Second Texas Cavalry, Arizona Brigade

By: James T. Matthews

Type: General Entry

Published: April 11, 2011

On May 29, 1862, Lt. Col. John Robert Baylor received authorization from the Confederate War Department to raise "five battalions of Partisan Rangers of six companies each" for what would become known as the Arizona Brigade. The government would pay volunteers a bounty but expected them to furnish their own arms, equipment, and horses. The purpose of the brigade would be to retake the southwestern territories for the Confederacy, and its ranks would be made up of Texans recently returned from fighting in Arizona and territorial volunteers who had joined the Confederate command at Mesilla. John Baylor's younger brother, George Baylor, who listed his occupation as Indian fighter, organized one of the battalions. His companies recruited and formed in San Antonio, Belton, Stephenville, Bastrop County, and Leon County. Fifty-year-old John W. Mullen of Williamson County began mustering another battalion in November 1862. He completed only two companies—one from Williamson County and the second under Robert B. Halley, sheriff of Bell County. When John Baylor lost command of the brigade because his controversial policies toward the Apaches in Arizona became public, Maj. Gen. John Magruder reorganized the small incomplete battalions into three regiments. The Second Texas Cavalry, Arizona Brigade, consisted of George Baylor's Battalion and Mullen's Battalion with one additional company, Richard Sorrel's "Ladies' Rangers," from the Houston area. George Baylor assumed command of the regiment, and in April 1863 they marched to the defense of Louisiana. Baylor's regiment saw its first action in the capture of Brashear City where they seized large quantities of quartermaster, commissary, medical, and ordnance stores. After patrolling the bayous for several months, they joined James Major's Second Texas Cavalry Brigade in July. Through the fall, they continued to operate in the bayou country and took part in battles at Stirling's Plantation, Carrion Crow Bayou, and Bayou Bourbeau. In December they returned to Texas and made camp at Galveston to defend against a Union expedition advancing up the coast from Brownsville. They remained in Galveston until March 1864, when the Second Texas Cavalry, Arizona Brigade, again marched into Louisiana to take part in the Red River campaign. During the campaign, they fought in battles at Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, Monett's Ferry, and Yellow Bayou. In September 1864 the regiment marched to Arkansas with the cavalry brigade and returned to Texas in December. While camping in the Houston area, the Second Texas Cavalry, Arizona Brigade, received orders to be dismounted. The frontier horsemen loudly protested this order. Colonel Baylor took it as a personal affront from Maj. Gen. John Wharton, the officer he still blamed for the defeat at Yellow Bayou. Baylor confronted Wharton in Houston and in the ensuing argument killed him. The regiment did dismount and remained in the Houston area until the surrender of the Trans-Mississippi Department on May 26, 1865. They assembled and mustered out of service at Hempstead. Under the conditions of surrender, the men retained their side arms and personal baggage. When the war ended, George Baylor remained imprisoned for the shooting of John Wharton. Since military authority had ceased to exist, his case came before a civil court which soon acquitted him. Baylor later served as a Texas Ranger and a member of the Texas legislature. He died in San Antonio in 1916.

Alwyn Barr, "Texas Losses in the Red River Campaign, 1864," Texas Military History 3(Summer 1963). George W. Baylor, John Robert Baylor: Confederate Governor of Arizona (ed. Odie B. Faulk [Tucson, Arizona: Arizona Pioneers' Historical Society, 1966]). Confederate Muster Rolls for Lane's, Stone's, Baylor's, and Phillips's Texas Cavalry, Military Records Section, National Archives and Records Service, Washington. 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). John L. Waller, "Colonel George Wythe Baylor," Southwestern Social Science Quarterly 24 (June 1943). 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, “Second Texas Cavalry, Arizona Brigade,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 27, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 11, 2011

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