The legendary Terry’s Texas Rangers is named for the man who formed the unit, Benjamin Franklin Terry. The group’s official name was the 8th Texas Cavalry. Every man who joined had to bring a shotgun or rifle, Colt revolver, and a Bowie knife (this was Texas, after all). They pinned a five-pointed star, the one worn by the original Texas Rangers, to their hats as you can see in the above photo.
These formidable, high spirited Texans displayed their valor in CIvil War battles of at Shiloh and Murfreesboro, Chickamauga and Chattanooga, just to name a few. They excelled at conducting lightning raids in Kentucky, and cleverly harassed Sherman as he burned his way to the sea.
For a time, they served under Lt. General Nathan B. Forrest. Forrest intimidated the commander of the 9th Michigan to surrender, telling him that he had “…five hundred Texas Rangers he couldn’t control in a fight.” The Federals considered this, and “to a man, they voted to surrender.”
Captain Shannon led the Rangers’ scouts, nicknamed “Shannon’s Scouts.” The Scouts followed and ran raids on Sherman’s troops across Georgia and the Carolinas. One of their aims was to disrupt Sherman’s “bummers,” the general’s men that “requisitioned” food from Southern homes. Though often outnumbered, the Scouts were very successful, capturing many of the bummers.
One of the Scouts wrote about how his unit of 18 men encountered a force of hundreds of Federals:
“We were quite as much surprised as they were, but rather than let them discover our weakness in number, we began yelling and shooting as we came, making enough noise and bedlam for several times our number … they evidently thought the entire Confederate army was after them, for they started to run.”
The tradition of these men lives on in today’s rough and ready Texas Rangers, members of one of the world’s most respected law enforcement agencies.