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WALKER, ANDREW JACKSON

WALKER, ANDREW JACKSON (1822–1855). Andrew Jackson Walker, guide and Texas Rangerqv, was born in Alabama in 1822 and was brought to Texas in 1830. During the Republic of Texas era Walker probably enrolled in John M. Smith's company of volunteers on March 6, 1842, and in Ewen Cameron's Company, First Regiment of the South Western Army, on November 12, 1842; he was recognized early on as a skillful scout and fighter. Walker joined Peter Hansbrough Bell's Texas Mounted Volunteers (Corpus Christi Rangers) in September 1845 and was mustered out on July 6, 1846. The next day he enlisted in Mabry B. (Mustang) Grayqv's company of Texas Mounted Volunteers, and served with the American invasion force during the Mexican War until July 17, 1847. He remained in Mexico to support Antonio Canales and the federalist revolutionaries, enhancing his reputation for quickness of mind, hand, and eye.

As a lieutenant in Blackwell's company in 1849, Walker became legendary along the Nueces River for his pursuit of a Comanche raiding party. During this time the regular United States Army had been frustrated in its attempts to protect settlers in South Texas against Indians and outlaws. In response to an appeal for assistance from Gen. George M. Brooke, John S. (Rip) Fordqv raised a company of volunteer rangers, which was mustered into the United States Army on August 23, 1849, and which served until September 23, 1851. Walker joined this company as a guide and in February 1850 was promoted to first lieutenant. In June 1850 Walker intercepted Comanche raiders on the Rancho Basilio Benavides twenty miles below Laredo; he recovered some horses and killed the chief and three warriors. When Carne Muerte, a Comanche prisoner at Fort McIntosh, was moved to Fort Merrill in January 1851, Walker was put in charge of an outlying patrol to guard the prisoner transfer. His men discovered an unguarded Comanche encampment at some distance from the trail and waited several days for the warriors to return. When the Indians appeared on January 25, 1851, Walker managed to sweep down upon the party, killing four of the unsuspecting Comanches in an elaborate ambush followed by hand-to-hand combat. A number of horses were captured and returned to their Mexican owners.

In October 1851, after the ranger company had disbanded, Ford and some thirty of his men joined Gen. José María Jesús Carbajal, who was leading a federalist attempt to break the northern Mexican states away from the central government. Walker was given command of the rangers in Carbajal's army. When the revolutionaries laid siege to Matamoros, Walker's company acted as the rear guard when Carbajal decided to withdraw. At Cerralvo, Walker was promoted to major for his distinguished service against the Seminoles, who were fighting with the centralists. The need for his sort of service lessened as the United States Army made its presence felt more strongly under the direction of Gen. Persifor F. Smith. Walker's health declined through 1854, and he died of tuberculosis at his farm near Fort Lipantitlán in Nueces County in 1855. When the militia of Corpus Christi organized a company under Capt. Charles G. Lovenskioldqv in 1860, they chose to name the company the Walker Mounted Riflemen in honor of Andrew J. Walker.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Austin Texas State Times, April 28, 1855. John S. Ford, Rip Ford's Texas, ed. Stephen B. Oates (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1963). Sam S. Smith Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Frank Wagner

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Frank Wagner, "WALKER, ANDREW JACKSON," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fwa16), accessed September 03, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.