Southwestern Historical Quarterly
A Sketch of the History of Debray's (26th) Regiment of Texas
Cavalry. By Xavier Blanchard Debray. Waco (Waco Village
Press), 1961. Pp. iv+26. $5.00.
In 1884 Xavier B. Debray, an ex-Confederate cavalry colonel
born and educated in France, wrote his memoirs of the regiment
which he had commanded in the American Civil War. Debray's
history of the 26th Texas Cavalry was originally published in pam-
phlet form at Austin during 1884 and was reprinted for the first
time in the Southern Historical Society Papers, XII and XIII. Of
the pamphlets only about half a dozen still exist out of approx-
imately seventy-five original copies. This second reprinting should,
therefore, contribute quite definitely to a more widespread knowl-
edge and use of a rare item of Civil War Texana.
Seven companies of Texas cavalry raised in Harris, Galveston,
and surrounding counties were organized during the fall of 1861
into a battalion with X. B. Debray as lieutenant colonel and John
J. Myers as major. In January, 1862, the 26th Texas Cavalry Reg-
iment was formed by the addition of three companies; Debray
became colonel, Myers lieutenant colonel, and Medard Menard
major. After marching orders to Mississippi and to New Mexico
had been rescinded, the regiment spent 1862 on coastal duty in
Texas where it acquired the title "The Menagerie" because of the
crowds which came to watch its excellent drills and parades.
Debray, who had also been appointed commander of the Eastern
Sub-District of Texas, described in some detail the arrival of Major
General John Bankhead Magruder and his rather surprising vic-
tory at Galveston on January 1, 1863. Thereafter, Debray com-
manded Galveston Island until the Federal coastal invasion of
Texas in November, 1863. He was then placed in command of a
cavalry brigade including his own regiment and two others, all
part of Magruder's forces which were concentrated along Caney
Creek in Brazoria County to repel the Union advance.
In the spring of 1864 Federal troops were withdrawn from the
Texas coast to take part in the Red River Campaign in Louisiana.
To counter such a move Texas cavalry units were also ordered to
Louisiana. Debray's regiment left Houston on March 17, crossed
the Sabine River on April 1, and began to skirmish the next day.
The 26th Texas was heavily engaged in the battles at Mansfield
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed April 20, 2014.