Battle of Galveston Barricade
Used by Confederate troops for defense
This wooden barricade was used for protection by Confederate troops at the Battle of Galveston. The barricade is lodged with three .69 caliber balls, which match the ammunition fired by two of the three Union companies occupying Galveston Island. The remaining bullet holes are consistent with those fired by the third Union company at the battle.
The Texas cotton trade was considered one of the great prizes of the Civil War. Cotton, more valuable than cash, could be sold in Mexico or England for supplies like ammunition, weapons, and food. Because the war’s battles took place largely in the Southeastern states and spared Texas, its cotton supply was vital to the Confederacy's survival. Stopping the cotton trade to cripple the Confederacy became a major Union objective. Defending it became the mission of Texas troops.
The Union navy began blockading the Texas coast in 1861. In October 1862, their gunships took control of Galveston Harbor. By Christmas Day, three companies of Union troops occupied the city. Determined to take back the port, Confederate ships snuck into the harbor on January 1, 1863, while more Confederate troops crossed an unguarded railroad bridge onto the island. They disabled the Union navy and captured the troops occupying the city. Galveston remained under Confederate control until surrendering in June 1865.
Witte Museum, San Antonio
Time Period: 1862 - 1865
This artifact is currently on view.