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C.S. Bayou City captures the USS Harriet Lane during the Battle of Galveston
Artist's depiction of the capture of the USS Harriet Lane

The Battle of Galveston or the Second Battle of Galveston was a naval and land battle which 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.



The Union force consisted of three Massachusetts companies of 260 men and seven warships in Galveston Bay.

Facing a fortified enemy supported by naval gunfire, the Confederates were forced to retreat an hour after their initial attack at dawn.

The Confederate gunboats Bayou City and Neptune arrived shortly thereafter. While the Neptune was quickly disabled, the Bayou City succeeded in capturing the USS Harriet Lane. [1] .

During this time, the USS Westfield was grounded on a sandbar, and was unable to be freed. 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.[2] [3]


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.

See also


  1. ^ "Confederate Ships - C.S. Army gun boat Bayou City". Naval Historical Center, Department of the U.S. Navy (13 October 2000), Retrieved 2007-04-10.  
  2. ^ Alwyn Barr. "Galveston, Battle of". The Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Assoc. (June 6, 2001), Retrieved 2007-04-10.  
  3. ^ "The Battle of Galveston (1 January 1863)". Lone Star Junction (1996), Retrieved 2007-04-10.  

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