FORT GRIFFIN (Jefferson County). The Jefferson County Fort Griffin was a Confederate fort located in the southeastern part of the county on what is now Farm Road 3322, fifteen miles south of Port Arthur. Hoping to block Union threats to the upper Texas Gulf Coast, Gen. John B. Magruder dispatched Maj. Julius Kellersberg to build a fort at Sabine Pass in March 1863. With thirty engineers and 500 slaves Kellersberg constructed a triangular fort on an eminence overlooking the Sabine River. The installation housed six gun emplacements and bombproofs built into a sawtooth front, and timber and railroad iron reinforced the earthwork position. The fort was named for the commander of the Twenty-first Texas Battalion, Col. William H. Griffin.
In September 1863 four Union gunboats, leading a strong amphibious invasion force, attacked Fort Griffin. At the battle of Sabine Pass Lt. Richard Dowling and a forty-six-man garrison, with two of their six guns put out of action, disabled two of the attacking vessels and scattered the remainder of the Union ships. In anticipation of another possible federal assault, Fort Griffin was strengthened with several captured Parrott rifles and temporarily reinforced. By January 1, 1864, however, the garrison, one of the last coastal positions remaining in Southern hands, had been reduced to 268 men. Confederate troops spiked the five remaining cannons and abandoned Fort Griffin by May 24, 1865.
Erosion and the channelization of Sabine Pass have removed evidence of Fort Griffin's exact location. However, a statue and a plaque at Sabine Pass Battleground State Historical Park mark what is thought to have been the site of the fort.
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Robert Wooster, "FORT GRIFFIN," accessed May 26, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qcf06.
Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.