Sherod Hunter, businessman and Confederate officer, was born on March 5, 1834, in Lincoln County in Tennessee. He was the son of Lieutenant Sherrod, a veteran of the War of 1812 under the command of Andrew Jackson, and Elizabeth (Dickson) Hunter. Hunter was orphaned in August of 1840, when his parents succumbed to an epidemic, cholera perhaps. Hunter lived with various family relations during his childhood. In terms of politics, he inherited the Southern Democratic tradition of Lincoln County, which cast 2,119 out of 2,923 votes for the gubernatorial reelection of Andrew Johnson in 1855.
Hunter was married to Miss Mary Elizabeth Goodrich in Fayetteville, Lincoln County, Tennessee, on November 15, 1855. Mary was the daughter of Hunter's business partner, Thomas Goodrich, with whom he operated the firm of Goodrich and Hunter, a successful grocery business. This couple had one son. Hunter's wife, however, died shortly after childbirth, on March 13, 1857. Hunter's son died on July 6, 1857. After these events, Hunter found it impossible to continue in Lincoln County. Ten days after the child was buried, he sold his interest in the firm of Goodrich and Hunter to his father-in-law.
He left Tennessee shortly afterward and moved to Mesilla, in New Mexico. Hunter eventually settled and farmed along the Mimbres River in Mowry City, about twenty-five miles outside of Deming. When the Civil War began, Hunter responded to the request for soldiers by Gov. John Robert Baylor of the Arizona Territory and enlisted as a private in Capt. George Frazer's Company of Arizona Rangers. On August 1, 1861, Hunter was promoted to first lieutenant. Later he was promoted to captain and placed in charge of recruitment. On February 10, 1862, Hunter was ordered to Tucson to establish observation of Union forces moving from California as well as deal with problems arising from the American Indian population in the area. In what came to be known as the "Arizona Campaign," Hunter defeated Union forces at Stanwix Station on March 30, and Picacho Pass on April 15. On May 14, Hunter was forced to retreat from Tucson, moving to Mesilla and San Antonio by July, where he resigned his commission in the Arizona Rangers to join the Texas-Arizona Cavalry as a major on October 3. In 1863 and 1864 he participated in actions against Union forces in the Louisiana area, leading the capture of Brashear City on June 22, 1864. In this engagement, Hunter led 325 volunteers through twelve miles of swamp on a "mosquito fleet" of forty-eight skiffs and rafts to attack the rear of the Union position, eventually assisting in the capture of over 1,200 Union soldiers.
After this action, Hunter was involved in planning for a campaign to recapture the Arizona Territory for the Confederacy in the spring of 1865. At the conclusion of the war, he was involved in recruiting along the Texas-Mexico border near Eagle Pass. Little is known of his activities after the end of the war. A friend in Arkansas received a letter from him written in Mexico. It is possible that he was visiting the ex-Confederates colony at Tuxpan, between the towns of Tampico and Vera Cruz. Hunter's final resting place, however, is unknown.
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L. Boyd Finch, Confederate Pathway to the Pacific: Major Sherod Hunter and Arizona Territory, C.S.A. (Tucson: Arizona Historical Society, 1996). Robert Perkins, "Colonel Sherod Hunter: A Biography of Our Camp's Namesake" (http://members.tripod.com/~azrebel/page6.html), accessed March 17, 2011.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Aragorn Storm Miller,
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 17, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
April 14, 2011
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: