Decisions of the Galveston Campaigns

The Twenty-One Critical Decisions That Defined the Operations

  • Author(s): Cotham, Edward T., Jr.
  • Series: Command Decisions in America's Civil War
  • Imprint: Univ Tennessee Press
  • Publication Date: 2024-11-26
  • Status: Not Yet Published - Will Back Order
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The Galveston Campaigns were a series of naval and overland battles that pitted Confederate General John B. Magruder and his often-improvised Confederate forces against General Nathaniel P. Banks and a variety of Union army and naval forces. A Federal fleet entered Galveston Bay on October 4, 1862, and the city surrendered after the expiration of a four-day truce. However, on New Year’s Day of 1863, Magruder coordinated a bold new attack to retake Galveston using a land bombardment and two cottonclad Confederate gunboats. Aided by victories at the Battle of Sabine Pass and two purely naval engagements in Texas waters, the city would remain in Southern hands and end the war as the last major Confederate port.

Decisions of the Galveston Campaigns explores the critical decisions made by Confederate and Federal commanders during the campaigns and examines how these decisions shaped their outcome. Rather than offering a history of the operations, Edward Cotham concentrates on a sequence of decisions made by commanders on both sides of the contest to provide a blueprint of each campaign at its tactical core. Identifying and exploring the critical decisions in this way allows students of the battles to progress from a knowledge of what happened to a mature grasp of why events happened.

Complete with maps and a driving tour, Decisions of the Galveston Campaigns is an indispensable primer, and readers looking for a concise introduction to the battles can tour this sacred ground—or read about it at their leisure—with key insights into the campaigns and a deeper understanding of the Civil War itself.

Decisions of the Galveston Campaigns is the eighteenth in a series of books that explores the critical decisions of major campaigns and battles of the Civil War.

EDWARD T. COTHAM JR., now retired, was the chief investment officer at the Terry Foundation in Houston. He is the author of Battle on the Bay: The Civil War Struggle for Galveston; Sabine Pass: The Confederacy’s Thermopylae; The Southern Journey of a Civil War Marine; Juneteenth: The Story Behind the Celebration; and A Busy Week in Texas: Ulysses S. Grant’s 1880 Visit to the Lone Star State.