When the Civil War started it was hard to get a Texan to join other than a cavalry unit. British Lt. Col. Fremantle visited Texas, and observed that “it was found very difficult to raise infantry in Texas as no Texan walks a yard if he can help it.”
The 8th Texas Cavalry, commonly known as Terry’s Texas Rangers, pictured above, fought 275 battles across seven states. A Union Colonel described one Ranger attack this way:
“With lightning speed, under infernal yelling, great numbers of Texas Rangers rushed upon our whole force. They advanced as near as fifteen or twenty yards to our lines, some of them even between them, and then opened fire with rifles and revolvers.”
Fierce in battle, the Texans knew honor. During one engagement, a Union regiment managed to kill the Rangers’ beloved colonel. A year later the Rangers captured the Union commander of that regiment, now a general in charge of a Brigade. Wounded, the general received kind treatment, and was later quoted as saying he would “rather be a private in the Texas Rangers than a general in the Federal army.”
The Rangers were mighty sure of themselves, as well. Their chaplain wrote,
“Colonel Wharton has authorized me to say that he will not admit amateur fighters into the Regiment…. We want none but Texans.”
Well, I don’t suppose a Texan is a Texan if he isn’t just a bit cocky. In any case, the Rangers’ right to swagger had been earned.
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