Video Series on the History of Sabine Pass

Texas, Sabine Pass, and the Civil War

Secession and the Civil War brought conflict to Texas, just as it did with states all across the American South. The Gulf Coast played a vital economic role during the war as a location that allowed southern goods to be shipped to distant ports. The Union attempted to blockade and invade the area in events that set the stage of the Battle of Sabine Pass. Learn more in the following videos.

Sam Houston and the Dilemma of Secession:


Texas in the Civil War:


Battle of Sabine Pass in Civil War Context:


Tactics in Union Naval Attacks:


What is a Cottonclad?:



The Battle of Sabine Pass

Sabine Pass was a key entry point into the river system that flowed through East Texas and western Louisiana. The defense of the area became a prime focus of Texas Confederate activity to protect blockade running vessels carrying goods and supplies in and out of the area. A fort built near the city of Sabine Pass became the bulkhead of the Confederate defense of the area. At this location, Capt. Dick Dowling and the men of the Davis Guard successfully defeated a much larger Union invasion force in the 1863 Battle of Sabine Pass. Learn more in the following videos.

African American Labor in the Building of Fort Griffin:


Dick Dowling:



Dowling’s First Person Account of the Battle:


Union Soldier's First Person Account of the Battle:


The Sachem, Arizona, and Granite City:


Sabine Pass After the Civil War

The City of Sabine Pass and the surrounding area became a shipping hub for Texas agricultural products and goods early in its history. Its importance increased in the early 20th century with the discovery and rise in oil production upriver from the site. The importance of Sabine Pass to the Gulf Coast economy led to its military protection in the Spanish American War, World War I, and World War II. Learn more in the following videos.

The Community of Sabine Pass:


Growth of the Cotton Industry and the Shipping Trade:


Sabine Pass Shipping Channel:


U-boats off the Texas Coast in World War II:


Sabine Pass Today: