The Tenth Texas Infantry Regiment was organized by Allison Nelson, a former Texas legislator and delegate to the 1861 Texas Secession Convention. Nelson was a veteran of the Mexican War and had been a staunch advocate of Cuban independence in the 1850s, even serving as a brigadier general in the Cuban revolutionary forces under Narcisco Lopez. In addition to Nelson, the Tenth Texas's field officers included Maj. Semore C. Brasher, Maj. John Kennard, Roger Q. Mills (major and lieutenant colonel), and Robert B. Young (lieutenant colonel and colonel).
Regimental organizing began in the fall of 1861 and was completed by the winter of 1861–62. The unit assembled six companies that were made up of officers and men principally from the counties of Anderson, Grimes, Limestone, Harris, Freestone, Johnson, Parker, San Augustine, Washington, Milam, Coryell, Erath, Bosque, and Fannin. The regiment participated in more than thirty-five various types of engagements during its career. With Lt. Col. Semore C. Brasher as second in command and John R. Kennard as major, the regiment was first assigned to service in the Echol's Brigade, Eastern District, Department of Texas, from October 1861 to March 1862.
Beginning in May 1862 the unit was transferred to the Trans-Mississippi Department, and in August it was assigned to the District of Arkansas. In September 1862 the Tenth Texas was attached to Nelson's Brigade, Nelson's Division, First Corps, Trans-Mississippi Department. From January 4-11, 1863, the regiment took part in the defense of Arkansas Post, Arkansas. During these operations the regiment was captured at the fall of Fort Hindman at Arkansas Post on January 11, 1863.
Exchanged in April 1863, the Tenth Texas was subsequently reorganized and consolidated with the Sixth Texas Infantry Regiment and the Fifteenth Texas Cavalry [dismounted] Regiment and from July 31 to September 1, 1863, was assigned to Churchill's Brigade, Cleburne's Division, Hill's Corps, Army of Tennessee.
Beginning September 1, 1863, the regiment was reassigned to [James] Deshler's Brigade, Cleburne’s Division, Hill's Corps, Army of Tennessee, and took part in Chickamauga and the siege and battle at Chattanooga. At Chickamauga, the regiment lost twenty killed, ninety-five wounded, and twenty-eight missing. On October 31, the regiment was reassigned to Smith's Brigade, Cleburne's Division, Breckinridge's Corps, Army of Tennessee, and took part in the assault at Missionary Ridge on November 24–25, and Ringgold Gap and Taylor's Ridge on November 27.
On December 10, 1863, the regiment was reassigned to Smith's Brigade, Cleburne's Division, Hardee's Corps, Army of Tennessee, and totaled 642 men and 437 arms. Under this assignment, the men took part in operations in Georgia including actions at Tunnel Hill, Buzzard's Roost Gap, and Rocky Face Ridge on February 23–25, 1864. From May 1 to September 8, the Tenth Texas served in the Atlanta Campaign and took part in the battle of Resaca on May 14–15, the assault on Kennesaw Mountain on June 27, and the siege and battle of Atlanta on July 22 to August 25.
Following the fall of Atlanta on August 31, 1864, the regiment was reassigned to Granbury's Texas Brigade, Cleburne's Division, Hardee's Corps, Army of Tennessee. That same day they took part in the battle of Jonesborough, Georgia. Beginning in August of 1864 and over the next seven months the Tenth Texas took part in John Bell Hood's operations in northern Georgia and northern Alabama, the battle of Franklin, and the battle of Nashville.
From December 17–28, 1864, the regiment retreated east to the Tennessee River. The following spring the Tenth Texas engaged Union forces at the battle of Averysborough and the battle of Bentonville on March 16 and March 19–21, 1865, respectively, and then retreated to Smithsfield, North Carolina, where it was consolidated on April 9, 1865, with the Sixth and Seventh Texas infantry regiments and the Fifteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth, Twenty-fourth, and Twenty-fifth cavalry regiments [dismounted]. This new consolidated unit was designated the First Infantry Regiment.
On April 26, 1865, the Tenth Texas surrendered at Bennett's House, Durham Station, North Carolina. It is highly likely that few men of the Tenth Texas surrendered on that day. Like all units in the Army of Tennessee, the number of men serving in the regiment had been greatly reduced by the rigors of the Civil Wars last years. It is doubtful that more than one hundred officers and enlisted men remained with the unit when it surrendered to Union forces.