The 3rd Texas Cavalry Regiment’s story is told by S. B. Barron in his book titled “The Lone Star Defenders” which told of his unit in the Civil War. This is one incident in that book.


We were soon met with orders to mount and move out to

Owl Rock church on the Campbellton and Atlanta road, to assist

Colonel Harrison, who was understood to be contending with

General McCook’s division of cavalry. General McCook had

crossed the river near Rivertown, not far from Campbellton, for

purpose of raiding in our rear, and General Stoneman, with

another division, had simultaneously moved out around the

right wing of our army. The purpose was for these two

commands to co-operate and destroy the railroad in our rear.

General Wheeler’s cavalry was sent after Stoneman. As General

McCook had at least twelve hours the start of us we were unable

overtake him until afternoon of the next day. In the meantime,

before daylight, he struck the wagon train belonging to our

division, burned ninety-two wagons and captured the teamsters,

The Lone Star Defenders 157

blacksmiths, the chaplain of the Third Texas, and the inevitable

squad that managed under all circumstances to stay with the

train. We came up with McCook’s command near Lovejoy

Station, which is on the railroad thirty miles below Atlanta. We

learned with joy that General Wheeler had overtaken Stoneman,

captured him and a large portion of his command, and was able

to come with a portion of his troops to assist in the operations

against McCook. McCook now abandoned all effort to destroy

railroad property, and began a retreat in order to get back into

the Federal lines. We followed him until night when, as we had

been in our saddles twenty-eight hours, we stopped, fed on

green corn and rested a few hours. Some time before daylight

next morning we mounted and moved on briskly. Early in the

day we came close upon the enemy’s rear and pressed them all

day, during which time we passed scores of their horses, which

from sheer exhaustion had been abandoned. Many of our horses,

too, had become so jaded that they were unable to keep up.

About the middle of the afternoon, when near Newnan, the

Federals stopped to give us battle. They had chosen a position in

a dense skirt of timber back of some farms near the

Chattahoochee River bottom, and here followed a battle which I

could not describe if I would. I can only tell what the Third

Texas did and sum up the general result. We were moved

rapidly into the timber and ordered to dismount to fight. As

many of our men were behind, instead of detailing the usual

number of horse-holders, we tied the horses, leaving two men of

the company to watch them. Almost immediately we were

ordered into line, and before we could be properly formed were

ordered to charge, through an undergrowth so dense that we

could only see a few paces in any direction. As I was moving to

my place in line I passed John Watkins, who was to remain with

the horses, and on a sudden impulse I snatched his Sharpe’s

carbine and a half dozen cartridges. On we went in the charge,

whooping and running, stooping and creeping, as best we could

158 The Lone Star Defenders

through the tangled brush. I had seen no enemy in our front, but

supposed they must be in the brush or beyond it. Lieutenant Sim

Terrell, of Company F, and myself had got in advance of the

regiment, as it was impossible to maintain a line in the brush,

Terrell only a few paces to my right. Terrell was an ideal soldier,

courageous, cool, and self-possessed in battle. Seeing him stop I

did likewise, casting my eyes to the front, and there, less than

twenty-five yards from me, stood a fine specimen of a Federal

soldier, behind a black jack tree, some fifteen inches in diameter,

with his seven-shooting Spencer rifle resting against the tree,

coolly and deliberately taking aim at me. Only his face, right

shoulder, and part of his right breast were exposed. I could see

his eyes and his features plainly, and have always thought that I

looked at least two feet down his gun barrel. As quick as thought

I threw up the carbine and fired at his face. He fired almost at

the same instant and missed me. Of course I missed him, as I

expected I would, but my shot had the desired effect of diverting

his aim and it evidently saved my life.

Directly in front of Terrell was another man, whom Terrell

shot in the arm with his pistol. The Federals both turned around

and were in the act of retreating when two or three of Terrell’s

men came up and in less time than it takes to tell it two dead

bodies lay face downwards where, a moment before, two brave

soldiers had stood. I walked up to the one who had confronted

me, examined his gun, and found he had fired his last cartridge

at me. Somehow I could not feel glad to see these two brave

fellows killed. Their whole line had fallen back, demoralized by

the racket we had made, while these two had bravely stood at

their posts. I have often wondered what became of their remains,

lying away out in the brush thicket, as it was not likely that their

comrades ever looked after them. And did their friends and

kindred at home ever learn their fate?

The Lone Star Defenders 159

We moved forward in pursuit of the line of dismounted

men we had charged, and came in sight of them only to see them

retreating across a field. Returning to our horses we saw them

stampeding, as Colonel Jim Brownlow, with his regiment of East

Tennesseans, had gotten among them, appropriated a few of the

best ones, stampeded some, while the rest remained as we had

left them. We charged and drove them away from the horses and

they charged us three times in succession in return, but each

time were repulsed, though in these charges one or two of the

best horses in the regiment were killed under Federal riders.

These men were, however, only making a desperate effort to

escape, and were endeavoring to break through our lines for that

purpose, as by this time General McCook’s command was

surrounded and he had told his officers to get out the best they

could. In consequence his army had become demoralized and

badly scattered in their effort to escape. The prisoners they had

captured, their ambulances, and all heavy baggage were

abandoned, everything forgotten except the desire to return to

their own lines. General Stoneman had started out with 5000

men and General E. M. McCook had 4000. Their object was to

meet at Lovejoy Station, on the Macon Railroad, destroy the

road, proceed to Macon and Andersonville and release the

Federal prisoners confined at those two places. This engagement

lasted about two hours, at the end of which we were badly

mixed and scattered in the brush, many of the Confederates as

well as Federals not knowing where their commands were.

General Ross summed up the success of his brigade on this

expedition as follows: Captured, 587, including two brigade

commanders, with their staffs; colors of the Eighth Iowa and

Second Indiana; eleven ambulances, and two pieces of artillery.

General Wheeler’s men also captured many prisoners. Our loss

on the expedition was 5 killed and 27 wounded. Among the

wounded I remember the gallant Lieutenant Tom Towles, of the

Third. The command now returned to its position in General

160 The Lone Star Defenders

Hood’s line of battle, the prisoners being sent to Newnan, while I

was ordered to take a sufficient guard to take care of them until

transportation could be procured to send them to Andersonville.

I had about 1250 enlisted men and 35 officers, who were kept

here for several days. I confined them in a large brick

warehouse, separating the officers from the privates by putting

the officers in two rooms used for offices at the warehouse. I

made them as comfortable as I could, and fed them well. I would

turn the officers out every day into the front porch or vestibule

of the warehouse, where they could get fresh air. They were

quite a lively lot of fellows, except one old man, Colonel

Harrison, I believe, of the Eighth Iowa. They appreciated my

kindness and made me quite a number of small presents when

the time came for them to leave.This Newnan affair occurred

July 30, 1864. General Hood had apparently grown tired of

assaulting the lines in our front, and resumed the defensive. Our

duties, until the 18th of August, were about the same as they had

been formerly—heavy picketing and daily skirmishing. The

casualties, however, were continually depleting our ranks: the

dead were wrapped in their blankets and buried; the badly

wounded sent to the hospitals in Atlanta, while the slightly

wounded were sent off to take care of themselves; in other

words, were given an indefinite furlough to go where they

pleased, so that a slight wound became a boon greatly to be

prized. Many returned to Mississippi to be cared for by some

friend or acquaintance, while some remained in Georgia.