Ben McCulloch to Clark, April 14, 1861

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Ben McCulloch originally came to Texas in 1836 at age 24 to join family friend David Crockett. Arriving too late to meet Crockett at the Alamo (and share his fate), McCulloch joined Sam Houston's army and commanded one the famed Twin Sisters cannons at the Battle of San Jacinto. In his lifetime, he would serve in several political offices, but his enduring fame is as a soldier. During the Republic of Texas era, he gained a reputation as an Indian fighter and scout, playing a key role in border skirmishes with the Mexicans. During the Mexican War, he served as Zachary Taylor's chief of scouts and became nationally known for his exciting reconnaissance expeditions into Mexico. McCulloch set off for the California gold fields after the war, but failed to strike it rich. In the 1850s, he was a U.S. marshall in East Texas, and also traveled to Utah as a peace commissioner to help prevent hostilities between the U.S. and the Mormon church.

When Texas seceded from the Union in 1861, Ben McCulloch was appointed a brigadier general in the Confederate army. He led the seizure of the federal arsenal in San Antonio, then was assigned command of Indian Territory. Operating out of Little Rock, Arkansas, he began to build the Army of the West, establishing vital alliances with Indian tribes in present-day Oklahoma. McCulloch was killed in battle at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, on March 7, 1862.

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McCulloch to Clark, page 1

Montgomery April 14

His Excellency

Gov Clark of Texas


I have to leave

in great haste to take

comd of the Indian Terri

tory. N. of Texas & S. of Kansas,

with two Regs of Mounted

men, one from Texas, the

other from Ark, one Reg

of Infantry from La. &

two of Indians, this

will protect our northern border

& consequently I had to accept, though I

would have preferred going to Va at present.

I have given all the

information necessary

for the procurement of

ammunition for our

State. 2000 of the arms

at San Antonio are

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Ben McCulloch to Clark, April 14, 1861, Records of Edward Clark, Texas Office of the Governor, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: March 30, 2011