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Red Rovers

Hobart Huson General Entry

The Red Rovers, a volunteer military company that participated in the Texas Revolution as a unit of the Lafayette Battalion of James W. Fannin's regiment, was organized by its captain, Jack Shackelford, at Courtland, Alabama, in November 1835 and named for the fact that its members were uniformed in red jeans. The company, which mustered about seventy men, was equipped with rifles and military supplies from the Alabama state arsenal. The Red Rovers remained in camp at Courtland until December 12, 1835, when they started for Texas; they landed at New Orleans on January 1, 1836. After being inspected by Stephen F. Austin and Nicholas Adolphus Sterne, the company reached Texas on January 19, 1836. The men remained at Dimitt's Landing until accepted for Texas service on February 3. They were publicly entertained when they arrived at Victoria on their way to Goliad. Dr. Joseph H. Barnard accompanied the unit from Matagorda to Goliad, where the Red Rovers arrived on February 12 and were assigned to the Lafayette Battalion. During the Goliad Campaign of 1836 they were sent on several local expeditions, including two to the Carlos Rancho. On March 18 they extricated Albert C. Horton's men from Aranama Mission, where they were besieged by the Mexicans. At the battle of Coleto the Red Rovers occupied the extreme right of the front side of the square and acquitted themselves like veterans. The unit was surrendered with Fannin's regiment, and most of the men sustained a common fate in the Goliad Massacre.

Henry Stuart Foote, Texas and the Texans (2 vols., Philadelphia: Cowperthwait, 1841; rpt., Austin: Steck, 1935). John J. Linn, Reminiscences of Fifty Years in Texas (New York: Sadlier, 1883; 2d ed., Austin: Steck, 1935; rpt., Austin: State House, 1986). Dudley Goodall Wooten, ed., A Comprehensive History of Texas (2 vols., Dallas: Scarff, 1898; rpt., Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1986).

Time Periods:

  • Texas Revolution

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

Hobart Huson, “Red Rovers,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed March 08, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.