Twentieth Texas Cavalry

By: Matthew K. Hamilton

Type: General Entry

Published: April 9, 2011

Updated: April 7, 2021

The Twentieth Texas Cavalry was recruited and organized in Hill County, Texas, during the spring and summer of 1862. The unit was organized into ten companies of 850 officers and men that were primarily recruited from the counties of Anderson, Navarro, Kaufman, Henderson, Johnson, and Limestone. The original commanding officer of the regiment was Col. Thomas Coke Bass of Sherman, a Mississippi native and outspoken secessionist. The other field officers of the regiment were lieutenant colonels Andrew J. Fowler and Thomas D. Taliaferro and majors Dempsey W. Broughton and John R. Johnson.

The Twentieth Texas Cavalry was assigned to the Trans-Mississippi Department and served almost entirely in the Indian Territory where it was confronted by Union forces. At times, it was the only non-Indian Confederate unit operating in the Indian Territory. The Twentieth Cavalry took part in more than thirty various engagements throughout the war in both the Indian Territory and Arkansas, the latter where it served on occasion.

During its career, the Twentieth Cavalry served under numerous higher commands. From September to December 1862 the unit was part of Cooper's Brigade, Roane's Division, Army of the West. During this time, the unit participated in its first actions in Arkansas at the battle of Prairie Grove on December 7, 1862. Beginning in January 1863 the unit was moved to the Indian Territory as part of Cabell's Brigade, Steele's Division, District of Arkansas. From April 30 to December 31, 1863, the unit served as part of Cooper's Brigade, Steele's Division, District of the Indian Territory. Throughout 1863 the Twentieth participated in numerous actions in the Indian Territory, including actions at Fort Gibson, Tahlequah, Greenleaf Prairie, Cabin Creek, Honey Springs, and Perryville. The action at Honey Springs on July 17, 1863, was a particularly interesting engagement, because White soldiers were a minority on both sides. The Confederate forces were, besides the Twentieth, primarily made up of Native Americans, while the Union forces comprised primarily African-American soldiers.

Beginning in September 1863 the Twentieth was moved from the Indian Territory to Arkansas to take part in operations against Union Maj. Gen. Fredrick Steele's Little Rock campaign. On September 10 some of the unit was captured at an engagement at Bayou Fourche outside of Little Rock. The rest of the unit retreated south towards Arkadelphia. By December 1863 the unit was back in the Indian Territory where it remained until March 1864.

In March 1864 the Twentieth returned to Arkansas to assist in operations against Union Major General Steele's Camden campaign. Steele's objective was to move south from Little Rock towards Camden in an effort to link up with Gen. Nathanial P. Banks's forces that were moving north from New Orleans. From March 23 to May 3, 1864, the Twentieth took part in every engagement of the Camden campaign including actions at Prairie D'Ane, Jenkins' Ferry, Poison Springs, and Marks' Mills.

After aiding in the successful defense against Steele's Camden campaign, the unit returned to service in the Indian Territory for the remainder of the war. From September 30 to its surrender on June 23, 1865, the Twentieth operated unattached to a brigade but part of Cooper's Indian Division, Army of the Trans-Mississippi. During this time the unit saw action at Prior Creek, Fort Gibson, Cabin Creek, and Boggy Station. On June 23, 1865, the Twentieth Texas Cavalry Regiment was included in the surrender of Confederate Indian troops at Doaksville in the Indian Territory.

Joseph H. Crute, Jr., Units of the Confederate States Army (Midlothian, Virginia: Derwent, 1987). Richard G. Lowe, Walker's Texas Division, C.S.A.: Greyhounds of the Trans-Mississippi (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2004). Stewart Sifakis, Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Texas (New York: Facts on File, 1995). John F. Walter, "Histories of Texas Units in the Civil War," Ms., Historical Research Center, Texas Heritage Museum, Hill College, Hillsboro, Texas, 1981.

Time Periods:

  • Civil War

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

Matthew K. Hamilton, “Twentieth Texas Cavalry,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 05, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 9, 2011
April 7, 2021

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