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R. Nicholas Nelson

THIRTY-SEVENTH TEXAS CAVALRY. The Thirty-seventh Texas Cavalry, also known as the Thirty-fourth Texas Cavalry or Terrell's Texas Cavalry, was organized in June 1863 by Alexander W. Terrell. The unit was originally organized as a battalion, but so many men volunteered that it was accepted as a regiment. The regiment was formed from several unattached companies of cavalry from around Palestine, Texas. Confusion over the unit's designation stems from the existence of an earlier Thirty-fourth Texas Cavalry, which had been permanently dismounted in the summer of 1863. Many of the men mutinied as a result and were confined at a prison camp in Tyler, Texas. The unit was organized for the expressed purpose of serving west of the Colorado River. Terrell's unit was re-designated the Thirty-seventh because between the formation of the unit and the "correction" of its numerical designation two more units of cavalry were organized in Texas—the Thirty-fifth and Thirty-sixth. The unit was sent to Camp Groce outside of Hempstead following formation in May of 1863. On July 8, 1863, they were ordered to Bonham, and on August 22, they were sent to Galveston to help quell a minor mutiny by some infantry troops.

Throughout 1863 the Thirty-seventh remained on garrison duty in Texas. In mid-March of 1864 the unit was remounted and ordered to participate in the Red River campaign, where it reported to Gen. Richard Taylor on April 5. The unit engaged in its first combat with Federal forces on April 8. 1864, in skirmishes south of Mansfield, Louisiana, intended to delay the Federal advance during the Red River campaign. Terrell's Cavalry joined the Confederate line of battle and fought dismounted in the battle of Mansfield. The regiment fought in the following battle of Pleasant Hill and a number of smaller actions as they pursued the Federal retreat.

The Thirty-seventh Texas Cavalry participated in more than twenty-five engagements including a mutiny in Columbus, Texas, on September 11, 1863, and affairs in Wood, Van Zandt, and Kaufman counties in October. The Thirty-seventh fought in numerous engagements of the Red River campaign including Natchitoches, Crump's Hill, Campti, Wilson's Farm, Carrol's Mill, Sabine Cross Roads, Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, Monett's Ferry, Hudnot's Plantation, Governor Moore's Plantation, Alexandria, Smith's Plantation, Yellow Bayou, and the Atchafalaya River. During the summer of 1864, the regiment returned to Texas, where they served around Houston and Hempstead. The unit was disbanded by Lt. Col. John C. Robertson on May 14 at Wild Cat Bluff near Hempstead and surrendered at Galveston in June of 1865.


Richard G. Lowe, Walker's Texas Division, C.S.A.: Greyhounds of the Trans-Mississippi (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2004). John W. Spencer, Terrell's Texas Cavalry: Wild Horsemen of the Plains in the Civil War (Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1982). Vertical File, Heritage Research Center, Hillsboro College, Hillsboro (Terrell's Texas Cavalry).

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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, R. Nicholas Nelson, "THIRTY-SEVENTH TEXAS CAVALRY," accessed August 04, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qkt24.

Uploaded on March 9, 2011. Modified on April 11, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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