3rd Regiment, Texas Cavalry (South Kansas-Texas Mounted Volunteers)
The Third Texas Cavalry Regiment was recruited by Elkanah Greer, a farmer from Marshall, in Harrison County. It was organized in Dallas on June 13, 1861, and mustered into Confederate service at Dallas on June 13, 1861. Greer was elected Colonel, Walter Paye Lane from Harrison County was Lt Colonel and George W. Chilton from Smith County was elected Major. From this regiment came three brigadier generals; Greer, Lane and Ector.
By August the unit headed into the Indian Territory to fight for General McCullogh in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. Their first battle was at Wilson's Creek, Missouri, where they woke on the 10th of August 1861 to the sound of cannon fire of Union artillery and seeing Union troops advancing. Though the regiment was thoroughly surprised and was initially raddled, it managed to regroup. The Confederate forces drove the Union forces back to Springfield, but failed to follow and crush them. The regiment lost 6 killed, 23 wounded and 6 missing.
The 3rd’s next battle was in the Indian Territories at Chustenahlah with a five company detachment, led by Lt Colonel Lane, on December 26, 1861. This was the first time the 3rd fought with the 6th and 9th Texas Cavalries, but it was not their last. The Southern force quickly overcame a Union Indian force and ended Union control of the IT for a couple of years, but the units did suffer some hunger and extreme cold. The 3rd lost Lt Durham and 4 others.
Next the unit fought at Elkhorn Tavern until General Van Dorn decided to retreat his forces after losing three senior officers and running short of ammunition. The 3rd had been in reserve and did not lose a man. Col. Greer was the commander of the western side of the battle after the deaths of two generals and the capture of the senior Colonel and did not learn this till late in the day. He sent runners to Van Dorn’s command and offered to fight on, but it was too late.
In April 1862 General Van Dorn decided to dismount all Texas cavalry to fight as Infantry. In May the Regiment reorganized and R. H. Cumby was elected Colonel. Lt Colonel Lane resigned because he did not want to lead Infantry. H. P. Mabry was elected Lt Colonel and J.J.A Barker was made Major. Because Cumby was ill, Lane stayed until Cumby could command. The regiment’s next serious event was deception in covering the evacuation of Corinth. It went well except for the loss of Major Barker, who on his horse became a main target and a few others.
At the Battle of Iuka, Mississippi, the 3rd ran head on into a Union division and lost 22 men killed and 74 wounded, of the 388 men who were engaged. Captain Green of Co. I was killed. Three other company commanders and Col. Mabry, who had assumed command when Lane left, received wounds and were captured. Two were quickly released by signing their paroles and were returned to their unit. Mabry and one Lieutenant refused to sign the parole because it referred to the “So called Confederacy”. They were paroled a year later. The unit retreated by order of Van Dorn and the units continued to work toward Corinth. At Corinth and Hatchie Bridge on October 3-5th, the unit did not get into the battle as they were to far back in the reserve.
In December after being remounted in late October 1862, the 3rd was attached to a new brigade. This force to be led by Col. Whitfield of the 27th Texas Cavalry Regiment was made up of the 3rd, 6th, 9th and 27th Texas Cavalries. Their first operation was a raid to Holly Springs Union Supply Depot, and was led by an acting brigade commander, John Summerfield Griffith of the 6th with Lt Col Jiles Boggess leading the 3rd. The 3rd was detailed to seal off the town square, and hold it. This they did well. Boggess was the only commander able to control his troops when looting broke out. This raid led by General Van Dorn would be one of the best from the standpoint of it value and it strategic importance. The raid continued on into Tennessee where troops destroyed the railroad track and did its best to disrupt the communications of Grant. Following this the regiment returned to Grenada. Coupled with General Forest’s raid in Tennessee Grant’s march toward Vicksburg was slowed for many months and the war delayed for almost a year.
Next the regiment went with General Van Dorn's Corps into Tennessee. As part of Whitfield's Brigade they assisted in the destruction of a Union cavalry regiment at Thompson's Station. Major Stone was the commander during this period due to Lt Colonel Boggess extended leave and Colonel Mabry still being in Union hands. They fought several other skirmishes before Van Dorn was killed by a jealous husband. Following this the corps was disbanded and the brigade returned to hopefully to help at Vicksburg, Mississippi. The unit was deployed in picket and guard duty, while a detachment of the 6th and the 3rd Mississippi led by Ross went to eastern Tennessee to stop a Union raid.
As part of Jackson's Division they were assigned in Big Black River area between Jackson and Vicksburg, Mississippi as a part of General Joseph Johnston's Army for the relief of Vicksburg. Before this could happen General Pemberton surrendered and Vicksburg was lost. Next they were part of the defense of Jackson, Mississippi and the subsequent evacuation and escape of Johnston's Army. Sherman’s Army was over 65,000 men.
The 3rd remained along the Big Black River conducting small harassment raids in the Vicksburg area. Morale suffered during this period, due to Whitfield’s health. Colonel Mabry was the acting Brigade Commander for a short period, until he was transferred to General Forest’s Division. In December General Sul Ross became commander of the Texas Cavalry Brigade. The regiment began to find new life. They took part in smuggling several thousand rifles across the Mississippi under Union noises. Under Ross none of the regiments rested nor did the Union units along the Mississippi.
The Brigade operated along the Big Black and Yazoo Rivers in west central Mississippi. In February 1864 the Brigade tried to stop Sherman's moves in Mississippi, but was only able to harass such a large force. The regiment was more successful in repelling attempts by Union regiments and river forces to capture Yazoo City. In May they moved into northern Alabama to suppress Unionism and to collect deserters.
May 15, 1864, the brigade was assigned to the left flank of General Johnston's Army and began to skirmish almost daily for the next one hundred days. One regiment would come off the line and another would take its place. Because of the daily fighting, the regiments slowly lost men until they began collapsing units, joining two companies together. Not all men were killed. Many wounded and were left in homes and hospitals across Georgia. From its arrival in Rome, Georgia on May 12th, until the siege of Atlanta began on July 9th fighting and rain did not stop for any extended period. During the siege they fought several sharp engagements at Lovejoy's Station, Flat Shoals, Brown's Mill and Newman, Georgia.
While engaging with General McCook's Union Cavalry Corps the regiment with its strength about 300 was over run and 23 men were captured and the horse holders scattered and the horses were captured. This could have been a devastating defeat, were it not for the bravery of the men, the size of the enemy force, and the fact the unit came back together after being over run. Even Ross was captured for a short period. Had the enemy not been running in fear, they could have completely destroyed the Ross's Brigade. Most of the supplies, horses and captured men were retrieved and the Brigade was able to refit.
Within two weeks it happened again as Kilpatrick’s Union Division was placed in similar straits, but chose to charge over Ross with the 3rd and 27th. Again they on the edge of disaster. The 6th and 9th charged into the melee but to no avail. The 5000 man Union forces just moved through capturing horses and men, but not slowing down. The units were beginning to lack the manpower to take on big units. Many men and horses were recovered as Jackson’s other regiments chased the Union force back to Union Lines.
After the fall of Atlanta, the Brigade moved to attack Sherman's supply line on the railroad from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Following this they joined Hood's force for an attack at Franklin and Nashville, Tennessee. Here they were part of General Forest’s Corps, but they were not in the vanguard of the fighting. Following Hood's loss at Nashville, the regiment and brigade as part of Forest's Cavalry provided rear guard for the Army, thus allowing Hood to retreat back into Alabama. The Brigade moved back into Mississippi and was only involved in minor skirmished until the end of the war. The regimental strength was about two hundred men.
The Brigade was surrendered by Lieutenant General Richard Taylor, commanding the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana, at Citronelle, Alabama on May 4, 865. The regiment was released about the 15th. Major Stone was the acting commander and led the regiment home.
This history was taken from the Whitfield Ross Texas Cavalry Brigade site which is owned by this editor,
Companies in this Regiment with the Counties of Origin
Men often enlisted in a company recruited in the counties where they lived though not always. After many battles, companies might be combined because so many men were killed or wounded. However if you are unsure which company your ancestor was in, try the company recruited in his county first.
The following were elected company commanders by County and Company;
Thomas W. Winston, Harrison, Co. A;
Robert H. Cumby, Rusk, Co. B;
Francis M. Taylor, Cherokee, Co. C;
Stephen M. Hale, Hunt and Fannin, Co. D;
Daniel M. Short, St Augustine and Shelby, Co. E;
Isham Chism, Kaufman, Co. F;
Hinche P. Mabry, Marion, Co. G;
Jonathan L. Russell, Upshur, Co. H;
John Arthur Bryan, Cass, Co. I;
David Y. Gaines, Smith, Co. K.
(See David Hale’s book "Third Texas Cavalry", for better data and description of these captains.)
- Beginning United States Civil War Research gives steps for finding information about a Civil War soldier. It covers the major records that should be used. Additional records are described in ‘Texas in the Civil War’ and ‘United States Civil War, 1861 to 1865’ (see below).
- National Park Service, The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, is searchable by soldier's name and state. It contains basic facts about soldiers on both sides of the Civil War, a list of regiments, descriptions of significant battles, sources of the information, and suggestions for where to find additional information.
- Texas in the Civil War describes many Confederate and Union sources, specifically for Texas, and how to find them.. These include compiled service records, pension records, rosters, cemetery records, Internet databases, published books, etc.
- United States Civil War, 1861 to 1865 describes and explains United States and Confederate States records, rather than state records, and how to find them. These include veterans’ censuses, compiled service records, pension records, rosters, cemetery records, Internet databases, published books, etc.
- Barron, S. B. (Samuel Benton). The lone star defenders : a chronicle of the Third Texas Cavalry Ross' Brigade. (Bethesda, Maryland : University Publications of America, c1990), FHL Fiche 6082704
- Hale, Douglas. The Third Texas Cavalry in the Civil War. (Norman, Oklahoma : University of Oklahoma Press, 1993), FHL book 976.4 M2ha
- Kirk, Stephen S. Line of battle : Sul Ross' Brigade: 3rd Texas Cavalry, 6th Texas Cavalry, 9th Texas Cavalry, 27th Texas Cavalry. (Harrisonville, Missouri : Burnt District Press, c2012), FHL book 976.4 M2ksL
- Whitfield - Texas Cavalry Brigade A website dedicated to this brigade and the Texas Regiments, the 3rd. 6th, 9th and 27th Cavalry. The 27 is also known as the Legion, Whitfield's Legion or 1st Legion. This site contains history, rosters, biographies, and other details of the units.
Barron, Samuel D. The Lone Star Defenders: A Chronicle of the Third Texas Cavalry Regiment, Ross Brigade, 1906.
Cater, Douglas. As It Was: Reminiscences of a Soldier of the Third Texas Cavalry and the
Nineteenth Louisiana Infantry, 1990. (State House Press, 1990, ISBN: 0-938349-47-3.)
Crabb, Martha L., All Afire To Fight - The Untold Tale Of The Civil War's Ninth Texas Cavalry,
(Avon Books, 2000.)
Dornbush, Charles. Military Biography of the Civil War. Vol. 11.
Griscom, George L. Lieutenant, Adjutant, Fighting With Ross' Texas Cavalry Brigade, CSA,
A diary by Lt. Griscom. Hillsborough Press, Texas; 1976.
Hale , Douglas. The Third Texas Cavalry in the Civil War, 1993. (Norman, OK:
University of Oklahoma Press, 1993, ISBN: 0-8061-2462-8.)
Hewitt, Janet B., Editor, Texas Confederate Soldiers 1861 - 1865, Unit Roster Volume II,
(Wilmington, NC, Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1997.)