Camp Rusk

By: Morris E. Smart

Type: General Entry

Published: December 1, 1994

Camp Rusk, located on the south bank of the North Sulphur River at Treadmill Lake one mile west of Ben Franklin in Delta County, was established in the fall of 1861 as the training site for the Ninth Texas Infantry. The site was chosen by Col. Samuel Bell Maxey upon his return from Richmond in October with an officer's commission and authorization to raise a regiment of infantry composed of companies from Northeast Texas. Lt. James Patteson, Sr., who remained on Maxey's staff throughout the war, supervised the drill instruction of the Ninth, and his brother, Bernard M. Patteson, headed a commissary department that was called upon to furnish twelve large beef cattle daily and to operate three grain mills continuously in order to supply bread.

In November 1861 Col. William Hugh Young wrote that he was en route to Colonel Maxey's camp in the southwest corner of Lamar County (now northwest Delta County) to complete the muster of the Ninth Regiment. The ten companies were composed of men from Lamar, Red River, Titus, Grayson, Fannin, Hopkins, and Collin counties. In December an outbreak of measles, along with poor water supplies, caused Maxey to abandon Camp Rusk in favor of a site farther north in Fannin County. The epidemic claimed several men, who were buried in unmarked graves at the Fannin encampment.

On January 5, 1862, Maxey prepared to march off to war by writing his last will and testament, and on the following day, the Ninth left Texas for battles at Shiloh, Corinth, Chickamauga, Atlanta, Missionary Ridge, and Perryville. In the early 1900s a flood-control channel was cut through Treadmill Lake. In 1989 no trace remained of the lake or Camp Rusk. A historical marker was placed at the site in 1967 by the Texas Historical Commission.

Cooper Review, July 26, 1946. Louise Horton, Samuel Bell Maxey: A Biography (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1974). Samuel Bell Maxey Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. A. W. Neville, The History of Lamar County, Texas (Paris, Texas: North Texas, 1937; rpt. 1986). Ikie Gray Patteson, Loose Leaves: A History of Delta County (Dallas: Mathis, 1935). The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.
Time Periods:
  • Civil War

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

Morris E. Smart, “Camp Rusk,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 22, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994

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