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SIXTEENTH TEXAS CAVALRY

SIXTEENTH TEXAS CAVALRY. The Sixteenth Texas Cavalry Regiment was organized at Dallas in the spring of 1862 and was mustered into service in mid-April. The original field officers included Col. William Fitzhugh, Col. Edward P. Gregg, and Lt. Col. William W. Diamond. The unit consisted of ten companies of nearly 1,000 men from Collin, Cooke, Grayson, Titus, and Washington counties. The regiment was known by several alternate names including Briscoe's Cavalry, Gregg's Cavalry, Fitzhugh's Cavalry, Diamond's Cavalry, Daugherty's Cavalry, Lassiter's Cavalry, and Jarrell's Cavalry.

The Sixteenth Texas Cavalry primarily operated in the Trans-Mississippi and was involved in engagements in Louisiana and Arkansas. The regiment was ordered to dismount in September 1862, following reorganization, and many of the men were disappointed with the decision and reacted poorly. The men of the Lone Star State considered themselves natural equestrians, and slogging through dust and mud on foot was not the Texas way of fighting.On September 30, 1862, the unit was attached to the Second Brigade of the Second Division in the Trans-Mississippi Department. In July 1863 the unit marched nearly 300 miles across northern and central Louisiana. On November 10, 1863, they were attached to McCulloch's, Flournoy's, Waterhouse's, and Scurry's brigades in the District of Western Louisiana. The regiment was ordered to dismount in April 1864, following reorganization, and many of the men were disappointed with the decision and reacted poorly. The men of the Lone Star State considered themselves natural equestrians, and slogging through dust and mud on foot was not the Texas way of fighting. On December 31, 1864, the unit was attached to the Second Texas Infantry Brigade of the First Texas Infantry Division of the First Corps in the Trans-Mississippi.

The Sixteenth Texas Cavalry Regiment participated in more than fifteen engagements from December 1862 through June 1864. The unit was one of the first units in what became Walker's Texas Division to engage in combat near Little Rock, Arkansas, in the spring of 1862. They spent time at Camp Bayou Meto and fought at the battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas, on December 2, 1862, and the battle of Cotton Plant, Arkansas, on July 7. During 1863 the unit fought in Arkansas and Louisiana at several engagements including Steele's expedition against Little Rock, Bayou Meto, Bayou Fourche, Little Rock, Arkadelphia, Teche Country, Bayou Bourbeau, and Camp Pratt.

At the battle of Milliken's Bend in June 1863, the unit lost nineteen killed, forty-seven wounded, and one missing. The Sixteenth Texas Dismounted Cavalry lined up on the left side of Richmond Road and were forced to cross ditches, stumble through vines and briars, and work through gaps in a line of hedges where Union soldiers were entrenched. Combat at the hedge was an intense and rare scene of hand-to-hand fighting with bayonets and clubbed muskets. One Union captain recalled, "…one member of the regiment and a rebel met and at the same instant plunged their bayonets into one another, and both fell dead on the works, with their bayonets in that position . . . it was a very hot place." Pvt. Andrew Jackson Lucas recalled, "Some of the time we were hard pressed for rations, especially at Milliken's Bend and Saline River. We had but little in the way of camp equipage and suffered much from rain and cold."

During 1864 the Sixteenth Texas Cavalry Regiment participated in numerous clashes including battles at Franklin, Monett's Ferry, Cloutierville, Natchitoches, Crump's Hill, Wilson's Farm, Bayou de Paul, Sabine Crossroads, Pleasant Hill, Little Rock, Camden, Jenkins' Ferry, and Old River Lake. Private Lucas recalled, "we overtook him (General Steele) at Jenkins's Ferry, on Saline River, where we had a hard fight and lost two Generals, Scurry and Randell, after which Gen. Waterhouse took command." The Sixteenth Texas Cavalry spent most of January and February 1864 at Camp Glenwood, Louisiana. Pvt. J. B. Briscoe recalled, "I was detailed and sent back to Texas to gather beef for the Confederate Government in 1864. . . .My battles were against hunger. We were often fed on corn in the shuck, sometimes wheat bran alone, and sometimes bacon alone."

In March 1865 the Sixteenth Texas Cavalry Regiment was ordered to Camp Groce in Hempstead, Texas, where they disbanded in May 1865, following news of surrender of Confederate forces in the eastern theater. The unit officially surrendered with Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith on May 26, 1865. The Texas Sons of Confederate Veterans owns and has preserved one of the battle flags from the Sixteenth Texas Cavalry Regiment from the Red River campaign.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Texas, National Archives and Records Service, Washington. Joseph H. Crute, Jr., Units of the Confederate States Army (Midlothian, Virginia: Derwent, 1987). Richard G. Lowe, Walker's Texas Division, C.S.A.: Greyhounds of the Trans-Mississippi (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2004). Stewart Sifakis, Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Texas (New York: Facts on File, 1995).Vertical File, Historical Research Center, Texas Heritage Museum, Hill College, Hillsboro, Texas. Mamie Yeary, Reminiscences of the Boys in Gray (McGregor, Texas, 1912; rpt., Dayton, Ohio: Morningside, 1986).

Brett J. Derbes

Citation

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

Brett J. Derbes, "SIXTEENTH TEXAS CAVALRY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qks15), accessed July 28, 2014. Uploaded on April 11, 2011. Modified on September 12, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.