The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 11, July 1907 - April, 1908

Texas From Fall of Confederacy to Reconstruction. 199

TEXAS FROM THE FALL OF THE CONFEDERACY TO
THE BEGINNING OF RECONSTRUCTION.
CHARLES W. RAMSDELL.
I. Conditions on the Eve of the Break-Up.
When General Lee surrendered, in early April, 1865, that part
of the Confederacy east of the Mississippi was already overwhelmed
and exhausted. In the Trans-Mississippi Department, however, a
large area comprising western Louisiana, parts of Arkansas, and
the whole of Texas was still almost untouched by invasion. The
Federal forces having been kept at bay here through the war, it
seemed probable that a severe struggle would be necessary for the
reduction of the Confederates in this region; yet, within six weeks
from the surrender at Appomattox the Trans-Mississippi Depart-
ment presented a scene of universal disorder and confusion noth-
ing short of anarchy-and that, too, without the advance of a
single Federal soldier. In reality the defences of this department,
and particularly of Texas, with which we are here concerned,
formed simply a thin shell incapable of sustaining any heavy or
prolonged attack.
In spite of peculiar advantages Texas had already shown unmis-
takable signs of exhaustion. Throughout the war she had suf-
fered less than her sister States, and during the first two or three
years had been fairly prosperous. She lay outside the circle of
conflict, no hostile armies laid waste her towns and fields, nor
withdrew her slaves from the plantations. Good crops were raised
every year. During most of the time her ports were open and
steamers and blockade runners made their way to and from Vera
Cruz, Havana and the ports of Europe. Moreover, the Mexican
border offered peculiar advantages for a safe overland trade; and
through this channel the staples of Texas-cotton, wool, and hides-
were exported and exchanged for necessary supplies or specie.
Through the deflection of trade from its regular channels this
traffic had for the most part fallen into the hands of speculators,--

Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 11, July 1907 - April, 1908. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101045/. Accessed August 28, 2014.