Camp Pecan

By: Robert Dunnam

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: November 16, 2009

Camp Pecan, on Pecan Bayou in Callahan County, was one of eighteen frontier ranger posts selected by Col. James M. Norris in March 1862 along a winding defense line extending some 500 miles from the Red River in North Texas to the Rio Grande at what is now Eagle Pass. Colonel Norris was the newly appointed commander of what has come to be known as the Frontier Regiment, a regiment of approximately 1,050 rangers authorized by the Ninth Texas Legislature on December 21, 1861, to replace the retiring Confederate garrisons along the frontier and to protect northern and western frontier settlements in Texas from Comanche and Kiowa Indian raids. Camp Pecan was located approximately eight miles north of Camp Colorado, a well established, former Union frontier fort garrisoned at that time by the First Regiment, Texas Mounted Riflemen, a Confederate unit. The camp was located where the road from Camp Colorado to Camp Cooper, another Confederate facility, crossed Pecan Bayou.

Camp Pecan, along with Camp Collier in Brown County, was originally one of two camps along Norris' 500 mile cordon placed under the command of Capt. Frank M. Collier, commander of one of the nine 115–125 man companies of the Frontier Regiment. Half of Captain Collier's command was at Camp Pecan and half at Camp Collier. Scouting patrols would leave Camp Pecan every other day traveling south to Camp Collier and then returning the next day. On those same alternating days, patrols would leave Camp Pecan traveling north to Camp Salmon. The patrols sought signs of Indian incursions that might threaten frontier communities. When Captain Collier sustained a back injury and resigned his command in July 1862, company elections at both Camp Pecan and Camp Collier selected former Sgt. Maj. James Joseph Callan as the new captain.

In April 1862 Callan of the state-sponsored Frontier Regiment had relieved Capt. James M. Holmsley, Confederate commander of the First Regiment, Texas Mounted Riflemen, of command at Camp Colorado. Holmsley's unit was being redeployed. On October 27, 1862, Colonel Norris moved his regimental headquarters from its summer location at Camp Collier to Camp Colorado. He also ordered Captain Callan to remove all equipment from both Camp Pecan and Camp Collier and to consolidate both halves of his command at Camp Colorado. Camp Colorado remained the regimental headquarters for the Frontier Regiment until its inclusion into the Confederate Army on March 1, 1864.

E. L. Deaton, who wrote the classic 1894 book, Indian Fights on the Texas Frontier, comprising the most definitive eyewitness accounts of the Indian wars on the North Central Texas frontier from 1857 to 1873, mentions in his book that he served at Camp Pecan in 1862. No trace remains today of Camp Pecan. A historical marker erected in 1963 on the courthouse square in Baird, county seat of Callahan County, commemorates its location approximately twenty miles to the southeast.

Adjutant General's Records, Texas State Library and Archives, Special Order #12, Texas Adjutant General, January 29, 1862; Special Order #7, Col. J. M. Norris to Capt. F. M. Collier, March 25, 1862; General Order #4, Col. Norris, April 23, 1862; Capt. Frank M. Collier to Adjutant General, July 2, 1862; Special Orders 53 and 54, Col. Norris, July 22, 1862; Capt J. J. Callan to Adjutant General, August 8, 1862; Special Order #96, Col. Norris to Capt. Callen, October 27, 1862; Adjutant General's Correspondence file, 1862–63; and General Orders, Special Orders, and Correspondence file, Frontier Regiment, 1862–63. E. L. Deaton, Indian Fights on the Texas Frontier (Fort Worth: Pioneer, 1927). Historical Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin. Texas Legislature, Act of December 21, 1861.

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

Robert Dunnam, “Camp Pecan,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 27, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 16, 2009