The Boys Go To War

This is a story about two brothers and their friends living in Central Texas that joined the Texas Volunteers to fight for their State and the Confederacy in the War Between The States - the War of Secession - the Civil War. I like the term “The Late Unpleasantness”. It was also called “The Southern Aggression” and “The Northern Aggression” and by many other names. Most of the parents of these young men did not want them to go to war. The elders had settled in central Texas to get away from strife and conflict - WAR.

However, young men wanted adventure. Most of them volunteered before the Confederate conscription act was passed and then all the able bodied men were enlisted. Thousands went to the eastern theater of operations, but thousands more fought west of the Mississippi. Texas furnished over seven percent of the fighting men of the eleven Confederate States. Unknown hundreds of Texas men and boys also went north to fight for the Union. The War Between the States actually began three months before Charleston, South Carolina, when Federal Army General Twiggs surrendered the U. S. Army to the Knights of the Golden Circle on the Main Plaza in San Antonio, Texas. Federal Army Lt. Colonel Robert E. Lee arrived a few hours after the surrender and found he could do nothing to stop that treason. These fellows (the Boys) were never given uniforms. They were distinguished by their coarse pants, shirts, big wide hats, and boots. About half were called Infantry and the other half were enlisted as Mounted Infantry. The mounted men called themselves Cavalry. They had to furnish their own mounts and those horses were proud personal possessions. They also had to furnish their own horse furniture and weapons. When they lost any of these personal things most had to send home for replacements. The Texas Government and the Western Confederacy were not prepared for a war or to outfit an army and even had a difficult time feeding the troops and their animals most of the time.

Texas was the lifeline of the Confederacy with the Cotton trade. Cotton was the Confederacy's only real wealth. Texas however was treated like an unwanted relative by the leaders in Virginia. Early in the war the Confederacy lost the New Mexico campaign because of inept leaders. In the waning months of the war the Confederacy won the Louisiana Red River Campaign, and the last battle of the Civil War in Texas near Brownsville against all odds and superior forces through the efforts of brilliant leaders. However, Texas and her contribution to the war have always been treated as of no major significance by the Confederate powers in Virginia and later historians. The Boys, now men, struggled home after the senseless war was over in ragged clothing and half starved. Texas had to start all over again and Sam Houston was dead.

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Copyright © 2012 Edwin W. Mergele
Last Updated: August 22, 2012