The Lone Star State's forte was cavalry, reflecting perhaps the cowboy and vaquero heritage of Texas. There were more regiments of horse soldiers from Texas than any other state; Texas' reputation for equestrian skill and audacity became legendary.
The most famous - and perhaps the most valorous - was formed near Houston in the summer of 1861 by Benjamin Franklin Terry, a popular leader of Fort Bend County. Both his grandfathers had served as officers in the American Revolutionary war. Over a thousand volunteers responded to the call; each was required to provide their own carbine or shotgun, a colt revolver, a bowie knife and tack. The men came from counties across the Coastal Plains as far west as Victoria and Gonzales, and reflected the exceptional
horsemanship of the great cattle ranches and plantations of the era.
Although officially named the 8th Texas Cavalry Regiment, the rangers were always known as Terry's Texas Rangers, in part to honor the founder, who died leading the first cavalry charge after the Texans had joined the Army of Tennessee. Terry's Texas Rangers served in dozens of battles and raids throughout the war, first in Kentucky near Fort Donelson, and then with exceptional distinction at the epic battle of Shiloh, across Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. The list of engagements includes Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Atlanta and the Rangers lead the final charge of the Army of Tennessee at Bentonville.
The majority of survivors slipped through union lines near Durham Station, North Carolina. After the final culmination of the war at Appomattox, the brave men of Terry's Texas Rangers returned home - having never officially surrendered.
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