Thursday, November 29, 2012


[Editor's note: U. S. warships Westfield and Clifton, led by Commodore W.B. Renshaw of the West Blockade Squadron, bombarded Port Lavaca, Texas on October 31, 1862. Later the Westfield was destroyed at the Battle of Galveston and the Clifton captured at the Battle of Sabine Pass.]

(U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.)
Austin State Gazette
Nov. 12, 1862

Bombardment of Port Lavaca.
Withdrawal of the Federals.

From the Houston Telegraph.

                The following account of the bombardment of Lavaca is quite incomplete, but it shows the gist of the matter, which is that the Federals attacked and bombarded the town and didn't take it. Nobody hurt.
S_______ I_______, Near Texana,
November 2d, 1862
           Dear Sir--Left Lavaca at half-past twelve yesterday. At twenty-five minutes past one p.m., the tow steamer ceased to fire, and hauled off, taking the small schooner in tow. By 12 m., they had passed Gallinipper Point, and have evidently left us for the season. . . . From 1/4 past 3 p.m. on Friday, the expiration of the one and a half days grace, to 6 p.m., they fired into the town 168 shells and shot; and from 8 o'clock to 10 a.m. yesterday, 74. Some of their guns were of the largest size, the shells weighing 104 lbs., and throwing them two miles beyond the town. Nobody hurt. Most of the stores on Front street were struck, completely demolishing some of them inside. Gutted, as it were by the explosion of shell, and showing almost cellars dug by the force. Many of the dwelling houses also were more or less injured. . . . Instead of being everywhere, looking after the defense of important and exposed points, San Antonio, 140 miles from the scene of danger, seems to be the only place having any attraction for our generals. Truly, they have deserved well of Texas, and should be waited upon by a committee of our gallant ladies, and presented with leather medals and swords of like material. A single rifle gun of fair range, and we could have sunk the miserable old New York ferry-boats that attacked our town, fired upon our women, children, and sick--some of them dying with yellow fever--and which vessels will doubtless return and finish their work of destruction. Our officers and men behaved gallantly, and will sustain the honor of our flag.
          Since the above was in type, we learn that the enemy came up on the 31st within five miles of the town of Lavaca, and sent yards ashore demanding the surrender. Maj. Shea refused.
They then gave notice that an hour and a half would be allowed for the removal of the women and children and sick.
               Promptly at the expiration of the time they opened fire, throwing about 50 shot that day. Next day the firing was continued heavily as is detailed above.

No comments: