Monday, September 5, 2011

Atascosa County and the Civil War - Part 3

Company E of the 36th Texas Marches to San Antonio

The regiment’s mustering place was a site on Salado Creek a few miles north of San Antonio. The company would not be officially formed until it reached the encampment. Was Captain Maverick there to lead them north or was that left to the local senior officer, Lieutenant Edward Walker?

On about the 21st of March 1862, the boys from Pleasanton would have gotten under way fairly early one morning (delayed by last minute requirements and prolonged goodbyes). Given the leadership of their older soldiers, the future Company E wouldn’t have had any problems with provisions or forage for the horses on the march north. They didn’t need to live off the land – they were from the land.

The hundred plus men, and pack mules, and wagons, and so on may have camped the first night about ten miles up the road and the second night at the customary Medina crossing. On the final day they probably rode through San Antonio (or did they swing a bit east of town?) on their way to camp. Surely they stopped for an hour or so. Some of the older men may have been surprised by the change in the town, the boisterous military and commercial activity. This was the biggest thing that had happened to the old place since the Mexican War.

Riding on northeast of town, the lead horsemen may have crested a rise in the low rolling terrain common to the area and seen in the distance orderly rows of tents set out in a number of squares. Around the 24th of March they pulled up at their allotted encampment at the burgeoning military installation on the Salado – the future 36th Texas Cavalry.

A man from Company G described his troop’s arrival on the Salado a little over two weeks later:

Got to the camp about 10 A M. Found 5 companies encamped here all cavalry and 2 or 3 infantry companies. Has quite a city like appearance.

Picked our place to camp and unsaddled our horses got our dinner and fixed our traps etc away. . . . We were all formed in line on foot and each man was called for, his name and age carefully noted. 1

One of the five companies encamped there on the Salado that day, four miles from San Antonio, was Captain Maverick’s Company E.

Peter Cavanaugh Woods

When the Civil War broke out, Dr. Peter C. Woods, a prominent San Marcos man, raised a company of cavalry primarily from Hays County. Dr. Woods was born in Shelbyville, Tennessee, and in 1851 he and his wife emigrated to Texas. They moved to San Marcos in 1853 where in addition to his medical practice he established himself as a planter.

About the same time as Company E was starting to come together in Pleasanton, early in March 1862, the 42-year-old Captain Woods and his company of cavalrymen headed south for the rendezvous point on Salado Creek near San Antonio, probably arriving in the middle of the month. There they were mustered into Confederate service on March 22nd. And two days later, just about the time the Pleasanton men were riding into camp, Captain Woods submitted a muster roll of his company who “furnished their own horses and arms” to his superior:

Camp Woods on the Salado
24th March, A D 1862

To Adjt. Gen. of the State of Texas

I would respectfully report that I have a Company of Mounted Volunteers now in camp near San Antonio who were mustered into service of the Confederate States for the War on the 22nd day of March, A D 1862. Called into service by Col. H.E. McCulloch Command Western Department of the State of Texas. Names as follows, to wit:
[Then followed a company muster roll of 80 men.] 2

As this regiment was made up of state volunteers, they were called into service by Governor Lubbock; as the military leader of the area, Henry McCulloch, in the midst of enrolling and organizing his Frontier Regiment, was the designated military authority in the area.3

The Regiment is Formed

Carl Duaine’s book, The Dead Men Wore Boots, is a treasure of information about the regiment: its personnel, its movements, and its admirable commander. Especially rewarding is the full muster roll the author (I’m guessing) compiled showing seven to eight items of information about each trooper. The regiment’s ten companies (A through K, with no J), were recruited from the counties within a fifty mile radius of San Antonio. The muster roll lists 1,147 men, and Duaine says another 40 should probably be added. A different compilation finds that Colonel Woods had 823 troops by mid-September 1862.4

The regiment’s first formal military organizations were:
- August to December 1862: the Sub-district of the Rio Grande, District of Texas, Trans-Mississippi Department; and
- December 1862 to January 1863: the District of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, Trans-Mississippi Department.5

In Duaine’s compilation the regiment was “Mobilized April, 1862” and one official document listing “Field and Staff” of “Woods’ 36 Tex, Cav.” it says “Orgd June 1/62.”6 And an interesting note is that some of the documents, probably when they reached the National Archives after the war, were stamped: “Record Division – Rebel Archives – War Department.” Probably all of the Confederate states’ extant official documents had become property of the U.S. Government.

Next time: The 36th Texas Regimental Elections . . .

Purgason, Howard. Calvin Turner, Texas Ranger
1. Smith, Thomas. C.. Here's Yer Mule, 2-4
2. Duaine, Carl L.. The Dead Men Wore Boots, 21, 96-109;
National Archives, Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who
Served in Organizations From the State of Texas. Roll M323, hereafter cited
as National Archives; Handbook of Texas Online, s.v.,
3. National Archives; Smith, David Paul. Frontier Defense in the Civil Wars, 44-45
4. Oates, Stephen B.. Confederate Cavalry West of the River, 44
5. Sifakis, Stewart. Compendium of the Confederate Armies, 93
6. National Archives; Duaine, Carl L.. The Dead Men Wore Boots, 115

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