Confederate Mariner Leon Smith Historical Marker
Picture of Confederate Mariner: Leon Smith Historical Marker Picture taken by Gregory Walker, April 18, 2010
Another picture of Confederate Mariner: Leon Smith Historical Marker Picture taken by Gregory Walker, April 18, 2010
Backstory and Context
In Feb. 1861, when Texas had seceded, he commanded ship taking Col. John S. "Rip" Ford to Brownsville to take military possession of the Rio Grande. In April, with ship and crew, volunteered in Confederate navy. With 2 days' notice, he prepared water-borne part of offensive that won the Battle of Galveston on Jan. 1, 1863.
He walled his ships with cotton bales; in brief fighting captured the pride of the Federal navy.
On Sept. 8, 1863, Leon ordered a Confederate ship into sea battle. Then personally rode through enemy fire to join Dick Dowling's 47 men on land, and fight in the battle that turned out to be victory of Sabine Pass.
He and his ships helped prevent Federal landings to take food, water and wood from Texas coasts. They also ran Federal blockade and aided other ships in slipping past enemy patrols with Texas cotton to exchange overseas for goods scarce in the South: guns, ammunition, shoes, coffee, cloth, medicines. He died in Alaska on December 26, 1869.