The Austin Chronicle

Today's Texas History Lesson

By Richard Whittaker, January 25, 2008, 4:17pm, Newsdesk

The General Land Office has acquired a unique piece of Civil War history with the purchase of the private letters of Confederate Army private Dudley Ward of the 2nd Texas Infantry. The 34 handwritten letters, costing $11,000 and paid for with private donations to the Save Texas History Program, were authenticated by GLO archivists. They will be preserved and made publicly available through the Digital Preservation Project.

Explaining the purchase, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said, “Whether or not you agree with the causes of the war, Ward put his life on the line for his family and for Texas, and his story should be shared with future generations of Texans”

The letters have a special connection to the GLO: Ward was the son of Thomas William “Peg Leg” Ward, the third Commissioner of the Texas Land Office. Peg Leg was a hero of the Texas Revolution, losing his leg at the siege of Bexar. But he was also famously fired upon by Angelina Eberly and her cannon when he handed state records over to President Sam Houston’s troops in the Archive War of 1842.

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