Governor E.J. Davis

Civil War Years

A photograph of EJ Davis in his Union uniform
Figure 1.11 Edmund Jackson Davis (October 2, 1827 – February 24, 1883) was an American lawyer, soldier, and politician. He was a Southern Unionist and a general in the Union Army in the American Civil War. He also served for one term from 1870 to 1874 as the 14th Governor of Texas. Image Credit: Jbarta, Public Domain

In early 1861, Edmund Davis supported Governor Sam Houston in their mutual stand against secession. Davis also urged Robert E. Lee not to violate his oath of allegiance to the United States. Davis ran to become a delegate to the Secession Convention but was defeated. He thereafter refused to take an oath of allegiance to theConfederate States of America and was removed from his judgeship. He fled from Texas and took refuge in Union-occupied New Orleans, Louisiana. He next sailed to Washington, D.C., where President Abraham Lincoln issued him a colonel’s commission with the authority to recruit the 1st Texas Cavalry Regiment (Union).

Davis recruited his regiment from Union men who had fled from Texas to Louisiana. The regiment would see considerable action during the remainder of the war. On November 10, 1864, President Lincoln appointed Davis as a brigadier general of volunteers.

Lincoln did not submit Davis’s nomination to this grade to the U.S. Senate until December 12, 1864. The U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment on February 14, 1865.  Davis was among those present when General Edmund Kirby Smith surrendered the Confederate forces in Texas on June 2, 1865. Davis was mustered out of the volunteers on August 24, 1865.