Benjamin F. Terry
John A. Wharton
8th Texas Cavalry|
"Terry's Texas Rangers"
Following the secession of Texas with the rest of the Confederacy, Benjamin Franklin Terry, a wealthy sugar planter, recruited for and organized the Rangers in Houston,
Texas, in August, 1861. Initially bound for service in Virginia and the "eastern theater", the regiment instead was placed under the command of
Confederate General Albert Sydney Johnston for service in the "western theater". They immediately saw action, with their first skirmish being on December 17th, 1861,
near Woodsonville, Kentucky, when they engaged Union forces while being supported by the 6th Arkansas Infantry. The skirmish, while minor, cost them Colonel Terry,
who was killed in action. Colonel Terry was replaced by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Lubbock, who received a promotion to colonel. However, Col. Lubbock died from disease
before ever actually taking command. John Austin Wharton then received a promotion to colonel, and assumed command.
He would hold that position until he was promoted, eventually rising to the rank of Major General.
The Rangers distinguished themselves throughout the war, fighting 275 battles in seven states with skill and bitter determination. Because of their abilities, and the arms they carried,
they were regarded as a "charging regiment," frequently called upon to act as a form of shock troops. They were engaged at Shilo, and provided the
main body of troops for the remarkable charge at Fallen Timbers. They led the way when General Forrest, by sheer audacity, took Murfreesboro
from a superior enemy force. At Bardstown, it was the Rangers who led Wharton's Brigade into the mass of Yankee cavalry to carry the day.
They fought from horseback and on foot. They traveled hundreds of miles behind enemy lines to raid the enemy's sources of supply and
communication. They were called upon time and again to provide pickets and scouts for the Army of Tennessee. Alexander Shannon was
a Terry Ranger who hand-picked men from the group to form the notorious Shannon's Scouts. Shannon and his men punished
Sherman in his march across Georgia and into the Carolinas.