Military Wiki
Battle of Galveston
Part of the American Civil War
CS Bayou City captures the USS Harriet Lane during the Battle of Galveston
DateJanuary 1, 1863 (1863-01-01)
LocationGalveston, Texas
Result Confederate victory
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America Confederate States (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
Isaac S. Burrell
William B. Renshaw
John B. Magruder
Units involved
West Gulf Blockading Squadron
42nd Massachusetts Infantry
Department of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona
Texas Marine Department
6 gunboats
unknown infantry
2 gunboats
unknown infantry
Casualties and losses
ca. 400 captured
1 gunboat captured
1 gunboat destroyed
26 killed, 117 wounded

File:Capture HarrietLane.jpg

Artist's depiction of the capture of the USS Harriet Lane

Replicas of the "Twin Sisters," which were used in the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto and the 1863 Battle of Galveston.

The Battle of Galveston or the Second Battle of Galveston was a naval and land battle that occurred on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War when Confederate forces under Maj. Gen. John B. Magruder attacked and expelled occupying Union troops from the city of Galveston, Texas.

The First Battle of Galveston was a naval engagement fought on October 4, 1862, during early Union attempts to blockade Galveston Harbor.


Two Confederate cottonclads, The CS Bayou City and the CS Neptune, sailed from Houston to Galveston in an effort to engage the Union Fleet in Galveston Harbor consisting of USS Clifton, USS Harriet Lane, USS Westfield, USS Owasco, USS Corypheus and USS Sachem.[1] Outnumbered six to two by the Northern ships, the Neptune was severely damaged by the Union Fleet and eventually sank. While the Neptune was quickly disabled, the Bayou City succeeded in capturing the USS Harriet Lane.[2]

During this time, the USS Westfield was grounded on a sandbar. A three-hour truce was called for by Magruder, but Union Fleet Commander William B. Renshaw, ignoring the negotiation offer, attempted to destroy the grounded Westfield with explosives rather than let it fall into enemy hands. Renshaw and several Union troops were subsequently killed when the explosives were set off too early. Union troops on shore were convinced that their own ships were surrendering and, therefore, laid down their arms. The remaining U.S. ships did not surrender and succeeded in retreating to Union-controlled New Orleans.[3][4]


The Union blockade around the city of Galveston was lifted temporarily for four days, and Galveston remained in Confederate hands for the remainder of the war. The Confederate Congress stated this on the successful recapture of Galveston:

The bold, intrepid, and gallant conduct of Maj. Gen. J. Bankhead Magruder, Col. Thomas Green, Maj. Leon Smith and other officers, and of the Texan Rangers and soldiers engaged in the attack on, and victory achieved over, the land and naval forces of the enemy at Galveston, on the 1st of January, 1863, eminently entitle them to the thanks of Congress and the country... This brilliant achievement, resulting, under the providence of God, in the capture of the war steamer Harriet Lane and the defeat and ignominious flight of the hostile fleet from the harbor, the recapture of the city and the raising of the blockade of the port of Galveston, signally evinces that superior force may be overcome by skillful conception and daring courage.

See also[]


  1. Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events of the year: 1862. New York: D. Appleton & Company. 1863. p. 774. 
  2. "Confederate Ships - C.S. Army gun boat Bayou City". Naval Historical Center, Department of the U.S. Navy (13 October 2000), Archived from the original on 6 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-10. 
  3. Alwyn Barr. "Galveston, Battle of". The Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Assoc. (June 6, 2001), Retrieved 2007-04-10. [dead link]
  4. "The Battle of Galveston (1 January 1863)". Lone Star Junction (1996), Retrieved 2007-04-10. 

External links[]

Coordinates: 29°20′22″N 94°46′01″W / 29.339536°N 94.767036°W / 29.339536; -94.767036

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