The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 48, July 1944 - April, 1945

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HOWARD T. DIMICK
I
THE YEAR 1865 opened with deep gloom in the Trans-
Mississippi Department of the Confederacy, composed of
West Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas. Within a period
of six weeks after the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at
Appomattox Courthouse on April 12, the area was a scene of
disorder and confusion. There were about fifteen thousand
men under arms in Texas when Lee surrendered, but desertions
began almost immediately.' A small force was stationed at
Marshall, which was the headquarters of the Trans-Mississippi
quartermaster's and commissary department, commanded by
Captain George G. Gregg.2 When news of the surrender of
General Joseph E. Johnston followed word of General Lee's, the
civil population was reduced to a condition bordering on panic
and revolt.
Texas, during the first two or three years of the Civil War,
had been fairly prosperous. Good crops had been raised each
year, and no invader had laid them waste. Blockade-runners
had operated from Texas ports, and a brisk trade was carried
on with Mexico.3 But in the spring of 1865 the price of cotton
fell sharply, signalling the collapse of the South. The crops
of 1864 could not be marketed. There was, it is true, plenty
of food in Texas, but there was little of anything else. After
the surrender of General Johnston, civil law enforcement
ceased, and some towns organized "home guards" to clean
out the lawless element and to protect the women and children;
but the most lawless and dangerous element was yet to come.4
'Charles W. Ramsdell, "Texas from the Fall of the Confederacy to the
Beginning of Reconstruction," in Quarterly of the Texas State Historical
Association, XI, 199-219.
2Gregg Family Papers now in writer's family. George G. Gregg con-
ducted much of the business of the commissary department through his
store, G. G. Gregg & Co., which was located on the west side of the public
square of Marshall on West Houston Avenue.
3Charles W. Ramsdell, "Texas from the Fall of the Confederacy to the
Beginning of Reconstruction," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical
Association, XI, 199 ff.
4Ibid.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 48, July 1944 - April, 1945. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146055/. Accessed July 23, 2014.