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Texas Divided

Texas Divided: Loyalty and Dissent in the Lone Star State, 1856-1874

Copyright Date: 1990
Edition: 1
Pages: 256
  • Book Info
    Texas Divided
    Book Description:

    The Civil War hardly scratched the Confederate state of Texas. Thousands of Texans died on battlefields hundreds of miles to the east, of course, but the war did not destroy Texas's farms or plantations or her few miles of railroads. Although unchallenged from without, Confederate Texans faced challenges from within -- from fellow Texans who opposed their cause. Dissension sprang from a multitude of seeds. It emerged from prewar political and ethnic differences; it surfaced after wartime hardships and potential danger wore down the resistance of less-than-enthusiastic rebels; it flourished, as some reaped huge profits from the bizarre war economy of Texas.

    Texas Dividedis neither the history of the Civil War in Texas, nor of secession or Reconstruction. Rather, it is the history of men dealing with the sometimes fragmented southern society in which they lived -- some fighting to change it, others to preserve it -- and an examination of the lines that divided Texas and Texans during the sectional conflict of the nineteenth century.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-4803-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction: Drawing the Line
    (pp. 1-5)

    The Civil War hardly scratched the Confederate state of Texas. Thousands of Texans died on battlefields hundreds of miles to the east, of course, but the war did not destroy Texas’s farms or plantations or her few miles of railroads. Her long border with Mexico neutralized the effect of the federal blockade on Texas, and the battles fought inside her borders were mere skirmishes compared to the sanguinary struggles in Virginia and Tennessee. Although unchallenged from without, Confederate Texans faced challenges from within—from fellow Texans who opposed their cause. Dissension sprang from a multitude of seeds. It emerged from...

  5. 1 Southern Vigilantism and the Sectional Conflict
    (pp. 6-17)

    During the night of September 13, 1860, a Fort Worth vigilance committee hanged a Methodist minister named Anthony Bewley for plotting to incite an insurrection among Texas slaves. Bewley was no meddling New England abolitionist, but a Tennessean who had spent his entire career working in the slave states of Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas. His nativity failed to save him, however, and in a letter to his family from a jail cell in Fayetteville, Arkansas, a week before his death, he seemed resigned to his fate: “I expect when they get us we will go the trip.” He protested that...

  6. 2 Antebellum Dissenters in Texas
    (pp. 18-32)

    Amelia Barr stood “on a vast plain, dark and lovely, with the black clouds low over it.” She waited in a pouring rain “with clasped hands” but “without the power to pray,” watching as “a great white arch grew out of the darkness . . . as high as heaven, and wide as the horizon.” Amelia “wondered at its beauty and majesty,” but soon a black line bisected the arch. The arch finally split in two and half of it collapsed, “amid groans and cries, far oft but terrible.” Then “aPresenceof great height” suddenly appeared, “dim and shadowy,...

  7. 3 The Confederate Unionists and the War
    (pp. 33-52)

    James W. Throckmorton begat a legend when he rose to cast his vote on the Texas secession ordinance in February 1861. “In the presence of God and my country—and unawed by the wild spirit of revolution around me,” he declared to the assembled delegates in the Austin convention, “I vote ‘no!’” When secessionist hisses drowned out the scattering of Unionist cheers in the gallery, Throckmorton added, “Mr. President, when the rabble hiss, well may patriots tremble!” Convention president O.M. Roberts finally quieted the noisy mixture of outrage at and admiration for Throckmorton’s courage, and the roll call continued. During...

  8. 4 Unionists as Dissenters
    (pp. 53-85)

    Austin Episcopalians fought a civil war in miniature five years before the batteries ringing Charleston Harbor silenced the guns of Fort Sumter. Despite the recent completion of a new church building, political dissension split the Church of the Epiphany into Unionist and states’ rights factions that ultimately led the former to break away in April 1856 and establish Christ Church. The seceding congregation called New England-born Charles Gillette, formerly a rector in Houston, to lead the Unionist flock. Gillette doubled the membership of his little congregation during the next few years, and when the Church of the Epiphany lost its...

  9. 5 Speculators, Deserters, and Bandits
    (pp. 86-105)

    Shortly after the southern defeats at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, Lt. Gen. E. Kirby Smith called the residents of his Trans-Mississippi Department “a lukewarm people, the touchstone to whose patriotism seems beyond my grasp.” They appeared to be “more intent upon the means of evading the enemy and saving their property than of defending their firesides.” Smith ordered the commander of the northern subdistrict of Texas, an area notorious fur its disaffection, to crack down on deserters and other disloyalists. “Any enemies in our midst who by their acts and public expressions clearly evince their disloyalty,” he wrote, “must be disposed...

  10. 6 Ethnic Texans and the War
    (pp. 106-127)

    At the end of his famous account of a “saddle-trip” through Texas in 1856, Frederick Law Olmsted summarized the “Regional Characteristics” of Texas and the prospects for settlement in West Texas. Geography and Indians would inhibit the expansion of cotton agriculture and of slavery, but perhaps more important, according to Olmsted, was the “incongruous foreign element of Mexicans and Germans” on the frontier, which would “hinder any rapid and extensive settlement of Western Texas by planters.” The Yankee tourist explained that neither of these ethnic groups participated in the slave economy. The Germans opposed slavery and often competed as craftsmen...

  11. 7 Loyalty and Reconstruction 1865-1874
    (pp. 128-152)

    When news of the evacuation of Richmond reached New Orleans in April 1865, a band of exiled Texas Tories celebrated the imminent end of the war at Victor’s Restaurant on Canal Street. A.J. Hamilton, Thomas H. DuVal, S.M. Swenson, George W. Brackenridge, and others feasted on wine, beef, crab, and sheepshead. These “very merry and patriotic” gentlemen thoroughly enjoyed the prospect of Confederate defeat. “Hurrah for the triumph of democracy vs aristocracy,” DuVal wrote in his diary, “of freedom o[’e]r slavery—ofthe peoplevs the Copperheads & secessionists.” DuVal’s “faith in the people,” temporarily shaken by his wartime experiences,...

  12. 8 Black Texans during Reconstruction
    (pp. 153-174)

    The Civil War and Reconstruction changed the lives of black Texans forever. Unfortunately for them, however, their futures lay largely in the hands of whites, who were at first hopelessly divided over what they should “do with” the newly freed blacks.¹ Their own expectations and ambitions heavily influenced how they would respond to black demands and needs. Suprisingly, one of the most generous attitudes expressed by a white Texan came from a Confederate veteran of the desperate fighting in the East. During his postsurrender trek back to Live Oak County, Capt. Samuel T. Foster encountered a group of black children...

  13. Epilogue: Nothing to Regret but Failure
    (pp. 175-180)

    When Edward King, a writer forScribner’s Monthly, toured Texas in 1874 researching his magazine’s “The Great South” series, he found that Texas had undergone many changes since the years just before the Civil War. A San Antonian told the journalist that “it was like living in an asylum where every one was crazy on one especial subject; you never knew when dangerous paroxysms were about to begin.” Twelve years before, wrote King, “it was dangerous for a man to be seen reading theNew York Tribune, and ... perilous for him to be civil to a slave.” Now, however,...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 181-215)
  15. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 216-240)
  16. Index
    (pp. 241-246)