McMurry Senior Sam Gaylon Featured Speaker at Janaury 2016 Chautauqua Learning Series at the Buffalo Gap Historic Village

  Gary Ellison
  Thursday, January 14, 2016 1:31 PM
  Archives 2014 - 2015

Abilene, TX

McMurry University senior history major Sam Galon of McKinney, Texas, was the featured speaker at the Janaury 2016 Chautauqua Learning Series at the Buffalo Gap Historic Village.

Gaylon’s talk, “Fifty Shades of Cadet Gray: Uniforms and Textiles in the Confederate Trans-Mississippi,” studied the perception that the Confederate soldiers of the Trans-Mississippi were not well uniformed during the Civil War.

Here is a synopsis of his talk:

In the spring of 1864, the Confederacy had begun to feel the sting of Federal victories from the Mississippi River to Richmond. Its government depot system struggled to outfit the beleaguered troops in Tennessee and Virginia. In the Trans-Mississippi Department, however, the quartermasters had managed to “crack the code” in establishing an effective operation. Through the mass importation of foreign goods and rapid production of garments, the men who marched on the campaigns that spring were the best equipped force in the entire Confederacy.

The papers of Captain Edward C. Wharton and other prominent Confederate officials demonstrated how efficient the depot system of the Trans-Mississippi proved to be. By the 1864 Red River Campaign, these rebel troops of this region were vastly better equipped than their eastern counterparts not to mention the Federals who opposed them. By the sale of Texas and Louisiana cotton, the ingenuity of their own quartermasters, and reliance on the civilians of the region, Confederate officials managed to field an effective army. For these were not the “ragged rebel” of myth, but a well-oiled and equipped fighting machine.

The series is based on the Chautauqua movement which began in Chautauqua, New York, in 1875, and spread throughout the rural United States in the following years. It provided educational lectures and entertainment for average Americans before the advent of mass media like radio and television.

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