Battle of Calcasieu Pass

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Battle of Calcasieu Pass
Part of the American Civil War
Date May 6, 1864
Location Cameron, Louisiana[1]
29°47′43.4184″N 93°18′58.13″W / 29.795394000°N 93.3161472°W / 29.795394000; -93.3161472Coordinates: 29°47′43.4184″N 93°18′58.13″W / 29.795394000°N 93.3161472°W / 29.795394000; -93.3161472
Result Confederate victory
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
Lt. Benjamin Loring
Lt. C. W. Lamson
Col. W. H. Griffin
Battle of Calcasieu Pass is located in Louisiana
Battle of Calcasieu Pass
Location of the battle within Louisiana

The Battle of Calcasieu Pass was a minor skirmish fought on May 6, 1864, at the mouth of the Calcasieu River in southwestern Louisiana, during the American Civil War.[1] It resulted in a Confederate victory. The participants of the battle were Lt. Benjamin Loring and Lt. C. W. Lamson on the Union’s side, and Col. W. H. Griffin on the Confederate side. The union brought along two naval vessels, the U.S.S Wave and the U.S.S Granite City. The U.S.S Wave did not prove too effective during the battle and was captured early on, it was soon turned into a Confederate cargo ship. The U.S.S Granite City was originally a confederate blockade vessel, but was captured in 1863 by the U.S.S Tioga (Union). The U.S.S Granite City was now back in the hands of the Confederates. Captain Joseph A. Brickhouse, a Confederate veteran, said, “We fought in the open prairie, bringing on the attack with four small pieces of artillery and less than 300 infantry, poorly armed, attacking in the open prairie two such boats as the Granite City and Wave - Union gunboats - and capturing them after an action of less than two hours and 40 minutes duration.” He described his own forces (Confederate) as unprepared, and he stated that they still had an easy battle that was short in duration. The Confederate forces in this battle were split up into five battalions. The first battalion was Creuzbauer's Battery, 5th Texas Artillery. Every soldier in this battalion was born in Germany, and they all migrated to the U.S during the Civil War. The second battalion was named Griffin’s Battalion, and was led by Col. William Henry Griffin. The third battalion was Spaight’s Battalion, led by Lt. Col. Ashley W. Spaight. And the final one was Daly’s Battalion, the only cavalry unit in the battle. The U.S.S Wave and the U.S.S Granite City received orders to proceed to Calcasieu Pass. When they arrived, immediately bombed an abandoned Confederate fort at the mouth of the river. The Gunboats were sent with money to purchase cattle from local southern farmers. The U.S.S Granite City ended up stealing cattle and horses from multiple farms. This prompted a Confederate attack. The local Confederate forces arrived quietly and prepared for a night-time attack on the Union forces. When the Union went to sleep, they let less-experienced soldiers man the guns. The Confederates seized the opportunity and moved their cannons closer. The cannons lined up 1,000 yards away from the gunboats, while the cavalry and foot-soldiers advanced. Numerous cannon shells penetrated the gunboat’s hulls. While the cavalry and foot-soldiers moved in, the artillery advanced as well, and finished off the vessels. On May 8th, Ella Morse, a Union Supply ship did not know of the Union casualties. Then brought moved up all the way to the other ships with supplies. When she noticed that confederates were manning the guns it was too late. They gunned the ship down. The Union Forces suffered many casualties. They lost the Ella Morse, the U.S.S Granite City, the U.S.S Wave, and the U.S.S New London. On the other hand, the Confederates did not lose too many soldiers. The Confederates only suffered a few men from each battalion. [2]

The engagement was between the forces of Confederate Col. W. H. Griffin and Union Lieutenants Benjamin Loring and C. W. Lamson. In the battle, Confederates fought and captured two Union gunboats (Wave and Granite City) and later converted them into blockade runners.


  1. ^ a b "Battle of Calcasieu Pass in Cameron, Louisiana". July 27, 2009. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  2. ^ Jones, Michael. "Battle of Calcasieu Pass"],, Calcasieu, 2005. Retrieved on 26 May 2016.