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Texas Tip Tuesday: Civil War in Texas

Posted by on June 28, 2011

This year is the sesquicentennial of the beginning of the Civil War.

To find out more about Texas in the Civil War check out the Texas State Libraries and Archives Commission’s (TSLAC) electronic exhibit “Under the Rebel Flag: Life in Texas During the Civil War.”  The Handbook of Texas Online has multiple entries as a search on “civil war” will show you.  In addition, you can check out the Texas Civil War Map of Battles.

When you start writing that family history narrative, check out this Texas Civil War Regimental Histories Bibliography for the embellishment of first hand accounts.

Of course, Wikipedia has an entry for Texas in the American Civil War.  They also have regiment links – here’s the main link for all states, a list of regiments by army, by state.

The overwhelming majority of the Secession Convention delegates voted to secede.  The Governor at that time voted to secede but wanted to be an independent republic as we were before rather than join the Confederate states.  When it came time to actually take the oath of allegiance he refused to join in.  As the TSLAC electronic exhibit “Under the Rebel Flag: Life in Texas During the Civil War” describes it:

“Sam Houston ignored repeated demands that he take the oath [of loyalty to the CSA]. He told his wife, “Margaret, I will never do it.” On March 15, Houston refused a final ultimatum [by remaining silent as his name was called three times]. The [secession] convention then declared the office of the governor vacant and swore in Lieutenant Governor Edward Clark as the first Confederate governor of Texas.”

There are several estimates about how much of the population was opposed – anywhere from 25% to 30%.  It’s a graphic associated with this that caught my attention at IGHR when this map was briefly shown indicating how the then-counties voted regarding secession.  I have a large amount of German ancestry and Germans comprised a large part of the dissenters.  German immigrants had started arriving in Texas in large numbers in the 1830s to develop a “utopia,” since Texas (of course) is the “paradise of North America” as Carl von Solms-Braunfels described it.  Some Germans did what they could as Union sympathizers but the Battle of the Nueces ensued.  Although many opposed joining the CSA, many felt the need to defend their state when the actual fighting began…if they hadn’t already gone West or to Mexico.

There’s more to be said about this and I haven’t done it justice.  But check out the further reading resources at TSLAC.  I can’t speak to any of these but they’re going on my list and as soon as I’ve read one, I’ll give you a review.


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