In the winter of 1862 Col. Charles DeMorse of Red River County, Texas, received permission from the Confederate government to raise a cavalry regiment. DeMorse assembled and organized ten companies at Clarksville in July 1862 to form the Twenty-ninth Texas Cavalry. The men who composed the regiment came from an array of places, primarily Collin, Denton, Grayson, Lamar, Fannin, and Red River counties in North Texas, with a small number from Bexar and Polk counties farther south.
The commander, Charles DeMorse, had come to Texas from New York with Edwin Morehouse's Battalion to fight in the Texas Revolution. Soon after arriving in Texas, DeMorse joined the Texas Navy as a first lieutenant aboard the Independence at Galveston and received formal military training from Albert Sidney Johnston. After the war, DeMorse practiced law in Matagorda and eventually moved to Austin where he published a daily newspaper. Several Texas congressmen from the Red River district asked him to relocate to Clarksville and publish a newspaper there. The Northern Standard became the largest newspaper in North Texas, from which DeMorse aired his strong secessionist views prior to the war. During the war he used the Standard to raise his regiment and to send instructions to his men when he was absent from them.
By mid-October 1862 the regiment started training under DeMorse at Camp Davis just northeast of Clarksville and at Camp Sidney Johnston near Paris, Texas. Along with Colonel DeMorse, the regiment was led by Lt. Col. Otis G. Welch and Maj. Joseph Carroll. Companies were commanded by captains T. W. Daugherty (Alton), Nick Wilson (Pilot Point), James Clark (Clarksville), William T. Gunn, John Harman (Pattonville), Matt Daugherty (Denton), L. H. Norwood (Clarksville), W. J. T. Littlejohn (Champion Springs), William A. Brown (Weston), W. R. Elliott (Clarksville), A. C. Warren (Champion Springs), and later Thomas R. Wilson and lieutenants R. P. Duty (Clarksville) and F. M. Bounds (Champion Springs). The unit remained in Texas until the spring of 1863 to defend settlers against Indian raids and to protect North Texas from a possible Federal invasion or Unionist activities. In March 1863 DeMorse received orders to move his regiment to the Indian Territory to join Brig. Gen. Douglas H. Cooper's Mounted Indian Brigade. The Twenty-ninth fought alongside Col. Stand Watie and other Confederate Indians to defend the Indian Territory. Their first major engagement occurred on July 17, 1863, at Honey Springs, fifteen miles south of Fort Gibson. The men felt their first sting of defeat in the battle but gained a good reputation as the Texans volunteered to leave the field last, protecting Cooper's supply line so it would not be overrun. The regiment suffered the biggest wound to its pride, because it had been defeated by a Union force that contained a significant number of black troops.
By autumn of 1863 the Twenty-ninth Texas Cavalry grudgingly obeyed orders to transfer to the newly-formed Gano's Brigade, composed of inexperienced regiments. As part of Gano's Brigade, the Twenty-ninth fought the Union Army in Poison Spring and Camden, Arkansas, in the spring of 1864 and thwarted the northern branch of the Red River campaign. During the battle of Poison Spring, the Texans exacted their revenge against African-American soldiers. Later that fall, the men fought again in the Indian Territory by participating in a large raid that culminated in the Second Battle of Cabin Creek, where the Twenty-ninth Texas and the rest of Gano's Brigade either captured or destroyed 1.5 million dollars worth of supplies.
Early in 1865 the Twenty-ninth Cavalry was ordered south to Louisiana and at Natchitoches was assigned to Walker's Texas Division. They were dismounted with the rest of the cavalry units of their brigade and were ordered to march to Hempstead, Texas. Arriving in Hempstead in April 1865, they learned of the end of hostilities and soon officially disbanded.
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Anne J. Bailey and Daniel E. Sutherland, eds., Civil War Arkansas: Beyond Battles and Leaders (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2000). Mark Christ, ed., Rugged and Sublime: The Civil War in Arkansas (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1994). Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Texas, National Archives and Records Service, Washington. Bradford K. Felmly and John C. Grady, Suffering to Silence: 29th Texas Cavalry, C.S.A. (Quanah, Texas: Nortex Press, 1975). Ludwell H. Johnson, Red River Campaign: Politics and Cotton in the Civil War (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1958). Robert L. Kerby, Kirby Smith's Confederacy: The Trans-Mississippi South, 1863–1865 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1972). Richard B. McCaslin, Tainted Breeze: The Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas 1862 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1994). Ernest Wallace, Charles DeMorse (Lubbock: Texas Tech Press, 1943; new ed., Paris, Texas: Wright Press, 1985). Ralph A. Wooster, Lone Star Regiments in Gray (Austin: Eakin Press, 2002).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Charles D. Grear and Steven P. Salyer,
“Twenty-Ninth Texas Cavalry,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 26, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
April 11, 2011
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: