An Irishman in Confederate service, Captain Richard W. Dowling, nineteen of the Davis Guards, won one of the war’s most striking victories. With 43 men armed with rifles and six small cannon he defended Sabine Pass, Texas, in September, 1863, driving off a Federal fleet which tried to land about 15, 000 men.
Dowling sank one gunboat, disabled and captured two others, and turned away the rest of the fleet. He took 400 prisoners, all without the loss of a man.
This was the only command of record in the war to get its whole muster roll into official reports. All the men got silver medals from Jefferson Davis, the only such given by the Confederacy.