The plan seemed perfect. About 5,000 Union Army troops aboard 20 Navy vessels would leave from New Orleans, travel up the Sabine River in Texas, capture Sabine Pass and begin a Federal invasion of Texas. And why not? By mid-1863 Union forces controlled New Orleans, and with the fall of Vicksburg on July 4, the entire Mississippi River.
But Federal Admiral David Farragut and Union Army Major General N. P. Banks hadn't counted on Lt. Richard William "Dick" Dowling, a red-haired Irishman born in Galway County who was cocky, self-assured and only 25 years old.