The Life Record of H. W. Graber by H. W. Graber Terry’s Texas Rangers by L. B. Giles Reminiscences of the Terry Rangers by J. K. P. Blackburn Diary of Ephraim Shelby Dodd by Ephraim Shelby Dodd
The Texas Rangers-the renowned cavalry of the Confederacy in the west
This special Leonaur edition contains four fascinating accounts of the American Civil War as it was fought by the southern men of the 8th Texas Cavalry, known as Terry’s Texas Rangers. This volunteer regiment was assembled by Benjamin Terry in the late summer of 1861. Each man was required to provide his own weapons and equipment—the army supplied his horse. Though elected colonel, Terry’s career was soon terminated when he was killed at Woodsonville, Kentucky in September of 1861. The Rangers went on to fight at Shiloh, Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, the Atlanta Campaign and as raiders under Nathan Bedford Forrest. They also formed part of Johnston’s force in the attempt to slow Sherman’s march to the sea. It is believed that Terry’s Texas Rangers delivered the last charge of the Army of Tennessee at Bentonville in 1865. Notably, the regiment never formally surrendered to the Union and following the collapse of the Southern cause its men simply slipped homewards individually or in small groups. The troopers of this very experienced cavalry regiment became renowned as ‘shock troops’ and were considered collectively the finest mounted regiment in the western theatre of the war. These first- hand perspectives and an historical overview offer essential and comprehensive reading for all students of the American Civil War.
Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.
We heard the mail train whistle, from below, when it reached Franklin, and nothing of any other train, waiting until between three and four o’clock in the evening. I became satisfied that we were going to be caught in a trap and so told Gordon, insisting on leaving there, but Gordon refused to listen; he had just about sense enough to lose what he had. Finally, between three and four o’clock we heard the train, and immediately took position by the side of the track, having nineteen men for the fight, two of the men remaining with our horses, in the rear.
All that could get trees for shelter, within twenty feet of the track took position behind trees, while eight of us, unable to find trees convenient, laid down flat on the ground. Very soon the train came up, turning a bend in the road about a half mile below us. The engineer, to fool us, put on more steam, making us think that they were entirely ignorant of our presence, and stopped right at the place we had shifted the rail. Soon they were right on us and began firing with about three hundred muskets, killing seven of our party, who were lying on the ground and jumped up, and badly wounding me, but the balance of our party, eleven strong, behind trees, with six-shooters, drove those fellows off the train on to the other side of the track.
There the commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel (Blank), succeeded in forming about a hundred men in line in about twenty minutes, so he stated to me at the hospital at Bowling Green, where he made me a visit about a week after, furthermore stating that, he believed if we had had about twenty-five more men we would have gotten his train. It seems that this was the first time these people were ever under fire and when under the impression that we had three hundred of Morgan’s men, they were no doubt demoralized at the noise of their own guns.
The citizen at whose house we watered our horses at the branch had spied out our exact location on the railroad, a desolate place, where Morgan’s cavalry had captured a train before. He went to Franklin, where he met the train from the army, reported three hundred of Morgan’s men, when they ran the train back to Gallatin, Tennessee, unloaded the mails and express freight and took this regiment aboard, also notifying other trains that we were on the road, which caused their delay.
While the Federals were jumping off the train on the other side, we fell back to our horses, mounting, leaving the horses belonging to the men that were killed; not knowing at the time just who was left behind. I was able to run back and mount my own horse, with the assistance of a comrade. We hurried out of there, taking the road by which we had come, by this Union man’s house, where I stopped to get me a drink of water. I had just been relieved of my pistol belt, and had grown very weak and faint from the loss of blood, which had collected in my boots, and was about to fall from the horse when I was caught by a comrade.
Someone called out, “Here they come!” This aroused me. I made them hand me my pistols. We drew up in line in the lane and saw a party in the edge of the timber. Drawing our pistols we waved them at them and urged them to come on, which they didn’t do. We soon discovered that they were only parties from the train who had found our dead men’s horses and were afraid to come forward.
We now continued our march on this country road about eight or ten miles. I became too weak to travel and, satisfied that being encumbered with me would cause them all to get captured or killed, I insisted on their leaving me, believing that I was done for, anyway.
We soon reached a Mr. White’s (a humble log house) who had two sons in Breckenridge’s Brigade, and had with him his wife and daughter. He was an ardent Southern man and promised my comrades that I should have every attention, if left with them. Before leaving, I begged them to let me keep my pistols, which they failed to do, thinking it was best to leave me disarmed, as it proved to be.
My comrades then proceeded in haste to get out of that neighbourhood and made for the Cumberland River, our main army then being near Chattanooga. In about an hour a citizen doctor came to see me and filled my wound full of cotton, in order to check the bleeding, saying that this was all that he could do for me; he had to hurry back home, lest he was caught giving me his attention, believing his neighbours would hang him and burn his family out of house and home, as this section of the country was inhabited by a desperate, vindictive Union people.
During the evening a young man called and claimed to be a good Rebel, saying that he had an uncle, who was also a good friend of the South, living up in the mountains, and if he could succeed in taking me there, that I would be perfectly safe. He arranged with me to come that night, with a hack, and take me to his uncle’s, which he failed to do.
Mr. White’s house was a double log house, a room at each end, with about a ten-foot hall in between, but no porch in front, a step at each room, leading out into the yard and heavy batten doors covering the door opening. Old Mr. White occupied a bed in the room with me, while his wife and daughter occupied a room at the other end. They had improvised a cot for me, in the middle of the room, so they could get around it. They used wick and tallow lamps for lights, which created a bad smell in the room and annoyed me a great deal, as I had considerable fever.
Sometime after midnight I begged the old man to extinguish his lamp, and very soon thereafter, I heard voices in the yard and immediately a pounding on the door with the butt end of a gun. The reader can imagine my feelings; I was satisfied they were Tories and my time had come. I would then have given a kingdom for my pistols and, no doubt, would have opened on them as they came in. They called and demanded of the old man to open the door quick. He told them to wait until he could strike a light, which he did. I was in position, from where I lay, to notice them coming in and to my great relief, saw a lieutenant and ten men in uniform, passing around me.
Here was one time I was glad to see the Federal uniform. When they got up to my bunk, I feigned sleep and listened to what they had to say. The lieutenant asked the old man if I was badly hurt. He told him to turn down the sheet and he could judge for himself, when the lieutenant expressed his surprise and said, “I’m afraid we won’t be able to move him.” Now I concluded it was my time to say something. I opened my eyes and feigned bewilderment, looking up at them. The lieutenant asked, “Are you hurt much, sir?” I told them no, I did not think I was, and couldn’t understand why I had been left there.