First Battle of Sabine Pass

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For the 1863 battle in the same location, see Second Battle of Sabine Pass.
First Battle of Sabine Pass
Part of American Civil War
Date September 24, 1862 (1862-09-24)
Location Jefferson County, Texas
Result Union victory
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America Confederate States (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
Frederick Crocker J.S. Irvine
Units involved
West Gulf Blockading Squadron Sabine Pass Garrison
2 schooners,
1 steamer
30 infantry
30 cavalry
unknown artillery
Fort Sabine
Casualties and losses
none unknown

The First Battle of Sabine Pass or the Bombardment of Fort Sabine was a naval and land battle during the American Civil War in Sabine Pass, Texas. In addition to strengthening the Union naval blockade of the Texas coastline, it was also intended to open the way for a possible amphibious assault on the Confederate town of Sabine Pass.


Sabine Pass is a waterway off the Texas mainland. In September, 1862, Lieutenant Pennington in the mortar schooner USS Henry Janes was blockading the Sabine River estuary. On September 21, Acting Master Frederick Crocker in the steamer USS Kensington and Acting Master Quincy Hooper in the schooner USS Rachel Seaman reunited with the Henry Janes, all members of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, to develop a plan of attack on the Confederate fort. In the early morning hours of September 25, 1862, Union naval forces under the command of Crocker attempted to enter Sabine Pass, as Crocker made his way through the inland passage towards Beaumont, the Confederates attacked.


When the Union squadron neared Fort Sabine, Crocker ordered his ships to begin an artillery bombardment of the enemy position. Confederate forces numbering thirty infantry and artillerists manning the artillery batteries, additionally supported by thirty cavalrymen, were unable to effectively return fire as the outdated guns were unable to reach the Union fleet. The commanding officer, Major Josephus S. Irvine (CSA), ordered his artillery spiked and then retreated during the night. Without a significant military presence, the town of Sabine Pass, surrendered the following day. On October 8, 1862, Galveston, Texas was captured.


The Union plan, following a victory at Sabine Pass, was to make forays further inland. On September 27, 1862, three boats with thirty men traveled up the Sabine River twelve miles, near the mouth of Taylor's Bayou, and attempted to destroy a railroad bridge, but after they left the bridge was saved. During the period between the 27th and the end of the month Crocker and the Kensington captured the British Schooner Velocity and Hooper and the Rachael Seaman captured the schooner Dart. On October 3, 1862, Crocker captured the blockade runner Dan on the Calcasieu Pass and used it to travel back up the Sabine River to destroy the railroad bridge. Crocker was promoted to the rank of Acting Volunteer Lieutenant "for gallant conduct" in the Sabine Pass and Calcasieu Pass operations by Admiral Farragut. When intelligence reports indicated that there was a large Confederate army, preparing to counter-attack, Master Hooper withdrew the Rachael Seaman across the bar and back into the Gulf, abandoning the city and Fort Sabine, thus returning Sabine Pass, the lake, and river back to Confederate hands.[1]


  1. ^ First battle of Sabine Pass-Retrieved 2013-05-06

Coordinates: 29°44′09″N 93°52′16″W / 29.7359°N 93.8711°W / 29.7359; -93.8711