Sabine Pass

Reverse of Silver Decoration, Houston (Tex.), 1863. 1909.350.1


Sometimes there is a danger of learning something completely unrelated to Greco-Roman antiquity when using a coin database.  I searched “Sabine” expecting to return RRC 344/1 [I was thinking about the iconography of two figures carrying two other figures].  Which the search did, but I also got back a handful of medals like the one above.

The Second Battle of Sabine Pass took place on September 8, 1863, and was the result of a Union expedition into the Confederate state of Texas during the American Civil War. It has often been credited as the most one-sided Confederate victory during the conflict.  …

… In recognition of the victory, local residents smoothed off Mexican dollars, stamped them with the battle and date, plus individually the name of each soldier, hung them on green ribbons and presented them to the troops. Approved by the Confederate Congress, the Davis Guards Medal is believed to be the only official military decoration issued by the CSA [wikipedia]

Needless to say anything that rare and historic is likely to inspire forgeries.   A number of the specimens in the ANS collection have notes saying such and such cast doubt on the authenticity of the specimen.  Here are all the ANS specimens together.  Interestingly only the ones with soldiers’ names are listed as possible forgeries.

The coin conversion is particularly interesting to me.  I’d also love to know who and when named the pass and the adjoining Sabine Lake.  The habit of naming places with Classical allusions is one I associate most strongly with New England, especially Upstate New York.

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