letter excerpt The Dix Family Archive
The Sullivans
ChronologyOld Letters


Chronology: 1778 to 1952

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Two stranded Yankee men-of-war were actually captured by Dick Dowling and his small company of defenders. It was a feat unequalled in the history of warfare for a small company of soldiers with only side arms and two small cannon to not only drive off a huge fleet but to capture two stranded warships as well.

The Regiment remained two months at Sabine Pass and was then ordered to Louisiana. Company B under Captain Cunningham suffered severely in the ensuing battles and encounters at Sabine Pass, Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, Monetta Ferry, Alexandria, Yellow Bayou, Morganza and other bloody fields. It was at Mansfield that their Regimental Commander Col. Buchel was killed; and at Pleasant Hill the Regiment suffered their heaviest losses.

The Regiment was eventually ordered back to Texas. Crossing the Sabine River on April 8, 1865, they were informed it was rumored that the war had ended, but it was not until forty-five days later, on May 23, 1865, when they reached Corsicana, that they found such to be the truth. Thereupon they decided against any surrender but to disband and each member to return home with his horse and side arms and equipment - and such was done.

They were rained on, blown on, sleeted on, yet got through four years of battling and campaigning and put on flesh.

Cornbread and sweet potatoes their usual bill of fare.
Tea was brewed from Sassafras roots.
Coffee was the dried and roasted cubes of sweet potatoes.
And meat occasionally in summer.

The only discontent came from inaction when they began chafing to get into new fighting.

They had fought four long bitter years for States' Rights and lost, but eighty-odd years later the same conflict again presents itself. The United States is again faced with necessity of recognizing the doctrine of States' Rights or becoming victims of the New Deal doctrine of statism and totalitarianism not unlike that now prevailing in Europe, Russia and elsewhere.

The splendid horse given young Daniel by his uncle carried him through many thrilling experiences during the war. With his loved horse as sole companion, he returned on furlough from Louisiana to Indianola to recuperate from a leg wound received at the battle of Pleasant Hill. On this trip his great horse swam the flooded rivers of western Louisiana and East Texas, with young Daniel holding a looped rope attached to the pummel of the saddle and letting himself be towed to the opposite shore.

A great affection grew between the youth and his horse. On his return at the end of the war, the loved animal was kept in comfort for many years until death parted them.

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Copyright 2002 Gabriel Brooke, (website). Transcription and editing: John Thomas, (website). Design and production: Marc Kundmann, (website).