During the Civil War (1861-65), Federal forces tried several times to seize Texas ports. Galveston was taken on October 5, 1862, but recaptured by a Confederate army on January 1, 1863. Lt. Dick Dowling's troops stopped a Federal invasion at Sabine Pass on Sept. 8, 1863.
Another thrust began on November 7, 1863, when a Federal expedition under Maj. Gen. N. P. Banks seized Brownsville, then moved up the coast, capturing Corpus Christi, Aransas Pass, Pass Cavallo, and Port Lavaca (Dec. 26). Maj. Gen. John B. Magruder, Confederate commander of Texas, ordered fortification of the mouth of Caney Creek in an attempt to halt the invasion. In Jan. 1864, an earthen fortress, rifle pits, trench works, and four redoubts were erected near this site. Defended by 4000-6000 Confederates, the area was bombarded by Federal gunboats during January and February.
No ground combat occurred at Caney Creek, but the preparations deterred a further Federal advance. In March 1864, Gen. Banks moved most of his troops to Louisiana and launched an unsuccessful invasion along Texas' eastern border. Removal of Federal forces from key Texas ports allowed blockade runners to continue transporting needed materials to Civil War Texas.