Second Battle of Galveston

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Second Battle of Galveston

January 1, 1863


Same day


Galveston County, Texas


Trans-Mississippi Theater


Operations to Blockade the Texas Coast


Confederate victory

33 star flag.png
Conf Navy Jack.png

42nd Massachusetts
Galveston blockading squadron

Four Confederate gunboats
Troops from Texas, New Mexico,
and Arizona districts


Isaac S. Burrell
Colonel, USA
William B. Renshaw
Commander, USN

John B. Magruder
Major General, CSA





Maj. Gen. John B. Magruder, who became the Confederate commander of military forces in Texas on November 29, 1862, gave the recapture of Galveston top priority. At 3:00 am on New Year’s Day, 1863, four Confederate gunboats appeared, coming down the bay toward Galveston. Soon afterward, the Rebels commenced a land attack. The Union forces in Galveston were three companies of the 42nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment under the command of Col. Isaac S. Burrell. The Confederates captured or killed all of them except for the regiment’s adjutant. They also took Harriet Lane, by boarding her, and two barks and a schooner. Cdr. W.B. Renshaw’s flagship, U.S.S. Westfield, ran aground when trying to help Harriet Lane and, at 10:00 am, she was blown up to prevent her capture by the Confederates. Galveston was in Confederate hands again although the Union blockade would limit commerce in and out of the harbor. (NPS summary)