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Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Texans in the Civil War

"Don't mess with Texas!"

I'm not sure when this saying got started, but it may have been during the Civil War. Texan units fought in every theater of the war and were some of the best troops the Confederacy had. As Robert E. Lee once said, "Texans always move 'em!" Texans were involved in many of the battles in Missouri and even pushed as far west as Tucson, Arizona, briefly claiming that dusty frontier town for the South.

Texas was also the site of the last battle of the Civil War, the Battle of Palmito Ranch, fought on May 12-13, 1865, well after most Confederate armies had surrendered. This pointless engagement was a smashing Confederate victory!

As I've mentioned frequently on this blog, history is rarely clear cut. Parts of Texas had a strong Unionist sentiment. Some counties were dominated by German immigrants who had immigrated into one country only to find they were suddenly citizens of another. The Texas government had to strike a deal with these folks--don't rebel against the rebellion, keep farming, and pay your taxes, and you won't be conscripted into the Confederate army.

Some Unionist Texans took a more active part in the war. Like every other Confederate state, Texas had some regiments in the Union army. Hmmm. . .sounds like a good setting for a story.

Photo of Private Thomas F. Bates of D Company, 6th Texas Infantry Regiment, with D guard Bowie knife and John Walch pocket revolver courtesy Library of Congress. Don't mess with Texas!

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