Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Thomas D. Babb: Eyewitness Account of the Battle of Galveston Bay. An original manuscript draft of testimony given in the case of Lieut. Commander Law, being an eyewitness account of the Battle of Galveston Bay. [Np. 1863]. Two pages densely written, in pencil, on folio sheet, plus an additional page on smaller half sheet. Overall condition is quite good. Babb was Acting Master on board the Union ship, Owasco, during the Battle of Galveston Bay in 1862-63. His testimony presents a fine eye-witness account of the attack, counterattack, surrender of the Harriet Lane (a Union ship), the burning of the Westfield (also a Union ship), and other details of this engagement. The battle occurred as part of the Union blockade of the Texas coast, with the counterattack of Jan. 1, 1863 by the Confederates leaving the port of Galveston under Confederate control for the rest of the war. An extract from the manuscript follows: "Actg. Master Tho. D. Babb - testifies in the case of Lt. Com. Law as follows - Jan. 1st 1863 attached to Owasco gunboat in Galveston Harbor on blockade duty & to defend the place...there were at Galveston the following U.S. vessels steamer Westfield, Clifton, H. Lane, Owasco, Sachem, & schooner [Corypheus?], six in all. Commander Renshaw was in command. The crew of the Owasco were at quarters about 20 past 4 A.M. On the occasion of the attack of Rebel troops on Galveston & the Harriet Lane - one officer on deck during the Mid watch - two steamers at first and another afterwards attacked the H. Lane - three in all...The Clifton was firing at the enemy's steamers on the flats above and at the town she couldn't fire at the steamers that attacked the Harriet Lane without firing over us...Lt. Com. Law ordered us to hoist a flag of war & keep our position. I answered him that I couldn't keep our position as we were touching the bottom. Law ordered us to steam out a little...I knew the Harriet Lane was in the enemy's possession as they were firing on us with musketry, we fired the 11 in gun solid other attempt by any of the squadron was made to recapture the Harriet Lane."

    Reference: Eberstadt 162:319.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2007
    1st-3rd Saturday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,277

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 April 17 Featuring the Michael Ward Collection Americana & Political Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage has gone above and beyond my expectations in handling all of my transactions in a thoroughly professional manner. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone worldwide for the exemplary auction and valuation services they provide.
    Richard H.,
    Corsicana, TX
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search