Xavier Debray

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Xavier Blanchard Debray
Xavier Debray.png
Debray circa 1864
Born (1818-01-25)January 25, 1818
Épinal, France
Died January 6, 1895(1895-01-06) (aged 76)
Austin, Texas
Allegiance  France
Confederate States of America Confederate States of America
Service/branch  Confederate States Army
Rank Confederate States of America General.png Brigadier General (CSA)
Battles/wars American Civil War
- Battle of Mansfield
- Battle of Pleasant Hill

Xavier Blanchard Debray (January 25, 1818 – January 6, 1895) was a French-born American soldier and diplomat who immigrated to the United States, settling in Texas. During the American Civil War Debray raised a Confederate cavalry regiment from Bexar County and was appointed brigadier general before the war's end.

Early life[edit]

Xavier Debray was born in or near Épinal, France as Xavier Blanchard, the son of Nicolas Blanchard and Catherine Benezech. He is said to have attended the École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr[1] Debray worked in the French diplomatic service before immigrating to the United States in 1848 under something of a cloud in disagreement with the French Government; he settled in Texas four years later and became a naturalized citizen in 1855.[1] Debray published a Spanish language newspaper in San Antonio in the years before the American Civil War, opening a thriving academy and providing translations for the General Land Office.[1][2]

Military career[edit]

At war's outbreak Debray became an aide-de-camp to Texas governor Edward Clark as a major in the 2nd Texas Infantry.[1] Debray raised a cavalry unit from Bexar County,[2] was elected commander of Debray's Texas Cavalry battalion,[1] and was commissioned colonel on December 5, 1861.[2] He led the unit which became the 26th Texas Cavalry at the Battle of Galveston Bay in 1862 and later during the Red River Campaign serving with distinction at the Battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill. Becoming commander of his Cavalry brigade he was later appointed Brigadier General by Kirby Smith for his service in that campaign. With the end of the Civil War, his promotion was never confirmed by President Davis.

After the Confederate surrender, Debray lived in Houston and Galveston. Eventually Debray moved to the state's capitol and resumed translating Spanish, French and English language documents for the Texas General Land Office. Debray died in Austin January 6, 1895 and is buried in the state cemetery there.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Bailey, Anne J. DeBray, Xavier Blanchard in Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved May 20, 2014. However, St. Cyr told historian Bruce Allardice that they had no record of Debray's attending.
  2. ^ a b c Boatner, Mark Mayo, III. The Civil War Dictionary. New York: McKay, 1988. ISBN 978-0-8129-1726-0. First published 1959 by McKay. P. 229.