Civil War Times 1860-1865
By: Rylee Hanna
Civil War Battles that Occured in Texas
Battle at Galveston Island
With the order of the blockade from President Lincoln, Union soldiers tried to claim Galveston. Galveston at that time was a major import ports for the Texans. It gave them supplies, food, whatever they needed at the time. Union troops under the command of William B. Renshaw traveled to Galveston and captured the city. When word got to the new Confederate General, John B. Magruder, he started to make plans to retake Galveston and control the shipping port again. He thought to line the ships with bales of cotton to protect the soldiers from bullets.
The attack lasted just a day. A group of Confederate soldiers sailed into the harbor on cottonclads, while other troops crossed the bridge connected to the mainland and attacked there. The group on the cottonclads attacked the Union ships, though they were outgunned and outmanned they managed to attack and capture some of the ships. The other group, battled Union forces on land. In the end, the Confederate soldiers were able to recapture Galveston and keep it in Confederate possession for the rest of the war. This was a major win for the Confederacy and for Texas because it allowed shipping in and out of Texas.
Battle at Sabine Pass
At a narrow channel along the border of Louisiana and Texas, Union General Nathaniel P. Banks attempted to move his soldiers by ship through the pass. He planned to march north and cut off Texas's railroad connection to Louisiana, if completed successfully, it would be a major blow to the Confederacy. Banks loaded his troops and proceeded across the Sabine Pass.
Confederate Lieutenant Richard Dowling stationed his troops along the opposite side of the pass. As Banks ships started crossing the channel, Dowling's troops started to fire. Confederate soldier sunk two Union ships, ensuring that no other Union ships would try and cross. This was a major win for the Confederacy after facing big losses at Gettysburg and Vicksburg.
Battle at Palmito Ranch
On November 1863, Union foces overtook Brownsville hoping to enforce the blockade. The occupied the are until July 30, 1864 when Union forces commanded by John S. Ford and Santos Benavides. The area of Brownsville was a shipping port where cotton was transported out to different places. On April 9, 1865 Confederate general Robert E. Lee signed the surrender of the Confederate Army. Unaware of his surrender, Confederate forces and Union forces fought again for control of the area. Although the Confederates won this skirmish, it was pointless. The war was already over and the Union had won.
Problems and Tensions During Wartime
Also, tensions rose between people who supported the Confederacy and those who didn't. Union supporters in Texas established a secret party called the Peace Party which opposed the Confederate Draft. Confederate vigilantes addressed the problem on their own and killed members of the party. These tensions created a rift in the people of Texas.
Wartime Economy: Economics/Inflation
Also, with the Confederacy losing the war, the Confederate dollar started losing its value until it was worth nothing by the end of the war. In need of support for the war, the taxes rose and prices on everyday items rose by hundreds of dollars. The people didn't have any money to pay for essentials and suffered badly.
This is a picture showing the Union blockade on the Southern states. In Texas, it limited the export of cotton.
Wheat and Corn
Not being able to sell cotton, Texan farmers started growing wheat and corn so they could eat.
This is the Confederate Dollar, as the Confederacy lost the war the dollar lost value until it was worth nothing at the end of the war.
Wheat and Corn
Women & the War Effort
Some women though went and fought in the war. They had to cut their hair and dress like a boy since women were not allowed to fight. Women during the war played a huge role either helping out at home or on the front lines.
Some women joined the war. They had to cut their hair and dress like boys.
Women played many roles at home and did whatever they could to help out. They took care of the sick, taught at local schools, and made clothing.
Women were very important to the Civil War and played multiple roles at home and on the front lines.
Hardships on the Homefront
Medicine was being sent to the front line for soldiers who needed it leaving sick people at home in need. Women and men started to learn how to use herbs as medicine instead.
Also, everyday items like paper were in short stock. Things such as newspaper lines were discontinued. Life at home during the Civil War was very hard and forced many families to adapt and learn new things in order to survive.
Clothing was very hard to find and many families had to learn how to make their own clothes to have some to wear.
Medicine was sent to the soldiers and left people at home with nothing to use. Some people started to learn how to harness herbs as a substitute.
Newspapers started going out of business because of the lack of paper and other necessities.
Unionism and Conscientious Objectors
Conscientious Objectors on the other hand, believed in peace to solve their problems. They would not fight whether for religious reasons or they just hated fighting. They were often beaten and persecuted for their beliefs and if a Confederate mistook them for a Unionist they were killed. Although the were not fighting in the war they were still sent, usually as a cook. Life in Texas was difficult for Unionists and Conscientious Objectors and added lots of tension and separation.
Against fighting, Quakers invented something now called the Quaker Guns. They would stick logs of wood against fences or something to support them and then paint them black. This disguise made them look like cannons and would scare the enemy.
The Great Hanging
The Great Hanging was a mass execution of forty suspected Unionists in Texas. They were all accuse of treason and conspiracy against the Confederacy though few of them had actually acted against the Confederacy.
Unionists in Texas
If a person was suspected of being a Unionist in Texas, they were usually killed. Confederate soldier accused many people who were not necessarily Unionists.