New exhibit online: “Dick Dowling and Sabine Pass in History and Memory”

Dick Dowling statue, Houston, Texas

Dick Dowling statue, Houston, Texas

Dick Dowling and Sabine Pass in History and Memory – a new online exhibit which was developed by Dr. Caleb McDaniel, Asst. Prof. of History, Rice University, and his students, in collaboration with Rice’s Fondren Library and the Houston Public Library’s Houston Metropolitan Research Center.

Dowling is most famous for his role in the Battle of Sabine Pass, fought
on September 8, 1863. A statue of Dick Dowling was the first public
civic art in Houston, and this exhibit looks at who Dowling was and how his memory has been presented over time, partly through the lens of the Dowling statue.

The exhibit consists of two major sections, the first on the public memory of Dick Dowling in Houston since 1863 and the second on slavery and the battle of Sabine Pass.

This exhibit and others available at are powered by the open source software, Omeka, housed in a cloud-based server which is administered by Fondren Library.

Union soldier’s letters from camps in Texas and Louisiana

Dunban to parents, from Camp Stanley, Victoria, Tex., November 29, 1865

Dunban to parents, from Camp Stanley, Victoria, Tex., November 29, 1865

Newly online!

We are working towards posting all 12 of John R. Dunban’s letters to his family. As of today there are four online, with more to follow.

This collection consists of twelve letters written by Union soldier John R. Dunban to his family in the last years of the Civil War (1864-1865).

The content of the letters is mostly personal but also contains descriptions of the states Dunban was stationed in and news of his regiment. Locations include Headquarters at Blue Springs, Tennessee; Strawberry Plains, Tennessee; Camp Harper, Tennessee; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Camp Harker, Alabama; Camp Jackson, New Orleans; and Camp Stanley, Victoria, Texas.

Dunban writes about war-related issues such as the “dumb ague” sickness, treatment of army deserters, and elections held within the regiment.

The finding aid for the Dunban collection also contains links to the individual letters.

A diary of the US Civil War on the Texas coast

Did you know there were U.S. Civil War  prisoners of war in Houston?

The diary of Alexander Hobbs, a private in the 42nd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, reflects on his role as a northern soldier, his first and only journey to the Deep South, the distinct wartime culture of the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coasts, the immorality of slavery, death, the battle of Galveston in January 1863, and life as a prisoner of war.

Read more about it or view the original diary at the Woodson Research Center.