, the only such medal for valor issued to Confederate soldiers during the war. The Confederate Congress and President Jefferson Davis honored the Davis Guards with a special proclamation. Dowling said the fort fired 137 shells during the short battle.
The new Jefferson Davis Presidential Library at Beauvoir, Biloxi, MS
The 2013 Sesquicentennial Event/Confederate Heritage Rally will be held Saturday March 16th in Biloxi, MS at Beauvoir. The dedication ceremony for the new Jefferson Davis Presidential Library will be  the showcase of the program. Make your plans now to attend.
Order for Parade
SCV Color Guard
Members of the GEC
Reenactor Units
Divisions in order of Secession
Divisions whose States were not Confederate States in order of Statehood
Others wishing to march.
General Information
Dress- reenactors in uniforms in compliance with their unit's rules.
Those marching with divisions or other groups may wear Confederate uniforms as well. Those not in uniforms are asked to be appropriately dressed. Any clothing (or message on clothing) that is deemed inappropriate by the organizer will be required to be removed or the individual will not be allowed to march.
Flags acceptable: Any Confederate Flag, State Flags, Division Flags, Camp Flags, Re-enactor unit
Flags and any historic or current US flag.
Flags not acceptable: novelty type flags, flags of organizations other than the SCV or flags and/or banners with messages deemed inappropriate by the organizers.
Materials: No signs or banners may be included without the consent of the organizers. No printed or recorded materials may be distributed without the consent of the organizers. Anyone who cannot or will not follow the guidelines will not participate.
Media: every unit, division or other group would do well to designate a spokesman for their group who is experienced in dealing with the media and is well spoken. Designated spokesmen should be sure to dress appropriately. It would be best that any one approached by a member of the
media defer to their designated spokesman for comments. This applies if you are randomly approached anywhere during the day. At the actual event it is best to direct the press to SCV General officers or to Beauvoir officials.
Contact: for more information or visit
Louisiana Division Commander Ted Brode has announced that the annual Fall Assembly will be at Mansfield State "park" on the 27th of October ... 9 a.m.
There will be workshops and plenty of information for camps to build upon. The Mansfield State Historic Park is the site of the Battle of Mansfield, April 8, 1864, and was a great Confederate victory. There is a fine museum, monuments and historical markers. Please come if you can.
      Dr. Donald Livingston’s excellent scholarly essay “Why the War Was Not About Slavery” is available in booklet form from our Camp Quartermaster Wes Beason. If you’d like a copy of this fine booklet contact Compatriot Beason at a meeting or call him at 625-8388.
          The essay was originally published in the September/October 2010 Confederate Veteran magazine by the Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc.
          The substance of this essay was first presented at the 2008 Abbeville Institute Summer School. Donald Livingston is professor of philosophy at Emory University, a member of the SCV, and president of the Abbeville Institute, dedicated to educating college and graduate students about what is true and valuable in the Southern tradition. See
          The essay is attractively presented in the booklet, 23 pages long and with endnotes. It could also be used for a class on this subject.

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