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This Historical Marker tells of a Confederate Mariner by the name of Leon Smith and his time spent during the Civil War. Not only that but it tells of his life before the Civil war though not at length. What follows is directly from the Marker itself and can be found on the marker at location.


  • 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

Confederate Mariner Leon Smith, was the "Lion" of Texas coastal defense during the Civil War. Commanded marine department of military district. He was born in New England, & went to sea at 13. By age 20 he was a captain. In 1850s commanded on the Galveston to New Orleans run of Southern Mail Steamships.

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.

Walker, Gregory. "Confederate Mariner: Leon Smith Historical Marker." Confederate Mariner: Leon Smith Historical Marker. September 24, 2010. Accessed August 11, 2016. http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=36129.