Matagorda, C.S.A.

Bay City

Year Marker Erected: 1964
Location: Courthouse Square, south end; Bay City

Marker Text:
Near the mouth of the Colorado River, 20 miles to the south, is the town of Matagorda, the second most important Port of entry in early Texas. In the Civil War, center for rich farmlands and one of 8 Texas ports that blockade runners used for taking out tons of cotton while delivering to the confederacy guns, munitions, clothing and other vital goods. By reason of the declared blackade, the federals claims to hold Matagorda, yet their own ships had to refuel (even to supplies of drinking water) in New Orleans. When a blockader's crew went ashore near Matagorda, on November 20, 1862, confederates captured every man. By hit-and-run tactics, federals destroyed salt works and other propert, but found Matagorda Peninsula impossible to occupy. On December 30, 1863, C.S.A. cottonclads (ships bulwarked with cotton bales in which guns were set) moved men out of Matagorda to expel a federal unit from a beach below confederate works at Caney Creek. When troops were trying to land, a sudden norther lashed the bay and swamped their skiffs. Before the ships could pick them up, 22 men died by drowning or freezing. In the tragedy, the troop commander, Capt. E.S. Rugeley lost his own 17-year-old brother.

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