Bourland in North Texas and Indian Territory During the Civil War: Fort Cobb, Fort Arbuckle & the Wichita Mountains

by Patricia Adkins-Rochette

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 Volume I. Colonel James G. Bourland Timeline

Introduction

 

        This study outlines the events of the Civil War era of North Texas and southern Indian Territory in a timeline of the events of the life of Colonel James Bourland.  He organized a regiment for border protection by placing his men up and down Red River.  Bourland's sphere of influence encompassed Fort Arbuckle to Fort Cobb to the Wichita Mountains plus 34 Texas counties along the Red River, which was protected by the 7th, 8th, 9th, 14th, 15th, and 20th, and 21st Militia Brigades and later, protected by both the Texas militia brigades and Confederacy.

        In order to understand Bourland’s role in North Texas and Indian Territory during the Civil War, it was necessary to study all seven Texas Militia Brigades along the Red River plus the brigade that comprised Fort Worth. The Appendix contains 240 militia listings and the brigade correspondence of North Texas. Bourland’s Border Regiment Cavalry coordinated with the 21st Brigade until the summer of 1865.

 

Starvation

 

        My major objective in this study was to illustrate how close many Indian Territory residents of the Civil War era came to starvation — a topic that was not addressed in the Oklahoma public schools of the 1940s and 1950s.

        Themes in this study are starvation, corn, cattle, horses, Negroes and slaves, plus the Plains Indians and their captives.  The major reason that the people of Indian Territory almost starved was that their cattle were stolen and driven back East to feed the Union and Confederate armies.   Bourland’s Regiment attempted to feed and clothe the Indian refugees.

 

 

Protection of the North and West Frontier

 

        Complementing this outline are the Appendices that list the soldiers in Bourland’s Border Regiment and some of the militias of the 34 counties and the seven brigades of Texas State Troops including the Frontier District Regiments of North and West Texas. The major objectives of these militia units were: (1) protection of the white settlers and the friendly Indians from marauding Plains Indians; (2) defending the Southern cause; (3) arresting deserters of the Confederate States Army, some of whom had defected from other Southern states.

        Included are the fifty-one (51) Official Record entries that mention Colonel James Bourland to provide a contemporary context. The Official Record entries citing Fort Cobb, that do not mention Colonel James Bourland, are found in "Appendix L, Fort Cobb."  The Official Record entries citing Fort Arbuckle, that do not mention either Colonel James Bourland or Fort Cobb, are found in "Appendix M. Fort Arbuckle." 

 

 

Bourland Papers

 

        The Bourland Papers contain about 200 documents, most pertaining to the Civil War era.   Of particular interest are the Bourland Papers that contain 43 letters that do not, but should, appear in the Official Record: thirty-four (34) letters written by Brig-General H. E. McCulloch to Col. James Bourland and nine (9) letters written to McCulloch, who burned his records. These 200 documents are transcribed, complete with misspellings and poor grammar, with corrections in brackets.  The Bourland Papers contained militia listings and documents from Cass County to Tarrant County to Mason County, Texas to Fort Cobb, I. T.

 

 

Bourland’s Border Regiment Cavalry

 

        At the request of the Confederacy, the State of Texas on March 1, 1864, was reorganized into six (6) new military brigades, replacing the 33-brigade organization. The new 3rd Military Brigade was charged to protect the frontier settlers from the Indians. Since Bourland’s Border Regiment became part of the Confederate Army, it was no longer responsible for preventing attacks from the marauding Indians, but continued nevertheless. The Confederacy would not have accepted Bourland’s Border Regiment unless the new Texas 3rd Military Brigade (Texas State Troops) would protect the white settlers on the Texas northwestern frontier and be paid by the State of Texas. The Confederacy would pay for Bourland’s Border Regiment to combat the Union but not the marauding Indians. CSA President Jefferson Davis had been the U.S. Secretary of War under U.S. President Franklin Pierce (1853-1857) and remembered how much it had cost to maintain cavalry posts on the Texas frontier.

        Lt-Colonel J.R. Diamond replaced Lt-Colonel Bourland on February 10, 1865 as commander of Bourland’s Regiment, but some this regiment were sent to Lt-Colonel L. M. Martin’s 5th Texas Partisan Rangers.  Meanwhile, Lt-Colonel Bourland was promoted to Commander of the Frontier to protect the settlers and their livestock from the marauding Indians.

 

 

Great Hanging in Gainesville

 

        This study does not include an exhaustive study of the events of the era of The Great Hanging of 1862.  Other’s have addressed this historic event in respected publications, especially in Tainted Breeze by Richard B. McCaslin.

 

 

Stand Watie and John Jumper

 

        General Stand Watie’s Cherokee Mounted Volunteer CSA Regiment was attached on February 5, 1864 to Bourland’s TST Regiment.   Earlier Lt-Colonel John Jumper’s Seminole Mounted Volunteers CSA Regiment had been attached to Stand Watie’s Cherokee Volunteer CSA Regiment, then on December 20, 1863 Jumper’s Seminole Volunteer CSA Regiment was attached to Bourland’s Regiment. Also, Jumper’s regiment was attached to Stand Watie’s Regiment from July 1864 to September 1864. (see Appendices L and M.)

 

 

Brush Battalion

 

        The "brush battalion" included draft dodgers and deserters.  The Confederate Army offered amnesty to the men in the brush if they would enroll in the Confederacy.  Over 480 brush men enrolled on November 6, 1863 in Collin County into the Confederate Brush Battalion. (see Appendix K.)

 

 

Gazetteer

 

        A major objective of this study was to locate the places, mentioned in the primary records, that were in Indian Territory, especially the places where soldiers camped. Notice the "Indian Territory" entries in the "Gazetteer" plus the references to Bourland Papers in "Appendix P. Some Military Posts and Hideouts in Indian Territory."

 

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 Patricia Adkins-Rochette        03/20/2013           prochette@Juno.com

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Bourland in North Texas and Indian Territory During the Civil War: Fort Cobb, Fort Arbuckle & the Wichita Mountains