Saturday, May 21, 2011

An Exciting Find!

[First Lieutenant Eli N. Baxter, Confederate States Army] by SMU Central University Libraries
[First Lieutenant Eli H. Baxter, Confederate States Army], a photo by SMU Central University Libraries on Flickr. Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photographs Collection.

While surfing the net today, I came across this great wartime image that depicts Eli H. Baxter, Jr. as a member of the "Marshall Guards," a company in the 1st Texas Infantry. In the spring of 1862, however, Baxter became the lieutenant colonel of the 28th Texas Cavalry that was dismounted later in the year. What is exciting to me about this image is that it is the first documented wartime image of a member of the 28th Texas Cavalry that I have ever viewed--true, the photograph shows Baxter as a member of the 1st Texas Infantry, but this is close enough for me!

Baxter entered the United States Military Academy from Georgia in 1853 at the age of 16 and resigned in January 1854 because of academic deficiencies in mathematics and English. Following his resignation, Baxter went on to become an attorney and immigrated to Marshall, Texas, in the spring of 1858. Two years earlier, a young attorney named Theophilus Perry had immigrated to Marshall from North Carolina; he became a captain in the 28th Texas Cavalry and his letters reveal a dislike for Baxter.

For more information about both Baxter and Perry see my books:

Peculiar Honor: A History of the 28th Texas Cavalry, 1862-1865. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1998.

Widows by the Thousand: The Civil War Letters of Theophilus and Harriet Perry, 1862-1864. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2000.


  1. Congrats! I know thats an exciting find!!!!

  2. I knew that there had to be an wartime image of a soldier of the 28th out there somewhere. The image is part of the Lawrence T. Jones, III collection--he is the gentleman who published the "Confederate Calendar" for so many years. One time I contacted him and asked if he knew of any images showing a member of the 28th Texas, and he said he did not. Guess he acquired the photograph of Eli Baxter after I contacted him or else he didn't realize that Baxter later became a member of the 28th. In any case, it was fun to find it!

  3. Many of the images in that collection are of relatively recent acquisition. They often have notation regrading purchase source and price on the back, and the word "eBay" turns up on several of them.

    Great find.