1863, "Rebel Attack on 43rd Mass Div. at Galveston," Harper's

   Home ] Up ]




1863, "Rebel Attack Upon the 43rd, Massachusetts Volunteers at Galveston, Texas, January 1, 1863."  From Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization." (Image: approximately 14" wide x 9" high).  In October, 1861, as part of the Union blockade, Union Commander William Renshaw led eight ships into Galveston harbor and secured the surrender of port.  Later that year Maj. Gen. John Magruder mounted a counterattack. For the naval portion of the attack he placed artillery and dismounted cavalry aboard two river steamers, the "Bayou City" and the "Neptune." Magruder also gathered infantry and cavalry which were supported by twenty cannons, to cross the railroad bridge onto the island to capture the federal forces on shore. To resist the attack Renshaw had six ships that mounted twenty-nine pieces of heavy artillery.  The Confederates entered Galveston on New Year's night, January 1, 1863, and opened fire before dawn. The infantry failed to seize the wharf. Naval guns helped drive back the assault. Then the Confederate "cotton-clads" struck from the rear of the Union squadron. The "Harriet Lane" sank the "Neptune" when it tried to ram the Union ship, but men from the "Bayou City" boarded and seized the federal vessel despite the explosion of their own heavy cannon. The Westfield, ran aground, and Commander Renshaw died trying to blow up his ship rather than surrender it. The other Union ships sailed out to sea. The Confederates lost 26 killed and 117 wounded. Union losses included captured infantry and the "Harriet Lane," about 150 casualties on the naval ships, as well as the destruction of the "Westfield." The island remained under Confederate control for the rest of the war.



Copyright ® 2011