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First Texas Cavalry, USA, embarks on Rio Grande campaign


On this day in 1863, the First Texas Cavalry, USA, left New Orleans for South Texas as part of the Union effort to interdict the lucrative trade between Confederate Texas and Mexico. The First was one of two regiments of Unionist cavalry from Texas to serve in the Civil War; the Second was formed in Brownsville after the Rio Grande campaign got underway. Loyalty to the Union was anything but a major consensus in Texas during the Civil War. A total of 1,915 Texas men served the Union cause, in contrast to the many thousands who served the Confederacy. Brownsville was a center of Unionist sentiment. Significant numbers of civilians who supported the North fled to the lower Rio Grande, where a provisional state government was set up under Andrew J. Hamilton, and where Edmund J. Davis and others recruited cavalrymen for the North. Davis had formed the First Texas Cavalry, USA, in New Orleans in 1862. In November 1864 the regiment was merged with the Second into the First Texas Volunteer Cavalry. This new twelve-company regiment engaged in patrolling and reconnaissance duties until the end of the war, and was mustered out of service on November 4, 1865.

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