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13th Texas Cavalry Regiment (dismounted)

by Thomas R. Reid

The Thirteenth Texas Cavalry mustered on 22 February 1862 in northeast Texas and 1 March 1862 in the southern counties. Both Colonel John Howell Burnett, the regimental commander, and Anderson Floyd Crawford, the second in command, had resigned from the Texas Senate in January. Counties represented in the unit were Henderson, Anderson, Houston, Cherokee, Leon, Trinity, Angelina, Polk, Tyler, Jasper, Newton, Hardin, and Newton. The initial strength of the regiment was 1,125 officers and men, but was reduced to 842 primarily as a result of the Confederate Conscription Act of 16 April 1862, which exempted men under eighteen or over thirty-five, and required that units undergo reorganization and a reelection of officers. The reorganization took place at Porter's Springs, Houston County, on 24 May 1862. On 7 June 1862 the regiment, along with Major Robert Simonton Gould's 6th Texas Cavalry Battalion, departed for Arkansas. Brig. Gen. Henry Eustace McCulloch delayed them north of his headquarters in Tyler, Texas for training and to allow stragglers to rejoin the unit. They departed for Little Rock on 2 July 1862.

The regiment was delayed in Lafayette County, Arkansas, by an epidemic of measles and typhoid fever. They were initially camped near Spring Bank, but moved later to a camp near Walnut Hills. The 13th lost thirty men to disease during July and August. The Texans continued on to Little Rock, leaving Walnut Hills on 22 August 1862 and arriving in Little Rock 6 September 1862, and proceeding north to Camp Holmes where they arrived on the ninth.

The regiment was added to the first brigade of a newly organized Texas division commanded by Brigadier General McCulloch. In October 1862 three brigades of the division engaged in a number of pointless movements along White River. Heavy rains and freezing weather resulted in significant illness due to exposure. The division returned to Camp Nelson, near Austin, Arkansas, on 14 October 1862. An epidemic of typhoid fever, pneumonia, and tuberculosis soon broke out. The 13th Texas was reduced by deaths and disability discharges from 855 in June 1862 to 615 at the end of February 1863. November 1862 was the worst, with twenty-five deaths. Due to conditions in Arkansas, rations were limited and of poor quality.

Shortly after Christmas of 1862, Major General John George Walker replaced Brigadier General McCulloch as division commander. McCulloch assumed command of the third brigade. The division was ordered to Pine Bluff, Arkansas in early January 1863. On the 11th Walker received orders to reinforce Arkansas Post, a fortress defending the Arkansas River. After a forced march, it was learned that the Post had surrendered on the twelfth. Union General William T. Sherman reported that 4,791 prisoners, many from the fourth brigade of the Texas division, had been captured. The 13th and other regiments of Walker's Division were directed to construct defensive earthworks near Pine Bluff to counter the threat that Union forces would continue up the Arkansas River.

Snow and freezing weather plagued the regiment, who lost 1st Lieutenant George Gaston of Company D and Private John Mitchell of Company K to exposure. The Union threat did not materialize, and the division was moved into winter quarters near Pine Bluff at Camp Mills and later Camp Wright, four miles northwest of Pine Bluff.

The remainder of the winter of 1862-1863 was warmer, and the regiment was resupplied with tents, blankets, and clothing. During February and March 1863, many soldiers of the 13th were convinced that their enlistments were concluding, unaware that they had made a commitment to a three-year enlistment during the reorganization. Desertions were a serious problem during the spring. The 13th Texas followed the division to Louisiana on 26 April 1863 as part of an attempt to relieve the Union threat to Vicksburg.

The movement of Walker's Division to Louisiana caused Union General Nathaniel Banks to withdraw from Alexandria, where the 13th arrived on 28 May 1863. Confederate Major General Richard Taylor was directed to attack a chain of Union logistical bases on the west bank of the Mississippi that supported Grant's siege of Vicksburg. The 13th Texas was detached from the division and assigned to Brig. Gen. Paul Octave Hebert for operations against the Federal camps at Lake Providence, Louisiana, north of Vicksburg. The action involved the 13th Texas, the 13th Louisiana Partisan Cavalry, and one section of artillery. After building a floating bridge on Bayou Macon near Caledonia, the force encountered elements of the 1st Kansas Mounted Infantry near Bunch's Bend, skirmishing with the Union forces and capturing a number of supply wagons and prisoners. The attack on Lake Providence on 9 June 1863 was indecisive, and Federal forces prevented a battle by destroying the bridge on the Tensas River. The 13th Texas had one killed, Sgt. Carlisle McClung of Company F, and two Privates and one Lieutenant captured. The Texans returned to the rail yard at Delhi to wait for the remainder of the division..

The remainder of 1863 was uneventful for the 13th Texas, marked by picket duty on the Red River near Cheneyville, Opelousas, and Marksville, and on the Mississippi south of Simmesport in December. The division moved into winter quarters in late December one mile south of Fort DeRussy and two miles north of Marksville. The winter was spent improving the defenses of the fort and constructing a raft of floating timber on the Red River to prevent Union gunboats from navigating the river. Company E, commanded by Capt. James Brown Rounsaville, was detached to the garrison at Fort DeRussy.

A major campaign against Confederate forces in Louisiana was launched by Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks 13 March 1864. His combined force of soldiers and sailors numbered nearly 40,000. Between that date and 4 April 1864, the 13th and Walker's Division withdrew to a few miles north of Mansfield on the road to Shreveport. Fort DeRussy withstood the Federal attack for only a few hours on 14 March 1864. The majority of Company E, 13th Texas, escaped, but five soldiers were captured. Units from Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri augmented Major General Taylor's forces near Mansfield in early April. A major battle with Banks' invasion force was fought a few miles south of Mansfield at a site known as Sabine Crossroads. It was a decisive Confederate victory, and Federal forces withdrew the night of 8 April 1864 to positions near Pleasant Hill. The 13th Texas lost ten killed, forty-one wounded, and six missing in the battle of Mansfield on 8 April 1864 and the battle of Pleasant Hill the following day. Pleasant Hill was a much deadlier conflict, since Union lines were heavily fortified with barricades of logs and fence rails. Lieutenant Colonel Crawford, commanding the 13th Texas, lost two horses that day. Union forces retreated the night of the ninth to Grand Ecore on the Red River, pursued by Confederate cavalry.

A second invasion column, commanded by Union General Frederick Steele, had pushed south from Little Rock and had occupied Camden, Arkansas. Steele's forces had originally intended to join those of General Banks in Shreveport. Walker's Division and the 13th Texas marched north on the military road from Shreveport to Camden, arriving at Camden, which had been abandoned by Steele, on 28 Apr. 1864. Due to chronic health problems Colonel Burnett had been transferred to garrison duty in Crockett, Texas and resigned 22 Apr. 1864. Walker's forces continued the pursuit of Union forces to Jenkins' Ferry on the Saline River, where a battle was fought in rain and mud as Steele's forces attempted to retreat across the river. The outcome of the battle was indecisive and costly to the Confederates. The 13th Texas was among the more fortunate in the division, with only one killed and eleven wounded.

Following the battle of Jenkins' Ferry, the division withdrew to Camden, where they improved the defensive positions along the river. Returning to Louisiana, they found that General Banks' forces had already withdrawn, leaving Simmesport for New Orleans on 21 May 1864. Maj. Gen. Walker was replaced as division commander temporarily by Brig. Gen. Wilburn King, and later, on 4 September 1864 by Maj. Gen. John H. Forney. Plans to deploy Walker's Division across the Mississippi to join a new command of General Taylor caused much dissention and many desertions. The plan was abandoned later that month, and the division returned to Arkansas to counter a Federal threat, which never materialized.

The 13th Texas and Walker's Division returned to Louisiana at the end of November 1864 and moved into winter quarters near Minden, Louisiana. The Texans moved camp to Shreveport on 27 January 1865, and were honored by a huge barbecue on Saturday, 18 February 1865. Ordered to return to Texas, they arrived at Camp Groce, near Hempstead, Texas, on 15 April 1865. Most of the 13th Texas Cavalry was home on leave when Generals Kirby Smith and John Magruder surrendered the Trans-Mississippi forces 2 June 1865 at Galveston, Texas.

Field officers:

Colonels. John H. Burnett (elected 1 March 1862); Anderson F. Crawford (promoted 22 April 1864).

Lieutenant Colonels. Anderson F. Crawford (elected 1 March 1862); Charles R. Beaty (promoted 22 April 1864).

Majors. Charles R. Beaty (elected 1 March 1862), Elias T. Seale (promoted November 1864).

Adjutants: John M. Hilliard (1 Mar. 1862 23 May 1862), Capt. James C. Wooters (24 May 1862 27 Jul. 1862), Lieut. James R. Burnett (28 Jul. 1862 20 Nov. 1862), Capt. J. Pat Henry (21 Nov 1862 10 Jan. 1865), 2nd Lieut. Ernest Geisendorff (11 Jan. 1865 2 Jun. 1865).

Surgeons: Capt. William F. Corley (1 Mar. 1862 23 May 1862), Capt. John M. Hilliard (24 May 1862 28 Jul. 1862), Capt. Edward Currie (29 Jul. 1862 15 Nov. 1862), 2nd Lieut. John J. Burroughs (acting) (29 Oct. 1862 9 Jun. 1863), Dr. Thomas H. Hollis, 21 Aug. 1863 2 Jun. 1865).

Assistant Surgeons: Lieut. J. C. Brubaker, Lieut. John L. Cornish (resigned 2 Dec. 1864), Lieut. W. P. Means, Lieut. Shadrach J. Collins.

Quartermasters: Capt. Armisted T. Monroe, Capt. Riley J. Blair, (11 Dec. 1862).

Commissary: Wilson E. Hail (1 Mar. 1862 20 Nov. 1862), Lieut. James H. Finch (no record after 1863).

Chaplain: John B. Renfro, (1 Mar. 1862 21 Oct. 1862), Richard F. Fancher, (10 Jan. 1864 26 Aug. 1864).

Sergeant Major: Riley J. Blair, Co C, (24 May 1862 7 Feb. 1863), James B. Rounsaville, Co C (8 Feb. 1863 2 Dec. 1863), B. C. Crawford, Co G, (12 Feb. 1864 9 Apr. 1864, KIA at Pleasant Hill), Henry Ralph, Co G, (Apr. 1964 2 Jun. 1865.)

Color Bearer: George A. Hadon, Co B, (24 May 1862 23 Jan. 1863, died of disease, Camp Nelson, Ark.), Ransom P. Horde, Co G, (10 Dec. 1863 22 Aug. 1864), Edman F. Bridges, Co C, (appointed 23 Aug. 1864), Cpl. Soloman Wishard, Co I, (as of the Apr. 1865 muster).

Captains, and counties from which the companies came:

Co. A, (Leon): Jerome N. Black (21 Feb. 1862 9 Jun. 1862), Granderson M. Nash (10 Jun. 1862 2 Jun. 1865).

Co. B, (Houston & Cherokee): John T. Smith (22 Feb. 1862 10 Aug. 1863), Joshua B. Young (11 Aug. 1862 2 Jun. 1865).

Co. C, (Houston): George English (22 Feb. 1862 27 Aug. 1863), Crockett J. English (28 Aug. 1863 2 Jun. 1865).

Co. D, (Anderson): James Steele Hanks (22 Feb. 1862 9 Jun. 1863), John C. Oldham (10 Jun 1863 2 Jun. 1865).

Co. E, (Henderson): William K. Payne (22 Feb. 1862 31 Aug. 1863), James Eastland (1 Sep. 1863 2 Dec. 1863), James B. Rounsaville (3 Dec. 1863 2 Jun. 1865).

Co. F, (Angelina): Hiram Brown (1 Mar. 1862 27 Aug. 1863), Samuel B. Thomas (28 Aug. 1863 2 Jun. 1865).

Co. G, "Crawford's Rebels" (Jasper): Elias Thompson Seale (1 Mar. 1862 15 Nov. 1862), Thomas F. Truett (16 Nov. 1863 12 Aug. 1864), Elias T. Seale (13 Aug. 1864 Nov. 1864), William F. Seale (Nov. 1864 2 Jun. 1865).

Co. H, "Dreadnaughts" (Newton): William Blewett (1 Mar. 1862 19 Sep. 1862, died in Little Rock), John Thomas Stark (20 Sep. 1862 25 Feb. 1865), Thomas J. Brack (26 Feb. 1865 2 Jun. 1865).

Co. I, "Orange Greys" (Orange): Samuel A. Fairchild, Hiram G. Cline.

Co. K "Jack Bean's Cavalry" (Tyler): John Thomas Bean (1 Mar. 1862 2 Oct. 1862), Charles H. Jones (3 Oct. 1863 2 Jun. 1865).

Historical resources: Texans in the Civil War


Bartlett, Napier. Military Record of Louisiana: Including Biographical and Historical Papers Relating to the Military Organization of the State. 1875. Reprint, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964.

Blessington, Joseph P. The Campaigns of Walker's Texas Division. 1875. Reprint, Austin, Texas: State House Press, 1994.

Carson, Geraldine P. From the Desk of Henry Ralph. Austin, Texas: Eakin Press, 1990.

Wood, William D. A Partial Roster of the Officers and Men raised in Leon County, Texas, For the Service of the Confederate States . . . and a Brief History of Maj. Gould's Battalion. San Marcos, Texas: Published by the Author, 1899.

"13th Texas Cavalry". Vertical file. The H. B. Simpson Research Center, Hill College, Hillsboro, Texas. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. 128 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1889-1901.) Hewett, Janet B. (ed), Supplement to the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Vol. 68. (Wilmington, N.C.: Broadfoot Publishing Company, 1994- ).

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