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Vicksburg, Miss., September 27th, 1883.
Rev. J. William Jones, D. D., Secretary Southern Historical Society, Richmond, Va.:
My Dear Sir,—In the October issue of the Southern Historical Society papers you ask, ‘Who will send us a detailed sketch of the heroic defence of Sabine Pass?’ and referring to the death of Jack White, quote from an unknown exchange the statement that White was one of the forty Irishmen who held Sabine Pass against the ‘entire’ Federal fleet during the war, ‘and received the personal thanks of Mr. Davis,’ &c. The statement further goes on to say that the ‘Federal force consisted of three Federal brigades’ ‘and a fleet of gun-boats,’ and adds, ‘the defeat of this force was probably the most heroic exploit of the war, and out of solid shame the Federal Government dropped the record thereof from their war annals.’

I should not write you to call attention to the fact that the statement referred to contains more which is the result of a pure effort of the imagination than of the truth, if I did not credit your society with a sincere desire to publish facts, and not fiction, in making up the history of the war. That the defence of Sabine Pass was ‘heroic’ I freely admit; the defenders were few in numbers, and exhibited coolness and skill; but that they were entitled to the extravagant praise of being denominated ‘the forty bravest men of the Confederacy’ is all balderdash, and does the grossest injustice to the entire forces of the Confederacy; for I presume that there were none of them which on many occasions did not exhibit equal ‘bravery,’ and it is within my personal knowledge that thousands of Confederate soldiers far surpassed the valiant forty at Sabine Pass in the noble quality of the soldier.

That there was a large Federal force within sight is true; but with the exception of three gun-boats, the entire force would have proved quite as effective if it had remained at New Orleans, simply from the fact that it was impracticable to land the army, and the naval vessels drew so much water that with the exception of the gun-boats referred to it could not approach nearer than two and a half to three miles of Mr. Davis's ‘forty bravest men,’ who were as safe from harm in the earth-work as they would have been a thousand miles away. They did not probably know this, and their merit consists in the fact that they did not run away, as most men would have done under the circumstance, before finding out this important fact in the ‘engagement.’

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