Aransas Pass, the natural inlet (3 miles east) to Aransas Bay, separates San Jose and Mustang Islands. These islands are part of a chain of barrier islands which extend along the entire length of Texas' Coastal Mainland. At the beginning of the civil war countless small vessels transported confederate supplies up and down the Texas and northern Mexican Coast virtually undisturbed by federal naval forces. Cotton destined for foreign markets moved freely through Aransas Pass. By early 1861 a union blockade had halted trafficking by confederate vessels beyond the barrier islands. However, confederate supplies inside the barrier chain continued and inlets such as Aransas Pass became sites of increasingly strategic military value.
The Aransas Pass area came under the control of Federal Captain J. W. Kittredge's Naval Forces until his capture in September 1862. In November 1863 a massive federal force gained control of the south Texas Coast from the Rio Grande to Matagorda Bay. Eventually, Federal Forces lost control of the mainland behind Aransas Pass and in June 1864 withdrew from the area. Afterward, confederate ships successfully eluded the federal blockade and delivered vital supplies to the confederacy by way of Aransas Pass. Sesquicentennial of Texas Statehood 1845-1995.