A Scots-Irish Migration
The Gillilands Families in the Trans-Mississippi Civil War
In the epic struggle of the Civil War, the story of the war west of the Mississippi may seem less important, overshadowed by the larger battles and higher casualties east of the Mississippi. For Texans, however, the battles in the Trans-Mississippi were of paramount importance since the battles they fought were to keep Union troops out of Texas. Louisiana historian Gary D. Joiner wrote "This need to protect Texas from invaders outside its borders perhaps strikes at the core of the Texas psyche during the nineteenth century and in some deep-seated ways still exists." And it was this sense of nationhood that caused a Texas cavalryman to write after the war, "To us, Texas was the 'nation': to her alone we owed allegiance."
Six young cousins, Gillilands, Barksdales and Martins, Texas born and bred, from the fourth generation of the American Scots-Irish Gillilands, and their kin, served in the Trans-Mississippi Civil War. In Louisiana the cousins fought in the battles of Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, Blair's Landing and Yellow Bayou. In Arkansas they fought in the battles of Poison Spring and Jenkins' Ferry as well as in battles in the Indian Territory with their Confederate Indian allies. Most important they helped keep Union forces out of Texas and succeeded in keeping Texas from the terrible destruction the rest of the Confederacy suffered.