Gibson's Brigade: Col. E. Johnson Brigade Commander. Lt. Chaplain D. Epps. Rsm. C. McClaren.
11th Texas Company A: Cpt. M. Scales. Lt. A. Epps.
1st Sgt C. Skinner. Sgt. S. Epps.
Sgt. M. Toby. Cpl. A. Johnson.
Cpl. A. Richardson
Staff Officers: Maj. J. Bray A de C to Col. Johnson.
Origins of the 11th Texas re-enactors
In 1975, Kraig White, a descendent of several members of Co. A of the origenal 11th Texas Cavalry, was approached by a Boy Scout troop wishing to become involved in Civil War re-enacting. Kraig had already opened “The Civil War Museum” in Spring, Texas. He then reestablished the 11th Texas Cavalry as a re-enacting unit, and designated the museum as “Outpost 11”, a place for the scouts to come, learn history and the hobby of reenacting. Over time the 11th has grown into a family organization, open to all who have an interest. The 11th helped financially supporting the museum until it closed. The 11th Texas Cavalry was registered as a Texas non-profit organization in 1998 and formally became a 501c(3) organization in 2004.
In 1999, the 11th Texas organized the first “Civil War Weekend at Liendo Plantation” event, which included a living history school day on Friday in which students participated. The event is held the weekend before Thanksgiving each year. November 2014 marked the 15th anniversary of the Liendo event, and the last year which the 11th acted as host unit.
Each year the 11th participates in a series of events throughout Texas and Louisiana, including the Red River Campaign in Pleasant Hill, LA. The 11th travels east each year to participate in one large national event. These have included Gettysburg, Shiloh, Corinth, Antietam, Chickamauga, Wilson’s Creek and more. We participate and support local heritage day festivals. We have worked with the History department at Sam Houston State University, putting on Living History demonstrations for students and teachers. We have also given grants to SHSU students through the Webb Society. The 11th regularly travels to local middle and elementary schools and performs living history events.
The Galvanized 11th - The 1st Texas US Volunteer Cavalry
The 11th always “brings the blue” to events, as we never know if we may be called upon to portray a Federal unit. In the case of the 11th, being Texans, it was easy to pick the 1st Texas US Volunteer Cavalry, which served primarily in Louisiana, and Texas during the war. At major national events, we have portrayed Buford’s Dismounted Cavalry (Gettysburg) and Wilder’s Brigade (Chickamauga) or light infantry skirmishers with the Trans Missippi Volunteer Infantry. Below is information on this regiment.
The 1st TX US Vol. Cavalry organized at New Orleans, La., November 6, 1862. Attached to Independent Command, Dept. of the Gulf, to January 1863. Defenses of New Orleans to May 1863. Cavalry, 19th Army Corps, Dept. of the Gulf. SERVICE.-Duty in the Defenses of New Orleans, La., till September, 1863. Sabine Pass Expedition September 4-11. Western Louisiana ("Teche") Campaign October 3-17. Nelson's Bridge, near New Iberia, October 4. Vermillion Bayou October 9-10. Carrion Crow Bayou October 14-15. Ordered to New Orleans, La., October 17. Expedition to the Rio Grande, Texas, October 23-December 2. Occupation of Brazos Santiago November 2, and of Brownsville November 6 Duty at Brownsville and on line of the Rio Grande till July, 1864. Rancho las Rinas June 26, 1864 (Cos. "A" and "C"). Ordered to New Orleans July, thence to Morganza, La., August 6, and duty there till November. (A Detachment remained in Texas at Brownsville till January, 1865. Participated in skirmish at Palmetto Ranch September 6, 1864. Ordered to join Regiment at Baton Rouge, La., January 27, 1865.) Operations about Morganza September 16-25, 1864. Williamsport September 16. Atchafalaya River September 17. Bayou Alabama and Morgan's Ferry September 20. Ordered to Baton Rouge November 19. Davidson's Expedition against Mobile & Ohio Railroad November 27-December 13. Ordered to Lakeport December 17. United States Forces at mouth of White River and at Baton Rouge, La., till May, 1865. Expedition to Clinton and the Comite River March 30-April 2, 1865. Ordered to Vidalia, District of Natchez, Miss., May 23, 1865, and duty there till June 29. Ordered to Military District of the Southwest and duty in Texas till November. Mustered out November 4, 1864.
Strategic vs. Tactical Dismounted Cavalry.
The 11th Texas Cavalry, Co. A portrays a strategically dismounted unit. In the 1860’s, with the advent of modern artillery, bursting shells and canister shot, the glory days of open field cavalry charges were over. Yes a few occurred during the war, and a few were successful, but, in the history of the Civil War, for every general rule there are always many exceptions.
Cavalry in the Civil War was used for several functions. Scouting, being the eyes and ears of the army was one of the most common roles. Another was rear guard. Cavalry could take a position at the rear of a retreating army, dismount, hold up following enemy troops, then re-mount, catch up to their own forces and dismount again to repeat the proses. Cavalry could also be used to disrupt enemy supply lines and capture food, ammunition and re-mount horses.
The above-mentioned activity of dismounting and fighting on foot is a tactical maneuver. During the war, Generals Forrest, Wheeler and a few others saw a need, and began using strategically dismounted cavalry. Entire regiments of cavalry had their horses taken away, and others were organized and never had horses. They marched and fought entirely on foot. Such units were well trained in the arts of skirmishing and rapid deployment and were used as shock troops, supporting the infantry. The 11th Texas Cavalry began its career as mounted cavalry, was dismounted for one year, and then re-mounted for the remainder of the war.
Origins of the Hobby
Did you know that the very first re-enactors were Civil War era soldiers? During the war, there was only one way to get recruits used to the din of battle, and that was to choose up sides, load blank cartridges and have what was called a Sham (make-believe) Battle.
At the end of the nineteenth century, old veterans in civilian attire would get together at reunions and retrace their steps over the same ground they had fought across as young men. At the 50th anniversary of Gettysburg, the then 70-80 year old veterans re-created Picket’s Charge for the crowd. The clash at the angle got so enthusiastic that Park Rangers had to separate them to keep them from beating each other bloody with their canes.
A Documented Account of a Confederate Sham Battle… “February 2nd,1862; made camp near Linn Creek, on account of rain and snow had to lay over another day till finally on February 7th we reached Lebannon, the rendezvous of the other divisions of our army. February 8th; the whole forces engaged in a sham battle and on the 9th, started out as the right wing of the Army of South West Missouri under the command of Jeff C. Davis -- Company "A" being advance guard -- by noon we fell in with some of General Sigel's troops, forming the center, while General C. Carr with his command formed the left.“
20th Century Reenacting
Beginning in the early twentieth and continuing into the 1930’s, the U.S. army "fought" U.S. Marines in war games held on Civil War battlefields using contemporary weapons, but loosely following the movements and strategies of the original armies.
In the 1960’s, preparing for the 100th anniversaries, our modern day predecessors formed into units to re-enact the major battles in the East, and “the hobby” was formed. There were no “Sutlers” as we know them now; most carried original weapons, wearing WWI surplus accoutrements and blue jeans in place of sky blues. We’ve come a long way since then towards authenticity in uniforms, accoutrements and camping gear.
A Civil War Veteran’s Comments
"Who knows but it may be given to us, after this life, to meet again in the old quarters, to play chess and draughts, to get up to answer the morning roll call, to fall in at the tap of the drum for drill and dress parade, and again to hastily don our war gear while the monotonous patterns of the long roll summons us to battle?
Who knows but again the old flags, ragged and torn, snapping in the wind, may face each other and flutter, pursuing and pursued, while the cries of victory fill a summer day? And after the battle, the wounded and slain will arise and all will meet together under the two flags, all sound and well and there will be talking and laughter; and cheers, and all will say, "Did it not seem real? Was it not as in the old days?”
-Pvt. Berry Benson 1st South Carolina Rifles Regiment Berry Benson’s Reminiscences of the Civil War