Santa Cruz County History - People



Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

HARRIS, JAMES (1843-1890)

Texas State Archive Veteran File

Headstone of James Harris
James Harris
Evergreen Cemetery
Name & Rank: Harris, James, 1st Sgt. [Private?]
Comm. Off: Skaggs, D., & Duncan, N.C. Capts.
Organ: Co. [Duncan's] 2nd Fron. Dist., Brown City Maj. Geo. B. Erath Comdg., TST
Enlist: F 5-64 in Brown County; Mus. in same date & place
Disch: Serv. 26 days [March 3, 1864] at &$2.50= $65.00
Descrip:Age 20
Remarks: R & F 69; En. Officer B.W. Lee; Mus. Off. Maj. G.B. Erath; Co. org under Act of D 15-63; 1. Muster roll dtd. F 5-64; 1 payroll dtd. F.5 to June 1- 64; Skaggs is shown as being the Captain on the Muster roll; On the Payroll Skaggs' name appears both as Captain and as Private, and that he served 10 days as each. The Payroll shows that Duncan served 29 days as a private, but the roll is headed up as being "Capt. N. C. Duncan's Company"; James Harris' name appears as Pvt. on the Muster roll.

Editor's note: Because James Harris was enrolled as a Sergeant he likely served for a longer period in this or another unit. This was the only remaining information within the Texas State Archives.

Santa Cruz Great Register (1882)

James Harris a miner age 38 years born [approx. 1843] in TN and living near Ben Lomond District #1 was registered July 28, 1880.

Defining Texas Rangers (April 28, 2004)
Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum Research Center

There have been ranging companies in the region now known as Texas almost as long as non-Indians have called Texas home. The modern Texas Rangers date their origins from ranging companies organized by Stephen F. Austin and Moses Morrison in 1823. These paramilitary volunteers were called by many names in the 19th century -- rangers and ranging companies, minute men, mounted volunteers, mounted gunmen, mounted riflemen, spies, frontier men, Texas State Troops, Frontier Regiment, Frontier Organization, Frontier Forces, Special State Troops, Special Force, Frontier Battalion, State Rangers and Texas Rangers. Their duties were essentially the same - protect the frontier from depredations by hostile forces - regardless of origin. By 1900, the ranging companies had been reorganized into a crime fighting, crime prevention and crime investigation organization, and their name had been standardized as "Texas Rangers."

Santa Cruz Sentinel (Decemebr 28, 1890)

Jim Harris
One Who Knew Him Gives Some Incidents In His Career

"I'm the only man in this county who knows Jim Harris' history," said a gentleman Friday to a Sentinel reporter. "I used to visit him often in his cabin, and he told me considerable about his life."

He was born at a place 180 miles distant from Galveston, Texas. From there he went to Tennessee. Then he engaged in steam boating on the Mississippi River. When the war broke out he joined the Texas Rangers, Confederate army, and was stationed on the frontier. In one skirmish he was wounded in the back by a bullet. After the war he went to Truckee, where he took a wood-chopping contract. He had to leave Truckee, but as it was a delicate matter to inquire the reason, I didn't ask him. He came from Truckee to Santa Cruz about fifteen years ago and took a contract from Henry Cowell to chop wood at Rincon.

As an example of honesty I will tell you the story of how he once proved it. With him in a cabin were three men, also woodchoppers. They told Jim that they were going to steal some of Cowell's turkeys and make a meal of them. He warned them against doing so, but the men would not listen to him, and after a short absence returned with the turkeys. Jim went to Cowell to tell him of the theft. Said he: 'Mr. Cowell come over to our cabin this morning and have breakfast.' Cowell, who was surprised at the invitation, asked Jim what he meant. 'Some of the boys got away with some of your turkeys last night and are going to have a feast and would like to have you join them.' Cowell did not like it at all, so he had the men, with the exception of Jim, arrested. They were found guilty and served short sentences in the county jail.

Harris was a fearless man, but I know of one man of whom he was really afraid, for Jim knew the man had the right on his side. They were formerly warm friends. Jim didn't act as he should toward the wife of the man I refer to. She is a good woman and Jim ought to have known better than he did. After the men again became friends Jim would never go near the house. He was one of the best wing shots in the county. He could kill as many quail as any hunter, and every season he killed five or six deer. The game he would distribute among the poor people in the neighborhood where he lived. As I said he would never go into the house of the man whose domestic happiness he attempted to wrong, but would call one of the children and send game into the house for the family.

When Harris came to Rincon he had $2,600 in cash. He and John Showers, now serving a life term in the State Prison for the brutal murder of Renowden near Los Gatos, became great chums. They and some others went out on a tear once and fired off their pistols near Pat Moran's house. When Jim heard of Showers participation in the murder of Renowden he was so much disappointed in the character of his chum that he took to drinking heavily, and it was not long before he had spent all of his money.

He used to tell me how he ran away from the chain gang when Jo Scott was Chief of Police, and always considered it a good joke. He was sentenced to ten days, and on the day he was sentenced was put on the streets to work. When the Chief had gone away Jim skipped out of town. An officer ran him out of town once, and Jim said he would get even with him. Harris has a married sister living in Illinois and a brother, whose whereabouts I don't know. I remember that some years ago he intended going to Texas, so he let his hair grow long in regular frontiersman fashion.

Editor's note: The Santa Cruz Surf of December 23, 1890 described Harris as having "a most repulsive appearance, coarse shaggy and brutal. His clothing is of the commonest, cheapest and meanest kind."

Santa Cruz Surf (January 7, 1884)

Another Tired of Life

About a week ago James Harris, formerly one of the proprietors of the Abalone Restaurant, but who has for several months been living at the Majors ranch, came to Santa Cruz and started in on one of his periodical drunks. During the week he succeeded in keeping pretty thoroughly full of bad whisky, and enjoyed a lively time until about 11 o'clock last Saturday night, when the reaction set in and he became despondent. Entering the restaurant of which he was formerly one of the proprietors, he said he wanted to die, and drawing a revolver made an attempt to put an end to his existence. In this attempt he was frustrated by the timely interference of John Carpy, who remonstrated with him and succeeded in quieting him for the time being. Leaving the restaurant Harris went to the Clipper saloon, where he first wanted to fight, but afterwards concluded that it was best to end his worthless career, and again drew his revolver, and would have been in the hands of the Coroner by this time had it not been for Amos Lunt, who disarmed the would-be suicide, and thus prevented another name from being added to Saturday night's death roll.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (June [August?] 7, 1889)

James Harris and William Johnson were arrested and brought before Police Judge Sutphen Saturday by Chief of Police Armstrong, charging defendants with roaming around from place to place without any visible means of support. Defendants plead guilt and were committed to the city prison for five days each.

Santa Cruz Surf (December 23, 1890)

TRAGEDY
A Terrible Affair on Pacific Avenue
A Shooting Scrape

James Harris Receives Four Shots in the Heart
Majors Frightfully Wounded
The Coroners Jury Decides that the Killing Was Done in Self-Defense

The peaceful and order loving habit of Santa Cruz was rudely shocked at about the hour of 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon by the report that a man had been shot to death in the uptown saloon. A representative of the Surf was promptly on the spot, which proved to be Merrill & Wrights's saloon, where he found a large and excited crowd of men each with a report of the tragedy differing essentially from that of his neighbor. There was no such thing possible as getting the cold and colorless facts of the case, and so the reporter concluded to postpone further investigation until the dispassionate examination of a Coroner's jury, free from the exciting and turbulent environment of a bar room, should disclose the real state of the case, concerning which the public have a right to fully and authoritatively be informed. It was vaguely known to the masses that Robert Majors had shot and killed James Harris, but around the single and fateful central fact rumor with her busy tongue had woven a network of fanciful and impossible conjectures.

At the hour of 7 o'clock p.m. Dr. F.E. Morgan, Coroner of Santa Cruz county, impanelled a jury consisting of the following well known and sterling citizens: Charles Perry, Alex Bedell, C.J. Winterhalder, T.E. Martin, J.W. Martin, T.D. Bartlett, Thos. Dingwall, A.E. Hall and J.R. Field.

The jury of inquest together with the witnesses, the official report of the county M. L.J. Dake and a member of the editorial staff of the Surf assembled in the Coroner's room in the jail building.

The jury and witnesses being solemnly sworn by Coroner Morgan, the inquisitorial proceedings were immediately instituted and were conducted in a most through and orderly manner.

The first witness called was Mr. Paul Moretti who testified as follows:

At 4 o'clock I was in Merrill & Wright's saloon. As Majors was going out of the saloon he was met in the doorway by Harris, who applied to him a most opporious and offensive epithet. Majors then struck Harris in the face with his fist and taking hold of the lapels of his coat backed him up against the wall. At this juncture Harris, with his hand concealed in the side pocket of his coat, fired two or three shots with his pistol. Majors then drew his revolver and shot Harris, who staggered and fell to the floor.

Mr. J.F. Cunningham was the next witness who deposed.

That at about the hour of 4 o'clock, in the company with Lem Jones, I drove to the vicinity of Merrill & Wright's saloon. I went into the saloon to get a cigar or something, and saw quite a crowd of men standing near the door. There seemed to be some excitement, and I heard loud and boisterous talking. Looking out I had a side view of Majors' head and face and Harris standing near talking in a loud and angry voice. I told Majors that I wanted to see him. Taking him to one side I remarked that I was astonished that he would bandy words with such a man as Harris. There is nothing to be gained by talking with a drunken man, especially when, like Harris, he is disposed to be ugly and quarrelsome. Majors replied that he did not want any difficulty with Harris. I then inquired the cause of the trouble. Majors said that he had lost some bars and someone had told him that he (Majors) accused him (Harris) with stealing them. This Majors positively denied. I then approached Harris and asked him what was the matter between him and Majors. He replied the rumor of the theft of the bars. I told him that Majors denied that he had so accused him. He put his hand into his pocket and said, "I have something here that will fix him." I then drove away and returning soon after, saw Harris lying dead with his hand in his pocket and the muzzle of the pistol sticking out.

Mr. Otto Labish then took the stand, and testified.

Harris came into my saloon at 80 Pacific avenue this afternoon and called for a pony glass of beer. He then ate some fish, and called for another glass of beer. Thrusting his hand into his pocket, he drew out a pistol and said, "This is for Bob Majors."

Mr. Leon Jones, the contractor, was the next witness introduced. He was present, but did not see the shooting. He heard four of five shots. In all other respects the testimony exactly corroborated that of Mr. Cunningham.

Mr. Bart West was examined next, who stated that he was in Merrill & Wrights saloon about 4 o'clock. Heard Harris apply a vile epithet to Majors. Majors then struck Harris who in turn fired with a pistol. Majors then pushed Harris against the wall where he shot him dead.

Dr. A.M. Bailey was called upon to testify (illegible- Harris was examined and he located four shots in the heart within a space of less than 3 inches).

Dr. Bailey, in answer to questions, said that he had examined Majors and found him seriously wounded. He was struck three times, one shot in the right groin, one in the left thigh and one the lower part of the abdomen. He considers his condition as dangerous.

This closed the public proceedings of the inquest, whereupon all retired, leaving the jury to their deliberations. In a very few minutes they announced their decision as follows: "We find the deceased was named James Harris, that he was a native of Tennessee, 44 years of age and the he came to his death by pistol shots fired by Robert Majors in self defense."

Majors is a well known and respected citizen engaged in superintending various mines of bitumen in the vicinity of this city. He is a handsome Castilian Spaniard and wears the impress of a gentleman.

The dead man has a most repulsive appearance, coarse, shaggy and brutal. His clothing is of the commonest and cheapest and meanest kind, but strange to relate had on his person $180 in gold coin.

Thus ends a tragedy which, it is sad to say, is the longtime outcome of a naturally evil disposition, inflamed and incited to deeds of violence by whisky.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (December 23, 1890)

KILLED
Robert H. Majors Bravely Defends His Life
James Harris' Breast Perforated by Five Bullets
Majors is Seriously Wounded in Three Places
A Coroner's Jury exonerates a Cool Headed Man- His Condition After the Shooting

Jasper Green and Elmer Dakan stood talking in front of the Washington market shortly before four o'clock Monday afternoon when Rob. H. Majors came up and shook hands with them. A short distance down the block in front of Merrill Bros. cigar store, on the Lower Plaza, was Jas. Harris.

Majors asked Green if he knew Harris, to which Green replied that he was only slightly acquainted with him. Majors then turned to his two friends and remarked, referring to Harris, "There's a man to whom I've always been a good friend, yet he's an enemy of mine. He tried to borrow a pistol to shoot me. I don't like to have trouble with any man; now what would you do if you were me?"

Green said that if he had any trouble with a man he always found it best to go to him and settle it in a friendly way. Majors further explained that Harris imagined that he (Majors) had talked about him, when in truth he had not said a word against him.

Majors then walked down the block to where Harris was standing, addressed him pleasantly, and Harris called him a name, which cast doubt on his parentage, coupled with the remark that he did not want to be talked about. Majors denied that he had said anything derogatory to the character of Harris.

"You said that I stole some wedges from you," hotly retorted Harris. As the conversation began to be so loud that it attracted the attention of bystanders, a gentleman called Majors into the Bank Exchange saloon. Harris soon followed, and as Majors started to go out he was met face to face by Harris, about four feet from the swinging doors at the entrance to the saloon.

Harris applied an opprobrious epithet to Majors, who told him not to talk that way. "You wouldn't talk that way if you met me outside of the city," continued Majors.

"Yes, I'll talk to you that way inside of the city or outside of it," replied Harris. The men were now close together. Majors, who had been smoking, took the cigar out of his mouth and laid it on a box. Harris said that he was not afraid of Majors and once more called him a vile name. This was more than Majors could stand, so he grabbed Harris by the throat and struck him in the face, but the blow was not strong enough to fell him to the floor.

Harris placed his hand in the right hand pocket of his coat and fired a shot, which struck Majors in the left thigh. Just as Harris had his hand on the trigger to fire the second shot Majors caught hold of Harris' hands, pushing them downward. Then the third shot was fired, which entered Majors groin. The second shot had found lodgment in Majors' right thigh. After the third shot had been fired Majors let go of the left hand of Harris, reached around with his right hand to his hip pocket for his pistol, which was covered up with a handkerchief, and resisted his efforts to pull it out until he had torn the pocket. Then seeing that his life was in danger from a desperate man, Majors fired five shots in rapid succession, the bullets entering the heart and breast of Harris, who fell back with a groan, against the partition which separates the small cigar store from the saloon, a dead man, with his hand still on the pistol and the smoke coming out from the pocket which had taken fire.

Majors leaned back, took the cigar from the box, threw it in the face of the dead man, and calmly remarked: "I'm wounded; send for a doctor."

When the firing commenced four men in the saloon playing cards suddenly stopped their game and hurriedly made their exits to places of safety.

The firing soon attracted a crowd. Medical aid was at once summoned. Drs. Morgan, Bailey and Vaux soon appeared on the scene, and Majors was removed to a small room in the saloon, where his wounds were examined.

There are as few of what the world calls game men as is "Bob" Majors, as he is familiarly known. While in the room suffering the most intense agony he did not mutter a word to indicate the terrible feeling, which followed the course of the bullets, but greeted his friends with a smile.

Harris' body was taken to Scott & Ely's undertaking rooms in an express wagon. Majors was soon after removed in a phaeton to his home near the new reservoir, where he is receiving the best of medical attention.

On the floor where Harris fell were spots of blood which were mopped away. It is a singular coincidence that Harris fell on the same place and in a similar position to that of Edgar May, who was stabbed to death by Atherton some sixteen years ago.

Everything goes to show that Majors acted in self-defense. He did not provoke the quarrel; he tried to avoid it. Harris had every chance to kill him, and would have done so only for Major's coolness.

Harris was employed in the Union Mill and Lumber Company's mill near Boulder. He quit work Saturday and came to Boulder. He drank considerably while there. He said that he intended to leave Monday on a fishing trip up the coast. While in Boulder Sunday he borrowed a pistol. He came to Santa Cruz Monday forenoon. He made no secrets of his threats to kill Majors. In Labisch's saloon at one o'clock in the afternoon he placed a Smith & Wesson self cocking pistol on the bar with the remark, "That's for Bob Majors." Labisch told him to put it away, as a self-cocking pistol is a dangerous thing to fool with. Harris then placed it in his coat pocket and left the saloon, adding if he met Majors there would be trouble. Harris was known as a desperate man when under the influence of liquor, and was inclined to be quarrelsome. For fifteen years or more he had been a resident of this county, for the greater portion of that time being employed as a woodchopper on land owned by Henry Cowell. Some five or six years ago his cabin burned down. Then it was he was almost cremated, but managed to escape with burns, which prevented him doing any work for a year. All of that time Majors saw that he was well cared for. In every way Majors did more for him than any other man in the county would probably have done. Soon after he recovered he imagined that Majors had said that he (Harris) had stolen some wedges which were used at the bitumen mines. As Majors was not in the habit of talking about any one, no one believed that such a thing had been said, but Harris foolishly thought he did, and in consequence lost his life.

The deceased was a muscular man, forty-four years of age, a native of Tennessee, and he had served during the war in the Confederate Army.

Bob Majors is the Superintendent of the Walrath bitumen mines. He has spent almost his entire life in this county. His father was one of the early pioneers here. Bob is a brave man, not knowing what the word fear means. Although a fearless man he would never provoke a quarrel. This was evidenced in the unfortunate affair of Monday, when he tried his best to avoid a quarrel. He served as Deputy Sheriff under Chas. Lincoln in 1871-72. He was always a terror to evil doers, for he was known as a sure shot. While serving under Lincoln the notorious Vasquez gang visited Santa Cruz. Ascertaining the haunts of the gang to be in Blackburn Gulch, Lincoln and a posse went after them. They came upon members of the gang who were in a cabin. It was there that Majors shot and killed Sanchez, one of Vasquez's Lieutenants. "Bob" also served for some time as a member of the police force of this city.

During the present year there was a strike among the teamsters employed in hauling bitumen from the mines and threats were heard. Soon after his house was burned down, but it was never known who did it. It was said Monday evening that Harris knew more about the origin of the fire than he ever told.

Majors Testimony

I first met Jim Harris about ten years ago; he was a wood-chopper, and was in my employ for several years, during which I found him faithful and a good worker. Some years ago, while I was in San Louis Obispo, the cabin occupied by the deceased [Harris] was burned and Harris received severe injuries, which compelled him to remain idle for some time. When I returned home I was told of his condition, and went to the Santa Cruz House on Front St., where he was staying. Harris told me that his funds were short, and requested me to assist him if possible or he would have to go to the Hospital.

I sympathized with Harris, and offered him the use of a cabin near my house, then located at the petroleum mines. Here He was attended by Dr. Vaux and myself. I settling all bills, which amounted to about $400. About eight or nine months passed before Harris was able to go to work, when I offered him employment at $50 per month. This he accepted and worked for me at the petroleum works nearly two years. One day he came to me and said he wanted to quit, asking me to pay him what he was due. We made out his time, which showed that about $62 was coming to him. This amount I paid without asking any questions and Harris left for Boulder Creek.

I heard nothing more of him until some eight months ago, when H.G. Insel told me that Harris came into his store and wanted to buy a pistol, as he intended to shoot me on sight, but Insel refused to sell one. I was very much surprised, for I had no idea that Harris was that kind of man. However, I paid little attention to it until about 2:30 p.m. Monday, when ex-Sheriff Dakan and myself were talking in front of the Washington Market, on the Lower Plaza.

While we were standing there I noticed Harris in front of the Bank Exchange saloon and told Dakan of the threats he had made against me, and what he meant by threatening my life. Dakan, in turn, told me to go and he would wait for me.

I approached Harris saying that I would like to speak to him a moment and requesting him to step to the edge of the sidewalk. He replied, 'No, you d---; don't talk to me.' I beckoned to Dakan, upon whose coming Harris began to harangue about my having spoken of him as a thief, accusing him of stealing some bars and wedges from the petroleum mines. He said that he had been told by Mrs. Herbert W. Coon, who claimed to have heard it from my wife.

I answered: 'You are mistaken; I have never said an ill word against you in God's world. If you had heard such reports, why did you not come to me, and all would have been settled without any trouble." Harris then became more abusive, and the noise attracted a crowd, whereupon the Chief of Police Rawls requested him to keep quiet or he would be put in the calaboose.

J.F. Cunningham then came up and told me not to have any words with Harris and we went into the Bank Exchange saloon. From here we walked into the Pacific Ocean House saloon, and I said that I had to start for home.

I was on my way when I again went into the Bank Exchange to see a party. As I entered Harris stood near the bar and facing me. He said: 'You d--- --- ---, now I have got you where I want you.' With this he thrust his right hand into his coat pocket and raised it up.

Suspecting something was wrong I at once made a grab for his hand with my left, while my right hand was aimed at his throat.

Before I could reach him he fired his pistol, the ball taking effect in my right leg. As I grabbed him the second shot was fired, entering my left leg, then I let go his throat and reached for a pistol in my coat pocket. I had to tear the lining to get it out and as the third shot was fired from Harris pistol I aimed for his heart, firing three shots at him.

As the last shot was fired I saw Harris fall on his back, and I took the cigar which I was smoking from my mouth and threw it on his face. That was the last I saw of him.

I then went to the barkeeper and told him I had been shot, asking him to send for a doctor. In a few minutes Coroner Morgan arrived, and I was taken to the side room where my wounds were examined by Drs. Morgan and Bailey. When they had finished I was brought home.

This is all I know of the matter, and why Harris would have threatened my life and acted as he did is a mystery to me, for I was a good friend of his. I am very thankful to all my friends for their sympathy, and hope to soon be about again.

Mrs. Majors was interviewed in regard to having spoken to Mrs. Coon about Harris and the lady empathetically denied any knowledge of the matter. She said she had not spoken to Mrs. Coon for several years.

Santa Cruz Surf (December 24, 1890)

James Harris who was shot and killed by Robert Majors, on Monday, will be buried from Scott & Ely's undertaking rooms this morning.

A constant throng of curious people passed into the undertaking parlors of Scott & Ely, yesterday, to look at the body of Harris.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (December 25, 1890)

The remains of James Harris were on Wednesday interred in the Potter's field in Evergreen Cemetery.

Editor's note: The Santa Cruz Surf of December 23 reported that at the time of his death, "strange to relate he had on his person $180 in gold coin." It is unclear why he would have been buried in the Potter's field.

Notes from Marion Prokriott (July 25, 2004)

James Harris was living at the Cowell limekiln in 1880 [1883] with the family of Thomas Fletcher (from Nova Scotia). He was three households away from Henry Cowell's residence. S. H. Cowell was 19 and at college. Harris was 38 and working at the limekiln. He was born in TN, also his father. His mother was born in KY.

Editorial Notes from Robert L. Nelson (January 8, 2004)

The identification of the Texas Civil War unit in which James Harris served has been extremely difficult and 100% confirmation cannot be assigned. Research has extended over a three-year period, and involved the personnel and resources of the Texas State Archives, National Archives, and Sons of Confederate Veterans. Because of the number of people named James Harris (56) in Texas units, and our limited facts relating to this James Harris, positive identification has not been possible. Thomas Harrison of the 2nd Frontier District Sons of Confederate Veterans indicated that the record keeping of Confederates on the frontier was very poor, which has added to our frustration. Based upon the information at our disposal at this time we feel that the James Harris buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Santa Cruz.

Texas State Archive And Library

Protecting The Frontier

After the removal of United States troops from Texas military installations, the state and the Confederacy assumed responsibility for the protection of the frontier. The First Regiment, Texas Mounted Riflemen, were mustered into Confederate service early in 1861 to patrol the frontier along a line of forts from the Red River to the Rio Grande. Though the unit was effective in controlling Indian raids in the region, their enlistment expired in April 1862.

"The Frontier Organization represented the final modification of frontier defense in Texas during the Civil War. In 1863 Governor Pendleton Murrah and the legislature proposed to transfer the state-supported Frontier Regiment to Confederate service. Such a move would have relieved the state of a financial burden, but the regiment would then have been under Confederate control, subject to removal from the frontier at the discretion of Confederate commanders. Concern for the protection of the frontier played a major role in deliberations of the Tenth Legislature in late 1863, as state officials hesitated to transfer the Frontier Regiment to the Confederacy without assuring the best protection possible for the frontier counties. The resulting law, which established the Frontier Organization and transferred the Frontier Regiment [to the Confederate Army], passed the legislature on December 15, 1863."

The Frontier Regiment filled the void left by the First Regiment by establishing 16 camps just west of the line of settlements. The original outposts were approximately 25 miles apart and staffed with at least 25 men. Though patrols were established between posts, the Indians rapidly became comfortable with the system and increased the frequency of their raids. "Companies in the Frontier Organization normally averaged between fifty and fifty-five men in strength, usually with about fifteen men per squad for patrol duty. The length of service at any one time varied according to the task, presence of the enemy, and availability of supplies, but most squads on patrol duty expected to remain out for about ten days at a time. [After a week of duty, each unit returned home to aid women and children tending cattle, crops, and helped supply frontier troops and miners]. The organization deterred, but could not prevent, Indian attacks. A particularly vicious raid by Kiowas and Comanches in 1864 left a dozen Texans dead and seven captured. The raid occurred along Elm Creek in Young County during the fall of 1864. [The only serious battle that the 2nd Texas had was the Battle of Dove Creek near the present town of San Anglo. This battle was with the Kickapoo Indians who were deserting the Union army & migrating to Mexico. The Kickapoo's won. This was Jan. 8, 1865]

Despite the Indian threat, frontier troops spent most of their time enforcing Confederate conscription laws, arresting deserters, controlling local Unionist activity, preparing for a possible invasion by Union forces in New Mexico and chasing renegades and outlaws.


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