Irish Immigrants To Texas

The port of Galveston, the largest city in the Lone Star State, contained considerable numbers of Irish immigrants. On April 18, 1861, near Matagorda Bay, a Galveston Irish volunteer militia company called the Wigfall Guards took part in the capture of the Star of the W«/, a Federal vessel that had already been fired upon by Confederate guns in Charleston on January 9, when it had attempted to reinforce Fort Sumter.

The most famous Irish Texan command was the Jefferson Davis Guards from Houston (Co F, 1st Texas Heavy Artillery Regiment), a small company of mostly Irish immigrants that thwarted a Federal invasion of East Texas at Sabine Pass on September 8, 1863. Led by Lt Richard Dowling, the Davis Guards garrisoned a small fort guarding the entrance to the Sabine river. Through a combination of good gunnery and good luck, Dowiing's men managed to disable two of the four Federal gunboats escorting the 22 troop transports, while a third gunboat ran aground, forcing the Federal commander to abort the landing. The Confederate Congress awarded silver medals to members of the company in recognition of this remarkable achievement, and authorized them to embroider on their caps "Sabine" enclosed by a wreath.

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