Texas found itself in a unique position during the Civil War. The seaports of the South were soon blockaded by Federal warships. But not the ports of Mexico, and a thriving trade soon developed. Across the Rio Grande went Texas cotton, and military supplies flowed back. Battles were fought along the Rio, back and forth. The last battle of the Civil War was won by Confederates near Brownsville.
Some Texan soldiers did fight over in the eastern theatre, in Hood’s brigade. Three Texas infantry regiments served under the command of the daring John Bell Hood, who’d operated in the Second United States Cavalry in west Texas before the War and knew Texas well.
The Texas Brigade served in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and James Longstreet’s First Corps, fighting in over twenty engagements. At Chickamauga here in Georgia, as the Texans entered they battle they called to a regiment of exhausted Tennesseans: ”Rise up, Tennesseans, and watch Texas go in!” Battered back by Union forces, the Texans heard a reply to their taunt: “Rise up, Tennesseans, and see the Texans come out!” The Battle of Chickamauga (September, 1863) halted the Union advance to the south and is considered to be a Union defeat.
Texas recovered from the Civil War more easily than did most of the Old South. Cattle rose to compete with a cotton-based economy. But here in Georgia, I’ve been down on the coast where I heard museum docents speak of the War as though it ended yesterday.
My father told me how his uncle took him to see the Parade of the Roses in San Antonio when he was a child. Dad remembered, when the band played Dixie all the men cheered and threw their hats into the air. This would have been about 1910.
Yes, it’s part of our tradition. And it’s time to let it go.
September 22, 2016
“To delight in war is a merit to the soldier, a dangerous quality in the captain, and a positive crime in the statesman.” – George Santayana.