"Paying Tribute To Our Past"

"Galveston County's Maritime History"

"Galveston County's Naval History"

Captain Richard L Law SwordSword

This 1852 Sword belonged to Captain Richard L Law, the U.S. Naval officer who commanded the  gunboat U.S.S. Clifton during the Battle of Galveston, January 1, 1863.  The etched blade measures 28 1/2" long with a sword maker's mark of Weyersburg. The sharkskin grip with a wire trap is accompanied by a brass guard with gold gilt and a raised "USN" on an acorn pattern. After the loss of two vessels, several casualties including his squadron commander, and the capture of over 300 Union soldiers during the battle, Captain Law decided to withdraw the remaining Union ships, leaving the island city unoccupied for the remainder of the Civil War. Appointed in 1841 to the U.S. Naval Academy, Law continued his maritime career after the Civil War, commanding numerous vessels and serving in various administrative offices until his retirement in 1886.

By September 1863, the U.S.S. Clifton returned to Texas waters with a new commander and as part of a 27-vessel Sabine Expedition. When the Davis Guard successfully defended Sabine Pass from this Union invasion, the U.S.S. Clifton, grounded during the battle was refitted as a blockade runner for the Confederacy.  One night in March 1864, the Union gunboat-turned-Confederate runner attempted to travel through Sabine Pass but was once more grounded, and this time would be burnt after its cargo of cotton bales was tossed overboard.


Galveston South Jetty Lighthouse