Davis Guards Medal

A unique presentation from a grateful city

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In September 1863, the Davis Guards stopped the Union advance on Texas. These hand-engraved medals were fashioned from silver Mexican pesos and are the only medals known to be presented to Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.

Organized as Company F of the Texas Heavy Artillery, the Davis Guards were an artillery unit composed of young, Irish dockhands from Houston and Galveston. In August 1863, the 47-man company was ordered to operate the six guns at Fort Griffin, near Sabine Pass. On the morning of September 8, 1863, Union gun boats appeared and shelled the fort for an hour. Later that day, the boats attempted to move through the pass. Under the command of Lieutenant Richard W. "Dick" Dowling, the Davis Guards fired 137 shots in a 40-minute, rapid-fire battle. They stopped the Union advance, captured 350 prisoners, and killed 50 Union soldiers without any losses.

On the first anniversary of the battle, Confederate Major General John B. Magruder presented each of the Davis Guards with a special citation and medal commissioned by grateful Houstonians.

This object is on display in the Collectors' Gallery, an exhibition space devoted to showcasing the collections of significant private collectors in Texas and their efforts to preserve historical artifacts.

See this and other artifacts on the Interactive Texas Map

Davis Guards Medal Artifact from Houston
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