Saufley’s Scouting Battalion

By: James T. Matthews

Type: General Entry

Published: April 11, 2011

In January 1864 Col. James Major assumed command of the defenses at Galveston. While most of his brigade remained in camp, the colonel assigned Maj. William Saufley of the First Texas Partisan Rangers to organize an advance guard to scout for Union forces moving up the coast from Brownsville. The battalion consisted of at least one company from each of Major's four regiments. This temporary field organization, known as Saufley's Scouting Battalion, served the forward defenses at Galveston Island into March 1864. Company A of the battalion was Company F of the Third Texas Cavalry, Arizona Brigade. Companies B and C came from the First Texas Partisan Rangers. Company B was Capt. Thomas J. Johnson's company, and Company C was Capt. J. W. Thompson's company. Company D formed from Company F of the Second Texas Partisan Rangers commanded by Capt. W. G. Lilley. Assigned as Company E were the Arizona Scouts. Company F came from the Second Texas Cavalry, Arizona Brigade, under Capt. Robert B. Halley. Saufley's Scouting Battalion performed a necessary service at Galveston but never received official recognition from the Confederate War Department. In March 1864 those companies returned to duty with their own regiments in preparation for the Red River campaign. After the war, Saufley returned to business in Jefferson and became Grand Commander of a group similar to the Ku Klux Klan known as the "Knights of the Rising Sun."

Carded Files of Regimental Commanders and Staff Officers (RG109), Military Records Section, National Archives and Records Service, Washington. T. C. Chaddick, "Jefferson's Indomitable Richard Phillip Crump," East Texas Historical Journal 8 (October 1970). Texas Republican (Marshall), May 28, 1869.

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, “Saufley’s Scouting Battalion,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 25, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 11, 2011

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