In September 1863 Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks sent by transport from New Orleans 4 brigades under the command of Gen. William B. Franklin to gain a foothold at Sabine Pass, where the Sabine River flows into the Gulf of Mexico. A railroad ran from that area to Houston and opened the way into the interior of the state. The Western Gulf Blockading Squadron of the United States Navy sent four gunboats to protect the landing.
At 3:20 P.M. on september 8th the Union gunboats began their advance through the pass, firing on the fort to silence it and make the landing of Franklin possible.
Under the direction of Lt. Richard W. Dowling the Confederate cannoneers emerged to man their guns as the ships came within 1,200 yards. After a fight of 2 hours, and the loss of 2 Union gunboats, Fanklin had to abort his operation and get to New Orleans.
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