Dick Dowling made the perilous journey from Famine ravaged Ireland to the equally challenging New World in New Orleans, Louisiana. He found prosperity in business as a young man and immortalised himself in the history of Texas and the Confederate Army in the Battle of Sabine Pass, on the 8th of September, 1863. Under Dowling’s command, a small force mostly Irish artillerymen defeated a Union Army expeditionary force of over 5,000 intent on preparing an invasion of Texas. The Jefferson Davis Guards scored several direct hits on a flotilla of Union ships and was credited with thwarting an invasion of Texas. In the context of the American Civil War, the battle was relatively minor, it did not prevent Confederate president, Jefferson Davis, comparing it to the historic Persian-Greek confrontation at Thermopylae.
Dowling is remembered today by statues in Houston, Texas and at the Sabine Pass battle site. Indeed there are two Houston streets, Tuam and Dowling Streets, named in his honour as is the R.W. Dowling Middle School. The battle is re-enacted each year, and this book’s publication falls on this event’s 150th anniversary.
Timothy Collins is Director of the Centre for Landscape Studies, at NUI, Galway and a former medical librarian who has published in a wide variety of areas. The late Ann Caraway Ivins was a great-great-grandniece of Dick Dowling, who sadly passed away before completing this magnificent biography, and Tim Collins has fulfilled a promise to her to bring this story to print. This lavishly presented book is published by Old Forge Books, Kilnaboy, Co. Clare and has a RRP of €30, but will be available at a discount on launch night.