First Texas Partisan Rangers

By: James T. Matthews

Type: General Entry

Published: April 11, 2011

Updated: April 19, 2011

In June 1862 Col. Walter P. Lane established his headquarters at Jefferson and began recruiting in East Texas for the First Texas Partisan Rangers. Lane, a merchant from Marshall and veteran of the battle of San Jacinto, had previously seen service with the Third Texas Cavalry. He organized the partisan rangers for mounted service west of the Mississippi River, with the recruits furnishing their own arms, equipment, and horses. Companies quickly formed from the towns of Jefferson and Marshall and from Cherokee, Navarro, Rusk, San Augustine, Shelby, Upshur, Wood and Van Zandt counties. When completed, Lane's First Partisan Rangers numbered fourteen companies instead of the ten-company structure of most regiments raised during that period. But none of the companies included a full complement of 100 men and officers. Most of the East Texas units contained fifty to sixty recruits. Lane's regiment never totaled more than 600 men. In November 1862 the regiment left for Arkansas where they saw their first action at Prairie Grove. Following this, the First Texas Partisan Rangers received assignment as the Confederate advance guard, taking a position eight miles north of Van Buren. On December 28, 1862, Federal troops surprised them and drove Lane's regiment back into Van Buren. Having lost most of their clothing and equipment, the regiment returned to Jefferson to resupply and reorganize. In April 1863 Lane was directed to report to Gen. Richard Taylor in Louisiana for assignment. By May 19, Lane's men had engaged the Federals in a holding action near Cheneyville while they awaited reinforcements. Col. James Major found them there during the first week of June and attached the First Texas Partisan Rangers to his Second Texas Cavalry Brigade. With Major's Brigade, they continued to operate in the bayou country through 1863 and took part in battles at Bayou Boeuf, Kock's Plantation, Stirling's Plantation, and Bayou Bourbeau. Following the capture of Union stores at Brashear City, Lane used some of the field pieces to establish batteries along a twenty-mile stretch of the Mississippi River south of Donaldsonville to shell enemy transports and gunboats in an attempt to control the river. The partisan rangers succeeded in disrupting Federal shipping until the fall of Vicksburg released Union troops to cover the bayou country north of New Orleans. In December, Lane's regiment returned to Texas and made camp at Galveston to assist in the defense against a Union expedition advancing up the coast from Brownsville. While there, Maj. William P. Saufley of the First Texas Partisan Rangers formed a special scouting battalion made up of companies from each of the regiments in Major's Brigade to serve the forward defenses at Galveston Island (see SAUFLEY'S SCOUTING BATTALION). The partisan rangers remained in Galveston until March 1864, when the Second Texas Cavalry Brigade again marched into Louisiana to take part in the Red River campaign. During that campaign, they fought in battles at Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, Monett's Ferry, and Yellow Bayou. In Louisiana, General Major assumed command of the Texas cavalry division, and Walter Lane became commander of the Second Texas Cavalry Brigade. Col. R. Phillip Crump, a building contractor in Jefferson, took command of the First Texas Partisan Rangers. In September 1864 Crump's regiment marched to Arkansas with the cavalry brigade. Their last engagement came in a skirmish against the Thirteenth Illinois Cavalry on September 11. They returned to Texas in December and remained in the Houston area until the surrender of the Trans-Mississippi Department on May 26, 1865. The regiments that had formed Major's brigade mustered out of service at Hempstead. Under the conditions of surrender, the men retained their side arms, personal baggage, and their horses. With a Federal pardon in hand, Walter P. Lane reestablished his mercantile business in Marshall. Lane never married. He completed his memoirs in 1887 and died as a respected citizen on January 22, 1892.

Alwyn Barr, "Texas Losses in the Red River Campaign, 1864," Texas Military History 3(Summer 1963). T. C. Chaddick, "Jefferson's Indomitable Richard Phillip Crump," East Texas Historical Journal 8 (October 1970). Confederate Muster Rolls for Lane's, Stone's, Baylor's, and Phillips's Texas Cavalry, Military Records Section, National Archives and Records Service, Washington. Walter Paye Lane, Adventures and Recollections (Marshall, Texas, 1887; rpt., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1970). Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion (30 vols.,Washington: GPO, 1894–1922). Regimental Returns for Lane's, Stone's, Baylor's, and Phillips's Texas Cavalry, Military Records Section, National Archives and Records Service, Washington. Richard Taylor, Destruction and Reconstruction: Personal Experiences of the Late War (New York: Appleton, 1879; rpt., Alexandria, Virginia: Time-Life Books, 1983). The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington: GPO, 1880–1901).

Time Periods:
  • Civil War

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

James T. Matthews, “First Texas Partisan Rangers,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 18, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 11, 2011
April 19, 2011

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