1845 - On September 8, 1845, Thomas I.Smith(Indian agent), James Clinton Neill, and Edwin Morehouse were appointed to meet with representatives of the Comanche, Caddo, Cherokee, Delaware, Ionie, Lipan, and Tonkawa tribes to work out a treaty of peace. After a series of councils on the Brazos River from September 12 through 21 the Indians agreed to return stolen property and discontinue their raids on settlements. The treaty of "peace, friendship, and commerce" that resulted from their efforts was signed on Tehuacana Creek near Waco on November 16, 1845, the last Indian treaty formulated by the Republic of Texas.
1848 - After the end of the Mexican War the need to defend the new border, to maintain law and order, to protect settlers and California-bound migrants from Indian attacks, and to survey for a new transcontinental railroad compelled the United States government to establish a military post on the Rio Grande in the area of El Paso del Norte (now Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua).
The War Department instructed the Third Infantry to take up quarters at the pass, and Bvt. Maj. Jefferson Van Horne led 257 soldiers, including the regimental staff, six infantry companies, and a howitzer battery, west from San Antonio. They arrived in the area on September 8. The official name of the post became Fort Bliss, in memory of Lt. Col. William Wallace Smith Bliss, Gen. Zachary Taylor's chief of staff during the Mexican War and later his son-in-law.
1863 - The battle of Sabine Pass, on September 8, 1863, turned back one of several Union attempts to invade and occupy part of Texas during the Civil War. In September 1863 Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks sent by transport from New Orleans 4,000 soldiers under the command of Gen. William B. Franklin to gain a foothold at Sabine Pass, where the Sabine River flows into the Gulf of Mexico. A railroad ran from that area to Houston and opened the way into the interior of the state.
The Western Gulf Blockading Squadron of the United States Navy sent four gunboats mounting eighteen guns to protect the landing. At Sabine Pass the Confederates recently had constructed Fort Griffin, an earthwork that mounted six cannon, two twenty-four pounders and four thirty-two pounders. The Davis Guards, Company F of the First Texas Heavy Artillery Regiment, led by Capt. Frederick Odlum, had placed stakes along both channels through the pass to mark distances as they sharpened their accuracy in early September. At 3:40 P.M. the Union gunboats began their advance through the pass, firing on the fort as they steamed forward.
Under the direction of Lt. Richard W. Dowling the Confederate cannoneers emerged to man their guns as the ships came within 1,200 yards. One cannon in the fort ran off its platform after an early shot. But the artillerymen fired the remaining five cannon with great accuracy. A shot from the third or fourth round hit the boiler of the Sachem, which exploded, killing and wounding many of the crew and leaving the gunboat without power in the channel near the Louisiana shore. The following ship, the Arizona, backed up because it could not pass the Sachem and withdrew from the action.
The Davis Guards had fired their cannon 107 times in thirty-five minutes of action, a rate of less than two minutes per shot, which ranked as far more rapid than the standard for heavy artillery. The Confederates captured 300 Union prisoners and two gunboats. Franklin and the army force turned back to New Orleans, although Union troops occupied the Texas coast from Brownsville to Matagorda Bay later that fall. The Davis Guards, who suffered no casualties during the battle, received the thanks of the Confederate Congress for their victory. Careful fortification, range marking, and artillery practice had produced a successful defense of Sabine Pass.
1900 - In Galveston on the rain-darkened and gusty morning of Saturday, September 8, 1900, newspaper readers saw, on page three of the local Daily News, an early-morning account of a tropical hurricane prowling the Gulf of Mexico. On the previous day Galveston had been placed under a storm warning by the central office of the Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service) in Washington, D.C.
A one-column headline announced, "Storm in the Gulf." Under that, a small subhead proclaimed, "Great Damage Reported on Mississippi and Louisiana Coasts-Wires Down-Details Meagre." The story, only one paragraph long, had been sent out of New Orleans at 12:45 A.M. that same day, but it added nothing to the information presented in the headlines. The tide kept crashing farther inland, and the wind steadily increased.
The Weather Bureau official in charge locally, Isaac M. Cline, drove a horse-drawn cart around low areas warning people to leave. Comparatively few people had evacuated the city, however, before bridges from Galveston Island to the mainland fell, and many people along the beach waited until too late to seek shelter in large buildings in a safer area downtown, away from the Gulf.
The storm lifted debris from one row of buildings and hurled it against the next row until eventually two-thirds of the city, then the fourth largest in Texas, had been destroyed. September 9 dawned on desolation. Most of the city lay in shambles. Between 6,000 and 8,000 people in the city of Galveston had died, and estimated casualties for the entire island ranged from 10,000 to 12,000. More violent and costlier hurricanes have struck coastal areas of the United States since 1900, but because of the death toll the Galveston storm that year was in the 1980s still called the worst recorded natural disaster ever to strike the North American continent.
1911 - Euell Gibbons, naturalist and television personality, was born at Clarksville, Texas, on September 8, 1911. With a voice something like that of Will Rogers, Gibbons became famous doing Grape-Nuts television commercials. He helped mold environmental thought, condemned wastefulness and reliance upon technology, and urged life in harmony with nature like that attributed to American Indians.
1938 - The bridge over the Neches River connecting Port Arthur and Orange County was dedicated on September 8, 1938, as the Port Arthur-Orange Bridge and replaced the Dryden Ferry as a part of the "Hug-the-Coast Highway" on State Highway 87. As a result of a contest in 1957 it became known as the "Rainbow Bridge."
The bridge was financed by the county, state, and federal governments under the Public Works Administration at a cost of $2,750,000. The bridge was built with a vertical clearance of 176+ feet, a main span of 680 feet between main piers, and 600 feet between fenders. The clearance was to allow the tallest ship afloat at the time (the Navy dirigible tender USS Patoka) to pass. This made the bridge the most elevated highway bridge over tidal waters in the world and the largest bridge built by the Texas Highway Department. No ship has ever come close to hitting the bottom of the bridge.
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