Travis Guards and Rifles

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: April 7, 2018

Several military units in Texas history have been named for William B. Travis. The Travis Guards were organized at Austin on March 1, 1840, for home protection and speedy campaigns against the Indians. Officers were elected annually, and the first roster listed as officers a captain, two lieutenants, four sergeants, four corporals, a secretary, and a treasurer. In 1840 the group was called to San Antonio to repel Indians. On December 8, 1841, the Guards escorted Sam Houston into Austin for his second inauguration as president of the Republic of Texas. In August 1851, after disintegration of the original unit, a volunteer infantry company called the Travis Guards was organized at Austin to protect the frontier. John S. Ford was its captain. During the Civil War, in November 1861, an infantry company called the Travis Rifles was recruited in Travis County by Rhoades H. Fisher and was mustered into the Confederate Army at Victoria. The group formed Company G of the Sixth Texas Infantry. It was stationed in Arkansas in 1862, was captured in January 1863, and was imprisoned in Ohio and Illinois until May 1863, when the Texans were exchanged and attached to Pat Cleburne's division. They were again captured and imprisoned from November 1864 until July 1865. During the Coke-Davis controversy at the close of the Reconstruction period, the Travis Rifles, organized at Austin in January 1873 under M. D. Mathew, were called out to protect Edmund J. Davis, who refused to concede the election to Richard Coke. The company refused to obey the order to protect Davis and instead captured the legislative halls and protected the inauguration of Coke as governor. Another group, organized on July 4, 1876, formed Company A of the Second Regiment of Infantry, Texas Volunteer Guard, in 1890. In that year it was known as the Travis Rifles, though the preceding year it had been known as the Austin Greys.

Frank Brown, Annals of Travis County and the City of Austin (MS, Frank Brown Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin). Constitution and By-Laws of the Travis Guards, Adopted March 1, 1840 (Austin: Cruger and Bonnell's Print, 1840). Travis Rifles Recollection (MS, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin, 1873). Marcus J. Wright, comp., and Harold B. Simpson, ed., Texas in the War, 1861–1865 (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1965).

Time Periods:

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

Anonymous, “Travis Guards and Rifles,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 19, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 7, 2018

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