DICK DOWLING AT SABINE PASS by Frank Tolbert

DICK DOWLING AT SABINE PASS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Written by a Texan who is also presumably of Irish descent, this cheerful and not unbiased book is not, as the title indicates, a script for a TV Western. Instead, it is an account of a minor engagement in the Civil War, the defeat on Sept. 8, 1863, of a Union ""armada"" at Sabine Pass in the southeast corner of Texas by 41 embattled Irish Texas in a mud fort defended by six pieces of artillery. The leader of the Irishmen, Dick Dowling, was a 25-year-old Irish saloon-keeper, owner of the ""Bank of Bacchus"" and other saloons in Houston; his men, known as the Davis Guards, were Irish laborers. The attacking ""armada"" consisted of 27 ""warships"" and transports, but some of the warships scarcely merited the name. This does not detract from the victory of the Irishmen, who effectively routed the Yankee fleet. ""If they had overwhelmed the fort,"" states the author, ""most of Texas would almost certainly have fallen to the Union"" -- the victory supposedly saved Texas for the Confederacy. However, if the Union leaders had been convinced that the occupation of Texas was necessary for victory, they ""almost certainly"" would not have limited their attempt at invasion to this one engagement. The chief results of the battle would seem to be a rise in the status of the Irish in Texas and a ballad and a few memorials to Dick Dowling. Written with humor and gusto, this far from important addition to Civil War annals will find its chief appeal to Texans and to a limited number of Civil War buffs.

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 1962
Publisher: McGraw-Hill