Joshua Russell

Professor Blank


November 19, 2013

Civil War: Unionist Texas?

Retrieved from: danmillerinpanama During the Civil War, Texas seceded from the Union to join the Confederacy; however, much like any political movement, there was opposition. There were people who had strong sentiment toward the Union who were called unionists. In fact, many Texans were not only unionists that went against the Confederacy; some died for treason due to it.

It is well known that Texas was a Confederate state in the Civil War; however, many Texans did not agree with the idea of secession from the Union. Sam Houston, the Texas Governor who led the army that defeated Santa Anna years before, had strong loyalties to the Union (Texas). In fact, he chose retirement from office rather to pledge allegiance to the Confederacy after stating, “In the name of the constitution of Texas, which has been trampled upon, I refuse to take this oath. I love Texas too well to bring civil strife and bloodshed upon her” (South; Noble Quotes; Texas). Sam Houston was not alone in his unionist sentiment; as it turns out, historians estimate that 30 percent of Texans were unionist (Dissent).

Unfortunately, these Texan unionists did not go unnoticed. In fact, many of these unionists were targeted by mobs that torched their homes or businesses, and some mobs murdered those who opposed the Confederacy (Dissent). One of the more notorious events occurred in North Texas, where 21 unionists were arrested for resisting the draft (Dissent). They were tried for treason, which resulted in seven men being convicted and hanged (Dissent). The trial ignited weeks of violence in Gainesville, Denton, Sherman, and Decatur that resulted in the lynching of 46 unionists; an event later called The Great Hanging at Gainesville (Dissent). Unionist sentiment was strongest in the German counties of the Texans Hill Country, where many resisted the draft into the Confederate army (Dissent). Within weeks, the Hill Country was considered in open rebellion. Dozens were shot or arrested, and the 68 Germans that decided to leave for Mexico were hunted down by Confederate rangers, resulting in nearly half shot or executed (Dissent).

As one can see, Texans were not all supporters of the Confederacy. From Sam Houston refusing to take the oath of allegiance, to the individuals who resisted the draft and attempted to escape the South, many Texans had union sentiment.

Works Cited “Noble Quotes of Sam Houston.” The Sam Houston Memorial Museum. 2012. Web. Nov. 16, 2012. “civil-war-soldiers.jpg.” 2013. JPEG-file. Nov. 17, 2013. “Sam Houston.” Son of the South. 2003. Web. Nov. 17, 2013. “Sam Houston.” Texas Humanities. Web. Nov. 16, 2013. “The American Civil War: Dissent in Texas.” Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Feb. 20, 2013. Web. Nov. 17, 2013