(Str: a. 2 guns)
Neptune, a wooden steamer, was seized by Col. E. B. Nichols for duty with Comdr. W. W. Hunter's Texas Marine Department. [See Annex III]. She operated as a tug, lookout, and transport in coastal waters, especially in the Galveston area.
On New Year's Day 1863, the Confederates, having determined to recapture Galveston which had fallen to the Union during the previous October, launched their attack. Bayou City and Neptune, with their decks well protected by cotton bales and loaded with troops, moved down to engage the Federal fleet in the harbor.
Bayou City first closed with USS Harriet Lane, one of two principal Union ships in the harbor, and tried to board her, but the strong tide swung the ships into a collision which damaged both. Neptune, Capt. W. Sangster, then rammed the Federal gunboat but was herself injured by the impact and began to take water rapidly. Making for the edge of the channel she sank there in 8 feet of water. The ensuing capture of Harriet Lane signalled a series of events which forced Union withdrawal and proved a mighty morale factor for the Confederates.