The Civil War and Confederate Soldiers of Fort Bend County

The Great Seal of the Confederate States of America.

Photos from The Civil War: A Visual History –

During the winter of 1861 when the American Civil War began, Fort Bend County residents took a stand to fight for the Confederacy. The city of Houston became the headquarters for the Confederate district of Texas, and over 75 camps throughout the state were established. The daunting notion that war was coming to the land people called home was difficult to understand. No matter how long it took, in the eyes of the partisans, the Confederacy would triumph.

The majority of Fort Bend County’s men, most of them in their teens to early 20s, joined the call to arms. Sons of leading families, college graduates, professional men, farmers, ranchers, merchants and stockmen served in the ranks as privates. They were instructed to bring their own gear, including one or more revolvers, a rifle or shot gun, belt or bowie knife, horse, saddle and bridle. Benjamin Franklin Terry was selected to commission 10 captains to recruit a calvary. Captain John Holt, a member of Company H, also called the Terry Guards and later Terry’s Texas Rangers, was to enlist the company.

A depiction of the Siege of Vicksburg during the Civil War.

Since this process began early in the war, Terry and his officers were able to hand pick each member of the regiment. Once recruited, other officers and non-commissioned officers were elected. Morale was irrefutable. They were committed to winning the war. The newly appointed companies shouted, “For the war, for the war!” pledging to the fight until the war was over – long or short – and the interlopers were driven from the borders.

Camps were established in cities throughout Texas, rewarding the troops by giving them meals and lodging for reasonable prices. Bertwick’s Hotel in Richmond offered free meals and a room to any soldier. Fort Bend Manufacturing Company, a private manufacture that contracted with the Confederate States Government, produced cloth fabrics, wood, iron and steel products. Because of the fear of Union soldiers coming to the area to battle, as well as for financial reasons, schools were closed, and almost everything was shut down.

Terry’s Texas Rangers began their Confederate service on September 9, 1861. Most of these enlisted men had seen prior service with the Texas Rangers. Records show this calvary was one of the most frequently engaged units during the Civil War, with documented battles of over 150 skirmishes. In 1863, rumors of a heavy invasion circulated around the Fort Bend area. Colonel Xavier Blanchard DeBray, along with 150 men of the 26th Calvary who spent time protecting the borders in Galveston, came to Richmond and camped out near what is Jester State Prison unit today. They patrolled the Brazos River while other units dug trenches along Caney Creek for protection. Fortunately, war never came to Fort Bend County. The area was never subject to the devastation that occurred in the other Confederate States during the war, but the repercussions were felt for years.

Politically, socially and economically, life changed drastically for Fort Bend County. For nine years following the Civil War, the normal way of living was in turmoil. Freed slaves who had little to no money could not purchase land. Plantation owners and farmers had no labor force. Therefore, the land was not tilled, and crops were not planted. During the Panic of 1873, more than 100 banks failed. In 1875, storms and flooding in Rosenberg and Richmond forced the shutdown of merchants on Morton Street.

Slowly, over time, the economy improved, and Fort Bend County citizens began to prosper again. History preserves the lessons that were learned and the memories that will never be forgotten.