Unit Served: 8th Texas Cavalry, Terry's Texas Rangers
Cemetery and Address: Oak Hill Cemetery, in Smithville, Bastrop County, Texas.
William Cannon Moore, was born in 1829 in Franklin County Tennessee to John Cannon Moore and Nancy Jemima Corn.[i] He travelled with parents by covered wagon to the Republic of Texas, arriving with his family in Bastrop County, TX, in June 1837. John C. Moore was granted 1,280 acres of land in the same year[ii] and his wife Jemima died the following year.[iii] William’s father John Cannon Moore died in 1839, and the three youngest children, along with a negro slave girl “Eliza” were taken back to Franklin County, Tennessee by Uncle John Washington “Wash” Corn (1814–1864),[iv] to live with their grandfather, William Corn.[v] When George’s Great Grandfather Abner Moore passed away October 20, 1840 in Franklin Co., Tenn., the children were in Franklin County and listed as heirs in Abner’s Will (as their father had predeceased their grandfather) that was processed at the County Court of Franklin County in February and March 1841.[vi] William Cannon Moore was the eldest son, and stayed behind in Bastrop, where he learned the blacksmith trade to support himself from 1839-1851.[vii] In 1851, William returned to Tennessee to bring his younger siblings to Bastrop.[viii] William and his younger brother George are listed as living at the same residence in Bastrop Co. on the 1860 Census.[ix]
Soon after the Civil War started in April 1861, William Henry Parsons, a Veteran of the War with Mexico, obtained authorization from Texas Governor Edward Clark to form a regiment of mounted troops, as part of the Texas State Troops in the 9th Military District. [x] Col. Parsons set out recruitng men for a cavlary regiment, opening a traning camp in Ellis County in July 1861, and organized the 4th Texas Dragoons (also known as Parsons’ Regiment, Mounted Vounteers).[xi] As part of this effort, Capt. Malcijah Benjamin Highsmith was recruiting men for in Bastrop and formed his company on July 24, 1861.[xii],[xiii] Capt Highsmith’s junior officers were First Lieutenant Dan Grady, Li. John B. Hancock, and Lt. John J. Moncure.[xiv] Capt. Highsmith’s “Bastrop Cavalry Company”[xv] was part of the 26th Brigade, Texas State Troops.[xvi] William Cannon Moore and his younger Brother George Wsashington Moore were among the men who answered the call to serve their native state of Texas in this company, enlisting on July 24, 1861.[xvii] , [xviii], [xix], [xx] The men who enlisted in this company held “themselves subject to orders from the Executive of the State for State service, or anyhere the cavalry may be required on the border or in Missouri or Arkansas, to serve twelve months.”[xxi] This unit was under the command of the Governor and were State Troops (Militia).
Parson’s 4th Texas Dragoons Regiment of ten companies was organized (activated) as a regiment of the Texas State Troops at Rockett Springs near Waxahachie TX on September 11, 1861.[xxii] The soldiers of the “Bastrop Rough and Readys” under Capt Highsmith were asked to re-enlist in the Regiment. While William’s younger brother George remained in D Co, reenlisting on September 11, 1861, William joined “Terry’s Texas Rangers,” 8th Texas Cavalry Regiment, as a Private in Company D, on September 7, 1861 in the city of Houston.[xxiii] William’s enlistment officer was Lt. Sparks. William served under Capt. Steven C. Ferrell, from Bastrop County, and First Lieutenant (1LT) Charles Leroy Morgan, also from Bastrop County (and later 1LT G. M. Dechard from Burleson County) and Second Lieutenants (2LT) Jesse W. Burdett and William R. Doak.[xxiv] According to L.B. Giles, the men mustering in at Houston swore to serve “so long as this war shall last.”[xxv]
Terry’s Texas Rangers were organized in Houston on September 9, 1861. Benjamin F. Terry, a wealthy sugar planter from Fort Bend County, was authorized by the C.S.A. War Department to recruit a regiment of Texans for mounted service in the State of Virginia.[xxvi] Terry recruited and formed the Rangers, selecting commanders with solid combat skills, the majority of whom were former Texas Rangers.[xxvii] Soldiers in the unit were recruited in Houston, Richmond, Columbus, Gonzales, and Wharton, and Bastrop County. Company D was recruited “largely from Bastrop, with contingents from Hays, Travis, and Burleson counties.”[xxviii] When activated, the Regiment had 1,170 men.
Although the regiment had been promised duty in Virginia, its first movement was from Houston to New Orleans via rail, steamboat, and marching by foot, taking over a week. In New Orleans, the soldiers learned that they would not go to Virginia as originally planned, as the Regiment was diverted to Bowling Green, Kentucky, at the request of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, a Texan, who was in command of the Confederate army headquartered there intended for the defense of the frontier. The Regiment moved by train to Nashville Tenn. and encamped for a night, resuming the move on the following day, to Bowling Green Kentucky by rail.[xxix] In early December, sickness, leaves and details had depleted the ranks of effectives of Col. Terry’s force to hardly more than two hundred and fifty men. Lieutenant Colonel Lubbock was ill at Nashville with typhoid fever, Major Thomas Harrison was either ill or on detail, and Terry’s second in command in this situation was his senior captain present, Stephen C. Ferrell of Bastrop. [xxx] On December 17th, Brig. Gen. Thomas C. Hindman led an expedition to Green River where Capt. Ferrell’s D Co. conducted a cavalry charge at Woodsonville KY against units of the 32nd Indiana Infantry Regiment commanded by Col. August Willich. Col. Terry was killed in the charge,[xxxi] but the Rangers inflicted losses on the 32d Indiana of one Officer dead, ten men dead, twenty-two wounded and five prisoners, with Confederate losses of twelve men.[xxxii] Lt. Col. Thomas S. Lubbock was appointed to take command after Col. Terry’s death, but was sick and died a few days later before he could take command, which then passed to John Austin Wharton, who was elected Colonel. [xxxiii] The 8th TX Regiment withdrew from its defensive positions at Bowling Green when General Johnston’s line was penetrated, thus making their position untenable. The Rangers performed rear guard action for the retreating force, which withdrew over the Cumberland River.[xxxiv] Following this withdrawal, the Regiment camped in Corinth.
The Regiment fought in all the major campaigns in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and the Carolinas, including the battles at Shiloh (Apr. 6-7, 1862), Perryville (Oct. 8, 1862), Murfreesboro (Dec. 31, 1862–Jan. 2, 1863), Chickamauga (Sep. 19-20, 1863), and Bentonville (Mar 19-21, 1865).[xxxv], [xxxvi] Later it was active in the Knoxville and Atlanta Campaigns, the defense of Savannah, and the campaign of the Carolinas. In four years the Rangers participated in nearly 300 engagements.[xxxvii] The Field officers were Colonels Ben. Franklin Terry, Thomas S. Lubbock, Thomas Harrison, Gustave Cook, and John A. Wharton; Lieutenant Colonels Samuel P. Christian, Marcus L. Evans, Stephen C. Ferrell, and John G. Walker; and Majors William R. Jarmon and Leander M. Rayburn.[xxxviii] Over the course of the war, the 8th TX Cavalry Regiment was served as part of the brigades commanded by Brig. Gen. Joseph Wheeler, Major General John A. Wharton, Brigadier General Thomas Harrison, and Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest (all listed at their highest-attained rank).
The Terry Rangers distinguished themselves at the battles of Shiloh (April 6–8, 1862). [xxxix], [xl] General Johnston ordered his forces to move on April 3, 1862, with the intention of attacking on April 5th. The Rangers reached the front lines on April 4th and guarded the left wing of Johnston’s Army. On April 6th, a Sunday, Johnston’s Army advanced and surprised Union forces who were roused out of their camps and hastily retreated.[xli] The Rangers remained in a column formation on the left wing, protecting the Army’s flank, until ordered to attack Union forces on the extreme left. D Company was in the attack against Union forces in positions along a high rail fence. The Union fusillade “emptied many saddles”, and the Company Commander, Capt. John Crane, was killed.[xlii] The Company retreated, having been repulsed by superior firepower from covered positions. That evening, the Rangers learned of the death of General Johnston, which they “regarded as a great calamity.”[xliii] Meanwhile, Union Major General Don Carlos Buell’s Army of 40,000 arrived to reinforce those of General Grant. On April 8, 1862, two companies of the 8th TX Cavalry under Major Thomas Harrison were part of a cavalry forces under the command of the renowned Confederate cavalry genius, Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest, and executed “a brilliant charge on a mounted force of the enemy.. and ran them back to the main force of infantry [their front lines].”[xliv] Following this, the 8th TX Cavalry Regiment remained at Corinth for two or three weeks, receiving replacements, of which William’s Company D received six new soldiers.
Following the Battle of Shiloh (6-7 April 1862), the Regiment was ordered into Tennessee, and captured a detachment of Union soldiers guarding a railroad bridge.[xlv] In June, Union Major General Buell had moved his Army of four divisions toward Chattanooga to seize the city. The 8th TX Cavalry Regiment was then ordered to Chattanooga, and were assigned into a brigade under the famous cavalry genius, Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest’s Brigade departed Chattanooga on the 8th of July, 1862, and crossed the Tennessee River and Cumberland mountains into middle Tennessee, arriving at McMinnville on the 12th and establishing camp.[xlvi] William’s unit, D Company, was under the command of Capt Ferrell at this time. Colonel Forrest’s next objective was Murfreesboro, where he planned to attack a Union garrison estimated to be 2,000 strong under the command of Brigadier General Leonidas Crittenden.[xlvii] The 8th TX Cavalry Regiment participated in cavalry operations that successfully disrupted Major General Buell’s offensive.
At Murfreesboro on July 13, 1862, Col. Forrest, with 1,300 men under his command (including the 8th TX Cavalry Regiment), demanded the surrender of the opposing force, which consisted of the 9th Regiment of Michigan Volunteer Infantry, and the 3rd Minnesota Regiment. Col. Forrest told the Commander of the 9th Michigan Regt, “If you don’t surrender, I’ll charge you with the Texas Rangers under the black flag.”[xlviii] The Union commanders complied with Col. Forrest’s demand and surrendered. The Union force that surrendered to Col. Forrest consisted of 15 companies of the 9th Michigan, 6 companies of the 3rd Minnesota; 7 Companies of cavalry, for companies of the 4th Kentucky; 3 companies of the 7th Pennsylvania; and two sections of cannon of Hewett’s battery, a force of 1,765 men, along with Brigadier General Crittenden and the supplies of the Union wagon trains.[xlix] This was one of the many great victories that would result in Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest being promoted three more times to achieve the rank of Lieutenant General. William was part of this magnificent operation.
In August 1862, the 8th TX Cavalry Regiment had joined with General Braxton Bragg’s Army of the Mississippi, then on the move into Kentucky. Col. Forrest was ordered to Tennessee, and Col. John A. Wharton took command of the Brigade. In September of 1862 Confederate Generals Braxton Bragg and Edmund Kirby Smith were conducting a general offensive, which prompted, Union Major General Buell moved his into Kentucky to stop the invasion of Confederate forces. In early October, Company D was leading the Regiment in attack against Union forces, in a charge against elements of Union Cavalry Brigade under the command of Union Major General George H. Thomas. L. B. Giles wrote that the Union cavalry “broke almost at once, firing only a few shots. It was now a chase for miles. We caught over 200 of them, and strewed the woods with their dead and wounded,” the Rangers captured 20 Union prisoners in the skirmish.[l] A captured Union officer wrote in a letter:
“The Rangers are as quick as lightning. They ride like Arabs, shoot like archers at the mark, and fight like devils. They rode upon bayonets as if they were charging a commissary department, are wholly without fear themselves, and no respecter of a wish to surrender.”[li]
General Bragg published a General Order commending the 8th TX Cavalry Regiment for this battle.
On October 8, 1862, the 8th TX Cavalry Regiment fought in the battle of Perryville where 14,000 Confederate Soldiers successfully defended for two days against an opposing force of 55,000. Lieutenant Colonel Mark Evans of the 8th TX Regiment was killed, and William’s Company Commander, Capt. Ferrell succeeded him on the Regimental Staff, with Lieutenant Kyle being promoted to Captain and taking command of D. Company.[lii] After the battle, D Company were encamped at Nolensville for nearly two months on picket and scouting duties. At Nolensville, 2LT Dechard was promoted to 1LT, and W. R. Black was promoted to 2LT.[liii]
The 8th TX Cavalry Regiment fought in the second battle of Murfreesboro (Dec 31, 1862 – Jan 2, 1863, also known as the Battle of Stones River by the Union). Of the major battles of the war, Stones River had the highest percentage of casualties on both sides. In this battle, William’s unit, D Company, captured a four-gun battery and attacked enemy supply trains, losing two enlisted KIA, and two soldiers captured.[liv] At the close of this battle, the 12th TX Cavalry Regiment took up defensive positions on the left flank of Bragg’s Army of the Mississippi at Shelbyville, conducting reconnaissance and skirmishing.[lv]
On January 25, 1863, Col. Wharton’s brigade (to which the 8th TX Cavalry Regiment was assigned), along with Col. Forrest’s brigade were under the command of General Wheeler, and on the march to Fort Donelson, where it would establish a defense. The Union armies would attack to seize Forts Henry and Donelson, which were key terrain, as they commanded the heights over the Mississippi and Cumberland Rivers, respectively, which if taken, would open the rivers to Union gun boats to penetrate the Confederacy via naval operations. Union Major General U.S. Grant would lead the attacks against Fort Henry (Feb. 6) and Fort Donelson (Feb. 14-16). Grant’s army had encircled the defending Confederates at Fort Donelson, and General Wheeler led an attack on Feb. 15th to break the encirclement, and forced a retreat, but was not able to fully exploit it and extract all his forces. In this action Col. Wharton’s brigade suffered 60 wounded or killed-in-action (WIA, KIA), none of these were from the 8th TX Cavalry Regiment, which were among the forces that successfully broke out of the encirclement.[lvi]
By July 1864, Sherman’s army had reached Atlanta. On July 30, Terry’s Texas Rangers met the troops of Union Col. E. M. McCook, and defeated them, and then undertook to destroy the railway lines, though with little lasting effect.[lvii] Following the loss of Atlanta, the regiment harassed the flanks of Sherman’s force as it marched through Georgia, although by then the Confederacy lacked the strength to stop him. Their last engagement was at the Battle of Bentonville, where they made their final charge, losing three of their officers: Gustave Cook, the regimental colonel since Harrison had been promoted, Lieutenant Colonel Christian, and Major Jarmon.[lviii] The regiment surrendered on April 26, 1865, with the rest of the Army of Tennessee.[lix]
Company Muster Roll records show that William served at least until February 29, 1864, but it is likely that he served until the end of the War. After the War, William and his brother George W. were among the less than 300 who survived the war and returned home.[lx] William married Mississippi Susan “Missy” Campbell, on December 23, 1868 in Bastrop County, Texas. They had five sons: William Fulton Moore (1869–), Thomas F Moore (1870–), James Washington Moore (1871–1948), Leonidas Polk Moore (1874–1954), Walter Cannon Moore Jr. (1877–1946), and one daughter Hattye Inez Moore (1879–1909). William passed away on May 15, 1900 at 70 years of age, in Bastrop County, Texas, and is buried at the Oak Hill Cemetery, in Smithville, Bastrop County, Texas with a headstone honoring his Confederate Service.[lxi]
[i] Robbie Moore Sanders, Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Patriot Ancestor Album, p. 202. https://www.google.com/books/edition/_/NzUGjKhemhgC?hl=en&gbpv=1
[ii] Robbie Moore Sanders, p. 202.
[iii] Robbie Moore Sanders, p. 202.
[iv] This story of Uncle Wash bringing the children to Tenn. was passed down, by Mary Ann Moore’s children and grandchildren and researched by grandchild Lois Ransom. The full story is recorded at Ancestry.com under the file of Mary Anne Moore. Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com/mediaui-viewer/tree/18125170/person/610299326/media/11ef3af1-7307-45a1-bec1-a424a6fe0797?_phtarg=aAY287&msg=usy
[v] Robbie Moore Sanders, p. 202.
[vi] Minutes of the Chancery Court, Clerk Master Office, Abner’s Will is transcribed in a blog on Abner Moore, Retrieved from: Family Trees, ancestry.com/tree/3962368/person/-1668141076/comments?pg=327688
[vii] Robbie Moore Sanders, p. 202 explains that how William supported himself from age 10-21 was unknown. There is no specific reference to William being an apprentice blacksmith, but at the start of the Civil War, he was an expert blacksmith and employed as such by the 8th TX Cavalry Regt.
[viii] Robbie Moore Sanders, p. 202.
[ix] Tammy Owen, Transcription of the Bastrop CO. TX -1860 Census, District 12. Retrieved from: files.usgwarchives.net/tx/bastrop/census/1860/1860-12.txt
[x] Jerry L. Brooks. “The Brooks Brothers and the 12th Texas Cavalry, March 26, 2006. Retrieved from: http://sites.rootsweb.com/~txbastro/BROOKSBROTHERS.htm
[xii] Ibid, from a letter by John Truss, dated July 14, 1862.
[xiii] Ibid, Application for pension of Robert Levi Brooks, Company D., Bastrop Cavalry, states that soldiers enlisted for this company in the town of Bastrop in June or July 1861.
[xiv] George and William on the muster role of Capt. Highsmith’s Co, dated July 24,1861, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, file no. 1313_09
[xv] This is how Capt. Highsmith identified his company in his written report, dated July 24, 1861, to the R. H. Jones, the Chief Justice of Bastrop County, which provided the Officers and men of the Company.
[xvi] Certification of elected officers of Bastrop Cavalry Company, Bastrop County, 26th Brigade, Texas State Troops under Captain M.B. Highsmith, July 25, 1861. Identifier: 1313_03 MR 1313, Confederate and Texas State Troops military rolls, Texas Adjutant General’s Department Civil War military rolls. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
[xvii] See William’s record of enlistment on this date. United States. National Archives and Records Service, Compiled service records of Confederate soldiers who served in organizations from the state of Texas [microform]. Reel 073 – Texas–History–Civil War, 1861-1865–Registers – Twelfth Cavalry (Parson’s Mounted Volunteers, Fourth Dragoons), M-R, Images 410 and 411. Accessed May 7, 2020: https://archive.org/details/compiledservicer073unit/page/n409/mode/2up
[xviii] Personal correspondence from J. C. Hana, Chairman in Chief, National Genealogy Committee, April 19, 2020. There is only one card for W.C. Moore for this regiment, as he transferred to the 8th TX CAV.
[xix] Jerry L. Brooks, provides the roster of men who served from Bastrop Co. in D Company. Both George W. and W. C. Moore are listed.
[xx] William C. and George W. Moore appear on a muster roll of the company signed by Capt. Highsmith. Muster roll of Bastrop Cavalry Company, Bastrop County, 26th Brigade, Texas State Troops under Captain M.B. Highsmith, July 24, 1861, Identifier: 1313_09 Accessed December 15, 2020: https://tsl.access.preservica.com/uncategorized/IO_4423008b-851c-4e5d-9394-a692627c5afd/
[xxi] George Martin, Weblog, The Texas in the Civil War Message Board, 12th Texas Cavalry, July 21, 2013. Accessed April 27, http://www.history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs62x/txcwmb/webbbs_config.pl?md=read;id=14811
[xxii] 12th Texas Cavalry Regiment, Wikipedia. Retrieved from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12th_Texas_Cavalry_Regiment
[xxiv] L. B. Giles, 1911, p. 13.
[xxv] Ibid, p. 15.
[xxvi] Ibid, p. 12.
[xxvii] Kate Dawson, July 21, 2014, “Terry’s Texas Rangers,” The Civil War Monitor, https://www.civilwarmonitor.com/front-line/terrys-texas-rangers
[xxviii] L. B. Giles, 1911, p. 13.
[xxix] Ibid, pp. 16-17.
[xxx] “Terry’s Texas Rangers” The Campaigns. Accessed September 20, 2020, https://www.keathleywebs.com/terrysrangers/terry2.htm
[xxxii] L. B. Giles, 1911, p. 22.
[xxxiii] “Terry’s Texas Rangers” The Campaigns. Accessed September 20, 2020, https://www.keathleywebs.com/terrysrangers/terry2.htm
[xxxiv] L. B. Giles, 1911, p. 27.
[xxxvi] L. B. Giles, 1911, p. 16.
[xxxvii] Kate Dawson, July 21, 2014, “Terry’s Texas Rangers,” The Civil War Monitor, https://www.civilwarmonitor.com/front-line/terrys-texas-rangers
[xxxviii] Marcus J. Wright, Brig. Gen. C.S.A., 1965, p. 24.
[xl] L. B. Giles, 1911, p. 16.
[xli] Ibid, p. 31.
[xlii] Ibid, p. 32.
[xliii] Ibid, p. 33.
[xliv] Ibid, p. 34.
[xlvi] Ibid, p. 35.
[xlviii] Don Barnhart, March 24, 2012, “I’m gonna get you for nothing.” Warriors of the Lone Star, Weblog. Accessed September 20, 2020: http://warriorsofthelonestar.blogspot.com/2012/03/im-gonna-get-you-for-nothing.html
[xlix] L. B. Giles, 1911, p. 38.
[l] Ibid, p. 43.
[li] Kate Dawson, July 21, 2014, “Terry’s Texas Rangers,” The Civil War Monitor, https://www.civilwarmonitor.com/front-line/terrys-texas-rangers
[lii] L. B. Giles, , 1911, pp. 45 & 46.
[liii] Ibid, p. 47.
[liv] Ibid., p. 50.
[lv] Ibid., p. 52.
[lvi] Ibid., p. 54.
[lvii] Terry’s Texas Rangers, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry%27s_Texas_Rangers
[lx] Kate Dawson, July 21, 2014, “Terry’s Texas Rangers,” The Civil War Monitor, https://www.civilwarmonitor.com/front-line/terrys-texas-rangers