The Civil War and Reconstruction
Texas struggled with complexities during the U.S. Civil War. Some people supported the Union, including Gov. Sam Houston, who refused to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy. It eventually cost him his office. For the most part, however, Texans identified with the rest of the southern United States and in early 1861, it became official when Texas seceded from the Union and became the seventh state accepted by the provisional Confederate States of America government.
After four years of border skirmishes, Gulf Coast naval battles, and prisoner of war camps, Texas troops marked the true end of the Civil War with a battle near Brownsville, more than a month after the war officially ended (due to the time involved with news reaching Texas). In June of 1865, it was announced that slavery had been abolished, an event still commemorated today during Juneteenth festivals in African-American communities statewide.
Much of Texas’s history during the late 1800s is centered around the arrival of railroads, which put towns on and off the map depending on the train routes. Cattle rustling was an important part of Texas’s commerce and identity before railroads took over the responsibility of moving cattle northward. Texas’s development was made possible by the railroads, and they continued to sustain the local economy for decades, since so many areas of the state still needed railroad service, including the lower Rio Grande Valley, the South Plains, the Panhandle, and West Texas.
© Andy Rhodes from Moon Texas, 6th Edition