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Background information on Colonel John Ireland (later Governor)
By Judy C. Ware 2015

John Ireland


John Ireland was born January 1, 1827, in Kentucky.  While in his 20s, he served as constable and deputy sheriff of his home county.  He studied law and in 1853 moved to Seguin, Texas, where he married Anne Marie Penn in 1857.  John was then elected mayor of Sequin in 1858.  After serving in the Secession Convention of 1861, he joined the Confederate army where he rose in rank from private to lieutenant colonel.  Throughout the Civil War, he served in Texas, patrolling along the Rio Grande and along the Gulf Coast.  It was there that he and Captain James A. Ware served together.

Captain James A. Ware
(photo property of James & Judy Ware)

James Alexander Ware, oldest son of Josiah and Fanny Glassell Ware of Berryville, Virginia, had moved to Corpus Christi after his marriage in 1856 to Miss Jane Morton Smith.  He had graduated from law school in Virginia and had a prosperous law practice in Corpus Christi.  He joined the military in 1859 as an officer in the Corpus Christi Guards, a unit formed by the Committee of Safety in an effort to provide protection and defense of the city.  (See below)


As events led the country more fully into Civil War, James took command of a military unit that was originally titled Ware’s Partisan Rangers, also known as Ware’s Tigers.  “On December 10, 1861, the Confederate Secretary of War re-designated the 1st Regiment of Texas Mounted Rifles the 1st Regiment of the Texas Cavalry.” (Ref. 721)   Later, in 1863, the company which was alternately called Ware’s Tigers, Ware’s Partisan Rangers, Ware’s Company of Partisan Rangers, and Captain James A. Ware’s Texas Mounted Partisan Rangers were all merged into the 1st Texas Cavalry. 


As author Stanley S. McGowen wrote:

“May 2, 1863, Taylor's company combined with Yager's 3rd battalion of cavalry and Capt. James A. Ware’s company of partisan rangers to reconstitute the 1st regiment of Texas cavalry." (Ref. 721)


Envelope addressed to Captain James A. Ware – Texas Mounted Partisan Rangers – (property of James and Judy Ware)

On “October 10, 1861, Colonel Charles Lovenskiold, who was now Corpus Christi’s provost marshall, reported that Captain Neal’s company was full and ready for muster.  The unit was now officially a part of the ‘provisional Army of the Confederate States, for Coast defense.’  Other companies of local men were also being formed: Captain John Graham’s Mounted Coast Guards Texas State Troops, Captain James Ware’s Partisan Rangers, and a company under James N. Morgan . . . .” (Ref. 3004)     

(All bold lettering done by Judy Ware)

In August of 1862, James played an important role in the Battle of Corpus Christi when “an ambitious U.S. Navy lieutenant who had been blockading the coast, John W, Kittredge, boldly landed at Corpus Christi under a flag of truce.”  (Ref. 2151)   He demanded to inspect Federal property and after Confederate Major Alfred M. Hobby thwarted his plans, “Kittredge then gave Hobby a deadline of twenty-four hours to evacuate Corpus Christi before his ships opened fire.  Another parley resulted in the truce being extended for another twenty-four hours.”  (Ref. 2151)

On August 18, Kittredge moved his ships into gun range and fired on the town, sending a landing party to shore in an attempt to overtake the Texans.  “To meet the Union threat on shore, Major Hobby sent a detachment of militiamen, including reserves under Captain James A. Ware, to launch a counterattack.  After a brief skirmish, the sailors were forced back to the water despite a heavy supporting fire of grapeshot from Kittredge’s ships.”  (Ref. 2151)

According to a wonderful history of Corpus Christi written by Mary Sutherland and published in 1916:

“The Confederate forces at this date were under command of Colonel Hobby, infantry commanded by then Captain, afterwards Colonel John Ireland, later Governor of Texas; artillery Captain Neal; cavalry by Captain James Ware.  He [Captain Ware] captured Kitteridge and did scout duty in vicinity during the entire War.  Captain Ware died in the Soldiers' Home in Austin a few years since.” (Ref. 3174)

News of the success of the Battle of Corpus Christi spread rapidly across the state.  Henry Maltby, the publisher of a local newspaper known as The Ranchero, quickly printed out a special edition.   

“Published August 19, 1862, the single-page extra edition jubilantly proclaimed Corpus Christi as the ‘Vicksburg of Texas.’  Credited with the victory were Hobby, Captain Ware and his company of cavalry, Captain John Ireland’s infantry, and Neal’s artillery.” (Ref. 3004)

Captain Ireland wrote a glowing account of the capture of John Kittredge in a letter to his superior, Major E. F. Gray, and drew special attention to what he considered the “efficient service and gallant conduct of Captain James Ware.” (See letter on line)   Following this, on September 16, 1862, Major Gray sent a letter to his superior, Brigadier General H. P. Bee.  He reenforced the commendations for Hobby, Ireland and Captain James Ware.


Report of Major E. F. Gray, C. S. Army

CORPUS CHRISTI, TEX., September 16, 1862.

SIR:  I have the honor to report that the expedition under Captain, John Ireland, of which I notified you in my last communication, has returned to this place successful.  Enclosed I forward a copy of his official report, which will explain itself.  I request that the special recommendations contained in his report may be considered as my own, without a repetition, as I am satisfied they are merited.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

E. F. GRAY,   Major, Commanding

Brigadier General H. P. BEE,

Commanding Sub-Mil. Dist. of the Rio Grande, San Antonio, Tex.  


In addition to these letters, an official resolution of thanks to the major-general (Magruder) commanding and those under his command, was passed by both houses of the Texas Legislature and was published for the Army of Texas on March 30, 1863.


EDMUND P. TURNER, Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.

GENERAL ORDERS, HDQRS. DIST. OF TEX., N. MEX., AND ARIZ., No. 56. San Antonio, March 30, 1863.

JOINT RESOLUTION of thanks to General J. B. Magruder and others

RESOLUTION 1. Be it resolved by the Legislature of the State of Texas.  That the thanks of the Legislature are hereby tendered to General J. B. Magruder and the officers and men under his command for the brilliant victory which they gained over the Federalists at Galveston on the 1st of January last.  To Major O. M. Watkins and the officers and men under his command for their gallant conduct at Sabine Pass and the recapture of that fort and capturing the blockading vessels of the enemy; and to Major Daniel Shea and the officers and men under his command for their brave defense of the town of Lavaca; and to Major Hobby and the officers and soldiers under his command for the repulse of the enemy's attack on Corpus Christi, the commencement of our success on the Texas coast; and to Captains Ireland and Ware and the officers and soldiers under their command for their exploit in the capture of Captain Kittredge and his men near Corpus Christi; and to Captains Ireland and Willke and the officers and soldiers under their command for their good conduct in defeating the enemy's attempt to capture one of our vessels and in capturing his barges in the Bay of Corpus Christi; and to Capts. Santos Benavides and Refugio Benavides and the officers and men under their command for their vigilance, energy, and gallantry in pursuing and chastising the banditti infesting the Rio Grande frontier.

RESOLUTION 2. That the Governor be requested to transmit a copy of these resolutions to General J. B. Magruder and the other officers mentioned, with the request that they make them known to the officers and men under their command.

Approved March 6, 1863                Bold lettering done by Judy C. Ware

THE STATE OF TEXAS, Department of State:

I, R. J. Townes, Secretary of State of the State of Texas, do hereby certify the above to be a true and correct copy of the original joint resolution as approved by the Governor, now on file in this department.  In testimony whereof I have here unto signed my name and caused the seal of the State Department to be affixed, at Austin, this 12th March, 1863.


R. J. TOWNES,   Secretary of State.

These resolutions will on the day of their reception be read at the head of every regiment, battalion, and unattached company in the district.

By order of Major-General Magruder:   
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
March 6, 1863


After the war, John Ireland went on to become the 18th Governor of the state of Texas.  He served from January 1883 to January 1887. He died on March 15, 1896.

Grave for John Ireland



8. Eulogy written for Judge James Alexander Ware – author unknown, property of James and Judy Ware

721.  Horse Sweat and Powder Smoke – the 1st Texas Cavalry in the Civil War by: Stanley S. McGowen, Texas A&M University Press, college Station, 1999

2151.  Civil War in Texas and New Mexico Territory by: Steve Cottrell, illustrated by Andy Thomas, 1998 Pelican Publishing Co., Inc. LA. 

3004.  The Maltby Brothers’ Civil War by: Dr. Norman C. Delaney, Texas A&M University Press, College Station, 2013    

3174.  The Story of Corpus Christi by: Mary A. Sutherland, Published by Corpus Christi Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy, 1916 


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