Milam County, Texas

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Private Henry Goldsticker
Lavaca Guards, Light Infantry Company, 24th Brigade, Texas State Troops

by Lynna Kay Shuffield, Oran M. Roberts Chapter 440, United Daughters of the Confederacy®

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Records at the Texas State Archives & Library in Austin, Texas indicated Henry was a member of the Lavaca Guards, Light Infantry Company, 24th Brigade, Texas State Troops. He was enlisted on Saturday, 20 April 1861 at Lavaca, Calhoun County, Texas by Captain Alexander H. Phillips, Jr.

The company was organized under Texas Act of 15 February 1858, F. 15-58, as a Light Infantry Company but was supposed to become an Artillery Company as soon as it was furnished with a cannon. Throughout the Civil War, the Texas State Legislature provided laws and appropriations to organize companies of men to provide frontier defense. Texas was divided into Military Districts and each district was ordered by law to form a Brigade of volunteers within its borders. These volunteers were not allowed to leave the state as a military fighting unit, thus they were home guards only.

Texas State Troops unit designations are not to be confused with the unit designations of Confederate State Army regiments, battalions, etc. State Troops were not part of the Confederate States Army but served under the command and control of officers in the employ of the State of Texas, although the organization of the troops was along military lines.

There is very little documentation of the activities of the 24th Brigade however, correspondence with the Adjutant General indicated they would prefer coast duty but were willing to go anywhere in the State and wanted to be located at Saluria, Calhoun County, and to assist in the fortification of Pass Cavallo. It was difficult for the commander of the Brigade to keep his rolls up-to-date because many of the men enlisted in regular Confederate States Army and Cavalry units.

According to records at the State Archives, the Lavaca Guards’ uniform pants were linen jeans with a narrow red stripe, coats were blue flock trimmed with red braid; caps were blue with a patent leather visor and had a silver LG (“Lavaca Guards”) on front. They also had a flag made by the ladies. For equipment, they had a fife & drum, 78 percussion muskets, 25 Minnie rifle muskets, five Minnie muskets owned by the members with a regular member for every gun by Thursday, 1 August 1861. They had three tents, 60 canteens, eight coffee pots, 8 kettles, 8 frying pans, 60 tin cups, four axes and other necessary articles.

On Wednesday, 17 April 1861, Colonel Earl Van Dorn, Confederate States Army, and a band of Confederates seized the steamer “Star of the West” at Pass Cavallo with Union troops under the command of Major Caleb C. Sibley. On Thursday, 25 April 1861, Major Sibley and two companies of the 1st Infantry, with the adjutant and non-commissioned staff and band of the same regiment, three companies of the 3rd Infantry and two companies of the 8th Infantry, including nine officers, formally surrendered to Van Dorn at Saluria. On Thursday, 31 October 1862, Major Daniel D. Shea’s 4th Battalion, Texas Artillery, successfully defended the streets of Lavaca against a Union bombardment. On Friday, 1 November 1862, three Yankee gunboats entered Pass Cavallo and Captain J. M. Reuss, with his company of Southern soldiers, were encamped on Saluria Island.

By Christmas 1862, Calhoun County was experiencing the ravages of the Civil War. In December 1862, Confederate General Henry E. McCullough ordered the destruction of the wharves, bridges and warehouses of Indianola and Saluria and the railroad to Victoria. (Incidently, prior to this order, General McCullough had ordered the printing offices of newspapers favorable to the Union wrecked, had burned the Nat Lewis building in San Antonio and also hanged a few Union sympathizers.)

The reasons for General McCullough’s actions were never justified as there was no enemy in sight. The railroad supplies and ties were burned and the lighthouse at Pass Cavallo was put out of commission as were the lighthouses at Saluria, Alligator Head, Aransas Pass and Brazos Santiago. Further, declaring a military necessity, houses up and down Matagorda Island were burned. No order was ever given for the similar destruction of Galveston homes, wharves, warehouses, causeway or railroads.

The Lavaca Guard was so torn by discord, according to Mrs. Ann Thomas (a resident of Port Lavaca during the Civil War), that the insubordinate volunteers cut-down the tent of Major Shea who then had to hide from the mob. She stated in her letters that the Captain of the company needed six men as a body guard at all times to keep his own men from killing him. Mrs. Thomas wrote, no enemy could have accomplished the destruction wrought by the defenders under the orders of General McCullough.

For an in-depth study of Texas State Troops during the years 1861 through 1865, read David Paul Smith’s book, Frontier Defense in the Civil War.

Henry was born on Tuesday, 4 July 1843 in Breslau, Prussia and died on Thursday, 9 August 1888. His obituary in the Galveston Daily News stated he was “one of the earliest settlers in Rockdale” and died of Bright’s Disease (a kidney diseased marked by albumin proteins in the urine). The obituary continues, “He leaves a most estimable wife and family to mourn his loss. Deceased was a member of both Knights and Legion of Honor; also the B’nai Brith, and possessed many excellent qualities.”

Henry was married to Gabrella Philipson Goldsticker (before 1875). They were the parents of four children: Minnie Goldsticker (married: Abe Heitler), Albert Goldsticker, Ralph Philipson Goldsticker, and George Goldsticker (also buried in the Jewish Cemetery, Rockdale). Gabrella was born on Friday, 24 April 1846, in Germany and died on Thursday, 22 July 1936, in Denver, Colorado, and is buried in the Emanuel Cemetery in Denver.

The Knights of Honor was a fraternal beneficiary society founded in 1873 and the Legion of Honor was a fraternal, social and beneficial society founded in 1878. Both organizations no longer exist.

For information on “Jews in the Civil War” visit: http://www.jewish-history.com/civilwar.htm.

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During the War, the following prayer was composed by Rabbi Max Michelbacher and was distributed to Jewish Confederate soldiers. Note: Hyphenating the name of G-d is a 20th-Century Orthodox custom. During the 19th-Century, Jewish writers, both Orthodox and Reform, would spell God out completely and it was not hyphenated as G-d in the original document.

Prayer for the Confederacy
by Rabbi Max Michelbacher of Congregation Beth Ahabah, Richmond, Virginia

Shemang Yisroel, Ad-nay El-hainoo, Ad-noy Achod!

Oh God of the Universe! Although unworthy through my manifestold transgressions, I approach the seat of thy mercy, to crave thy favor, and to seek thy protection. I supplicate thy forgiveness, O most merciful Father, for the many transgressions and the oft repeated disobedience, which cause Thee to command destruction over me. Behold me now, O my Father, supplicating Thy protection! Thou who art near when all other aid faileth! O spare me, guard me from the evil that is impending!

This once happy country is inflamed by the fury of war; a menacing enemy is arrayed against the rights, liberties and freedom of this, our Confederacy; the ambition of this enemy has dissolved fraternal love, and the hand of fraternity has been broken asunder by the hands of those, who sit now in council and meditate our chastisement, with the chastisement of scorpions. Our firesides are threatened; the foe is before us, with the declared intention to desecrate our soil, to murder our people, and to deprive us of the glorious inheritance which was left to us by the immortal fathers of this once great Republic.

Here I stand now with many thousands of the sons of the sunny South, to face the foe, to drive him back, and to defend our natural rights. O Lord, God of Israel, be with me in the hot season of the contending strife; protect and bless me with health and courage to bear cheerfully the hardships of war.

O Lord, Ruler of Nations, destroy the power of our enemies! "Grant not the longings of the wicked; suffer not his wicked device to succeed, lest the exalt themselves. Selah. as for the heads of those that encompass me about, let the mischief of their own lips cover them. Let burning coals be cast upon them; let them be thrown into the fire, into deep pits, that they rise not up again." (Psalm 140). Be unto the Army of this Confederacy, as thou were of old, unto us, thy chosen people — Inspire them with patriotism! Give them when marching to meet, or, overtake the enemy, the wings of the eagle — in the camp be Thou their watch and ward — and in the battle, strike for them, O Almighty God of Israel, as thou didst strike for thy people on the plains of Canaan — guide them O Lord of Battles, into the paths of victory, guard them from the shaft and missile of the enemy. Grant that they may ever advance to wage battle, and battle in thy name to win! Grant that not a standard be ever lowered among them! O Lord, God, Father, be thou with us!

Give unto the officers of the Army and of the Navy of the Confederate States, enterprise, fortitude and undaunted courage; teach them the ways of war and the winning of victory. Guard and preserve, O Lord, the President of the Confederate States and all officers, who have the welfare of the country truly at heart. Bless all my fellow-citizens, and guard them against sickness and famine! May they prosper and increase!

Hear me further, O Lord, when I pray to Thee for those on earth, dearest to my heart. O bless my father, mother, brothers and sisters. (if married: my wife and children.) O bless them all with earthly and heavenly good! May they always look up to Thee, and may they find in Thee their trust and strength.

O Lord, be with me always. Show me the way I have to go, to be prepared to meet Thee here and hereafter.

My hope, my faith, my strength are in Thee, O Lord, my God, forever — in Thee is my trust. "For thy salvation do I hope, O Lord! I hope for Thy salvation, O Lord! O Lord, for Thy salvation do I hope!" Amen! Amen!

Shemang Yisroel, Ad-noy El-hainoo, Ad-noy Achod!

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Created on 20 May 2003 and last revised on 14 Mar 2007