During the Civil War it took a massive effort on the part every man, woman, boy and girl (in the county). Not even the elderly (and the young) were spared the rigors of military service/
As we will see in a later chapter the young and hearty men of the male population had rushed headlong to join the ranks o active Confederate units that were being formed to go east to take part in the battles already being fought. Ad if they were not east of the Mississippi they had been posted along Texas (frontier and) coast to build defenses in preparation for the expected Union invasion of Texas.
This left the men who were for some reason were not able to join regular units to guard the home front. These men were organized into unit designated as the “Home Guards” units. Their ranks were composed of the young men, to young to be accepted into the ranks of the regular army and the men who were either to old or for some medical reason were not physically (able) to withstand the vigorious life of the regular army units in the field
At this point let me clear up one important point. Because these home guard units were comprised of elderly and young men does not mean that they were comprised of early and young men not mean that they were ineffective as a fighting force. The were the watch dog and policing arm of the (county). And later on( in) the war many of them fought along side the regular army in defense of the State.
Although records and company histories of the home guard units of Wharton County are sketchy. I was able to find the rosters of three of the units. These rosters are on file at The State Library, Archives Division, Austin Texas. (And a copy of these rosters are included in this chapter.)
Wharton County was divided into four districts or “Beats” Beat number one (had it’s headquarters in the town of Egypt). Beat number two had it’s headquarters in the city of Wharton,(and) Beat number three was (headquartered in) the town of Waterville. The town of Waterville was located between the present day towns of Lane City and Iago. It was situated along
the banks of Caney Creek. All that remains of the old town sight today is the old cemetery. The county also had a fourth district or beat. But at this time I have not been able to find any information on the exact location of the of (this) district or a roster of the personel who was responsible for patrolling this area. (Camp Tucker?)
Each beat was under direct control of a (beat) commander. It was his direct responsibility to see that his district was patrolled by armed men who were under his command. The home guards had many duties to perform. Their primary function was to be on the alert for run away slaves. Due to the fact that many of the plantations and farms were left in the hands of the womaen and younger members of the family. And the threat of the slaves running away had increased greatly. It was the responsibility of the home guard to check each slave that was found off his or her respective farm or plantation. The slaves were required to carry a pass with them at all times when off their home place. This pass gave them permission to travel to various places in the county. It also stated the business that they were attending to. And the time that they were to back at their respective farm or plantation. And it had to be signed and dated by the slave owner. If a slave was apprenhended that did not have this pass in his possession he was arrested and returned his rightful owner. If the slave was a stranger to the county he or she was held in the local jail until his or her owner could be found.
Along with the policing of the slave population the home guard was constantly on the lookout for deserters from the Confederate Army. If a suspect was apprended he was questioned and his leave papers were checked to see if they were in order. If he did not have the necessary papers he was turned over to the Commanding officer of the military district for further action.
It may appear that the duties of the home guard was a relative safe job. But it was anything but, during the war there hazards and dangers to be faced on a daily bsis. The county was constantly (under) the threat of looters. These men were often time deserters or in some cases just down right thieves and robbers preying on the innocent victims of the war. In some cases after the Federal gained a foot hold on the Texas Coast the home guard had to be on the alert for Federal Cavalry patrols and federal spies. The Federal patrols would often go into the country side looking for forage for their army and anamils. These raids were carried out against plantations and farms in the area of the coast. This placed the home guard units in a very serious situation, because the units of the Federal army that they faced were seasoned regular troops. They were better equipted and trained that the home guard units. In many cases the foraging parties of the Federal army were under orders to destroy pproperty that would be considered helpful to the Confederate war effort. These targets were railroad bridges, mills, grain stores and often the farms and plantations. So one can easily see that the home guard was not a group of old men and boys playing soldier. They were soldiers. And (thru) out the war they played a vital part in the defense of the Confederacy. (And) without them the units of the regular army and navy could not have carried out their mission (east of the Mississippi River) or along the vast frontier of Texas.
Note: Unit was actively commissioned August 21,1861
MUSTER ROLL of a reserve company of the second class organized under the name of “Home Guard” and having it’s headquarters at Wharton in Wharton County.
The State of Texas
County of Wharton
Personally appeared before me J.D. Whitten a Justice of The Peace in and for said county. J.T. Roberts Captian of the “Home Guard” Who upon oath says that the foregoing roll is correct. Sworn to and subscribed before me this the 23rd, day of July, 1861.
Signed: J.T Roberts
Captian Home Guards
The State of Texas
County of Wharton
Personally appeared before me J.D. Whitten a Justice of The Peace in and for said county. W.J. Clayton 1st Sgt. “Home Guards” and upon oath says thatJ.T. Roberts was elected Captian. B.F. Lee First Lieutenant, James D Whitten Second and Ezekiel George Third Lieutenant of said company. Sworn to and subscribed before me this the 23rd day of July, 1861
Signed: W.J Clayton 1st Sgt.
Signed: J. D. Whitten
Muster Roll of a reserve company of the second class organized under the name “Home Guards” and having it’s headquarters at Wharton in Wharton County and belongs to the cavalry arm of the service.
Names of The Officers;
J.T. Roberts Captain Wharton, Texas
B.F. Lee 1st Lieutenant Wharton, Texas
Jas. D Whitten 2nd Lieutenant Wharton, Texas
Ezekiel George 2nd Lieutenant Wharton, Texas
W. J. Clayton 1st Sgt.
D. M. Hove 2nd Sgt.
K. W. Skinner 3rd Sgt.
E. M. Sanford 4th Sgt.
J. W. Malone 5th Sgt.
J.T. Bolton 1st Cpl.
A.L. Kern 2nd Cpl
B. A. Harrison 3rd Cpl
B.B. Brown 4th Cpl
Names Of Privates:
J. A. Lawson
E. S. Alexander
I. N. Dennis
J. L. Dennis
D. A. Duke
W. L. Hathaway
J. A. Sanford
J. W. Walker
W. P. henry
W. J. Rennels
B. L. Callaway
*Texas State Archives, Austin, Texas. Muster Roll # 1623
Personally appeared before me Orderly Sergent Of the above company. Who being duly sworn in says the captian and lieutenant were duly elected by the company.
Signed:F. Sparks O.S.
I do solemnly swear that the above list is a true and correct Roll of the “Home Guard” in beat No. 3
signed: M. S. Stith
Sworn to and subscribed before me W. A. Moseley a Justice Of The Peace Beat No. # Wharton County Texas this 6th day August 1861
Muster Roll Of The Home Guard Company Wharton County Texas Beat No. 3. Post Office of all officers Waterville
M. S. Stith Captain
H. G. Shrock 1st Lieutenant (spelling uncertain of last name)
R. S. Bradshaw 2nd Lieutenant
S. Cayce 2nd Lieutenant
L. J. Crafel (Spelling of this name uncertain, Not clear on roll)
Col. L. Cleaveland
W. P. Hutchins
W. G. Hall
J. R. Haly
B. A. Harrison
J. H. Moten (spelling of last name not clear on roll)
R. D. moore
H. C. Slade
C. A. Shultz
C. C. Criley
E. D. Wilson
J. E. Hooper
R. H. Sargent
Note. Unit was actively commissioned September 10th, 1861
*Texas State Library, Archives Division Muster Roll #664
The S5tate of Texas
County of Wharton
Beat No 1
I do solemnly swear that at a meeting of the reserve company of militia of the above beat No. 1 held at Egypt this the 2nd day of August 1861 the following officers. Officers were duly elected at said company. Viz; Wm E Heard Captain Mentor Northington 1st Lt. A.C. McJunkins 2nd. Lieut. S. R. Heard 3rd Lieut. A. H. Wicker Orderly Sergeant.
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 2nd of August 1861. To which I certify and in my hand have set the seal of my office this 2nd. August 1861.
signed: J.H. Deaderick
Notary Public Co.
Name of The Company “Egypt Home Guards”
Wm. J. E. Heard Captain
Mentor Northington 1st Lieut.
A.C. Mcjunkins 2nd Lieut.
S.R. Heard 3rd Lieut.
A.H. Wicker Orderly Sergent
N. S. Buchanan (Middle initial not clear on muster roll)
J. M. Cook
Hu___ Hudgins (First name not legible on muster roll)
____ey Hudgins(First name not legible on muster roll)
J. D. Walker
____ Osbourne (First name not legible on muster roll)
Gwin Zonny (spelling of first and last name questionable letters on muster roll all run together
Flores, Cmsis (spelling of first and last name questionable letters on muster roll all run together)
A. T. Rainey (possible middle initial J.)
___ Mclaughlin (first name not legible on muster roll
F. ___ustier (first part of name not legible on muster roll)
M. __ustier (first part of name not legible on muster roll)
C. G. Faver
W. F. Wicks
A. W. Edg_____ (last part of last name not legible on muster roll)
______ Brinir (spelling of last name questionable letters not clear on muster roll, first name does not appear at all.)
Dr. __inman (first part of last name not legible on muster roll)
W. L. Hodge (last name questionable letters not clear on muster roll)
This is a reserve company of class 2nd head quarters at Egypt Wharton Co. And the P.O. of the officers at Egypt.
I do solemly swear that this is a true list of officers and privates of Egypt Home Guards
William J. E. Heard Capt.
Note: All entries in quotation markes added by author.
Original muster roll appears to have been damaged by water making it hard to read.
*Muster Roll furnished by Texas State Library, Archives Division.
Number on muster roll not legible
Note. Unit was actively commissioned September 16, 1861
Muster Roll of a volunteer Mounted Light Infantry Company of The Active Class. Organized and having it’s Headquarters at Waterville, Wharton County Texas. And called “The Rough And Ready Mounted Rifles”
C. F. Whittington Captain Post Office Waterville
A.W. Brandon 1st Lieutenant “
P.H. Petty 2nd Lieutenant “
W.H. Albertson 2nd Lieutenant “
R.A. Drane 1st Sergt.
J.P. Stern 2nd Sergt.
George Cook 3rd Sergt.
James T, Bradshaw 4th Sergt.
E.T. Prewitt 1st Corpl.
D.D. Baker 2nd Corpl.
Robert Farmer 3rd Corpl.
A.J. Stansbury 4th Corpl.
Muster Roll #704
Texas State Library
Personnaly appeared before me R.A. Drane Orderly Seargent of the above company who being duly sworn says the captian and Lieutenants were duly elected by the company.
Signed:R.A. Drane O.S.
I do solemly swear that the above list is a true and correct roll of an active company styled The Rough And Ready Mounted Light Infantry.
Signed: C.F. Whittington
Sworn and subscribed before me W.A. Mosley a Justice Of The Peace for Beat No.# Wharton County this Day of August 1861.
Signed: W.A. Mosley J.P.W.C.
Note. The date that the muster roll was notorized was left blank on the original document. It is possible that the date due to age and the faded condition of the original document has faded and is no longer legiable.
Note. The Company was actively commissioned September 16, 1861