The Second Battle of Sabine Pass is complete...the Battle of Galveston is underway!
Tuesday nights at King's Hobby will become "Diorama Nights". Any interested modeler, regardless of skill level, is welcomed. If you want to come out to practice some skills, learn new techniques, or just hang-out with modelers; drop by King's on Tuesdays at 6:00. All tools and supplies will be provided, but feel free to bring your favorite Xacto just in case.
The Bayou City is the Confederate Cottonclad which rams the USS Harriet Lane
The Union gunboat USS Harriet Lane
Scratchbuilding a paddle wheel
The basic shape
Figures courtesyof Lonestar Military Miniatures Society
The wheelbox takes shape.
Mylar to simulate Galveston bay at night.
Cotton clad armor is shaping up.
Note smashed davit for ship's boat.
Damaged ship's boat, dead-eyes and lashing.
HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!
The Second Battle of Sabine Pass took place on September 8, 1863, and was the result of a Union expedition into Confederate-controlled Texas during the American Civil War. It has often been credited as the most one-sided Confederate victory during the conflict.
During the summer of 1863, the president of Mexico, Benito Juárez, was overthrown and replaced by the emperor Maximilian, whose allegiance was with France. France had been openly sympathetic to the Confederate States of America earlier in the war, but had never matched its sympathy with diplomatic action. Now that a French government existed just south of the Rio Grande, the Confederates hoped to establish a fruitful route of entry for much-needed matériel.
United States President Abraham Lincoln was well aware of Confederate intentions and sent an expedition into Texas to establish a military presence and to discourage Maximilian from opening trade with the Confederacy. The Federal force was under the command of Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, a political general with little discernible command ability. Banks's original intent was to lead a combined Army-Navy expedition from the Mississippi River into the Red River. However, low water in the Red River prevented the Union gunboats from entering it. As a consequence, the expedition entered the Sabine River from the Gulf of Mexico. Banks ordered his subordinate, Major General William B. Franklin, to defeat a small Confederate detachment at Fort Griffin near the mouth of the river and capture Sabine City. The detachment consisted of forty-six infantrymen of the 1st Texas Heavy Artillery and six guns manned by the Jeff Davis Guards — all under the command of Lieutenant Richard "Dick" Dowling. Considering the dominant size of the Union expeditionary force, disposing of this fort was not expected to prove any great challenge.
On the day of the battle, United States Navy Captain Frederick Crocker entered the Sabine River with four gunboats, accompanied by 18 troop transports containing 5,000 federal infantrymen. Dowling's Texans had previously placed stakes in the river to act as markers for cannon fire. As the Union convoy entered among the stakes, the Confederates opened fire with deadly accuracy and wrought havoc on the vessels. The Union Army was forced to withdraw down the river after having lost two gunboats and 200 sailors captured. The Confederates are believed not to have suffered any casualties.
In recognition of the victory, local residents smoothed off Mexican dollars, stamped them with the battle and date, plus individually the name of each soldier, hung them on green ribbons and presented them to the troops. Approved by the Confederate Congress, the Davis Guards Medal is believed to be the only official military decoration issued by the CSA.
The Battle of Sabine Pass was of little tactical or strategic significance to the Civil War. A Confederate supply line from Mexico to Texas was never established, and in any case it could not have effectively supplied the states east of the Mississippi once the Union controlled the whole of that river after its victory at Vicksburg in July. The Confederacy was therefore forced to continue its reliance on blockade running to import valuable materials and resources.
King's Hobby Shop has been asked by the Texas Military Forces Museum to build a diorama of this epic battle for its 150th Anniversary.
The following is a photo essay shows our progress. I want to thank Ed Zapeda, Rick Herrington, Don Crawford, Kevin Stork, John Urban, Jim Gray, Jeff Hunt, Russ Holm, Brad Hodges and Brenda Daniel for their invaluable help on this project.
We start here;
Here's our layout.
A coat of latex housepaint to seal and provide a base coat, next time I'd go darker;
Now some ground cover and the shoals that make this water so treacherous;
Here's Ft. Griffin, an earthwork structure. Balsa and Sculpy...thanks Rick;
From Ft. Griffin looking out at the Union invasion fleet. Noteworthy of this battle are the range markers Lt. Dowling used to pre-range his fire.
Now we add the water. First pour of Woodland Scenics Realistic Water tinted with Tamiya Clear Blue and Clear Green.
Final pour, we added some Tamiya Smoke to add murkiness; it is East Texas after all.
And now we add the Sabine Pass Lighthouse.
Thanks to a quick save by Rick Herrington, the Sabine Pass lighthouse is back.
We add some details and "The Battle of Sabine Pass" is done. "The Battle of Galveston" is next.