Notes and Documents
Civil War Letters of Sam Houston
Edited by DAVID P. SMITH*
IN TEXAS HISTORY THE STAND OF SAM HOUSTON AGAINST THE SeCession
of his state in early 1861 is well known. His support of Texas in the
Confederacy once the die had been cast, however, has not been so em-
phasized.' From his address "To the People of Texas" in March, 1861,
until his death in 1863, Houston supported Texas in its cause.2 Al-
though he often criticized Confederate leaders and policies, Houston
possessed an ever-abiding confidence in the strength and will of Texans
to counter all odds. This story of the wartime Houston is most admira-
bly told in Llerena Friend's biography of the great Texan.3
The three previously unpublished letters of Sam Houston found be-
low are written to Houston's good friend and confidant, Eber W. Cave.'
The first letter was obviously written in a moment of anxiety, but in
the other two Houston deals more with some of the problems facing the
Confederacy and Texas. He is violently critical of the Confederate presi-
*David P. Smith teaches history in the Highland Park Independent School District,
Dallas, and is a doctoral candidate at North Texas State University.
1The originals of the three Sam Houston letters here published are to be found in the
collection of the Hoya Memorial Library-Museum, Nacogdoches, Texas. Acknowledgments
are made to Mrs. J. Roy Gray for permission to publish the letters and to Mrs. Hazel
Henry, librarian, for assisting in their transcription.
2Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker (eds.), The Writings of Sam Houston,
1813-1863 (8 vols.; Austin, 1938-1943), VIII, 275; Speech at Independence, Texas, May lo,
1861, ibid., 3o4; Houston to Sam Houston, Jr., May 22, 1861, July 23, 1861, ibid., 306, 30o8-
3og; To the editors of The Civilian, September is, 1861, ibid., 310-311; Houston to Ashbel
Smith, November 18, 1862, ibid., 323; Houston to John B. Magruder, January 7, 1863, ibid.,
324; Speech at Houston, March 18, 1863, ibid., 327-329.
3Llerena Friend, Sam Houston, The Great Designer (Austin, 1954), 321-354.
4Eber Worthington Cave came to Texas in 1853, settled in Nacogdoches and married
Laura Sterne, daughter of Adolphus Sterne of Nacogdoches. An influential editor of the
Nacogdoches Chronicle, Cave supported Sam Houston in the gubernatorial campaigns of
1857 and 1859. Cave was appointed secretary of state by Houston after the latter was suc-
cessful in the election of 1859, but resigned when Houston was deposed from office in
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101205/. Accessed September 1, 2014.