To the Chivalry of Texas

Wanted: Soldiers for the Confederate Army

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by Tom Wancho, Exhibit Planner

“Brave Sons of Texas, the South is invaded by more than half a million of fanatical mercenaries. All that is dear to us is at stake. There will be nothing to live for if we are conquered! There is no help for us but in hard fighting! Who will refuse to take part in the glorious strife?”     November 1, 1861

At the beginning of the Civil War, the northern Union states had a population of 22 million and an army of 2,128,948. By contrast, the South’s population was approximately nine million, of which almost four million were enslaved. The Confederate army had just 1,082,119 soldiers in their charges, including 90,000 Texans.

Outnumbered nearly two-to-one, the South was in constant recruitment mode during the war. Issued in Chappell Hill, near Brenham, Texas, To The Chivalry of Texas is a printed call to form a cavalry. Each man was asked to “furnish his own horse, the best he can procure; two suits of winter clothing; a bowie knife, and the best fire-arms he can obtain: if possible, a double-barrel shotgun, and six shooter.” In return the men would receive “$150 a year for the man, and $150 a year for the horse.”

The men who responded to this call were joining a regiment of lancers – mounted soldiers armed with lances. Lancers were in short supply, and in the fall of 1861, George Washington Carter, former president of Soule University in Chappell Hill, obtained permission to form a regiment to be called Carter's Lancers.

At the time, Chappell Hill held an annual jousting tournament which may have contributed to Carter's determination to form a regiment of lancers. By March 1862, so many men had responded to Carter's call that he had to organize them into three regiments. Carter commanded the 21st Texas Cavalry, or 1st Texas Lancers. The 24th Texas Cavalry (2nd Texas Lancers) was commanded by Franklin Wilkes, while Clayton Gillespie took the 25th Texas Cavalry (3rd Texas Lancers). Carter's group was the only one to remain a mounted cavalry unit, though without the lances as those never materialized.

The 21st Texas Cavalry attached themselves to a brigade commanded by Colonel William Henry Parsons and participated in John Marmaduke's invasion of Missouri in April 1863. They then helped chase the Union army on its retreat down the Red River in 1864. The 21st participated in its last battle at Yellow Bayou on May 18, 1864, and disbanded in Texas in the spring of 1865.

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To the Chivalry of Texas Artifact from Chappell Hill, Texas
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