Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Battle of Galveston Sesquicentennial, January 11-13, 2013

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on December 21, 2012


Galveston Historical Foundation will mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War Battle of Galveston on January 11-13, 2013. The Battle of Galveston, which took place during the early morning hours of January 1, 1863, is widely acknowledged as the most important military event in Galveston’s history. Commemorative events will be held for all ages focusing on Galveston’s part in the 1863 battle.

“The Battle of Galveston offers a first-hand view of an important historic event for Galveston. This year’s events bookend the reenactments and help to educate visitors on the strategy employed by each side.” says Dwayne Jones, Executive Director of GHF. “Also, thanks to the generous support of American National Insurance Company and Humanities Texas, all lectures will be offered free of charge.”

Played out on both land and sea over the course of several months, the Battle of Galveston ended with Confederate forces driving out the Union ships that had held Galveston Harbor since October, 1862. As part of the Union blockade of the Texas coast, Commander William B. Renshaw and his squadron of eight Union ships demanded surrender by Confederate Forces of Galveston Harbor, the most important Texas port, on October 4, 1862.

But Confederate Major General John Bankhead Magruder led a successful campaign to retake Galveston early on New Year’s morning, January 1, 1863. Confederate “cottonclads” struck from the rear of the Union squadron. A naval battle ensued with Magruder’s forces retaking Galveston. Confederate losses numbered 26 killed and 117 wounded. Union losses included the captured infantry and the Harriet Lane, about 150 casualties on the naval ships, and destruction of the Westfield. The port remained under Confederate control for the rest of the war.

For more information about Battle of Galveston or for lecture and tour reservations, go to or call Galveston Historical Foundation at 409-765-3409.

A general overview of events follows:






  • Living history encampments will be established by the 19th-Century Living History Association, Inc. and the 1st Texas Brigade. The public is to visit the encampments from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, January 12 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, January 13. The Union encampment will be located on Postoffice Street at 19th Street. The Confederate encampment will be located on Market Street and 25th Street.
  • A reenactment of the execution of Nicaragua Smith will be held on Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 12 p.m. at 21st and Strand. Smith, who was found guilty of desertion from his confederate unit, was executed after being spotted by confederate troops after on his return to Galveston.
  • The union troops will also march from the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA, located at the Texas Seaport Museum,  to the 1861 U.S. Custom House for a flag ceremony at 10 a.m. both days.
  • The reenactment of the battle itself will occur on 21st and Strand Street at 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday and a reenactment of the funeral of Lt. Commander Edward Lea and Commander Jonathon Wainwright from the USS Harriet Lane will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Trinity Episcopal Cemetery on 40th and Broadway.


All living history events are free to the public.




Lectures are offered free of charge except for the Saturday evening dinner lecture. Reservations are required though as seating is limited. Complete details, locations and time are available at or by calling 409-765-3409.


  • 150th Anniversary of the Sinking of the USS Hatteras by CSS Alabama
    Friday, January 11 – 6 pm
    Guest Speakers: Dr. Norman Delaney, Civil War historian and author, Dr. James Delgado, Director Maritime Heritage, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Introduction by Andrew Hall, Marine Archeological Steward with the Texas Historical Commission.
  • The Monstrous Regiment of Women- Female Soldiers in the Civil War
    Saturday, January 12 – 10:30 am
    Guest Speaker: Dr. William C. Davis, Professor of History/Virginia Tech and Director of Programs/ Virginia Center for Civil War Studies. Introduction by Edward Cotham, prize-winning author of many books and articles on Civil War history, emphasizing the battles and skirmishes in Texas
  • Warrior Women, Lady Spies in the Civil War
    Sunday, January 13 – 10:30 am
    Guest Speaker: Rosalind Miles, co author, Warrior Women 3000 years of Courage and Heroism. Introduction by Pat Smothers, Smothers Foundation.
  • The British Opinion of the American Civil War
    Sunday, January 13 – 2:30 pm
    Guest Speaker: Robin Cross, co author, Warrior Women 3000 years of Courage and Heroism. Introduction by Pat Smothers, Smothers Foundation.
  • The Culinary History of The Blue and The Gray: Dinner Lecture
    Saturday, January 12 – 7 pm – $50 per person or $750 for table of 10
    Dinner Lecture featuring Dr. William C. Davis. Introduction by Dwayne Jones, Executive Director, Galveston Historical Foundation.




  • Texas Seaport Museum Pier 21 and Harborside
    January 12-13 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission $8 per adult, $5 per student (6-18). Children 5 and under admitted free.
    Experience the story of the USS Hatteras, the only United States warship sunk in combat in the Gulf of Mexico during the Civil War, as Galveston Historical Foundation hosts a variety of engaging displays and hands-on activities, courtesy of the NOAA Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, Texas Historical Commission, ExploreOcean and Texas A&M University – Galveston and other partners.
  • 150 Years of Quilts Inspired by the Civil War
    January 11 – April 5, 2013 – Free To The Public
    In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Galveston, Galveston Historical Foundation is proudly displaying quilts made primarily from Civil War reproduction fabrics, patterns, or otherwise influenced by the Civil War.
  • Galveston: Treasure Island of the Gulf
    Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm.  Rosenberg Library – Free To The Public
    Objects on view include cannon balls and shell fragments, weapons, and personal effects of soldiers engaged in the conflict.Of special note is an enlarged illustration created by James E. Bourke, an observer of the Battle of Galveston who captured the event as it unfolded before him. Information on each vessel involved in the event is included.




Reservations recommended. Tickets sold day of event subject to availability.

  • Battle of Galveston Bird’s Eye Tours from 20th Floor of ANICO Tower.
    Saturday, January 12: 9 a.m. & 12:00 p.m. and Sunday, January 13 at 10:30 a.m. $25 per person/ GHF members $20.
  • Civil War Cemetery Tours
    Saturday, January 12 at 10 a.m. & 11:15 a.m. $15 per person/ GHF members $12.
  • Driving Tour- Discovering Galveston’s Antebellum Architecture (begins at 1838 Michel Menard House)
    Saturday, January 12 at 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. and Sunday, January 13 at1 p.m. & 3 p.m. $20 per person.
  • Battle of Galveston Walking Tours (begins at Peanut Butter Warehouse)
    Saturday, January 12 at 3 p.m. & 3:30 p.m. and Sunday, January 11 at 2 p.m. & 2:30 p.m. $15 per person / GHF members $12.
  • Battle of Galveston Historic Harbor Tours – Texas Seaport Museum
    Friday, January 11 at 2:30 p.m. & 4 p.m.; Saturday, January 12 at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. & 4 p.m. and Sunday, January 13 at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. & 4 p.m. Adults: $12/ Students ages 4- 17: $10/ Under 3 free.
  • Tours of the Historic 1861 Custom House, with author Edward Cotham
    Saturday, January 12: 5 p.m. and Sunday, January 13 at 4 p.m. $10 per person/ GHF Members $8.
  • Tours of the 1838 Michel Menard House, Galveston’s Oldest Existing Residence (Used as a hospital during the Civil War)
    Saturday, January 12 from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday, January 13 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. $10 per person/ GHF members $8
  • Tours of the 1859 Ashton Villa, the only remaining Antebellum mansion on Broadway
    Saturday, January 12 at 10 a.m. and Sunday, January 13 at 11 a.m. $10 per person/ GHF members $8.



Here is a file showing the primary event locations, that can be downloaded and opened in Google Earth or ArcGIS. Easiest, though, is to copy the URL and paste it into the search window at No warranty, explicit or implied, is offered:



5 Responses

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  1. Bummer said, on December 22, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Bummer has never been to Galveston, but it looks like the whole communjty gets involved. Super family learning opportunity. Thanks for sharing.


    • Andy Hall said, on December 22, 2012 at 9:52 am

      This year being the Sesqui, they’ve tried to make it as well-rounded as they can.

  2. Reed said, on December 22, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Well heck, that sounds like a great commemoration. Sorry I can’t be there.

    Though I must say that prices for the dinner lecture on Saturday the 12th (The Culinary History of The Blue and The Gray: Dinner Lecture, $50 per person or $750) seem a bit high for grits, coffee and hardtack…

    Best wishes to all for a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2013 from your friends in the Bay State.


  3. Piracetam said, on January 1, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    You can get a bird’s eye view of battle areas from the 20th floor of the American National Insurance Company building during a tour led by Cotham, and a series of lectures on the battle and its aftermath are scheduled to be held at Menard Hall.

    • Andy Hall said, on January 1, 2013 at 1:21 pm

      Or you can come on my walking tour, which is pretty awesome in its own right. Just sayin’.

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