Thomas W. Cutrer

MEDFORD, HARVEY C. (1831–1902). Harvey C. Medford, Confederate soldier and diarist, was born in Marion County, Alabama, on January 11, 1831, the son of Zack H. Medford. In early childhood he accompanied his parents to Itawamba County, Mississippi, and in 1852 moved with his father to Angelina County, Texas. On March 2, 1859, he graduated from Larissa College in Cherokee County. From 1860 until 1862 he taught school in the Van Zandt County community of Canton and on February 8, 1862, joined and was elected first lieutenant of Company I in Col. Oran M. Roberts's Eleventh Texas Infantry, Walker's Texas Division. On June 23, 1862, he was dropped from the company's rolls. He seems to have remained with the unit in Arkansas, however, until March 1863, when he returned to Texas because of ill health.

Thereafter Medford served as a private in Col. Walter P. Lane's First Texas Partisan Rangers of Brig. Gen. James P. Major's cavalry brigade. He served in the Bayou Teche campaign in Louisiana in the summer of 1863, was stationed at Houston and Galveston during the winter of 1864, and took part in the Red River campaign as a courier on General Major's staff. His diary of events in Houston and Galveston and of the campaign in Louisiana during the spring of 1864 was published in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly in 1930–31. "I write these diaries," he said, "for my own private benefit; for references to the times and places that I have been-how I spend my time-how I act-how I make money and spend it; thinking perhaps I may in my old age refer back to my early days and see how I passed my time." They are, nevertheless, an excellent window on the world of a Confederate private in the Trans-Mississippi Department, occupied, as he wrote, with "politics, war, and starvation." His observations on the battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hillqqv are among the best primary materials on these events.

After the war Medford returned for a time to Canton, Texas, before moving to Tupelo, Mississippi, where he was admitted to the bar. In addition to practicing law, he served as mayor of Tupelo and was twice elected to represent Lee County, Mississippi, in the state legislature. There, too, he married, became the father of two daughters, and raised three foster daughters. After the Spanish-American War, Medford drafted a proposed constitution for Cuba, which he reportedly published. He was also said to have been a fine amateur geologist and a fluent speaker of Spanish. He died in Tupelo on October 17, 1902.


Harvey C. Medford Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Thomas W. Cutrer, "MEDFORD, HARVEY C.," accessed December 14, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on March 3, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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