Last Review of the Confederacy Site

General Joseph Orville ""Jo"" Shelby (1830-1897) led a cavalry force of Missourians known as the Iron Brigade and later, the Iron Division. From 1861-1864, his troops rode with generals Thomas C. Hindman, John S. Marmaduke, and Sterling Price in Missouri and Arkansas. During this time, Shelby earned praise for his command.

Planned Attack

Shelby and his men wintered in Texas in 1864-1865. In the spring, when word of Confederate surrenders in the east reached him, he was ordered to lead his men to Shreveport, Louisiana, to surrender. Instead, they planned an attack on the city to prevent collapse of the Trans-Mississippi Confederacy.

Waylaid by severe weather, they decided to go to Mexico. Shelby's soldiers stopped along the banks of Chambers Creek, south of Chatfield. Near here, they made their last bivouac as a Confederate unit. The next morning, June 2, 1865, the troops lined up for assembly and held what has been called "the last review of the Confederacy." By that time, they were the last organized unit in any Confederate state.

Flee to Mexico

Following the review of his troops, Shelby delivered his farewell then asked his men to accompany him to Mexico. Hundreds reportedly answered his call. The next week, while his men gathered supplies from nearby Corsicana, Shelby visited the Hodge Oaks Plantation of Capt. Robert Hodge at Chatfield. Once prepared, the troops left for Mexico, where their offer of military service to Emperor Maximilian was diplomatically rejected. The men were offered land, though, and many, including Shelby, stayed.

In 1867, Shelby returned to Missouri, where he farmed and served as U.S. Marshal. His dedication is celebrated there, as well as in Texas.