The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988 Page: 186
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Officially the Eighth Texas Cavalry, the regiment became known
as the Terry Texas Rangers only through popular usage. Henry W.
Graber of Company "B" observed that "we started out with the name of
the 'Texas Rangers,' with a reputation we had never earned but were
called on to sustain." The Texas Rangers, a paramilitary force formed
in the early days of the Texas Republic, had served with great distinc-
tion against Indians and Mexicans during the period of the Republic
and had gained an international reputation during the United States'
war with Mexico, 1846-1848. The name Texas Ranger was never to be
taken lightly, and although they were but one of many Texas cavalry
regiments, Terry's men no doubt felt it their special duty to uphold the
honor of the old Rangers. The Houston Telegraph predicted that the
regiment "will be the pride of Texas," for its troopers "will feel they
have an ancient and glorious fame to sustain. We hazard nothing in say-
ing that there is an amount of manliness, chivalry, and bravery in the
regiment, which cannot be surpassed by any troops in the world."2
Recruited in the counties of western and southern Texas, Terry's was
an especially democratic regiment in a democratic army. "From the
standpoint of the martinet our organization could hardly be called a
regiment," admitted Private Leonidas B. Giles of Company "D." "If
there was ever any serious attempt to discipline it the effort was soon
abandoned. Volunteers we began, volunteers we remained to the end."
But to the credit of the Rangers he added, "few ever avoided a fight."
Indeed, the Eighth Texas Cavalry was to become perhaps the most
effective cavalry regiment, North or South, in the American Civil War,
the best known, save perhaps Hood's Texas Brigade, of any of the fight-
ing units from the Lone Star State, and one of the most colorful mili-
tary organizations of all time.;
Among those answering Terry's call to arms was John Wesley Rabb,
the twenty-eight-year-old son of a prominent Fayette County family.
Having mustered in at Houston on September 9, 1861, swearing to
serve "so long as this war shall last," Rabb and his regiment set out for
1861 to 1865" (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1930), [Henry W. Graber], The Life Record of
H. W. Graber, a Terry Texas Ranger, r861-i865 (Dallas: privately published, 1916; reprint, with
introduction by Thomas W. Cutrer, Austin: State House Books, 1987).
On Terry's call for volunteers and the response, see Blackburn, "Reminiscences of the Terry
Rangers" (July, 1918), 41.
2[Graber], Lzfe Record, 32-33; Houston Telegraph, quoted in Houston Chronicle, Oct 11,
SGiles, Terry's Texas Rangers, 1oo- 1o1.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988, periodical, 1987/1988; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101211/m1/226/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.