Old Velasco, Confederate States of America Historical Marker
This marker shares the history of a Civil War fort that included eight artillery pieces and guarded the mouth of the Brazos River for Confederate ships. Although the Union Navy maintained control of most of the major ports and rivers of the South, Galveston remained in Confederate control for most of the war. Southern cotton was shipped out of small ports like this via blockade runners-small ships that could evade Union patrols. These ships allowed for much-needed trade and the importation of munitions and other essential wartime supplies. These gun batteries thwarted Union attempts to patrol close to the shore and also deterred against a possible seaborne invasion of Northern troops.
Backstory and Context
Blockade runners were best able to evade Union patrols by approaching the port on dark nights when the coastal waters were smooth by using techniques that allowed mariners to determine the location of the shore. Boilers would be kept well fired with hard coal that burned with a minimum of smoke, in case it became necessary to outrun Federal patrol ships.
Union ships had to go to New Orleans for drinking water, food and fuel, because Texas marine units with carbines and small artillery pieces used rafts or dredge boats to patrol the coast. Texas cavalry and small infantry units also patrolled the shores and would likely capture Union marines who attempted to gather fresh water from the shore.