Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site, a Texas Historical Commission property, is located in Jefferson County where the Sabine River enters the Gulf of Mexico. The 58-acre site highlights the story of Confederate Lt. Richard “Dick” Dowling and his 46 men thwarting an attempted Union attack on Sabine Pass, a primary Texas port for Confederate shipments of supplies and vital to the war effort. In a battle lasting less than an hour, Dowling and his men destroyed two gunboats, resulting in significant casualties and the capture of nearly 350 prisoners. Thanks to their efforts, area ports escaped capture and Union forces never penetrated the Texas interior.
During World War II, the area was also the site of a U.S. Army coastal artillery battery, and four historic munitions magazines are still located on site. The state of Texas bought the site in 1971 and opened it to the public. Features include the 1936 statue honoring Dowling’s feats, a monument dedicated to the Union casualties, an interpretive pavilion, a boat ramp and picnicking and fishing areas. Self-guided site tours of Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site include memorial features such as the statue of Lt. Richard “Dick” Dowling and the memorial to the Union casualties of the battle. The site also includes an interpretive pavilion and a scaled model of the Confederate Fort Griffin.