While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


James Matthews

SAUFLEY'S SCOUTING BATTALION. In January 1864 Col. James Major assumed command of the defenses at Galveston. While most of his brigade remained in camp, the colonel assigned Maj. William Saufley of the First Texas Partisan Rangers to organize an advance guard to scout for Union forces moving up the coast from Brownsville. The battalion consisted of at least one company from each of Major's four regiments. This temporary field organization, known as Saufley's Scouting Battalion, served the forward defenses at Galveston Island into March 1864. Company A of the battalion was Company F of the Third Texas Cavalry, Arizona Brigade. Companies B and C came from the First Texas Partisan Rangers. Company B was Capt. Thomas J. Johnson's company, and Company C was Capt. J. W. Thompson's company. Company D formed from Company F of the Second Texas Partisan Rangers commanded by Capt. W. G. Lilley. Assigned as Company E were the Arizona Scouts. Company F came from the Second Texas Cavalry, Arizona Brigade, under Capt. Robert B. Halley. Saufley's Scouting Battalion performed a necessary service at Galveston but never received official recognition from the Confederate War Department. In March 1864 those companies returned to duty with their own regiments in preparation for the Red River campaign. After the war, Saufley returned to business in Jefferson and became Grand Commander of a group similar to the Ku Klux Klan known as the "Knights of the Rising Sun."


Carded Files of Regimental Commanders and Staff Officers (RG109), Military Records Section, National Archives and Records Service, Washington. T. C. Chaddick, "Jefferson's Indomitable Richard Phillip Crump," East Texas Historical Journal 8 (October 1970). Texas Republican (Marshall), May 28, 1869.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, James Matthews, "SAUFLEY’S SCOUTING BATTALION," accessed August 09, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qks18.

Uploaded on April 11, 2011. Modified on April 28, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...