HISTORY OF THE

1ST TEXAS SHARP SHOOTERS

BURNET’S BATTALION

By Ron Brothers



Enrolled or available for duty as of

Jun. 23, 1862, the battalion muster available for duty was 376.1

Nov. 10, 1862, the battalion muster available for duty was 364.1

Jan. 1, 1863, the battalion muster available for duty was 342.1

Feb. 1, 1863 the battalion muster available for duty was 328.1

Mar. 1, 1863 the battalion muster available for duty was 302.1

Apr. 1, 1863 the battalion muster available for duty was 289.1

May 1, 1863 the battalion muster available for duty was 263.1

Jun. 1, 1863 the battalion muster available for duty was 229.1

Jul. 1, 1863 the battalion muster available for duty was 218.1

Aug. 1, 1863 the battalion muster available for duty was 179.1

Sep. 1, 1863 the battalion muster available for duty was 124.1

Oct. 1, 1863 the battalion muster available for duty was 121.1


On Jun. 23, 1862, 376 men were enlisted from Lamar and Hunt counties to form the 1st Battalion Texas Sharpshooters, Confederate States Army (also known as Burnet’s Battalion).1


At Camp Jackson, Paris, Lamar Co., TX, the battalion was officially organized on 1 Aug 1862 and assigned to Sam Bell Maxey’s Brigade.1


Between June and Dec. 29, 1862 the battalion camped and trained in and around Paris.1 Five companies had been formed. Each company had been recruited in different counties.9


Company A Hunt County

Company B Fannin County

Company C Lamar County

Company D Grayson County

Company E Hunt County


It is possible that the battalion moved to a location north of Honey Grove and named it Camp Maxey. This camp could have been the same Camp Benjamin that the 9th Texas Infantry had used under Col. Sam Bell Maxey. Capt. B. D. Martin, commanding Co. A, wrote a letter from “Camp Maxey, north of Honey Grove” to Gen. P. O. Herbert in San Antonio on Sept 25, 1862.8


By Nov. 10, 1862 the battalion muster available for duty was down to 364 men.1


Soon after being mustered into Confederate Service, the 1st Texas Sharpshooter Battalion was ordered east of the Mississippi River and assigned to the Dept. of the Mississippi and East Louisiana. The Battalion was cut off from the garrison of Vicksburg when that city was invaded by Federal forces & subsequently avoided capture there. Later it saw service in the Dept. of the Gulf.4


On Dec 29, 1862 the battalion left Paris and reached Camp Johnson, Titus Co., TX on Jan. 2, 1863, a distance of 65 miles.1


On Jan. 1, 1863 the battalion muster available for duty was 342 men.1


Feb. 1, 1863 the battalion muster available for duty was 328.1


On Feb. 8, 1863 they left Camp Johnson and reached Jefferson, TX on Feb . 10, 1863, a distance of 35 miles.1


On Feb. 11, 1863 they left Jefferson boarding on the steamer P. E. Bonford, and reached Alexandria, LA on Feb. 14, a distance of 270 miles.1


On the morning of Feb. 15, 1863 they embarked on the C. S. Gunboat Grand Duke and Webb on an expedition against the federal ram Queen of the West.1


On Feb. 18, 1863 they arrived at Fort DeRussy on the Red River, a distance of 50 miles.1


Adjutant R. S. Dulin with one non commissioned officer and 25 men went on the Queen of the West (sic). 2nd Lt. W. R. Hale with one non commissioned officer and 10 men went on board the Grand Era.1


On Feb 24, 1863 2nd Lt. J. B. Pirtle with one non commissioned officer and 19 men went on the Webb and were engaged in the action with the Federal Iron Clad Indianola which they captured and sunk.1


In March and April 1863 a great many left sick because measles had broken out in the encampment before leaving Texas.1


March - May, 1863 assigned to Sam Bell Maxey’s Brigade, 3rd Military District, Department of Trans-Mississippi and East Louisiana.2


Mar. 1, 1863 the battalion muster available for duty was 302.1


On March 6, 1863 the battalion left Ft. DeRussy, LA on board the Nina Sims and arrived at Port Hudson, LA on the same day, a distance of 140 miles. They were present at the bombardment of the place by the Federal Fleet on the night of the 14th of March 1863. The federal Man of War Mississippi was disabled by the Confederate batteries at Port Hudson and was abandoned and burned by the enemy.1 4


Apr. 1, 1863 the battalion muster available for duty was 289.1


May 1, 1863 the battalion muster available for duty was 263.1


May - June, 1863, assigned to Maxey’s Brigade, Loring’s Division, Department of the West.2


On May 6, 1863 they left Port Hudson, LA and arrived at Jackson, Miss on May 23, 1863, a distance of 130 miles.1


A small detachment of the 1st Texas Battalion Sharpshooters was left behind at Port Hudson and participated in the siege of that place, May 21 - July 9, 1863. They were assigned to the right wing, which was commanded by Col. William R. Miles. They served with other Texans who had been in Brigadier General Samuel Bell Maxey's brigade and who also had been left at Port Hudson when the brigade marched for Jackson, Mississippi.4


June - July, 1863, assigned to Maxey’s Brigade, French’s Division, Department of the West.2


Jun. 1, 1863 the battalion muster available for duty was 229.1


On June 1, 1863 they left Jackson and arrived at Canton, Miss. the same day, a distance 25 of miles.1


On June 6, 1863 they left Canton and arrived at Benton, Miss. on June 8th 1863, a distance of 25 miles.1


On June 12, 1863 the battalion left Benton and arrived at Livingston, Miss. on June 24, 1863, a distance of 40 miles.1


Jul. 1, 1863 the battalion muster available for duty was 218.1


On July 1, 1863 they left Livingstone, Miss. and arrived at Big Black River on July 3rd, a distance of 22 miles.1


July 1863 - September 1863, assigned to Maxey’s Brigade, French’s Division, Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana.2


July 5 - 10, 1863 participated in operations against the advance on Jackson, Miss.1


On July 6, 1863 they left Big Black and arrived at Jackson, Miss. July 7th, a distance of 25 miles.1


From July 9th to 17th, 1863 the battalion engaged the enemy at Jackson.1


On July 17, 1863 they left Jackson and arrived at Morton on July 24th, a distance of 50 miles.1


Aug. 1, 1863 the battalion muster available for duty was 179.1


On Aug 8, 1863 they left Morton and arrived at Enterprise on Aug 9th, a distance of 50 miles.1


On Aug 30, 1863 they left Enterprise and arrived at Mobile, AL on Aug 30th, a distance of 120 miles.1


On Aug. 31, 1863 they left Mobile and arrived at Halls Mills, AL the same day, a distance of 12 miles.1


September - November, 1863, assigned to Quarles’ Brigade, Department of the Gulf.2


Sep. 1, 1863 the battalion muster available for duty was 124.1


On Sept. 18, 1863 they left Halls Mills, AL and arrived at Camp Cummings, Mobile AL the same day, a distance of 12 miles.1


Oct. 1, 1863 the battalion muster available for duty was down to 121 men.1 After this date no figures have been found showing the strength of the battalion.


SPECIAL ORDERS No. 272.

ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE,

Richmond, Va., November 16, 1863.

The First Texas Battalion Sharpshooters, Maj. James Burnet commanding, is transferred to the Trans-Mississippi Department, and will report to Lieut. Gen. E. K. Smith, commanding, at Shreveport, La. Quartermasters and commissaries will furnish the necessary transportation and subsistence.

By command of the Secretary of War:

JOHN WITHERS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.3


On 17 Dec 1863, the Battalion was transported back across the Mississippi River, the command being ferried across the river by small boats and skiffs between Federal naval patrols. Once returned to the Trans-Mississippi Dept, the unit served in Arkansas and the Indian Territory. Some time in 1864, the Battalion was mounted.4


February - July, 1864, Unattached, Indian Territory, District of Arkansas, Trans-Mississippi Department.4


1864, late spring and early summer the battalion served on Provost duty at Marshall, TX.4


July - September 1864, Unattached, Indian Territory, District of the Indian Territory, Trans-Mississippi Department.2


July 1 - 31, 1864, participated in operations in Arkansas.4


      Company C, July 1, 1864, Left Camp Cooper [Throckmorton Co., TX] arrived at camp on Cedar Creek same day, distance 6 miles.6

      Company C, Left camp on Cedar Creek July 7 [1864], arrived at camp on Brazil Creek same day, distance 20 miles.6

      Company C, Left camp on Brazil Creek July 8 [1864], arrived at Camp Kin Caid July 20.6

      Company C, Left Camp Kin Caid August 1 [1864], arrived at Boggy Depot August 18, 1864, distance 125 miles.6


July 14 , 1864, skirmishes at Fair's Mills, AR and Bayou des Arc, AR 4


July 26 - 31, 1864, saw action at Wallace's Ferry, Big Creek, AR (N of Fort Smith), Massard's Prairie near Fort Smith, and Fort Smith, AR.4


September 1864 - May 1865, Unattached, Cooper’s Indian Cavalry Division, Trans-Mississippi Department.2


Sept. 11 - 25, 1864, participated in operations in the Indian Territory.1


Sept. 14, 1864, saw action at Prior Creek, I.T.1


Sept. 16 - 18, 1864, saw action at Fort Gibson, I.T.1


Sept. 19, 1864, saw action at Cabin Creek, I.T.1


      November, 1864, Co. C received clothing at Boggy Depot, C.N. [I.T.]5


      Dec. 31, 1864, Capt. A. Wirt Smith’s Company C inspected by Maj. Burnet in camp near Boggy Depot, Choctaw Nation, I.T.7


June 23, 1865, the Battalion was surrendered in Indian Territory at Doaksville.4 Another source shows the Battalion was surrendered on May 26, 1865 by Gen. E. K. Smith.2






Sources


1. Burnet’s Battalion 1st Texas Sharpshooters, National Archive Microfilm Series 323, Roll #260 - 261.


2. Stewart Sifakis, Compendium Of The Confederate Armies, Texas, (Facts on File, Inc., NY, 1995), 105 - 106.


3. O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME LIII [S# 111] p. 913, Confederate Correspondence, Etc.--#13


4. Regimental History file 1st Texas Sharpshooters, Texas Heritage Museum Hill College, Hillsboro, TX.


5. Skipper Steely, 47 Years, Chapter 18, footnote #53, unpublished manuscript, Paris, TX.


6. Paris News, August 11, 1949, A. W. Neville, “Backward Glances.”


7. Paris News, August 12, 1949, A. W. Neville, “Backward Glances.”


8. Benjamin D. Martin, Commanding Co A., 1st Texas Sharpshooters, letter to Gen. P. O. Herbert in San Antonio, dated 25 Sep 1862 from Camp Maxey north of Honey Grove, Fannin Co., TX.


9. 1st Texas Sharpshooter File, Lamar Co. Genealogical Society, Paris, TX. This file is a collection of papers the late Dan Hembree ordered from the National Archives in the 1950s and 60s.







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September 3, 2008