Cotham, Edward T.

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Main contributors
Center for Public History, University of Houston; University of Houston Libraries, University of Houston
This is an oral history interview with Edward T. Cotham conducted as part of the Houston History Project. Civil War historian Edward Cotham discusses the personal and military history of Confederate, Dick Dowling. A Houston businessman and entrepreneur, Dowling owned several saloons in Houston , most notably the Bank of Bacchus, speculated in oil and gas leases in Harris and Jefferson Counties before the discovery of oil at Spindletop, and was recognized for his charitable efforts in the community. He is most well-known, however, for leading a group of Irish soldiers from Houston to victory at the Battle of Sabine Pass. Cotham explains the particulars of the battle, beginning with how the men practiced their artillery marksmanship, and moving on to the layout of battle area, Dowling’s strategy to let the men vote whether or not to engage the Union forces that out-numbered them a hundred to one, and the Confederates’ overwhelming victory. Cotham believes that the victory changed the way local people, at least thought about the Irish who previously had been considered inferior but had clearly saved Houston from certain Union invasion. Dowling returned to Houston a decorated war hero and reopened his bar but died just two years later at the age of thirty. He contracted yellow fever while staying in town to care for others who had contracted the disease. Confederate president Jefferson Davis spoke often of Dowling’s effort as the greatest military victory in history. Interviewer: Amado "Izzy" Yznaga.
Cotham, Edward T.
Time period
United States Civil War, 1861-1865
Houston, Texas
Oral Histories from the Houston History Project
University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
Rights Statement
In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted


University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
Houston History Archives
Oral Histories from the Houston History Project
Other Identifier
Preservation Location: ark:/84475/pm3617qp933
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