T W House Texas Confederate Blockade Runner Flags ????

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Mark F. Jenkins

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Looks similar to some of the "house" or shipping line flags often used by civilian vessels... one of the most famous being the "Black Ball Line," which as you might guess had a black circle on a red field.

Would seem to imply that it's referring to the "T. A." house (import/export company). (T for Trenholm, perhaps? Just a shot in the dark.)

Something I'm not clear on, though, is if a British-registered vessel of the time would fly both a "house" flag and the Red Ensign... @rebelatsea ? (or would the Red Ensign be flown where the national colors would be? Not precisely certain on the uses of the Red Ensign.)
 

archieclement

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Looks similar to some of the "house" or shipping line flags often used by civilian vessels... one of the most famous being the "Black Ball Line," which as you might guess had a black circle on a red field.

Would seem to imply that it's referring to the "T. A." house (import/export company). (T for Trenholm, perhaps? Just a shot in the dark.)

Something I'm not clear on, though, is if a British-registered vessel of the time would fly both a "house" flag and the Red Ensign... @rebelatsea ? (or would the Red Ensign be flown where the national colors would be? Not precisely certain on the uses of the Red Ensign.)
Could it be TW who was involved with the Matamoros cotton/arms trade as well as blockade running?


Note it notes he lived in Galveston and would monitor the blockading fleet as well, and if any were missing the next day they were chasing his blockade runners
 
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rebelatsea

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Looks similar to some of the "house" or shipping line flags often used by civilian vessels... one of the most famous being the "Black Ball Line," which as you might guess had a black circle on a red field.

Would seem to imply that it's referring to the "T. A." house (import/export company). (T for Trenholm, perhaps? Just a shot in the dark.)

Something I'm not clear on, though, is if a British-registered vessel of the time would fly both a "house" flag and the Red Ensign... @rebelatsea ? (or would the Red Ensign be flown where the national colors would be? Not precisely certain on the uses of the Red Ensign.)
Mark, yes both would (should) be flown. The house / ownwer's flag at fore peak and the red ensign at the aft jack at sea. There was an amendment to the Merchant Shipping act which made ID compulsory but I have a feeling it was later than our period.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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georgew

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So, basically, the House house. :laugh:
Thomas House was one of a number of wealthy businessmen in Texas who took minority equity positions in the ownership of small blockade runners, most of them sailing vessels. This was an advantage for the majority owners who were small single vessel operators as it provided a source of funds for repairs and assistance in lining up cargoes. In many cases the runs out of the Brazos and Galveston were made to intermediate Mexican ports (i.e. Tampico) where the cargo was transferred to larger vessels for shipment to Europe or Havana. It also worked in the other direction. Big players financed imports to a neutral port where the cargo was split up and put into a number of the small runners headed for Texas. Intercepted vessels of this size were not a huge loss.
 
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ucvrelics

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Mark, yes both would (should) be flown. The house / ownwer's flag at fore peak and the red ensign at the aft jack at sea. There was an amendment to the Merchant Shipping act which made ID compulsory but I have a feeling it was later than our period.
How big were these flags. I guess they would have had to be pretty big to see from shore.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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Sachem was captured at Sabine Pass. From Wiki:

Second Battle of Sabine Pass[edit]
220px-thumbnail.jpg



Sachem (right) is captured along with USS Clifton
Early in September, Sachem was assigned to a joint Army-Navy expeditionary force mounted at New Orleans to attack Sabine Pass, Texas. Possession of this port would close another important Confederate blockade running center and provide the Union with a base for a thrust into the interior of Texas. Sachem arrived off Sabine Pass on the evening of the 7th, followed USS Clifton across the bar and entered the harbor there the next day. That afternoon, Sachem, followed by USS Arizona, advanced up the Louisiana Channel while Clifton and USS Granite City moved forward along the Texas shore. Sachem and Clifton opened fire on the Confederate battery at Fort Griffin, but the Confederate guns remained silent until the Union gunboats were at close range. Then they countered with a devastating cannonade. A shot through her boiler totally disabled Sachem and another cut Clifton’s wheel rope causing her to run aground under the Southern guns. Nevertheless, the damaged gunboats continued their struggle until heavy casualties forced Clifton to surrender. Arizona and Granite City then began to withdraw; so Lt. Johnson, with no possibility of saving his ship, ordered her Parrott gun spiked; her magazine flooded; and her signal book and spy glass destroyed. He then had her flag hauled down and a white flag hoisted.​
Confederate cotton-clad steamer CSS Uncle Ben then pulled up to Sachem and towed the gunboat to Sabine City. On 17 October, Sachem sailed for Orange, Texas, and operated under the Texas Marine Department supporting the Confederate Army. In March 1864, Sachem was back at Sabine Pass; and, in April, was said to be commanded by a noted blockade runner of Galveston, John Davisson; was reportedly laden with cotton and awaiting a chance to slip through the blockade. However, no further record of her career has been found.​
-----------------

I'll have to look up when Granite City may have been taken. House must have been acting either as a prize agent for the captured vessel(s) or the purchaser?

Paging @AndyHall -- this is really his and his buddy Ed Cotham's bailiwick.
 
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georgew

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Sachem was captured at Sabine Pass. From Wiki:

Second Battle of Sabine Pass[edit]



Sachem (right) is captured along with USS Clifton
Early in September, Sachem was assigned to a joint Army-Navy expeditionary force mounted at New Orleans to attack Sabine Pass, Texas. Possession of this port would close another important Confederate blockade running center and provide the Union with a base for a thrust into the interior of Texas. Sachem arrived off Sabine Pass on the evening of the 7th, followed USS Clifton across the bar and entered the harbor there the next day. That afternoon, Sachem, followed by USS Arizona, advanced up the Louisiana Channel while Clifton and USS Granite City moved forward along the Texas shore. Sachem and Clifton opened fire on the Confederate battery at Fort Griffin, but the Confederate guns remained silent until the Union gunboats were at close range. Then they countered with a devastating cannonade. A shot through her boiler totally disabled Sachem and another cut Clifton’s wheel rope causing her to run aground under the Southern guns. Nevertheless, the damaged gunboats continued their struggle until heavy casualties forced Clifton to surrender. Arizona and Granite City then began to withdraw; so Lt. Johnson, with no possibility of saving his ship, ordered her Parrott gun spiked; her magazine flooded; and her signal book and spy glass destroyed. He then had her flag hauled down and a white flag hoisted.​
Confederate cotton-clad steamer CSS Uncle Ben then pulled up to Sachem and towed the gunboat to Sabine City. On 17 October, Sachem sailed for Orange, Texas, and operated under the Texas Marine Department supporting the Confederate Army. In March 1864, Sachem was back at Sabine Pass; and, in April, was said to be commanded by a noted blockade runner of Galveston, John Davisson; was reportedly laden with cotton and awaiting a chance to slip through the blockade. However, no further record of her career has been found.​
-----------------

I'll have to look up when Granite City may have been taken. House must have been acting either as a prize agent for the captured vessel(s) or the purchaser?

Paging @AndyHall -- this is really his and his buddy Ed Cotham's bailiwick.
WT Block wrote that the Sachem made a minimum of 2 runs to Mexican ports from Sabine and was sold there for gold which the captain then passed on to House.
 
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