Terry's Texas Rangers mustered into Confederate service
On this day in 1861, the Eighth Texas Cavalry, a group of volunteers popularly known as Terry's Texas Rangers, was mustered into Confederate service in Houston. The regiment had been assembled by Benjamin Franklin Terry in August. Terry was elected colonel, Thomas S. Lubbock lieutenant colonel, and Thomas Harrison major; by the fall of 1862, Terry and Lubbock were dead, and Harrison became regimental commander, serving in that post until the end of the Civil War. The Terry Rangers distinguished themselves in a number of battles, including those at Shiloh (1862) and Chickamauga (1863); in the Atlanta campaign (1864); and as raiders in Kentucky and Tennessee under Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. They were also part of the force under Gen. Joseph E. Johnston that attempted in vain to slow Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's "march to the sea" during the final months of the war. Rather than surrender with the rest of Johnston's army in April 1865, 158 of the reported 248 survivors of the regiment slipped through Union lines to join other Confederates yet in the field. With the total collapse of the Southern cause, however, the Terry Rangers drifted home as individuals and in small groups, having never officially surrendered. With the exception of Hood's Texas Brigade, the Eighth Texas Cavalry was probably the best-known Texas unit to serve in the Civil War.