Showalter, Daniel (ca. 1829–1866)

By: Stephanie P. Niemeyer

Type: Biography

Published: May 31, 2011

Daniel Showalter, Confederate cavalry officer, was born in Greene, Pennsylvania, in 1829 to John M. Showalter and Mary Ann Donnelly. Showalter moved to Mariposa County, California, and became a state assemblyman with strong secessionist leanings. He was the surviving participant of the state's last political duel. Many Californians with sympathies for the secessionist movement and eventually the Confederate States were seen as a threat to Union-controlled California, so the authorities worked to shore up the borders. Consequently, Showalter and others decided to flee to Texas to join the Confederate Army. On November 29, 1861, Showalter and his followers were captured and sent to Camp Wright, and later they were imprisoned at Fort Yuma where they served a multiple months-long sentence. Upon his release, Showalter immediately went to Texas where he served as a private in Californian George L. Patrick's company.

In 1863 Showalter joined the newly-formed Fourth Texas Cavalry, Arizona Brigade, and was made a lieutenant colonel. This loosely organized group of less-than-reputable characters became known for their mob-like behavior. They engaged in a few small battles with American Indian groups but mainly came to be seen as a renegade regiment. They remained in Texas and were instrumental in regaining Brownsville from the control of the Union forces. Showalter was acknowledged for his leadership of the Fourth when they captured a Union riverboat. Despite this victory, Showalter's drinking overshadowed much of the rest of his military career. In September 1864 John S. "Rip" Ford ordered Showalter and his men north to the Red River where they raided the area communities for provisions.

Following the Civil War, Showalter moved to Mexico on August 18, 1865. He died on March 4, 1866, in Mazatlan, Mexico, due to lockjaw as a result of a bar fight. He was buried in the foreign burying ground near the city.

The Political Graveyard (, accessed April 5, 2011. Texas 4th Cavalry (John F. McAninch) (, accessed April 5, 2011. Bill Virden, "The Affair at Minter's Ranch," San Diego Historical Society Quarterly 7 (April 1961) (, accessed April 5, 2011.

Time Periods:
  • Civil War

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

Stephanie P. Niemeyer, “Showalter, Daniel,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 31, 2011

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: