Holt Collier served as a member of the 9th Texas Cavalry, but the one thing that distinguishes Holt Collier was the fact he was a slave. Collier followed his master, Thomas Hinds, into the Civil War. At Green River Bridge in Tennessee, Holt Collier went from being camp servant to a soldier on the side of the Confederacy. Collier served in the Confederacy until the war ended in 1865.
After the war, Collier returned to Greenville, Mississippi for a time. He went west to Texas only to later return home. Holt began providing wild game for meat to loggers, railroaders, and levee construction crews. Being an expert shot, he was able to support himself by the game he provided to these different workers in the area.
His greatest claim to fame was the bear hunt he led President Theodore Roosevelt on in the Mississippi Delta. From that now famous hunt began the saga of the Teddy Bear.
This is shamelessly lifted from Holt Collier Camp Holt Collier Camp
I learned of him from a newspaper article that was passed around the Peninsula Civil War Round Table. Didn't get to keep the article but I did learn enough about the man to be very impressed by him.
As a slave boy of 10, his master gave him a shotgun and instructed him to kill the varmints. He did but complained that it hurt his shoulder. His master suggested that he shoot from the other shoulder. Because of this, Holt learned to shoot shotgun, rifle and pistol with either hand. Holt became so proficient that he began winning shooting matches and more importantly, bets for his master. At age 14 his masters marched off to war and with tears running down his cheeks at the prospect of being left behind and separated from his masters for the first time, Holt begged them to take him. They demurred stating he was too young. He watched them ride over the horizon and devised a plan.
That night he left the house and went down to the dock. There he spied his masters and learned what boat they were on. He met a friendly boatman whose advice he solicited. The boatman suggested that he grab some baggage and carry it aboard. No one thought anything of Holt as he picked up a bag, hefted it onto his shoulder and followed other boatman aboard and down the hold. There he stayed the night. When the boat reached its destination, Holt popped up and greeted his masters. They figured that he was too determined to stay behind and consented to allow him to remain as a manservant.
The regiment went to Bowling Green, Kentucky. A battle was brewing and they marched off to meet the Yankees, leaving Holt behind in camp to watch after the sick. Holt didn't remain. He found a cartridge box and strapped it on. Taking a musket, he found them in battle and took his place in the regiment. Everyone was too busy fighting to scold him and Holt was firing away, reloading, and firing again as if he was back on the plantation. He suddenly heard his master laughing behind him. He turned and saw his master who was bemused at the sight of little Holt shooting at the Yankees. The master went off to yell at some men and Holt kept shooting. If his master said nothing, no one else had a right to say anything to him.
The battle won, Holt marched back to camp with his gun. One soldier asked the N****** what he was going to do with it. Another soldier chimed in saying that he was talking to a soldier and to leave him alone. That did it. From that point on, Holt was no longer a servant but a soldier. While never formally enlisted, he continued to serve as a soldier until the war ended.
Holt remained loyal to his masters and is suspected of killing a Union officer who injured his master after the war. He became one of the best bear hunters in Mississippi and earned for himself the nickname the Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett of Mississippi. He slew over 3k bears in his life and at times used a knife to do so. That's one though hombre!