Toward a List of Reconstruction Loyalists
SHORTLY AFTER THE PASSAGE OF THE FIRST RECONSTRUCTION ACT IN
March, 1867, military authorities in Texas were faced with the ne-
cessity of compiling lists of persons eligible for numerous local and state
offices which would be vacated by removals. The documentx was ap-
parently drafted by officers in the field. After surveying the counties
within their jurisdiction the officials designated 840 individuals in
seventy-six counties as a potential source of Unionist strength. Since
this April 1867 catalog of reliable Texans represented the efforts of nu-
merous officers, it suffers from inconsistency of detail. It provides
enough, however, to prove the generalization that military reconstruc-
tion suffered from the outset by a paucity of loyalist sentiment.
Among those recommended to the headquarters of the Fifth Military
District were 104 former federal officers or enlisted men, 38 refugees
who had returned from Confederate exile, and 74 freedmen. In many
of those counties having a dense concentration of blacks only an estimate
of their numbers was provided. Little emphasis was placed on black
Texans as potential leaders even in the counties of Wood, Titus, Up-
shur, Hopkins, and Lamar where only thirteen persons of Unionist pro-
clivity were found among a population containing 13,7oo Negroes. On-
ly whites were recommended as probable leaders in those counties. In
Upshur no Unionists could be located, or "none that could be heard
of."2 In those counties where it might be expected German surnames
* Robert Shook is an instructor in history at Victoria College.
1 Registration Book "A," United States Army Continental Commands, 1821-192o, Fifth
Military District, District of Texas (Record Group 393, National Archives, Washington).
2 Ibid., 92-93.
8 The hill country counties of Comal, Kendall, Gillespie, and Kerr had a majority of
German settlers by 186o. Nearer to the coast there were considerable numbers of Germans
in Fayette, Austin, Colorado, Washington, DeWitt, and Victoria counties. Rudolph Leopold
Biesele, The History of the German Settlements in Texas, z83-1861 (Austin, 1930), 66,
163. Some disagreement exists over the degree to which abolitionism, anti-secession senti-
ment, and Unionism dominated the counties. In addition to Biesele see Ella Lonn, Foreign-
ers in the Confederacy (Chapel Hill, 1940), 46-50; Gilbert Giddings Benjamin, The Ger-
mans in Texas: A Study in Immigration (Philadelphia, 19o9), 90o, 99, 105, 1o8; Claude
Elliott, "Union Sentiment in Texas, 1861-1865," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, L
(April, 1947), 449-477; Frank H. Smyrl, "Unionism in Texas, 1856-1861," ibid., LXVIII
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101202/. Accessed August 2, 2015.