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Richard W. Dowling

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The Confederate States Congress provided its appreciation to Dowling, now promoted to Major, and his command, because of their battlefield prowess.[7] In gratitude, the “girls of Houston” introduced the unit with specifically struck medals.[8] The medals had been truly Mexican eight reale cash with each faces sanded down and with new info carved into them. They had been inscribed “Sabine Pass, 1864” on one facet, and had a Maltese Cross with the letters D and G on the opposite.[9]

On 8 September 1863 a Union Navy flotilla of some 22 gunboats and transports with 5,000 males accompanied by cavalry and artillery arrived off the mouth of Sabine Pass. The plan of invasion was sound, however monumentally mismanaged. Four of the flanking gunboats had been to steam up the go at velocity and draw the fireplace of the fort, two in every channel, a tactic which had been used efficiently in subduing the defensive fortifications of Mobile and New Orleans previous to this, when gunboats disabled the forts at shut vary with their very own weapons. This time, although, Dowling’s artillery drills paid off because the Confederates poured a speedy and withering fireplace onto the incoming gunboats, scoring a number of direct hits, disabling and capturing two, whereas the others retreated in disarray. The remainder of the flotilla retreated from the mouth of the go and returned ignominiously to New Orleans, leaving the disabled ships with no choice however to give up to Dowling. With a command of simply 47 males, Lieut. Dowling had thwarted an tried invasion of Texas, within the course of capturing two gunboats, some 350 prisoners and a big amount of provides and munitions.[6]

Dowling spent the summer season of 1863 on the earthen fort instructing his males in gunnery. To mark the optimum distance and elevation for every of the weapons, he carried out the strategy of setting lengthy slender poles (painted white, on this occasion) in each channels at a number of locations. This was an previous technique for guiding boats and, particularly for the reason that introduction of firearms, to mark an aiming factors for weapons.

To negotiate Sabine Pass all vessels besides small boats took one of many two river channels, each of about 5 toes (1.5 meters) depth and one on all sides of the Pass. These channels had been separated by naturally shaped “oyster-banks” recognized to be barely two toes (0.60 meter) beneath the floor. No seagoing ship might traverse the Pass with out nice danger of going aground, if it didn’t comply with one of many channels. The inevitable course of any steam-powered warship—together with shallow-draft gunboats then widespread to the U.S. Navy—would essentially use one of many channels, each of which had been inside truthful vary of the fort’s six smoothbores.

Sabine Pass was necessary as a degree of arrival and departure for blockade runners. With the autumn of Vicksburg in July 1863, adopted by the Battle of Gettysburg, it was apparent that the Civil War was not going effectively for the Confederacy, an invasion of Texas gave the impression to be imminent. It was suspected that the Union Army would try an invasion of Texas by way of Sabine Pass, due to its worth as a harbor for blockade runners and since about 18 miles northwest was Beaumont, on the railroad between Houston and the japanese a part of the Confederacy.

Prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, Dowling had made a reputation for himself as an ready and profitable entrepreneur. Among different issues, he had been concerned with a predominantly Irish militia firm which served a extra social than navy function in Houston society. On Secession, this militia firm was mustered straight into the Confederate Army, with Dowling himself being elected First Lieutenant. Composed primarily of Houston Irish, a lot of them shoppers from his saloons, this unit named themselves the “Davis Guards” in honor of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who had been in Texas as a younger officer within the pre-war United States Army and was remembered for his prowess and management expertise. The Davis Guards had been initially a part of a Texas State Troops/Confederate expedition despatched to take over Union Army forts and arsenals alongside the border with Mexico; the expedition was efficiently accomplished with out a shot being fired. They participated within the Battle of Galveston on New Year’s Day 1863, following which they had been assigned to a newly constructed artillery submit close to the mouth of Sabine River known as “Fort Sabine” (later named “Fort Griffin”, not the identical because the later Fort Griffin established west of Fort Worth).

By 1860, Dowling owned various saloons. His most profitable was named the Bank of Bacchus,[5] situated on Courthouse Square in downtown Houston. “The Bank” because it was recognized domestically turned Houston’s hottest social gathering place within the 1860s and was famend for its hospitality. Dowling’s earlier expertise as a barkeeper in New Orleans stood him in good stead. Quickly establishing himself, Dowling courted publicity from native newspapers and in addition made various property investments. He was additionally concerned in establishing Houston’s first gaslight firm, and was first to have it put in in his dwelling and “The Bank”. Dowling was a founding member of Houston’s Hook and Ladder Company Number One fireplace division and was additionally concerned in operating town’s first streetcar firm[4]:167–175

Dowling was born within the townland of Knockballyvishteal, Milltown, County Galway, Ireland in January 1837,[3][better source needed] the second of eight youngsters, born to tenant farmer Patrick and Bridget Dowling (née Qualter). Following eviction of his household from their dwelling in 1845, the primary 12 months of the Great Famine, nine-year-old Dowling left Ireland together with his older sister Honora, sure for New Orleans within the United States in 1846.[4]:32–49 As an adolescent, younger Dick Dowling displayed his entrepreneurial expertise by efficiently operating the Continental Coffeehouse, a saloon within the trendy French Quarter. His mother and father and siblings adopted from Ireland in 1851, however the pleasure of reunion was short-lived. In 1853, a yellow fever outbreak in New Orleans took the lives of his mother and father and certainly one of his youthful brothers. With rising anti-Irish feeling rising in New Orleans, following native elections which noticed a landslide victory for the ‘Know Nothing’ social gathering, Dowling moved to Houston in 1857, the place he leased the primary of various saloons, a two-story constructing centrally situated on the nook of Main and Prairie Streets. He named it the Shades, from the sycamore and cottonwood timber which lined the 2 streets and shaded the constructing. Advertised as ‘inferior to none within the state’ he opened a billiards saloon on the primary flooring. Dowling was described as a likable red-headed Irishman and wore a big moustache, probably to make him seem older than he seemed, as he was known as ‘The Kid’ by household and associates alike presently. In 1857 he married Elizabeth Ann Odlum, daughter of Benjamin Digby Odlum, a Kildare-born Irishman, who had fought within the Texas War of Independence, being captured on the Battle of Refugio in 1836. Following Texas Independence, he was elected subsequently to the fledgling Third Congress of the Republic of Texas.

Richard William “Dick” Dowling (baptized 14 January 1837 – 23 September 1867) was an artillery officer of the Confederate States Army who achieved distinction as commander on the battle of Sabine Pass (1863), essentially the most one-sided Confederate victory in the course of the American Civil War.[1] It is taken into account the “Thermopylae of the Confederacy” and prevented Texas from being conquered by the Union.[1] For his actions, Dowling obtained the “thanks of Congress” (of the Confederate States), Davis Guards Medal, Southern Cross of Honor, and Confederate Medal of Honor. Over a dozen different memorials have additionally been devoted in his honor.[1][2]

January 1837
Milltown, Ireland

January 1837
Milltown, Ireland

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