Previous Lobby Exhibit

The American Civil War: Defense on the Texas Frontier

Before the war, a full 25% of the U.S. Army was stationed at forts in North Texas to defend the frontier from Indian attacks. The army’s reluctance to go on the offense greatly increased secessionist sentiment in the Lone Star State.

Engraved drawing depicts settlers in a fire fight with Indians. Prints & Photographs #0001 125 30 “Texas Settlers Pursuing the Indians,” The New York Illustrated News, April 18, 1861.

Prints & Photographs #0001 125 30 “Texas Settlers Pursuing the Indians,” The New York Illustrated News, April 18, 1861. View more detailed images of this print.

When the army left Texas after the war began, Texas organized emergency volunteer troops on the frontier. In 1862, the Confederate government drafted these troops and transferred them out of Texas. To replace them, the legislature created the Frontier Regiment, a militia organization of about 1000 men to patrol the line of settlement from the Red River to the Rio Grande.

The organization was renamed the Texas State Troops in 1863. The force was too small, poorly supplied, and undisciplined to be effective in fighting Indians, cattle rustlers, and outlaws who made constant attacks on frontier settlements. Nonetheless, Texas resisted all efforts by the Confederate government to transfer the force to the defense of the Texas coast.

Engraved drawing depicts Indians and Texans on horses shooting each other with rifles. Prints & Photographs #1998 001 11 30 “A Running Fight with Indians,”  J. W. Wilbarger’s Indian Depredations in Texas, 1890.

Prints & Photographs #1998 001 11 30 “A Running Fight with Indians,”  J. W. Wilbarger’s Indian Depredations in Texas, 1890.

Page last modified: February 21, 2014