Living History and Civil War Reenactment Troop
If you are a horse owner, you are familiar with the strong bond between a horse and rider. You know the smell of leather and dust. You know the thrill of riding your horse and feeling its personality and power. You appreciate both the freedom of riding and the responsibility of safety. Now imagine you and your trusted mount, decked out with Civil War clothing, guns, and tack, and riding through maneuvers as part of a group of like-minded friends who are working to become well-trained and dependable cavalrymen. Imagine too, the excitement of hearing the bugle sound the "Charge!" as you race in formation with guns-a-blazing toward a line of enemy soldiers. There's nothing else like it!
Members of the 3rd Texas Cavalry sometimes play the role of mounted couriers during a battle, delivering orders and messages from the top commanders on the field to direct the overall battle scenario. These, and many more, are the unique experiences of a mounted Cavalry reenactor.
Our group stresses safety for all horses, rider, and spectators. We also enjoy learning about and teaching the best practices of good horsemanship. If you are looking for a unique and fun experience, consider reenacting with us. Get that horse into line, Trooper!
No Horses, No Problem
Many members of the 3rd Texas Cavalry do not own or ride horses. Even if you don’t own a horse you can still be a member of our group and participate in the battles as “Dismounted” Cavalry.
During the War, Cavalryman often would dismount, leave their horses a safe distance from the enemy, and proceed forward to fight as skirmishers. So, it is just as accurate to see Cavalrymen fighting dismounted with their carbines as it is to see them fighting mounted with their pistols. The dismounted impression is especially accurate for our group because during the War, the 3rd Texas Cavalry was in fact “unmounted’ for about nine months, having been ordered to send their horses back to Texas.
Dismounted Cavalrymen have a lot of fun at reenactments for a number of reasons. For one, they usually march and fight in a less strict formation than do Infantry. Secondly, they get to carry a lighter carbine compared to the heavier 3-banded long rifles. Third, whereas Infantrymen and Artillerymen are often prohibited from carry pistols, Cavalry men are allowed to carry pistols. And hey, who doesn’t want to shoot one of those cool pistols. Finally, Dismounted Cavalry usually see the most action during a battle because they typically are sent in as a loose band of skirmishers before the big lines of Infantry take the field.
One benefit of being a member of the 3rd Texas Cavalry, is that our Dismounted Cavalrymen do still have the chance to be around horses and enjoy taking an active part in caring for and working with them. Our horse owners are more than happy to give riding lessons and allow group members to share in the fun of feeding, brushing, and leading the horses to water.
So come on and "Jine the Cavalry". Even if you are afoot.
[women in the Civil War] Some reenactment groups are designed to be for men only or may not be suited for women or children. Not so with the 3rd Texas Cavalry. In the 3rd, our wives, daughters, sisters, and small children are a beloved part of our group and they are always welcome in camp and on the battlefield.
The ladies in the 3rd Texas play a variety of roles. Some play the part of male soldiers. This is a difficult role to fill but our ladies do it very well. Not only do they ride and fight skillfully right alongside the men, but they do it all without letting their true identity be noticed by the spectators.
[On occasion, ladies in the 3rd Texas have played the rare and interesting role of a vivandier. Vivandiers were women, dressed as women, who either fought with the troops or accompanied them on the battlefield to provide medical aid, comfort, and refreshments as needed.
Always appreciated are those ladies who support the War effort by cooking up authentic Southern recipes from the Civil War period. Ears of corn roasted over the open fire, Dutch oven biscuits, and "apples and sausage" have all become favorites for the 3rd. Ladies and men both take their turns cooking and doing the dishes but somehow, the ladies cooking always turns out better.
Most reenactments include a period correct Ball on Saturday nights where the ladies show off their finest Southern Bell hoop skirts and join the men in waltzes and reels. Yep, that's right ladies. These reenacting men actually dance and for the most part, act like real gentlemen, white gloves and all. If your man doesn't know how to dance, don't worry... we'll teach him how.
And if these roles aren't enough, women in the 3rd may also play the roles of nurse, seamstress, and others. While the ladies are encouraged to stay on site for the duration of the event, some of our ladies have been known to occasionally sneak away to join the "motel militia"; enjoying a clean shower and more comfortable bed.
Want to know where your children are on the weekend? Bring them to a reenactment and they'll be spending the weekend with you. Children are welcome in our group. Reenacting is a great way to spend time with your children doing something really fun and learning together about real history.
Parents should be aware that a Civil War campground has lots of open fire pits, lots of horses walking about, and lots of loud gun fire and cannon blasts. Children who are comfortable and safety conscious in this type of environment will have a great time caring for the horses, watching the battles, playing period games, dressing as a child of the era and camping as a Civil War soldier.
Children are usually not allowed to carry a weapon until they are 16 years old and have been well trained. It is not uncommon at small local events to see children play the safer role of flag bearer or musician as early as 10 or 12 years old.
Confederate or Union?
Because we portray the historic 3rd Texas Cavalry from East Texas, we almost always camp and fight as Confederates. We fly the Texas and Confederate flags and portray soldiers who were trying to defend their East Texas homeland from the invasion of Yankees. However, like most of our reenacting friends, we own both Confederate and Yankee outfits. For the sake of ensuring a successful reenactment event, we are happy to "galvanize" by dressing in blue and portraying our Union brothers when needed. It makes no difference to us. Our purpose is not to promote one over the other but to honor all soldiers past and present who have bravely defended their homes, families, and freedoms
Confederate Battle Flag
Students of The War know that it was considered by Southerners not as civil war but as a war for the independence of a Southern nation from a Northern nation, fought not over the issue of slavery, but over the right of the individual States to govern themselves rather than being ruled by a centralist government. The South stood on the principles of Thomas Jefferson, who in the Declaration of Independence, stated, "Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government."
The Confederate battle flag that is displayed on this site and of which a replica is flown at our reenactments, was the banner under which the 3rd Texas Cavalry rallied to fight for States rights and to defend their Texas homeland against invasion by Northern armies. To the men in the historic 3rd Texas, the Confederate battle flag never represented hatred, slavery, or racism. Instead, to them it represented all Confederates, regardless of race or religion, and was the symbol of limited government, less taxes, and the right of a State to govern itself. The words sewn into the flag represent a few of the locations and engagements where members of the 3rd endured unimaginable hardships and fought bravely against overwhelming odds.
Tragically, hateful and uninformed people have caused the Confederate battle flag to be seen incorrectly by some today as a symbol of hatred and racism. Like our friends in the reenacting hobby, the members of the 3rd Texas Cavalry are not racists. We do not promote, encourage, or condone ethnic, racial, religious or sectional animosity or stereotyping nor do we support or associate with any group that does. On the contrary, we welcome into our ranks anyone who shares our interest in the reenacting hobby. So, when you see a reenactor flying a period correct flag, be it a Confederate flag, the Texas flag, the Union's Stars and Stripes, or any one of the many regimental flags, please know that they are not trying to make any statement other than to honor all American soldiers past and present who have bravely defended their homes, families, and freedoms and fought for what they believed was right.
3rd Texas Cavalry