Douglas's Texas Battery

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James Postell Douglas

1836 - 1901

James Postell Douglas, Confederate artillery officer, the oldest son of Alexander and Margaret Tirzah (Cowsar) Douglas, was born near Lancaster, South Carolina, on January 7, 1836. He moved with his family to Talladega, Alabama, in 1838 and to Texas in 1847. In January 1848 the Douglas and Cowsar families settled at Tyler, where Douglas attended such public schools as were available. Generally, however, he was self-educated; he learned Latin with the aid of a neighbor in Talladega. Among his earliest jobs was delivery of the mail from Shreveport, Louisiana, to Nacogdoches, Texas. When his father died in 1854, the seventeen-year-old became head of the Douglas household, served as principal of the Tyler Male Academy by day, and read law at night. Although licensed to practice law, he purchased a half interest in and edited the Tyler Reporter, now the Tyler Courier Times, in 1859.

With the outbreak of the Civil War Douglas was commissioned by Col. Elkanah Greer to raise a fifty-man company in Smith County to man half a field artillery battery to be attached to Greer's Third Texas Cavalry. The other company was raised in Dallas County by John J. Good. Douglas was commissioned first lieutenant and named second in command of the battery on June 13, 1861. He was promoted to captain and commander in July 1862. The battery, first commanded by Captain Good, was variously known as the First Texas Battery, the Dallas Light Artillery, the Good-Douglas Battery, and Douglas's Battery, and became the only unit of Texas artillery to serve east of the Mississippi River. It is said to have been the first Confederate unit to volunteer "for the duration of the war." After receiving its baptism of fire with Benjamin McCulloch's Army of the West at the battle of Elkhorn Tavern in March 1862, the battery was transferred to Mississippi, where it saw action at the battle of Corinth. Thereafter it took part in all of the major battles of the Army of Tennessee: Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, the battles for Atlanta, and John Bell Hood's disastrous Tennessee campaign of 1864. Covering Hood's retreat from Nashville, the battery lost its guns when they bogged in the mud and were overrun by Union cavalry. Douglas barely escaped capture by riding away on the horse behind his younger brother. On February 16, 1864, the Confederate Congress offered a formal vote of thanks to the battery. Douglas's battery was paroled at Mobile, Alabama, on May 12, 1865, and Douglas returned to Tyler.

He resumed his work with the Tyler Reporter and in 1870 was elected to the Senate of the Twelfth Texas Legislature, where he was noted for his anti-Reconstruction attitude and activities. He was the organizer and first president of the Texas branch of the Cotton Belt Railroad, the so-called Tyler Tap, which was later sold to Jay Gould. Douglas was also instrumental in the establishment of the Texas and St. Louis and the Kansas and Gulf Short Line railroads. He owned a chain of canning factories, the first in Tyler, to market produce from his farms. As a planter, he was greatly interested in agricultural experimentation and owned a large peach orchard, said to be the first in East Texas.

Douglas was married twice, first on March 24, 1864, to Sallie Susan White, who died on August 22, 1872, and subsequently to Alice Earle Smith, on July 7, 1874. Four children were born to the first marriage and six to the second. Douglas died on November 27, 1901, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery at Tyler. His wife, Alice, died on June 28, 1955, and is buried beside him.

From: http://www.b17.com/civilwar/scv/douglas.htm
 

James N.

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Detail of the painting that graces the cover of Cannon Smoke, the book of letters written by the first captain of the battery John J. Good to his wife at their home in Dallas, Texas, 1861-62. This was painted for Capt. Good by his son-in-law Andrew Jackson Houston, son of Texas Governor Sam Houston, sometime post-war when Good was serving as a judge in Dallas. He was subsequently elected Mayor of Dallas and died in that office while on a trip to El Paso in 1881 and is buried in the Masonic Cemetery next to the Convention Center in downtown Dallas. Because of the judicial position he had held, the painting when I got to examine and photograph it was in the judge's chambers of one of the Dallas district courts in the then-new Courthouse Annex. The painting is remarkable for the accuracy of its depiction of the six-gun battery in action at the Battle of Pea Ridge/Elkhorn Tavern and was likely done with the advice of Capt. Good. Today a replica of the painting is used on a descriptive marker at Pear Ridge National Military Park, Arkansas, on the spot where the action depicted occurred:

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Display of artifacts of Good's/Douglas' Texas Battery at Texas Heritage Museum in Hillsboro. Sorry about the pic quailty. I've gotten a little better since 2015.

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Ran across this photo of 1st Lt. James Nep Boren on Find A Grave. He was killed in the battle of Richmond, Ky.

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https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSvcid=95836&GRid=5332531&

BOREN, JAMES N.
James N. Boren, of Tyler, who gave his life for his country, was born in the Republic of Texas, at Nacogdoches, Feb. 12, 1840. He was the oldest son of Samuel Hampson Boren, a veteran of the Indian wars of the Texas Republic
and of the Mexican war in 1846. His grandfather, Capt. James Boren (who married Miss Jane Blair of Nashville, Tenn.) was in the war of 1812, and his great-grandfather, Nicholas Boren, was a soldier in the Revolutionary army in 1776. James N. Boren was graduated from Franklin College, Tennessee, in June 1860, and the following September entered the law department of the Lebanon University, where he remained until the proclamation of war against the Southern States, when he left for his native state to enlist in her cause. He joined Douglas's Texas artillery and was chosen lieutenant, and a few months later was promoted first lieutenant. He served in the campaigns in Arkansas and Missouri, and was in the battle of Elkhorn. He was killed at the battle of Richmond, Kentucky, being struck by a cannon ball while he was by the side of one of his guns aiding and inspiring his men. Lieutenant Boren's conduct was always marked with the self command and courage of the true soldier, while his consideration and generosity endeared him to his men. He lies buried on the battlefield in a few yards of where he fell. One of the camps of the United Confederate Veterans in West Texas is named in his honor. [Source: Texans Who Wore the Gray, by Sid S. Johnson; transcribed by FoFG mz]
http://genealogytrails.com/tex/pineywoods/nacogdoches/bios1.html
 

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Two unidentified members of Good's/Douglas's Texas Battery. Published in the 2001 Confederate Calendar by Lawrence T. Jones III (Austin, TX: Confederate Calendar Works). Was taken June 1861, 1/4 plate ambrotype by photographer John M. Hill in Tyler, Texas.

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2nd Lt. Alf Davis, first served in Good's/Douglas's Texas Battery, later in the 27th Texas Cavalry. Originally taken June 10, 1861, at Tyler, Texas. This is a copy later made at Milledgeville, Ga.
http://digitalcollections.smu.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/jtx/id/2234/rec/1

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Pvt. William David Swann (1845 - 1935). At his death he was the last surviving member of the battery.
Portraits of Conflict: A Photographic History of Texas in the Civil War
 
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James N.

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Ran across this photo of 1st Lt. James Nep Boren on Find A Grave. He was killed in the battle of Richmond, Ky...


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The 1st Texas Artillery is prominently listed on the back of the Texas State Monument along with the other troops that took part in the battle of Richmond, Ky. where Lt. Boren was killed, beheaded by an enemy shell during an artillery duel.

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