Dallas Historical Society Newsletter  

Dallas Light Artillery

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In This Issue:
November Tours
Texas History Quiz
Steamboat Harvey
 Events for December  
Historic City Tour 
Saturday, December 13th, 2008, 9 AM-2 PM
 Uncover the lives of those famous outlaw lovers from Dallas, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. This adventure includes stops in West Dallas, Oak Cliff, Dallas, and the now modern ambush highways of Dallas' "backdoor." See the last remaining building in Dallas where Bonnie worked as a young "porcelain skinned" waitress; where Clyde was hustled away daily by the "Laws" and the location of an attempted ambush of Bonnie and Clyde at Esters Road and Highway 183. The tour Participants will also visit a "safe house" where a gunfight broke out between Clyde Barrow and six officers in 1933, the site of the Barrow's Star Service station as well as the graves of both Bonnie & Clyde. 2009 is the 75th Anniversary of the Ambush! Tour Guide: John Neel Phillips. Cost: $50/non members, $40/members

Quit Mania II 
 This exhibition of over 30 quilted pieces brings together the work of the women of North Texas, many of whom were related to famous men.  The exhibition gives the names of the women and tells of their life and work which has generally been overlooked in the history books.  The pieces include those of the mothers of two Texas Governors, the women of the family that settled Bachman Lake, Sarah Peak Harwood (whose families have streets named after them) and three women in the family of Dallas Mayor Stephen J. Hay, among others whose families built businesses and buildings in our community.  This exhibition is part of the 17 Dallas area cultural institution collaboration, Quilt Mania II which runs from September 2008-April 1, 2009 for which an exhibition catalog is available.  Information on the other exhibitions and educational programs can be found at www.quiltmania.org


The Dallas Heritage Village is hosting Candlelight on December 13th and 14th from 3PM to 9PM.  Ticket prices vary by age, and can be purchased online.  For more information about the event, click on the link below:  http://www.dallasheritagevillage.org/Event_Detail.aspx?EID=209.   
Texas History Quiz
Once again we are putting another five questions from the October 1936 issue of Naylor's Epic-Century. Have fun! Answers are at the bottom of this newsletter. 
1. Who presided over the Constitution Convention?
2.When and where did the first Congress of the Republic of Texas meet?

3.Who commanded the Texas troops at the Alamo?

4.What was the "Runaway Scrape"?

5.What is usually accepted as the most heroic document in American History?

(Answers at the bottom)
(While we Breathe, We Shall Defend)
 "While we breathe, we shall defend" is the motto of the 133rd Field Artillery mottoRegiment, an old and highly decorated military unit. The Battery served behind the lines in France during WWI. Later, redesignated as the 155th Field Artillery Battery, it saw a lot of action in WWII. Its campaign streamers include: Naples-Foggia, Anzio, Rome-Arno, Southern France, Ardennes, Alsace and Central Europe. The unit was redesignated several times since WWII and was even demobilized for a while, but was brought back as part of the 36th Brigade, 49th Armored Division. Now, what does any of this have to do with Dallas history? Well, much.   
 The sound of cannon fire has been heard in and around Dallas since before the Civil War, when Captain John J. Good, later mayor of Dallas, and fifty local men formed the Dallas Light Artillery way back in 1859. Joining with fifty men from Tyler in 1861 it became known as the 1st Texas Battery. Called "Good's Battery" early on, it became known as "Douglas' 1st Texas Battery" and fought with great distinction during the War Between the States. An interesting side note: Their pre-war uniforms consisted of vests and trousers made of jaguar skin, Dallas has always had a sense of style.   
 Federal Reconstruction Laws (1865 to 1877) prohibited Southern states from having any kind militias, so it was not until February of 1879 when Captain G. E. Felton founded the Queen City Guards (an infantry company), that the sound of musketry retuned to Dallas. The unit was a real militia, charged with defending the citizens of Texas, but it spent most of this time in drill competitions and parading up Main Street on special occasions.   
motto In 1884 Captain Felton resigned and A. J. Houston, second son of General Sam Houston, was elected captain. Shortly after that the company's name was changed to the Dallas Rifle Company, and soon after that steps were taken to change the unit into a light battery of artillery. And this is the humble beginings of 133rd Field Artillery Regiment.   
 Like the Queen City Guards, the Dallas Artillery Company spent most of its time in drill competitions and won many trophies and quite a bit of money, but in reality was not much of a military force. However, there was the time in 1886 when it was sent to Fort Worth to protect private property against strikers during a railroad riot. As I remember the story the Battery took a Gatling gun with them, and fired a few shots down the tracks in both directions.  That broke up the riot. Maybe that is why Fort Worth dislikes Dallas.   
 All of this drill competition did pay off. In 1888 the Battery was able to use its winnings to build a new armory at the corner of Jefferson Boulevard and Hord Street (now Story Street) in Oak Cliff at the coast of $6,300.  It was described as symmetrical and picturesque with a capacious hall overlooking Dallas.  From what I can tell, it was a very popular place for all the right people to hold parties.   
 In 1889 the Battery was part of the escort at the funeral of President Jefferson Davis in New Orleans and was given a place of honor to the left of the regiments forming the escort. Then in 1891 after winning an interstate drill competition in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Dallas Artillery Company became the number one ranked light battery in the volunteer guards in the country. Dallas has always been America's Team one way or another.   
 Not all of the Battery's time was spent winning competitions and throwing parties.  In September 1900, after the great hurricane that destroyed Galveston, and much of the Texas coast, the Battery was put in charge of two relief trains to help the citizens of Angleton and Velasco and spent a week carrying victims of the storm to safety.   
 From its early days the Dallas Artillery Company had been part of the Texas Volunteer Guard, but on May 8, 1903 the battery was inspected by Captain Hugh D. Berkeley of the 12th Cavalry and was found fit for admission into the new National Guard. The Battery would be completely outfitted with new 3 inch guns and equipment and put on an equal footing with the National Guard. While waiting for these orders to come down, on May 26, Captain Logan received orders for the Battery to report to Union Station in Dallas and to proceed straight away to Kaufman for riot duty. This, as it turned out, was the last action seen by the Dallas Artillery Company.  
 The Battery, now part of the National Guard, saw service on the Mexican border in 1916 during the Punitive Expedition against Poncho Villa. Then in 1917, with the rest of the National Guard, it was called up for service in the Great War (the war to end war). Nevertheless, as Mr. Plato said "only the dead have seen the end of war".  1942 found the Battery on its way to North Africa. It was now the 2nd Battalion 133rd Field Artillery Regiment.  
 The distant boom of cannon fire is no longer heard in Dallas.  It has been replaced by the roar of fans at the many sporting events or the sound of loud music rattling up the streets from Deep Ellum.  This is good, cities need to change to grow, but wouldn't it be cool if when some important person came to town or something special happened we still had a battery of muzzle loading cannons to fire a salute and set off all the car alarms in town. Oh well, that is just my thought! 

-Ed Owens
Quiz Answers
1. Richard Ellis, a Virginian by birth, was particularly well qualified by training and inheritance, for the important post he held as chairman of the Convention.

2. The first Congress met at Columbia in Brazoria County on October 3, 1836. The President of the Senate was Richard Ellis, and the Speaker of the House was Ira Ingram. After two and one-half months, Congress adjourned and met again in May, 1837.

3. The Alamo was under the command of William Barret Travis.

4. This was the general retreat of the non-combatants of the revolution during March, 1836, out of the way of the Mexicans under General Sesma. Houston had retreated eastward, to a more advantageous position, leaving no barrier between the colonists and the Mexicans. Therefore, the people hastily went eastward, on foot, by wagon, and even on cows, out of the way of the advancing Mexicans.

5. Travis wrote a letter on the afternoon of February 24 from the Alamo to the alcalde at Gonzales. The contents, in part, were: "We are determined to defend the Alamo to the last. Give us assistance." This letter in it's entirety, has been called the most heroic document in American history.
  If we may be of service to you in the future with discovering our past, please feel free to contact, visit or join the DHS.
Happy Holidays, Dallas Historical Society