A Union Soldier's Account of the Battle of Sabine Pass
Algiers, Louisiana September 14, 1863
We left Baton Rouge on Sept. 3d, 1863 to make a landing at the mouth of the Sabine River. We arrived at New Orleans on the 4th and left at evening on the steamship "Continental." General Emory in command of our division. Our expedition to Sabine Pass on the mouth of the Sabine River was an ill-starred one, so there is nothing in the localpapers as a result. We had the ship "Graham Polly" in tow, and on the 6th, she parted both hawsers and ran into us amidships, letting the lightin upon us at the second deck. About noon on the 7th of Sept., we came to anchor off the bar. The next morning the gunboats shelled the small forts without eliciting any response, which gave the impression that they were deserted, but when the gunboats got opposite, in an attempt to run by, the enemy opened fire and soon had the "Clifton" and "Sachem" at their mercy and took 180 prisoners.
Our fleet of transports started off in a hurry, in the panic the steamer "Suffolk" ran into us and was so damaged her crew left and boarded us -- the excitement was intense. Many jumped overboard thinking the ships were sinking and were drowned. I ate all my "Hoss and Hardtack" so as to save it and kept still knowing it would be no use to run around and yell. Somehow some of us poor fellows were saved but almighty scared.
The transport "Cresent" grounded, got off by sacrificing #1000 worth of commissary stores. Signal was made to leave for the Southwest Pass, but night and a gale came on and the river steamers were at a disadvantage. We were sixty hours getting back to the passes horses nearly ruined for want of water for four days. The "Suffolk" managed to get into New Orleans the same day that we did; that is, on the 12th. Camped at Algiers on the 12th.
Serg't Jacob F. Chandler
Co. D 8th New Hampshire Volunteers