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Chapter 6

Battle of Corpus Christi

That new year of 1862 would prove how strong and resilient Jane could be in the face of danger and loss.  On March 1, 1861, she had given birth to a son named Somerville Ware, naming him in honor of her mother’s maiden name.


Somerville Ware
Photo owned by James & Judy Ware

Then, on May 14, 1862, records show the following:


Three months later, in the hot month of August, there was a battle with the Yankees that hit very close to home.  Corpus Christi came under siege by northern troops, and while James was in the

midst of the fighting, it was left to Jane to evacuate her home, leave all her belongings, and travel with two small children (Somerville only 1 year old) to a place of safety.



As General Bee wrote in a letter dated later that month: Too much praise cannot be given to the patriotic citizens of Corpus Christi. They removed out into the woods with their families out of fire, and in tents and under trees calmly and confidently awaited the result. They have suffered many inconveniences and privations, especially for want of water, as the drought of this section has been unprecedented, yet they have set a laudable example to their countrymen and added another to the many instances of patriotism which this war has elicited.”  (Reference:  War of the Rebellion:  Serial 009 Page 0620-621 Chapter XXI. BOMBARDMENT OF CORPUS CHRISTI, TEX., Ohio State University)

The forced evacuation was hard on everyone.  Residents “camped on the prairie three miles west of town.  Some had umbrellas and other set up quilts on sticks to escape the broiling sun.” (Ref. 524)  Many residents were still close enough to see the battle unfold right in front of their eyes.  A letter written by a family friend, Fanny Richardson, explains some of the horror that they felt.  She wrote, “We arrived where a few of my goods and effects had been hoisted in a peculiarly forlorn looking pile.  We alighted, I and my helpless companions, for the first time realizing the truth that we are at war with a ruthless and powerful foe.  A few hundred yards from me I discerned a heterogeneous mass of humanity, bedclothes, kitchen utensils, and dogs presenting equally as forsaken an appearance as we did to them."  She went on to add,I saw every shot, but when I reflected that at each flash what dreadful results might follow, a cold chill thrilled me from head to foot.  Miss Bessie, I am a constitutional coward.”  (Ref. 225)  The next year Fanny wrote again to her friend, Elizabeth Britton, and she mentioned Bessie’s sister-in-law, Jane Ware, “Remember me to Mrs. Ware.  I hope she is making up in her pleasant home with the society of her friends for the privations she endured that last year.” (Ref. 232) There were privations endured by all the citizens in Corpus Christi that year, and in the years to come. 

Being so close to the actual battle, Jane was a first hand witness to what went on during those days of the Battle of Corpus Christi.  It must have been terrifying to watch.  She clearly remembered it vividly (maybe even took notes at the time) because she later wrote, in 1903, a wonderful article describing the events.



As Dr. Norman Delaney wrote in his book titled The Maltby Brothers’ Civil War, “Writing about the Battle of Corpus Christi in 1903, Jane Ware, whose husband had played a conspicuous role in leading a cavalry charge proudly left little doubt about who she considered ‘the principal hero of the battle.’” (Ref. 3004)  The following pages are transcribed copies of Jane’s article – kindly given us by Dr. Delaney.  When we visited together a while back, on a trip to Corpus Christi, he very graciously showed us where the historical marker which mentions James’ name is placed.  He gave us a grand tour of the city and Bayview Cemetery, and pointed us to the wonderful museum in town which houses the sword that James took from Capt. Kittredge when he captured him (along with a painting by D. R. Gamble depicting the events of the day and showing James leading the cavalry charge.)  We currently own a duplicate painting done by the same artist which was probably commissioned by Jane.


Entrance sign for Old Bayview Cemetery
photo taken by James & Judy Ware 2016


Close up view of the corner of Gambel’s painting where he mentions Ware’s Cavalry


This painting is on display at the Corpus Christi Museum

(Ref. 3258)

This painting owned by James & Judy Ware



Close up of James Ware leading the cavalry – painting owned by James & Judy Ware


Sword belonging to Capt. Kittredge that was confiscated by James Ware
on display in the Corpus Christi Museum





Property of Corpus Christi Museum


Property of James & Judy Ware




Historical Marker that mentions Capt. James A. Ware

located in Corpus Christi



Transcribed copy of Jane Ware’s firsthand account of the Battle of Corpus Christi kindly offered by Dr. Norman Delaney







(Ref. 3296) Major Hobby    

General Bee’s report from Captain Ireland in which he compliments the actions of Captain Ware


For their exploits, Major Hobby and Captains Ireland and Ware were later congratulated by General Magruder in special orders.  They also received a Resolution of Thanks by the Texas Legislature that was made public in March 1863. 

The Battle of Corpus Christi was a pivotal point in the history of coastal Texas.  The people of the town would long remember that terrible summer when “Corpus Christi residents buried their valuables and streamed out of town.  They camped for three days on the drought-parched prairies west of town under a scorching August sun.  They could hear the boom of guns as the ships and a Confederate battery exchanged fire.  The town was shot up before the fleet sailed away.” (Ref. Murphy Givens)  Even today, the citizens of the town are proud of the part their ancestors played in the Civil War.  There are often historical plays performed in town to honor the participants in this battle.  In the list of characters, Jane Ware always has a role.

 Article from newspaper


 (Ref. 3277)


A page from one of the playbills showing the cast - kindly provided by Dr. Delaney


The Confederate victory at Corpus Christi was greatly celebrated in the area.  In the local newspaper, “The Ranchero, published August 19, 1862, the single-page extra edition jubilantly proclaimed Corpus Christi as the ‘Vicksburg of Texas.’  Credited with the victory were Hobby, Captain Ware and his company of cavalry, Captain John Ireland’s infantry, and Neal’s artillery.”  (Ref. 3004)\

The local artist who painted the picture titled “The Defence [sic] of Corpus Christi” did so while standing right on the shoreline in the middle of the fighting.  His name was David R. Gambel.  Dr. Norman Delaney described some of the details of the artwork in his 2005 publication titled, Searching for Sergeant Gambel: David Reed Gambel, Soldier, and Painter, 1825 – 1874.

“In addition to Hobby’s infantrymen, a company of mounted cavalry, led by Capt. James Ware with sword extended, advances.”

He goes on to mention James when he writes, “On the right hand border of the painting is the side view of a soldier identified only as ‘Old Tige,’ the nickname of Captain Ware, whose cavalymen were known as ‘Ware’s Tigers.”  (Ref. 3258) 


Artist – David Reed Gambel

Close-up of Capt. James Ware leading the cavalry charge at the Battle of Corpus Christi
Original artwork property of James & Judy Ware


There was another painting done later of an encounter with the Yankees on December 7, 1862.  This skirmish was officially called the ‘Affair at Padre Island, Texas’.  The battle scene was “drawn from accurate descriptions and observations by D. R. Gambel” and the original is currently owned by James and Judy Ware.


The Boat Fight in Corpus Christi Channel
Original artwork owned by James & Judy Ware





This minor military encounter, was an insignificant rebel victory, but it did much to boost Corpus morale.  There are two addition panels of information on the painting that are highlighted below.


On the top right hand side of the painting



On the top left-hand side of the painting

The War between the North and South was now being fought in land far removed from the birth state of James and Jane.



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