Elite cavalry regiment enters Texas
On this day in 1855, troopers of the Second United States Cavalry Regiment entered Texas for the first time. The Second, one of four new regiments approved by Congress in the spring of 1855, was organized specifically for service on the Texas frontier. The regiment left Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis, in late October and rode through Missouri, part of Arkansas, and a corner of Indian Territory before crossing the Red River into Texas. Its officers were hand-picked by Secretary of War Jefferson Davis; thus the elite regiment was known as "Jeff Davis's Own." The Second Cavalry remained in Texas until the Civil War. During its stay, companies of the regiment were involved in some forty engagements along the western and northern frontiers of Texas and along the Rio Grande, fighting Apaches, Comanches, Kiowas, and Mexican marauders. The regiment was known for the outstanding quality of the sixteen general officers it produced in the 6½ years of its existence. The Second supplied one-half of the full generals of the Confederate Army: Albert Sidney Johnston, Robert E. Lee, Edmund Kirby Smith, and John Bell Hood. The Second Cavalry was Lee's last command in the United States Army.