In a speech to the Confederate senate on September 4, 1862, William Simpson Oldham condemned conscription with the argument that the draft was wrong under any circumstances.
During the Civil War, the Tennessee native turned the tables on Richmond insisting states’ rights took precedence even in wartime and repeatedly railed against what he called “the battering ram of executive influence.” Following the collapse of the Confederacy, Oldham went into exile in Mexico and later Canada before coming back to Texas in 1866. He died two years later in Houston of typhoid fever.
Hundreds of Texans wearing the rags of their once proud gray uniforms followed Gen. Jo Shelby and his fabled Iron Brigade across the Rio Grande after the fall of the Confederacy in the spring of 1865.
That’s the subject of the “This Week in Texas History” column for Wednesday, August 20 through Tuesday, August 26. Hope you read it in your local newspaper, but if not you can always get it by email with the private subscription available on this web site.
Two years after pulling off the slickest military trick of the Civil War and only two months before he was shot in the face and blinded by his own troops, “Stovepipe” Johnson was promoted to Confederate brigadier general on June 1, 1864.
Adam Rankin Johnson could have spent the last half century of his life feeling sorry for himself. Instead he founded the town of Marble Falls as well as several successful businesses. You can read his whole story in the “This Week in Texas History” column for Wednesday, May 28 through Tuesday, June 3 either in your local newspaper or with a private email subscription available on this web site.
With the Confederacy in ruins and Yankee occupation just over the horizon, on May 27, 1865 Gov. Pendleton Murrah called the legislature into special session in a futile attempt to adapt to the “new conditions of affairs.”
The last elected Confederate governor hoped to limit the price Texans would pay for fighting with the South, but the lawmakers were a no-show. Leaving Lt. Gov. Fletcher Stockdale in charge, Murrah joined the mass exodus to Mexico but his tuberculosis caught up with him in Monterrey on August 4, 1865.
Martin D. Hart, former member of the Texas state senate who started the Civil War as a Confederate captain but later switched sides, was captured by Rebel forces on January 20, 1863.
Hart made no bones about his Unionist sympathies and openly opposed secession. But, like many of his kind, he joined the Confederate army. Once in Missouri, however, he and his entire company changed uniforms and fought rearguard actions against their former comrades. Two days after his capture, Hart was court-martialed and hanged.
Andrew Jackson Hamilton, provisional governor of occupied Texas, warned conquered Confederates on September 11, 1865 against being misled by “the same deadly doctrines.”
An outspoken opponent of slavery and secession, Hamilton fought on the northern side in the Civil War. As the leader of the moderate wing of Republican Party in Texas, he butted heads with Edmund J. Davis, the Radical architect of Reconstruction, and reversed his position on giving the vote to the former slaves.
The “California Column” of 2,350 Union soldiers entered El Paso on August 29, 1862 after a 900-mile march in wool uniforms across the Southwestern desert in the searing summer heat.
The Californians never laid eyes on the Sibley Brigade, the Texas Confederates they had been sent to drive out of New Mexico. Sibley and his men already had retreated leaving The Column in complete control of El Paso and the Trans-Pecos for the rest of the Civil War.
On July 28, 1876, the Texas legislature passed a resolution of condolence in memory of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and the 260-plus men of the 7th Cavalry killed the previous month in the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Lawmakers tactfully omitted any mention of Custer’s role in the Reconstruction occupation of Texas or the fact that the famous “boy general” fought on the other side in the Civil War.