Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 29.djvu/331
M/.s* Battle. 315
risburg, Texas, with Captain F. H. Odium in command. They were mustered into service at Galveston by Brigadier-General Paul O. Hebert, in August, 1861. They took the name of the " Davis Guards" in honor of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States.
To gain an accurate knowledge how the result of this battle was accomplished, it is necessary to briefly describe the general topo- graphy of the country and streams. The stream of Sabine Pass flows from Sabine Lake into the Gulf of Mexico. It is about seven miles long, slightly less than one mile wide, and ranges in depth from twenty to forty feet. At the time a bar had formed at the gulf end, and the channel over it was only about ten feet deep, and very tortuous and difficult to navigate. The stream forms a dividing line between Texas and Louisiana, and was once the boundary between the United States and Mexico. Its banks are very low, at the highest places on the Texas side not extending over three feet above low tide, while the Louisiana side is much lower, is an extensive marsh, and is inundated whenever the tide comes in above normal. All the surrounding country is a low marsh, except where the town is located on a ridge about three feet above low tide.
The town is situated on the west or Texas side, about five miles from the gulf end of the stream. On the Texas bank the Confed- erates had erected a mud fort about one mile from the gulf.
This fort was manned by forty-two men all told, under the com- mand of Lieutenant Richard (commonly known as "Dick") W. Dowling. He was born in Galway, Ireland, and came to America when a child with his parents, who settled in New Orleans, La. He was at the time of this battle very young, but he was a brave sol- dier, and fully competent to do the work which fate had destined for him.
On the yth of September, the night previous to the battle, the Federal fleet began arriving from New Orleans. When daylight came the Confederates viewed with consternation the formidable sight. They had not one charge of ammunition, nor even a hand- bar with which to throw the guns around on their travel bars, in- side the fort. Captain Odium sent immediately to the town of Sabine for ammunition, and soon the little company of men set to work with great energy to prepare for the battle which they knew was imminent.
General Magruder, who had been informed of the enemy's ap- proach, sent word to Captain Odium to spike the guns, blow up the