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ROSS, PETER F.
(1836-1909). Peter F. Ross, Texas Ranger, cattleman, and Confederate Army
officer, was born on July 27, 1836,
at Bentonsport, Missouri, the son of Catherine H. (Fulkerson) and Shapley Prince Ross.qv In 1838 he moved with his
family to Milam County, Texas. After attending Mount Vernon Military Academy in New
York from 1853 to
1855 he returned to Texas, where he assisted his father, a Texas Indian agent, in
his duties on the frontier. Peter was described as "a tall, wiry, youth,
physically and mentally well fitted" for a military career. In 1858 he
was commissioned captain in the Texas Rangersqv and raised and commanded a
company that served for two years against the Comanches
and other warlike tribes on the northwest frontier. In May 1860 he served as
captain of the "spy company" of allied Indians that accompanied
Col. Middleton Tate Johnson'sqv expedition against the Comanches
and pushed into Indian Territory without encountering the enemy. With the outbreak of the
he raised a company of cavalry in Dallas for Confederate service that was organized as Company G
of Col. B. Warren Stone'sqv
Sixth Texas Cavalry regiment. Ross was elected captain of his company but was
soon elevated to regimental major. His regiment served under Gen. Ben McCullochqv
in Arkansas and Missouri
until McCulloch's death at the battle of Elk Horn Tavern, Arkansas, in March 1862, at which time they came under the
command of General Earl Van Dorn and moved with the regiment across the Mississippi River. There he saw action with Phifer’s
Brigade. He received two serious wounds at the battle of Corinth, Mississippi. In December 1862 the regiment was part of the force
which raided the Union Depot at Holly Springs, Mississippi, with great success. In April his regiment was part of
the Battle at Thompson’s Station destroying a Union cavalry
regiment. In the middle of 1863 he replaced Jack Wharton as commander and led
the 6th throughout the Atlanta campaign, fighting in numerous battles against Sherman’s advance toward Atlanta. In 1864 he led his regiment during John Bell Hood'sqv
ill-fated Tennessee campaign. The 6th and the other regiments of
the Texas Brigade, commanded by his brother, Brigadier General Lawrence
Sullivan Ross provided the rear guard with General N.B, Forrest’s Corps that
kept Hood’s army from being destroyed.
After the war, as a cattleman, Ross made several trail
drives to New Orleans. He married Laura Harrison, the daughter of Gen. James
E. Harrison,qv on December 26, 1866; they had two children. In 1870 Ross moved to Los Angeles,
California, where he farmed and engaged in trade. He returned to Texas in 1874 and served as deputy sheriff of McLennan
County under his brother Sul until
elected sheriff himself in 1875 when his brother ran for the Texas congress.. After serving two
terms as sheriff Ross bought a farm in 1880 on the Brazos
River some ten miles below Waco. He died on March 26, 1909, and was buried in Waco. He was a Democrat, a Knight Templar, and a Baptist.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Galveston Daily News, March 27, 1909. Willis Lang, Diary (MS, Barker
Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin). A Memorial and Biographical History of McLennan,
Falls, Bell, and Coryell Counties (Chicago: Lewis, 1893; rpt., St. Louis: Ingmire, 1984).
Thomas W. Cutrer
Information concerning the Texas Brigade and 6th
Texas Cavalry Regiment has been added to correct this biography. William K.
following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is
the preferred citation for this article.
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "ROSS, PETER F," http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/RR/fro82.html
(accessed April 5, 2006).
(NOTE: "s.v." stands for sub verbo, "under the word.")
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Last Updated: June 6, 2001
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