6th TEXAS CAVALRY REGIMENT
CONFEDERATE STATES ARMY
B. WARREN STONE, COLONEL
LAWRENCE SULLIVAN "SUL" ROSS, BRIG. GEN.
JACK WHARTON, COLONEL
PETER F. ROSS, COLONEL
JOHN SUMMERFIELD GRIFFITH, BRIG. GEN.
Called Ross', Stone's, Wharton's and Griffith's Regiment, this collection of Texas Horsemen earned a place in history. The regiment was organized in north Dallas at the fair grounds and trained in an area south of Dallas, Texas called Camp Bartow. Many of the companies came already organized from Ranger or County Militia, and others were filled out by enlistments. One of the most illustrious members enlisted as a private and rose to brigadier general. He was Lawrence Sullivan Ross a future governor of Texas and President of Texas A&M University. Four of the members made brigadier general and two became Texas governors. Ross, Griffith Throckmorton and Stone became Generals and Throckmorton and Ross became Governors.
When the unit was surrendered on May 4th, 1865, at Jackson, Mississippi it only had 200 men remaining. The Muster rolls of the unit showed over 1150 soldiers in ten companies and a Field & Staff (headquarters) in 1861. Records also show the unit was also called the 2nd Texas Cavalry, but this error is probably related to Colonel B. Warren Stone who came back to Texas in the summer of 1862 and raised a second unit which also bore his name.
When B. Warren Stone led
the regiment into Indian Territory during the move to Arkansas in October 1861,
and the units trained as they marched. Lt. Col. Griffith was given command
of a detachment which fought Indians at Chusto Talasah in December of 1861.
Colonel Stone commanded the regiment at Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern) and Corinth I, but by May, Ross was elected Colonel and Stone was on the way back to Texas. At the Battle of Iuka, MS the regiment was located on a ridge overlooking the town and did not even hear the battle because of the wind and terrain. Ross commanded the regiment at Corinth II. Company I was attached to Ras Stirman’s Sharpshooter Regiment and fought as Infantry, because General Van Dorn decided he needed more Infantry. The horses had been sent back to Texas. The remainder of the regiment was assigned to Brigadier General Phifer’s Brigade and fought along side the 9th Texas Cavalry and the 35th Mississippi. And fight they did. Against dug in infantry and artillery they made it to the dug in positions before running out of ammunition. Ross had two horses shot from under him. Company I and some of the 3rd Arkansas Cavalry and Stirman’s men made it into the center of Corinth and almost captured the Union General Rosecrans, before they ran out of ammunition and men and were fighting fresh Union brigades. Van Dorn ordered to retreat.
The next afternoon at Hatchie Bridge, Griffith was in command of the regiment and Ross was in command of Phifer’s Brigade. The 27th Texas Cavalry Regiment (dismounted) which had been shot up at Iuka was leading the Army and had crossed the bridge with Moore’s Brigade when they ran into Union General Ord’s Division. These units were shot up and scattered. General Maury running back to the bridge told Stirman and Ross to run for their lives. Ross sent Stirman and his Sharpshooters back across the bridge to take up positions. Ross with part of the 6th, Moore’s remnants, a detachment of the 27th fought a rear battle to get as many men across the bridge as possible. Soon Ross crossed the Bridge and took up positions on a ridge over looking the bridge. The Union followed and soon had three regiments in bad positions on the south east side of the river. Ross and his men returned fire with such force that the Union regiments were shot up and loss several hundred men. Soon Van Dorn found another route and his Army was saved. Ross was reinforced and was soon able to follow the Army to safety. Before long they made it to Grenada, MS where they recovered and refitted.
Soon the regiments received their horses back and were remounted. The regiment was assigned to the Whitfield Brigade which would be their home for the War. Ross went back to Texas to recover from his wounds and Griffith was the acting commander. General Pemberton the new Army Commander put out word that he needed ideas for new action. Griffith forwarded a plan indorsed by the brigade officers. Soon General Van Dorn was leading a raid for the Union Depot at Holly Springs. The raid was very successful and continued on into Tennessee doing great damage to the railroad and infrastructure. Lt. Col. John Griffith engineered a brilliant raid to Holly Springs, Mississippi and captured several million dollars of material and along with a raid General Nathan Bedford Forest in Tennessee caused General Grant to regroup at Memphis and added almost a year to the war. Following the raid Griffith's health failed and he returned to Texas. Almost a year later he was promoted to brigadier general over a District in Texas by the governor.
Van Dorn soon led a Corps of Cavalry which included the Whitfield Brigade
to Tennessee where there was more forage. Jack Wharton was commanding and Ross was acting as brigade commander. Joining with General Forrest Division they soon fought a Union force at Tompkins’s Station and won a good battle. For several months all went well. During a detachment recon on the Duck River, there was one casualty after causing much damage and kills on a Union River Force. The one casualty was Major White who was liked by all. His body was returned to Texas.
General Van Dorn was shot by a jealous husband and the Corps was disbanded. The unit went back to Mississippi in May 1863. Ross and a detachment of the 6th and 3rd Mississippi were sent across Tennessee to stop a Union raid from Chattanooga. Ross did so well, the Union force turned around and returned north.
Wharton leading the 6th had morale problems and almost a mutiny. A Court Marshal was held but he was not found at fault. Ross moved him to the brigade staff and put his brother, Peter Ross in commanded of the regiment for the rest of the war.
Under a combination of Whitfield, Mabry and Ross the brigade fought numerous battles in Mississippi, but morale floundered for the rest of 1863, In December Ross was made brigade commander and morale immediately improved. For the first four months of 1864 the units fought small battles. In one the troops took revenge against black Union soldiers. Two Texas soldiers had been murdered after being captured. A black company fired on part of the regiment and were chased back to Yazoo City. Most of the enemy blacks were shot down, even when trying to surrender. The Regiment was soon assigned to Alabama to look for deserters. They stayed there until May 3, 1864.
Under Colonel Peter F. Ross the unit was in continuous contact for the next 100 days on the flank of General Joseph Johnston's Army in Sul Ross' Brigade and Walker's Division. Their opponents were cavalries and Infantry of General Sherman's Army. They fought as Cavalry and Infantry and as Skirmishers. The unit fought bravely and on many occasions victoriously in a delaying action toward Atlanta.
In the Union Raids of July and August 1864 the Sixth was extremely courageous. First General McCook led a raid and a series of delaying actions by the brigade regiments placed McCook up against an Infantry brigade, Armstrong’s Brigade and Wheeler coming from the east, McCook’s forces had to flee for their lives. Many regiments of his division were captured. Ross was captured for a while, but Wheeler’s pressure caused McCook to release all his prisoners and captured equipment. McCook made it back to Union lines but his raid was a failure.
General Kilpatrick led the August raid. His division was stronger and initially pushed the 27th and 3rd Texas back, but soon the 6th and 9th joined the battle and began to slow the raid. Again another dug in Infantry brigade, Armstrong and the arrival of a train, which the Union forces thought was another brigade, caused General Kilpatrick to consider his tight position. Called by his soldiers, “Kill Cavalry”, Kilpatrick at the urging of his brigade commanders, ordered a charge through the Ross Brigade, which was down to 500 effective fighters. Lining up in three brigade columns, they charged through the thin Ross lines. Many men of the 3rd were captured. Ross and some of the 6th saved the brave soldiers of the artillery battery firing on the fleeing Union force. Ross’ men fired one shot and those that could laid down and pretended death. Others were cut up by sabers and did not have to pretend. After the force rolled by, Ross found his bugler and called recall. What was left of the brigade regrouped on him to fight again.
After this the 6th along with the brigade was attached to General Hood’s Army and it’s ill fated campaign into Tennessee. The brigade did not fight at the Battles of Franklin and Nashville. They were assigned a diversionary attack on Murphreesburough. The Brigade was used by General Forrest to lead the Army into Tennessee and to be part of the rear guard as they left.
In Mississippi and Alabama they tried to regroup and refit, but the resources were not available. The regiment fought a few more battles, but were down to the size of two companies. When paroled, many of the soldiers stayed in Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi, where they had found new friends. They were said to have been one of the most dependable regiments in the Army, but then lacked discipline and were extremely rough. This comment could have described any Texas Ranger unit of that time frame. A small group returned to Texas after May 15, 1865. More returned with time from prisons of the north and hospitals and recovery homes all across the south. One chaplain who had been wounded during the Union raids was brought home by the soldier assigned to stay with him.
The 6th Texas Cavalry had fought bravely and longer than most. They had traveled miles on foot and horse and were ready for the task of peace. Many went on to fame and great lives. But the toll of war took time. They suffered reconstruction with the rest of the South, but most never admitted defeat.
Click on units below for the Muster Roster. Over time these will be expanded into genealogical rosters about the war and lives of these men.