Diggers find what may be old war fort - Mexia Daily News 3 Sept 1970
Diggers Find What May Be Old War Fort SABINE PASS, Tex. (AP) — Diggers believe they have found the site of Ft. Manhassett, an important Confederate fortification. Artifacts discovered there are expected to spur more exploration. The presumed site of the old fort, about seven miles west of Sabine Pass, just off Texas 87, was recently unearthed by W. T. Block, assistant postmaster of Nederland, a descendent of pioneers. Thus far a number of cannon balls and many other artifacts have been unearthed, including a wooden wall bordering on a large, grassy knoll. Block believes the fort's weapons storeroom lies behind the wall. He said he hopes to find cannon, rifles and other arms and ammunition in the mound. Almost 60 cannon balls weighing 32 pounds each plus multitudes of golf ball size cannon balls, old spikes, square nails and a mechanism used to aim a cannon in the proper direction have been unearthed. According to Block's research, the fort is one of several built at the mouth of the Sabine River to protect the state from an invasion by Union forces during^ the Civil War. One of these is Ft. Griffin where Dick Dowling held off an invasion fleet in September 1863. At present, amateur historians are working at the old Ft. Man- hassett "destroying many of the artifacts in their frantic search for souvenirs," Block said. The fort itself was object of a three-month search substantiated by 1836 maps of Sabine Pass. Since the fort was not the s^ene of any major battles, it has been described as a "quiet bit of history." Ft. Manhassett is presumed to have received its name from an old coal ship en route to union troops who had run short of fuel. The ship sank during a storm near the site.