Indianola, Texas

Courtesy of William Bozic, Houston, TX
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1. Indianola, Texas - Wikipedia
2. CIVIL WAR CIVIL WAR - Texas Historical Commission (pdf)
3. Indianola, Texas Gulf Coast Ghost Town
4. Texas in the Civil War Homepage

5. A Brief History of Indianola, Texas
6. Battle Summaries - Civil War Reference

7. Fort Esperanza - Texas State Historical Association
8. Fort Esperanza - Fort Wiki Historic U.S. and Canadian Forts

9. Fort Tours | Fort Esperanza

(June 12, 2012) Enlarge Indianola, Texas

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(1844-1886) First called by German immigrants Karlshaven, an important port of Texas. Cargoes of ships were hauled to and from points in Texas and Mexico by carts until 1860 when the San Antonio and Mexico Gulf Railroad and the Indianola Railroad were completed to Victoria. The town was partly destroyed with great loss of life by a hurricane, September 17, 1875. It was rebuilt but completely destroyed by another hurricane, August 20, 1886.
Absolutely nothing remains from the time it was garrisoned by CS and US forces, but it was a vital position for both sides. Notice nothing around the monument and low land elevation.
The statue is of the famous French explorer LaSalle. Recently one of his ships was found underwater and excavated by Texas A&M University.


(June 12, 2012) Enlarge  Detail Two Tales of One City
A view of the Indianola Marker with (Port) LaVaca in the background to the left.
This photo was taken on June 22, 2012 after reading the following accounts, we decided to see the place.

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(June 12, 2012) Enlarge View toward Matagorda Island
This photo was taken looking toward Matagorda Island from the site of Indianola, Calhoun County, Texas. Fort Esperanza has long disappeared but was on the tip of Matagorda Island guarding Pass Cavallo. This was an extremely important site for Federals because it kept blockade runners bottled-up. Cattle, Sugar, Rice, etc are still major items in this region. A six day battle took place for this fort.


(June 12, 2012) Enlarge Indianola Texas Historical Marker
Many currents of the mainstream of Texas history flow in this onetime port. Pineda explored the coast in 1519 and La Salle planted a settlement near here in 1685. Once an Indian trading point, it was a major seaport from 1844 to 1875. Texas colonists, including Germans led by Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, entered through Indianola. "Forty-niners", supplies for frontier forts, and experimental Army camels were landed here landed here."
During the Civil War Indianola and Fort Esperanza, which controlled the gateway to Indianola through Pass Cavallo, were objectives of Federal blockading vessels. Pass Cavallo, ten miles south, was one of several entrances to the inside waterway created by Matagorda Peninsula and the offshore islands extending to the Rio Grande. To deny Confederate use of this waterway for commerce through Mexico the Federals had to seize control of these entrances. Before Confederate defenses at Fort Esperanza were completed, two Federal steamers slipped through Pass Cavallo to Indianola and on October 31, 1862 demanded the surrender of Lavaca (now Port Lavaca) to the northwest. The Confederate command refused, stood off the naval guns with land batteries, and forced the withdrawal of the Federal ships. Federal forces attacked Fort Esperanza November 22, 1863. The Confederates withstood the assault of naval and land forces for six days then spiked their guns, destroyed their magazines, and withdrew to the mainland. Indianola then fell December 23. On Christmas Eve, Federal and Confederate forces clashed at Norris Bridge, eight miles north. Two days later Lavaca was occupied and the entire Matagorda-Lavaca Bay area remained in Federal control until the war's end.
Indianola was partially destroyed by a hurricane in 1875 and completely destroyed by another in 1886. A memorial to Texans who served the Confederacy. (1963)
This marker was photographed in the afternoon on June 22, 2012.


(June 12, 2012) Enlarge Indianola to Esperanza
This is a view taken June 22, 2012 from the site of Indianola looking across the bay towards Matagorda Island.
The following is an excerpt from Reminiscences of the Boys in Gray 1861-1865, compiled by Miss Mamie Yeary page 607.
A.M. Phillips Co. "G", Likens' 35th Texas Cavalry "Our army was stationed at the mouth of the Brazos River and as far up the coast as Powderhorn. This is when the Federals were trying to invade Texas in 1864. (sic 1863-64). They withdrew and went up the Red River (Louisiana). We were ordered on a forced march to meet them,..."
It should be noted that in the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Major William Amos Wortham was in temporary command of Likens' 35th Texas Cavalry Regiment on March 19 at camp on the LaVaca when he received the order to take the command in order to stop Union advances in Louisiana. Ruben Brown's 35th Texas Cavalry Regiment, Duff's 33rd Texas Cavalry Regiment, Hobby's 8th Texas Infantry Regiment, and others remained along the Texas Gulf Coast. Many of the men in these regiments were essentially defending their homes along the Texas coast so they had an intimate knowledge of the landscape, thus providing a decided advantage against Northern troops. Due to the fact that both Brown's and Likens' regiments for the same numerical designation there has been much confusion about the activities of both since they served simultaneously in roughly the same area.
PS. The Spanish word Esperanza means "Hope/Wish" in English.


(June 12, 2012) Enlarge Road from Indianola to Port Lavaca
This desolate road along the shoreline (now closed to traffic) illustrates the low level of Indianola and the very flat land around it and Port Lavaca. At the time of the war Indianola was an important port city, but now it is gone. Also, at the time of the war, Port Lavaca was known as La Vaca or Lavaca, which means "the cow" in Spanish. Port Lavaca is an important port and city today.

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