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Ladies' Battalions and Legions

Robert Bruce Blake General Entry

During the Texas Revolution, several groups of volunteers for the army, particularly volunteers from Kentucky, wore the designation of "Ladies'" battalions or legions. On February 12, 1836, the Committee of Vigilance and Safety of San Augustine authorized Haden Edwards to go to the United States to solicit from women donations to be used to raise a battalion to be known as the "Ladies' Battalion." The names of the lady donors were to be preserved on parchment, and proper honor was to be accorded them in annual celebrations. When Edwards reached the United States, he read of the Runaway Scrape and the battle of San Jacinto; so he changed his request for men into a request for money contributions for food for the refugees. The Ladies Legion of the city of Lexington was organized, probably in April of 1836, at the instigation of Mary Austin Holley, who had a group of ladies sew at her house twice a week to make clothing to send to Texas. Miss Henrietta Austin, daughter of Henry Austin, presented the Ladies Legion a silk flag of Texas designed by Stephen F. Austin. The ladies of Newport, Kentucky, presented a stand of colors to the Newport Volunteers. A corps of 200 volunteers styled the "Ladies' Cavalry" left Louisville, Kentucky, in June 1836, each of the officers being presented epaulets by a young lady when the group stopped at Shelbyville. When the groups reached New Orleans, they were told that troops were no longer needed in Texas, and many of them returned home.

Haden Edwards Papers, Ralph W. Steen Library, Stephen F. Austin State University. Rebecca Smith Lee, Mary Austin Holley, A Biography (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1962). James E. Winston, "Kentucky and the Independence of Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 16 (July 1912).


  • Women
  • Military

Time Periods:

  • Texas Revolution

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

Robert Bruce Blake, “Ladies' Battalions and Legions,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed March 06, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: