THE SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
VOL. LXIV JANUARY, 1 961 No. 3
/ohT S. "i/p" Lord
Pardet Cavalrymax, C. S. A.
STEPHEN B. OATES
ON THE MORNING OF FEBRUARY 5, 1861, John Salmon Ford
was standing in front of the stage line office in Austin
shaking hands with a number of friends who had gathered
to see him off. He was forty-five years old, tall and muscular, and
his flashing blue eyes and stentorian voice gave him a command-
ing presence in the small crowd. As he talked his facial expres-
sion neither changed nor revealed emotion. His features appeared
even more rigid because of a moderately sloping roman nose and
a stubby gray beard that framed his wide chin.' Though dressed
entirely in civilian clothing, he was a colonel of cavalry in the
newly-formed Army of Texas with an exceedingly difficult assign-
ment. The Texas Secession Convention had ordered him to recruit
a volunteer force in the Houston vicinity and move toward the
Lower Rio Grande region to capture all United States property
and munitions of war.2 But as he waved to his friends and climbed
into a small coach, Ford was concerned less with the problem of
raising troops and capturing forts than with the cold wind howling
and churning up dust in the unpaved street that promised to
make his ride to Houston a dreary one.
At Hempstead, Colonel Ford left the coach and took a train to
1John S. Ford, Memoirs (7 vols., preserved as typescript copies in the Archives
Collection of the Library of the University of Texas), V, 997; Charles L. Martin,
"The Last of the Ranger Chieftains," The Texas Magazine, IV (January, 1898),
2The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Oficial Records of the Union
and Confederate Armies (70 vols. in 128, Washington, 188o-190go1), ser. I, vol. LIII,
650-651. Hereafter cited as Official Records.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101190/. Accessed May 29, 2016.