Saturday, December 13, 2014

150-years-ago -- The Battle of Nashville, Tennessee, Dec. 15-16, 1864.

[Excerpted from Company Aytch, Maury Grays, First Tennesse Regiment, or A Sideshow of the Big, by Sam R. Watkins, Columbia, Tenn. 1900]  

Pvt. Sam Watkins, Co. H, 1st Tenn. Inf.

      A few more scenes, my dear friends, and we close these
memoirs. We march toward the city of Nashville. We camp
the first night at Brentwood. The next day we can see the fine
old building of solid granite, looming up on Capitol Hill the
capitol of Tennessee. We can see the Stars and Stripes flying
from the dome. Our pulse leaps with pride when we see the
grand old architecture. We can hear the bugle call, and the
playing of the bands of the different regiments in the Federal
lines. Now and then a shell is thrown into our midst from
Fort Negley, but no attack or demonstrations on either side.
We bivouac on the cold and hard-frozen ground, and when we walk about, the echo of our footsteps sound like the echo of a  tombstone. The earth is crusted with snow, and the wind from the northwest is piercing our very bones. We can see our ragged soldiers, with sunken cheeks and famine-glistening eyes. Where were our generals? Alas! there were none. Not one
single general out of Cheatham s division was left not one.
      General B. F. Cheatham himself was the only surviving general
of his old division. Nearly all our captains and colonels were
gone. Companies mingled with companies, regiments with
regiments, and brigades with brigades. A few raw-boned horses
stood shivering under the ice-covered trees, nibbling the short,
scanty grass. Being in range of the Federal guns from Fort
Negley, we were not allowed to have fires at night, and our thin
and ragged blankets were but poor protection against the cold,
raw blasts of December weather the coldest ever known. The
cold stars seem to twinkle with unusual brilliancy, and the pale
moon seems to be but one vast heap of frozen snow, which
glimmers in the cold gray sky, and the air gets colder by its coming ;
our breath, forming in little rays, seems to make a thousand
little coruscations that scintillate in the cold frosty air. I can tell
you nothing of what was going on among the generals. But
there we were, and that is all that I can tell you. One morning
about daylight our army began to move. Our division was then
on the extreme right wing, and then we were transferred to the
left wing. The battle had begun. We were continually
moving to our left. We would build little temporary breastworks,
then we would be moved to another place. Our lines kept on
widening out, and stretching further and further apart, until it
was not more than a skeleton of a skirmish line from one end to
the other. We started at a run. We cared for nothing. Not
more than a thousand yards off, we could see the Yankee cavalry,
artillery, and infantry, marching apparently still further to our
left. We could see regiments advancing at double-quick across
the fields, while, with our army, everything seemed confused.
The private soldier could not see into things. It seemed to be
somewhat like a flock of wild geese when they have lost their
leader. We were willing to go anywhere, or to follow anyone
who would lead us. We were anxious to flee, fight, or fortify.
I have never seen an army so confused and demoralized. The
whole thing seemed to be tottering and trembling. When,
Halt! Front! Right dress! and Adjutant McKinney reads
the following order :

     "Soldiers: The commanding general takes pleasure in
announcing to his troops that victory and success are now within
their grasp; and the commanding general feels proud and
gratified that in every attack and assault the enemy have been
repulsed; and the commanding general will further say to his
noble and gallant troops, Be of good cheer all is well.

"KINLOCK FALCONER, "General Commanding.
"Acting Adjutant-General."

       I remember how this order was received. Every soldier
said, "O, shucks ; that is all shenanigans for we knew that we
had never met the enemy or fired a gun outside of a little
skirmishing. And I will further state that that battle order,
announcing success and victory, was the cause of a greater
demoralization than if our troops had been actually engaged in battle.
They at once mistrusted General Hood’s judgment as a
commander. And every private soldier in the whole army knew
the situation of affairs. I remember when passing by Hood,
how feeble and decrepit he looked, with an arm in a sling, and a
crutch in the other hand, and trying to guide and control his
horse. And, reader, I was not a Christian then, and am but
little better to-day; but, as God sees my heart to-night, I prayed
in my heart that day for General Hood. Poor fellow, I loved
him, not as a General, but as a good man. I knew when that
army order was read, that General Hood had been deceived, and
that the poor fellow was only trying to encourage his men.
Every impulse of his nature was but to do good, and to serve his
country as best he could. Ah ! reader, some day all will be well.
       We continued marching toward our left, our battle-line
getting thinner and thinner. We could see the Federals
advancing, their blue coats and banners flying, and could see
their movements and hear them giving their commands. Our
regiment was ordered to double quick to the extreme left
wing of the army, and we had to pass up a steep hill, and
the dead grass was wet and as slick as glass, and it was with
the greatest difficulty that we could get up the steep hill
side. When we got to the top, we, as skirmishers, were ordered
to deploy still further to the left. Billy Carr and J. E. Jones,
two as brave soldiers as ever breathed the breath of life in fact,
it was given up that they were the bravest and most daring men
in the Army of Tennessee and myself ; were on the very
extreme left wing of our army. While we were deployed as
skirmishers, I heard, "Surrender, surrender," and on looking
around us, I saw that we were right in the midst of a Yankee
line of battle. They were lying down in the bushes, and we
were not looking for them so close to us. We immediately
threw down our guns and surrendered. J. E. Jones was killed
at the first discharge of their guns, when another Yankee raised
up and took deliberate aim at Billy Carr, and fired, the ball
striking him below the eye and passing through his head. As
soon as I could, I picked up my gun, and as the Yankee turned
I sent a minnie ball crushing through his head, and broke and
run. But I am certain that I killed the Yankee who killed
Billy Carr, but it was too late to save the poor boy’s life. As I
started to run, a fallen dogwood tree tripped me up, and I fell
over the log. It was all that saved me. The log was riddled
with balls, and thousands, it seemed to me, passed over it. As
I got up to run again, I was shot through the middle finger of
the very hand that is now penning these lines, and the thigh.
But I had just killed a Yankee, and was determined to get
away from there as soon as I could. How I did get back I
hardly know, for I was wounded and surrounded by Yankees.
One rushed forward, and placing the muzzle of his gun in two
feet of me, discharged it, but it missed its aim, when I ran at
him, grabbed him by the collar, and brought him off a prisoner.
Captain Joe P. Lee and Colonel H. R. Field remember this, as
would Lieutenant-Colonel John L. House, were he alive; and
all the balance of Company H, who were there at the time. I
had eight bullet holes in my coat, and two in my hand, beside
the one in my thigh and finger. It was a hail storm of bullets.
The above is true in every particular, and is but one incident of
the war, which happened to hundreds of others. But, alas! all
our valor and victories were in vain, when God and the whole
world were against us.
       Billy Carr was one of the bravest and best men I ever
knew. He never knew what fear was, and in consequence of
his reckless bravery, had been badly wounded at Perryville.
Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, the octagon house, Dead Angle,
and the 22nd of July at Atlanta. In every battle he was
wounded, and finally, in the very last battle of the war, surrendered
up his life for his country s cause. No father and mother
of such a brave and gallant boy, should ever sorrow or regret
having born to them such a son. He was the flower and
chivalry of his company. He was as good as he was brave. His
bones rest yonder on the Overton hills to-day, while I have no
doubt in my own mind that his spirit is with the Redeemer of
the hosts of heaven. He was my friend. Poor boy, farewell!
When I got back to where I could see our lines, it was one
scene of confusion and rout. Finney s Florida brigade had
broken before a mere skirmish line, and soon the whole army
had caught the infection, had broken, and were running in every
direction. Such a scene I never saw. The army was panic stricken.
The woods everywhere were full of running soldiers.
Our officers were crying, "Halt ! halt !" and trying to rally and
re-form their broken ranks. The Federals would dash their
cavalry in amongst us, and even their cannon joined in the
charge. One piece of Yankee artillery galloped past me, right
on the road, unlimbered their gun, fired a few shots, and galloped
ahead again.
       Hood’s whole army was routed and in full retreat. Nearly
every man in the entire army had thrown away his gun and
accouterments. More than ten thousand had stopped and allowed
themselves to be captured, while many, dreading the horrors
of a Northern prison, kept on, and I saw many, yea, even
thousands, broken down from sheer exhaustion, with despair
and pity written on their features. Wagon trains, cannon,
artillery, cavalry, and infantry were all blended in inextricable
confusion. Broken down and jaded horses and mules refused
to pull, and the badly-scared drivers looked like their eyes would
pop out of their heads from fright. Wagon wheels, interlocking
each other, soon clogged the road, and wagons, horses and
provisions were left indiscriminately. The officers soon became
effected with the demoralization of their troops, and rode on in
dogged indifference. General Frank Cheatham and General
Lor ing tried to form a line at Brentwood, but the line they
formed was like trying to stop the current of Duck river with a
fish net. I believe the army would have rallied, had there been
any colors to rally to. And as the straggling army moves on
down the road, every now and then we can hear the sullen roar
of the Federal artillery booming in the distance. I saw a
wagon and team abandoned, and I unhitched one of the horses
and rode on horse-back to Franklin, where a surgeon tied up my
broken finger, and bandaged up my bleeding thigh. My boot
was full of blood, and my clothing saturated with it. I was at
General Hood s headquarters. He was much agitated and af
fected, pulling his hair with his one hand (he had but one),
and crying like his heart would break. I pitied him, poor fellow.
I asked him for a wounded furlough, and he gave it to
me. I never saw him afterward. I always loved and honored
him, and will ever revere and cherish his memory. He gave
his life in the service of his country, and I know to-day he wears
a garland of glory beyond the grave, where Justice says "well
done, and Mercy has erased all his errors and faults.
I only write of the under strata of history; in other words,
the privates history as I saw things then, and remember them

Monday, November 24, 2014

150-years-ago -- THE BATTLE OF FRANKLIN, Tennessee, Nov. 30, 1864

[Excerpted from Company Aytch, Maury Grays, First Tennesse Regiment, or A Sideshow of the Big, by Sam R. Watkins, Columbia, Tenn. 1900]  

"The death-angel gathers its last harvest. 
Kind reader, right here my pen, and courage, and ability 
fail me. I shrink from butchery. * Would to God I could tear 
the page from these memoirs and from my own memory. It 
is the blackest page in the history of the war of the Lost Cause. 
It was the bloodiest battle of modern times in any war. It was 
the finishing stroke to the independence of the Southern Con- 
federacy. I was there. I saw it. My flesh trembles, and 
creeps, and crawls when I think of it to-day. My heart almost 
ceases to beat at the horrid recollection. Would to God that I 
had never witnessed such a scene! 
I cannot describe it. It beggars description. I will not 
attempt to describe it. I could not. The death-angel was there 
to gather its last harvest. It was the grand coronation of death. 
Would that I could turn the page. But I feel, though I did so, 
that page would still be there, teeming with its scenes of horror 
and blood. I can only tell of what I saw. 
Our regiment was resting in the gap of a range of hills in 
plain view of the city of Franklin. We could see the battle- 
flags of the enemy waving in the breeze. Our army had been 
depleted of its strength by a forced march from Spring Hill, 
and stragglers lined the road. Our artillery had not yet come 
up, and could not be brought into action. Our cavalry was 
across Harpeth river, and our army was but in poor condition to 
make an assault. While resting on this hill-side, I saw a courier                          dash up to our commanding general, B. F. Cheatham, and 
the word, "Attention !" was given. I knew then that we would 
soon be in action. Forward, march. We passed over the hill 
and through a little skirt of woods. 
The enemy were fortified right across the Franklin pike, 
in the suburbs of the town. Right here in these woods a detail 
of skirmishers was called for. Our regiment was detailed. 
We deployed as skirmishers, firing as we advanced on the left of 
the turnpike road. If I had not been a skirmisher on that day, 
I would not have been writing this to-day, in the year of our 
Lord 1882. 
It was four o’clock on that dark and dismal December day 
when the line of battle was formed, and those devoted heroes 
were ordered forward, to "Strike for their altars and their fires, 
For the green graves of their sires, For God and their native land." 
As they marched on down through an open field toward the 
rampart of blood and death, the Federal batteries began to open 
and mow down and gather into the garner of death, as brave, 
and good, and pure spirits as the world ever saw. The twi- 
light of evening had begun to gather as a precursor of the coming 
blackness of midnight darkness that was to envelop a scene 
so sickening and horrible that it is impossible for me to describe 
it. "Forward, men, is repeated all along the line. A sheet of 
fire was poured into our very faces, and for a moment we halted 
as if in despair, as the terrible avalanche of shot and shell laid 
low those brave and gallant heroes, whose bleeding wounds at 
tested that the struggle would be desperate. Forward, men! 
The air loaded with death-dealing missiles. Never on this earth 
did men fight against such terrible odds. It seemed that the 
very elements of heaven and earth were in one mighty uproar. 
Forward, men ! And the blood spurts in a perfect jet from 
the dead and wounded. The earth is red with blood. It runs 
in streams, making little rivulets as it flows. Occasionally there 
was a little lull in the storm of battle, as the men were loading 
their guns, and for a few moments it seemed as if night tried to 
cover the scene with her mantle. The death-angel shrieks and 
laughs and old Father Time is busy with his sickle, as he gathers 
in the last harvest of death, crying, More, more, more! while his 
rapacious maw is glutted with the slain. 
But the skirmish line being deployed out, extending a little 
wider than the battle did passing through a thicket of small 
locusts, where Brown, orderly sergeant of Company B, was 
killed we advanced on toward the breastworks, on and on. I 
had made up my mind to die felt glorious. We pressed for- 
ward until I heard the terrific roar of battle open on our right. 
Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne
(Library of Congress)
Cleburne's division was charging their works. I passed on until 
I got to their works, and got over on their (the Yankees) side. 
But in fifty yards of where I was, the scene was lit up by fires 
that seemed like hell itself. It appeared to be but one line of 
streaming fire. Our troops were upon one side of the breast 
works, and the Federals on the other. I ran up on the line of 
works, where our men were engaged. Dead soldiers filled the 
entrenchments. The firing was kept up until after midnight, 
and gradually died out. We passed the night where we were. 
But when the morrows sun began to light up the eastern sky 
to reveal its rosy hues, and we looked over the battlefield, O, my 
God! what did we see! It was a grand holocaust of death. 
Death had held high carnival there that night. The dead were 
piled the one on the other all over the ground. I never was so 
horrified and appalled in my life. Horses, like men, had died 
game on the gory breastworks. General Adams horse had his 
fore feet on one side of the works and his hind feet on the other, 
dead. The general seems to have been caught so that he was 
held to the horse’s back, sitting almost as if living, riddled, and 
mangled, and torn with balls. General Cleburne’s mare had her 
fore feet on top of the works, dead in that position. General 
Cleburne’s body was pierced with forty-nine bullets, through 
and through. General Strahl’s horse lay by the roadside and 
the general by his side, both dead, and all his staff. General 
Gist, a noble and brave cavalier from South Carolina, was lying 
with his sword reaching across the breastworks still grasped in 
his hand. He was lying there dead. All dead! They sleep 
in the graveyard yonder at Ashwood, almost in sight of my 
home, where I am writing to-day. They sleep the sleep of the 
brave. We love and cherish their memory. They sleep beneath 
the ivy-mantled walls of St. John’s church, where they 
expressed a wish to be buried. The private soldier sleeps where 
he fell, piled in one mighty heap. Four thousand five hundred 
privates! all lying side by side in death! Thirteen generals 
were killed and wounded. Four thousand five hundred men 
slain, all piled and heaped together at one place. I cannot tell 
the number of others killed and wounded. God alone knows 
that. We’ll all find out on the morning of the final resurrection.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

150-years-ago -- The Battle of Liberty, Mississippi

Col. John S. Scott
[Excerpted from the "9th Battalion Louisiana Louisiana Infantry in the Battle of Baton Rouge and Siege of Port Hudson" by Michael Dan Jones, published by and available at and other online booksellers.]

On November 15, the scattered Confederates began converging on the
fast moving Federal column [commanded by Federal Gen. A.L. Lee]. Colonel [J.S.]Scott’s 1st Louisiana Cavalry was camped three miles from Clinton along the road to Liberty. He began tracking the Federals and also found on November 15 the Federals had passed through Clinton and were on their way to Liberty. Colonel Gober’s Mounted Infantry was on the road from Greensburg and moving toward Liberty. The various Confederate columns, which had been looking for one another, and finally converged when they met on the 17th. Scott took command, since they couldn’t find Hodge. He ordered their wagon trains to a place of safety and the Confederates moved in the direction of Liberty to confront A.L. Lee’s troopers there.
           The Confederate column rested the men that night for the next days expected attack on Liberty. “My men having been called up three nights in succession, and my horses having been without food thirty-one hours, my command were in no condition to pursue an enemy traveling so rapidly. I consequently halted for the night,” [Col. Daniel] Gober wrote. Early on the morning of November 18, Scott put his tiny brigade in line of battle. They approached Liberty throughdense woods, and then found the Federals drawn up on a hill in front of the town. Gober dismounted his men, placed them on the right side of the road, and immediately went for the Federal left flank. “In order to drive them from this position I moved with right wing of my regiment upon their left and succeeded in forcing them to retire in great confusion up into the town,
where they formed a second time behind the houses and on a hill to my left
and dismounted.” There was also an open hill about 100 yards before the
new Federal position. “Against this enemy the men moved at double-quick
and with great spirit, driving the enemy from and taking possession of the
houses,” Gober wrote. Scott wrote in his report, General A.L. Lee was commanding the
Federals in person. “The enemy sent out a regiment of cavalry, which we met
and handsomely repulsed. Moving on to Liberty we engaged their main body,
command by Brigadier General Lee in person, for near half an hour. The
skirmish was quite brisk, but we were compelled to fall back for want of
ammunition.” Lee, in his report, grossly over estimated Scott’s numbers at
800. He said the rebels were first repulsed and then advanced again and drove
in the bluecoat pickets. He noted that the rebels, “dismounted, and attacked
with desperation. “Our men, also dismounted, fought bravely. I brought into
action the section of the First Wisconsin Battery and opened with canister.

           After a fight of something more than an hour the enemy were driven from
the field.” Gober wrote of the end of the battle, that soon after driving the
Federals from their positions at the houses, “. . . I was ordered to retire slowly
to my horses, mount, and move across the bridge three miles from town.”
Scott commented that he had less than 300 men in the battle and the Yankees
had 1,200 and a battery of artillery. “I have never seen officers and men
behave with more gallantry than did Colonel Gober and Ogden and their
commands. In fact, it drew forth the astonishment and praise of the vandals
themselves who we were confronting,” Scott wrote.
            During the fighting, among the killed was 1st Lieutenant Olivier
Couvillion of Company G, 1st Louisiana Cavalry. “He was gallant and
efficient and his death was a severe loss to the regiment,” Lieutenant Carter
wrote in his memoir. Carter also noted that Private J.G. Hawkes of Company
E, 1st Louisiana Cavalry, had his horse killed under him in the battle. He then
asked Captain A.C. Herndon, the quartermaster, to loan him his horse.
Herndon reluctantly did so, fearing his valuable horse would be killed. Sure
enough, the horse was killed and Hawkes was wounded and captured. That
night, while being led off on a mule by his captors, Hawkes managed to
escape and successfully returned to his unit. Hawkes, a native Englishman
amazed his comrades at his boldness in battle, having two horses killed under
him, being wounded, captured and escaping—all within a 24-hour period.
General Scott awarded Hawkes with a battlefield promotion to second
           Scott reported that three of his men were killed, 10 wounded and 15
horses killed. Gober said in his report that he lost two men killed, eight
wounded and four missing, for the entire period from November 12 to the
20th. Lee said his total casualties in the Battle of Liberty were “about a dozen”
wounded, none killed.” He also claimed that they found three rebel officers
Federals in person. “The enemy sent out a regiment of cavalry, which we met
and handsomely repulsed. Moving on to Liberty we engaged their main body,
command by Brigadier General Lee in person, for near half an hour. The
skirmish was quite brisk, but we were compelled to fall back for want of
ammunition.” Lee, in his report, grossly over estimated Scott’s numbers at
800. He said the rebels were first repulsed and then advanced again and drove
in the bluecoat pickets. He noted that the rebels, “dismounted, and attacked
with desperation. “Our men, also dismounted, fought bravely. I brought into
action the section of the First Wisconsin Battery and opened with canister.
After a fight of something more than an hour the enemy were driven from
the field.” Gober wrote of the end of the battle, that soon after driving the
Federals from their positions at the houses, “. . . I was ordered to retire slowly
to my horses, mount, and move across the bridge three miles from town.”
           Scott commented that he had less than 300 men in the battle and the Yankees
had 1,200 and a battery of artillery. “I have never seen officers and men
behave with more gallantry than did Colonel Gober and Ogden and their
commands. In fact, it drew forth the astonishment and praise of the vandals
themselves who we were confronting,” Scott wrote.
            During the fighting, among the killed was 1st Lieutenant Olivier
Couvillion of Company G, 1st Louisiana Cavalry. “He was gallant and
efficient and his death was a severe loss to the regiment,” Lieutenant Carter
wrote in his memoir. Carter also noted that Private J.G. Hawkes of Company
E, 1st Louisiana Cavalry, had his horse killed under him in the battle. He then
asked Captain A.C. Herndon, the quartermaster, to loan him his horse.
Herndon reluctantly did so, fearing his valuable horse would be killed. Sure
enough, the horse was killed and Hawkes was wounded and captured. That
night, while being led off on a mule by his captors, Hawkes managed to
escape and successfully returned to his unit. Hawkes, a native Englishman
amazed his comrades at his boldness in battle, having two horses killed under
him, being wounded, captured and escaping—all within a 24-hour period.
General Scott awarded Hawkes with a battlefield promotion to second
           Scott reported that three of his men were killed, 10 wounded and 15
horses killed. Gober said in his report that he lost two men killed, eight
wounded and four missing, for the entire period from November 12 to the
20th. Lee said his total casualties in the Battle of Liberty were “about a dozen”
wounded, none killed.” He also claimed that they found three rebel officers
proud and the cause of Southern Independence, for which they were fighting.
After the battle, Gober’s Regiment began scouting for the direction the
Federals were moving. “On the morning of the 19th Colonel Scott came up
with us at Hog Eye, and ordered me to move around to the north of Liberty
to the Brookhaven road and learn if the enemy had moved in that direction.
The morning of the 20th we were ordered to follow the enemy in direction of
Baton Rouge. The pursuit was kept up until next day about noon, when we
were ordered to move to Clinton from Keller’s Cross Roads,” he

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Lt. Gen. Stephen Dill Lee

Lt. Gen. Stephen Dill Lee
(Library of Congress)
Lt. Gen. Stephen Dill Lee has had a profound influence on the Sons of Confederate Veterans that endures to this very day. Lee delivered his inspirational "Charge" to the group at the April 25, 1906 SCV Reunion at New Orleans, La. His "Charge" has been adopted as the mission statement of the organization, which is a living legacy that has guided generation after generation of SCV members. It reads:

To you, Sons of Confederate Veterans, we will commit the vindication of the Cause for which we fought.  To your strength will be given the defense of the Confederate soldier's good name, the guardianship of his history, the emulation of his virtues, the perpetuation of those principles which he loved and which you love also, and those ideals which made him glorious and which you also cherish.  Remember, it is your duty to see that the true history of the South is presented to future generations.

      At the time of its presentation, Lee was the commander-general of our parent organization, the United Confederate Veterans. Lee was born September 22, 1833 to Dr. Thomas Lee and Caroline Allison in Charleston, S.C. He was not closely related to General Robert E. Lee, but did find out later in life they did shared a common ancestor, Francis Lee, Stephen's third great-grandfather who was Lord Mayor of London in 1602. His parents had one other child, a daughter, but his mother died when he was about two-years-old. His father suffered a serious fever which impaired his health. The family then moved to Abbeville, S.C. where his father remarried to Elizabeth Cummings Humphreys in 1839. They couple were blessed with five children. 

      Lee received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. in 1850 and he graduated 17th out of a class of 46 in 1854. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in Company D, 4th U.S. Artillery and was stationed at Ringgold Barracks, near the Texas-Mexican border. In 1856 he was transferred with his battery to Florida where he was promoted to first lieutenant in 1857. They chased Seminole Indians in the swamps and then, in October, 1857, the 4th Artillery was assigned to Fort Leavanworth, Kansas, where Lee served as post quartermaster. He was then assigned to Fort Laramie, Nebraska Territory in May 1858 as the post treasurer. Lee next served at Fort Randall, Dakota Territory in June 1859 as where he served a quartermaster, commissary and ordnance officer. Two months after the secession of his native state, South Carolina, he resigned from the U.S. Army.
        Lee moved back to South Carolina and became a captain in the South Carolina state militia and was assigned to the staff of Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard. Lee carried messages back and forth between Beauregard and Major Richard H. Anderson, the U.S. Army garrison commander at For t Sumter. Following the surrender of Fort Sumter, Lee managed to get a transfer into Hampton's Legion, commanding the artillery part of that unit. He missed the First Battle of Manassas, Virginia July 21, 1861, still being tied up with paper work in Charleston.
       When he got to Virginia, Lee drilled his battery thoroughly and it was ready for action Sept. 25, 1861 when it began dueling with Yankee gunboats on the Potomac River. He earned a promotion to major on November 8, 1861. In the Yorktown Peninsula Campaign of Spring 1862, Lee saw action with Hampton in Hood's Texas Brigade at the Battle of Eltham's Landing and received a promotion to lieutenant colonel two days later. In the Seven Days Campaign, June 26-28 and especially at the Battle of Malvern Hill July 1, 1862, Lee was recognized for his contribution in driving the enemy from the gates of Richmond. Gen. Robert E. Lee said of him, "Lee I think has no superior in service as an artillery officer and has great modesty, enterprise, gallantry and skill." He was promoted to full colonel July 9, 1862. 
      Lee proved his versatility when he took temporary command of the 4th Virginia Cavalry after the Seven Days, but that lasted only six weeks before he was back with the artillery. By August he was in command of an artillery battalion with Longstreet's Corps. Lee performed brilliantly at the Second Battle of Manassas where the great General Lee complimented Colonel Lee again, saying of his artillery, "You are just where I wanted you; stay there." Three weeks later, at the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam), Sept. 17, 1862, which Lee called "artillery hell," his artillery was crucial to repelling the repeated Yankee assaults. 
       After such outstanding performance in the heaviest combat thus far in the war, R.E. Lee personally recommended to President Davis that S.D. Lee be promoted to brigadier general, Nov. 6, 1862. Davis had a special assignment for the new young Gen. Lee, to help in the defense of the vital Confederate bastion on the Mississippi River, Vicksburg. He left for Vicksburg on Nov. 10, 1862, where he took command of a brigade of Louisiana Infantry, including the 17th, 26th, 27th and 28th regiments, and two batteries of light artillery. 
     Lee's finest performance in the War for Southern Independence may have been the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou. The Confederate authorities in Vicksburg learned of  a major Federal attack at a Christmas Eve ball in the city, which Lee was also attending. Brigadier General Martin Luther Smith, the senior officer present, that a massive Yankee fleet was approaching the city on the Mississippi. He ordered all officers to immediately report to their commands. It was determined the most likely landing place would be Chickasaw Bluffs, just north of Vicksburg. General John C. Pemberton, commanding the district, was with the bulk of the army in Grenada, Miss. There were only about 2,700 Confederates at Vicksburg to fend off  Federal General William T. Sherman 30,000 man invasion force.
      Lee was given command in the field while Smith would stay in Vicksburg to send him reinforcements as soon as they arrived. He had his own brigade of Louisianians and reinforcements which eventually came to form a provisional division of about 12,000 men.  Lee immediately began entrenching on the Chickasaw Bluffs, about two miles inland from the river. The Chickasaw Bayou ran roughly parallel with the bluffs, forming a formidable defensive barrier for the Confederates. He also skillfully placed his artillery on the bluffs and with advance skirmishers, which included the Louisiana infantry. Among those units was Captain James W. Bryan's Company I, Calcasieu Tigers, of the 28th Louisiana Infantry. 
       The Federals landed on December 26 and on the 27th, skirmishing began. The 28th Louisiana and the 1st Mississippi Light Artillery, on the morning of December 28, held off an 8,000 man brigade of Yankees until about noon, when the 26th Louisiana gave them covering fire to retreat to the main defense line. On December 29, Sherman launched his main attack on the Chickasaw Bluffs, but every charge was driven back with heavy casualties for the northerners. Sherman lingered before the bluffs until January 3, and with Confederates being heavily reinforced and weather deteriorating, he ordered a withdrawal back to Memphis, Tenn. It may have been Sherman's worst defeat of the war, with 208 killed, 1005 wounded, and 563 wounded or missing fort total casualties of 1,776. The Confederates sustained 63 killed, 134 wounded and 10 missing for total casualties of 207. Lee had again proven himself  to be a masterful battlefield commander even against the Federal army's best troops and commander.
       Following the Chickasaw Bayou campaign, Lee manned part of the Vicksburg defenses with his expanded brigade. When Brigadier General Edward Tracy, was killed in action in the Battle of Port Hudson, May 1, 1863, Lee was given command of his Alabama brigade. He led the Alabamians creditably in the Battle of Champion's Hill on May 16, 1863, and then commanded the vital Railroad Redoubt defensive position in the Vicksburg defenses during the siege. The Railroad Redoubt was temporarily overrun by Federals in the May 22, 1863 assault, but was eventually repulsed in hand-to-hand fighting. Vicksburg was surrendered on July 4, 1863, and Lee was quickly paroled and given command over all the cavalry of the District of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana. His command included Brigadier General Nathan Bedford Forrest, who got along better with Lee than any other superior commander. The respect was mutual and produced real results. Forrest won one of his most significant victories, the Battle of Brice's Crossroad, while serving under Lee, although Lee was not present for the battle. Lee was promoted to lieutenant general soon after that battle. At age 30, he was the youngest man to attain that high level of command in the Confederate Army. He led the army at the Battle of Tupelo, Miss, but that battle was a disappointing loss.
      When Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood was given command of the Army of Tennessee in July, 1864, Lee was given command of Hood's old corps in that army. As a corps commander, Lee again excelled as one of the most dependable, reliable and competent in the army. He then took part in the famous battles of the Atlanta Campaign of 1864, including Ezra Church and Jonesboro. During the Franklin Campaign, his corps wasn't present for the failure in letting the retreating Yankee army escape from a Confederate trap at Spring Hill, Tennessee, which has caused endless controversy to this day. He did lead his corps in the Battle of Franklin on November 29, 1864, but only one of his division took part in the actual disastrous charge. In the followup Battle of Nashville, December 15, 1864, the badly used up Confederate Army of Tennessee was nearly destroyed. The only thing that saved it from complete destruction was Lee's Corps, which maintained its cohesion and managed a fighting, rear-guard retreat that saved the rest of the army.
      The following January, Lee was married to Regina Lilly Harrison at her hometown of Columbus, Miss., which also became Lee's home in post-war years. They were blessed with one child, a boy, Blewett Harrison Lee. General Lee continued serving the Confederacy to the bitter end. Lee missed the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina, although his  corps fought in it under the command of Lt. Gen. Daniel Harvey Hill. He had rejoined his command in time for the Confederate surrender of the Army of Tennessee on April 26, 1865. Lee was paroled May 1 at Greensboro, N.C. and returned to his new home in Columbus, Miss. 
        Lee remained quietly at home in Mississippi farming during the Reconstruction Era, 1865-1877. He gave up on farming and tried his hand at selling insurance, but then was offered and accepted the presidency of the Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College, newly created by the state legislature in 1880. He held this post for most of the rest of his life, although he was elected to the state senate and ran two unsuccessful campaigns for governor of Mississippi. He also served a member of the 1890 Mississippi State Constitutional Convention.
Lt. S.D. Lee statue,
Vicksburg NMP
(National Park Service)
      Lee was especially active in veterans affairs and making sure the true history of the South, and the Confederacy in particular, were taught in Southern schools. He was one of the founders of the United Confederate Veterans and served as the chairman of the very influential UCV historical committee. This committee was aggressive in its review of historical school text books and promoted histories of the Confederacy written by Confederate veterans and Southerners to counteract the negative Northern histories. 
        Lee was also instrumental in the creation of the Vicksburg National Military Park and served as the first president of the board of directors. He battled endlessly for a correct Confederate interpretation of that park and served on the board until then end of his life. Lee was also instrumental in the creation of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, promoted it, and gave it its "Charge." The direction that Lee set for it, is still the one that is the guiding light for the SCV until this very day. Lee is remembered at Vicksburg by a heroic statue and monument on the battlefield. The SCV honors him continually, and has named its academic arm, the Stephen Dill Lee Institute. He died on May 28, 1908 after giving a speech at Vicksburg. He is buried in Friendship  Cemetery in Columbus, Miss. His home in Columbus is now the Stephen D. Lee Home and Museum. The house was designated at historic landmark in 1971 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

--by Michael Jones, member of Captain James W. Bryan Camp 1390, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

150-years-ago Manifesto of the Governors of the Confederate States.

[Richmond Daily Dispatch-Oct. 24, 1864]
          A meeting of the Governors of the States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, was held in Augusta, Georgia, on Monday, the 17th instant. Governor William Smith, of Virginia, presided. After a full, free, and harmonious consultation and interchange of council, the following, among other views, were expressed:
           Resolved, That there is nothing in the present aspect of public affairs to cause any abatement of our seal in the prosecution of the war to the accomplishment of a peace based on the independence of the Confederate States. And to give encouragement to our brave soldiers in the field and to strengthen the Confederate authorities in the pursuit of this desirable end, we will use our best exertions to increase the effective force of our armies.
           Resolved, That the interests of each of our States are identical in the present struggle for self-government, and wisdom and true patriotism dictate that the military forces of each should aid the others against invasion and subjugation, and for this purpose we will recommend to our several legislatures to repeal all such laws as prohibit the executives from sending their forces beyond their respective limits, in order that they may render temporary service wherever most urgently required.
          Resolved. That whilst it is our purpose to use every exertion to increase the strength and efficiency of our State and Confederate forces, we respectfully and earnestly request that the Confederate authorities will send to the field every able-bodied man, without exception, in any of its various departments, whose place can be filled by either disabled officers and soldiers, senior reserves or negroes, and dispense with the use of all provost and post guard, except in important cities, or localities where the presence of large bodies of troops make them necessary, and with all passport agents upon railroads not in the immediate vicinity of the armies, as we consider these agents an unnecessary annoyance to good citizens and of no possible benefit to the country.
            Resolved, That we recommend our respective legislatures to pass stringent laws for the arrest and return to their commands of all deserters and stragglers from the Confederate armies or State troops, and that it be made the special duty, under appropriate penalties, of all civil and military officers to arrest and deliver to the proper authorities all such delinquents.
And whereas, the public enemy having proclaimed the freedom of our slaves, are foreign into their armies the able-bodied portion thereof, the more effectually to wage their cruel and bloody war against us; therefore be it.
           Resolved, That it is the true policy and obvious duty of all slave owners timely to remove their slaves from the line of the enemy's approach, and especially those able to bear arms; and when they shall fail to do so, that it should be made the duty of the proper authorities to enforce the performance of this duty, and to give to such owners all necessary assistance as far as practicable.
           Resolved, That the course of the enemy in appropriating our slaves who happen to fall in their hands to purposes of war, seems to justify a change of policy on our part; and whilst owners of slaves, under the circumstances, should freely yield them to their country, we recommend to our authorities, under proper regulations, to appropriate such part of them to the public service as may be required.
            Resolved, That the States have the right to export such productions and to import such supplies as may be necessary for State use, or for the comfort or support of their troops in service, upon any vessel or vessels owned or chartered by them; and vessel or vessels owned or chartered by them; and that we request Congress at its next session to pass laws removing all restrictions which have been imposed by Confederate authority upon such exports or imports by the States.
          And, lastly, we deem it not inappropriate to declare our firm and unalterable purpose, as we believe it to be that of our fellow-citizens, to maintain our right of self-government, to establish our independence, and to uphold the rights and sovereignty of the States, or to perish in the attempt.
            Resolved, That the chairman be requested to send a copy of these resolutions to his Excellency President Davis, one each to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives, to be laid before the respective bodies, and one to the governors of each State in the Confederacy.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


[Text excerpted from Confederate States Rangers: Company K, 10th Louisiana Infantry (, 2014)]

Lt. Gen. J.B. Gordon
General [John B.] Gordon and Captain Jedediah Hotchkiss, [Gen. Jubal] Early’s topographical engineer, scouted the Federal army’s position and found the left flank was exposed. Gordon proposed a battle plan to Early, who adopted it. The plan called for Gordon to take his own division, and those of Pegram and Ramsuer across the Shenandoah, go around Massanutten Mountain, cross the river again and come up on the Federals from the east. Gordon would be in command of that wing of the army until reunited with Early. Kershaw’s division would go straight at the Federals to the left of Gordon, and Wharton’s infantry and Rosser’s cavalry would be the left flank. Early accompanied Kershaw and when the two wings of the army reunited in front of the enemy, he would command the whole army again. The Federals were encamped along Cedar Creek and unaware of the coming attack. Sheridan was absent at a conference in Washington. The 8th  Corps was on the Federal left and the first target, then the 19th Corps, 6th  Corps and Merritt’'s and Custer’s cavalry camps on the right flank at the furthest point from the attack. Averell had been relieved by Sheridan for failing to pursue Early after Third Winchester.
       Gordon  began moving his command the night of October 18 and was in position to commence the attack by 5 o’clock on the morning of the October 19. A thick fog gave them cover and the attack was a complete surprise on the Federal encampment. The firing started when Federal pickets detected Gordon’s advancing battle line and opened fire. Rosser’s men began exchanging fire with Federal pickets and Kershaw hit Thoburn’s division of the 8th  Corps. Gordon said later of the attack, “His [Evans’] splendid division, with Ramseur's farther to the right and Pegram's in support, rushed upon the unprepared and unsuspecting Federals, great numbers of whom were still asleep in their tents. Even those who had been aroused by Payne's sudden irruption in the rear, and had sprung to the defence of the breastworks, were thrown into the wildest confusion and terror by Kershaw's simultaneous assault in front.”
Click map for larger view.
       At sunrise, Wharton’s division engaged the 19th Corps on the Confederate left and the onslaught was quickly rolling up the Federal left. Evan’s was commanding Gordon’s division on the left of Gordon’s formation, and Ramseur on the right with Pegram in reserve. First engulfing the extreme left of Thoburn, they then slammed into Hayes’ division of the 8th  Corps, which was a mile behind Thoburn. As Gordon explained, “Two entire corps, the Eighth and Nineteenth, constituting more than two thirds of Sheridan's army, broke and fled, leaving the ground covered with arms, accoutrements, knapsacks, and the dead bodies of their comrades. Across the open fields they swarmed in utter disorganization, heedless of their officers' commands — heedless of all things save getting to the rear. There was nothing else for them to do; for Sheridan's magnificent cavalry was in full retreat before Rosser's bold troopers, who were in position to sweep down upon the other Union flank and rear.”
The 6th  Corps had time to get into line and put up a stronger defense. Gordon ordered Pegram to come up to help with the assault on the 6th  Corps, then notified Early of his situation on his front. Gordon’s division – Evans’s, Peck’s and Terry’s brigades – finished off Hayes’ brigade while Ramseur and Pegram ran into a division of the 6th  Corps on the pike and met strong resistance. Ramseur and Pegram called for help and Early moved Wharton to the right and told him to go in where Ramseur and Pegram directed. The 6th  Corps managed to hold off the Confederates for two hours. It then fell back in some disorder to the west of Middletown.
       It was then about noon and Gordon ordered his three divisions to move on the 6th  Corps and was assembling 39 artillery pieces under Colonel Thomas Carter, who told him he wouldn’t even need the infantry, when he had his artillery in position. "With enfilade fire from my batteries I will destroy that corps in twenty minutes," Carter said. Early shocked Gordon when he called off the final assault he planned. It was Early’s belief that the ranks of the Confederates were now weakened by the men who had stayed behind to plunder the Federal camps. Early felt the Confederate attack had played itself out and decided to hold on to what he had taken and get his scattered men back in the battle line.
       Gordon believed Early’s decision a mistake and noted in his memoir, “My heart went into my boots. Visions of the fatal halt on the first day at Gettysburg, and of the whole day's hesitation to permit an assault on Grant's exposed flank on the 6th of May in the Wilderness, rose before me. And so it came to pass that the fatal halting, the hesitation, the spasmodic firing, and the isolated movements in the face of the sullen, slow, and orderly retreat of this superb Federal corps, lost us the great opportunity, and converted the brilliant victory of the morning into disastrous defeat in the evening.” Early later claimed he had given orders to Gordon to attack, but no evidence of that order has been found. Gordon firmly believed it was Early’s order, and not the men plundering the camps, that caused the halt.

      The Confederates had gained a great victory that morning by routing two-thirds of the Federal army, capturing 24 artillery pieces and 1,300 prisoners. But that great victory began disappearing before their eyes as the Confederates continued to hold the line and wait for the enemy to retreat that afternoon. Gordon became increasingly concerned about the massing of the Federals in his front. He repeatedly expressed his concern to Early, who kept replying the enemy troops were just the rear guard and the Federals would soon be retreating. As the blue tide became more threatening, Early sent more artillery to Gordon. The Georgian’s division ended up on the left of the line. Evans’ brigade on the left, was temporarily under the command of Colonel John H. Lowe of the 31st Georgia. Peck’s Louisianians were in the center, and Terry’s Virginians on the right. Gordon said there was a troubling gap in the line between his division’s right, and the rest of army. Gordon made a quick ride back to Early to ask for reinforcements for his left and to fill the gap. Early gave him the same assurances – the Federals would retreat. Gordon returned, he found Federals pouring through the gap and Evans almost surrounded. It was too late. “One minute more and I should have had a Yankee carbine at my head, inviting my surrender,” Gordon wrote.  
       Sheridan, who had returned from his trip to Washington, dramatically rallied his shattered army and at 4 o’clock launched a massive and devastating counterattack attack. The two sides were about a mile apart at the beginning of the counterattack. The Confederate artillery and infantry held the blue tide back for about an hour with a slow fighting retreat. Custer, on the Federal right, at first went off after some of Rosser’s cavalry and for a while the Confederate left overlapped the Yankee infantry. The Georgia brigade on the left was able to enfilade the Federals doing some damage. Custer however, seeing the Confederate line already wavering, brought the bulk of his division back to the Federal right and gained the rear of the Gordon/Evans position. The bluecoat cavalry captured a bridge over Cedar Creek that the Confederates line of retreat. This threw some of the Southerners into a panic and the Confederate left began dissolving. Much the same thing was happening on the Confederate right. Merritt’s cavalry outpaced the infantry and took some enfilading fire as they passed the Confederate line and pushed Wharton’s division back. Ramseur, the center right, was holding on with much grit. Just 27-years-old, recently celebrating the birth of a daughter, who he had not yet seen, Ramseur was wearing a flower in his lapel and riding up and down his line to keep his men in place. But two of his horses were shot and he was mounting a third when a bullet pierced both of his lungs. He was carried to the rear as his division also fell apart. Ramseur was captured and died in enemy hands the next day. The Confederates retreated back to New Market.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fighters for Texas Independence and Southern Independence

Members of the 1st Texas Infantry in Winter Quarters in
Virginia, circa 1861-62. (Library of Congress)
October 2, 1835 marks the beginning of the War for Texas Independence with the skirmishing and capture of Mexican soldiers by Texas settlers at Gonzales, Texas. The war lasted less than seven very eventful months until the Texan victory at the Battle of San Jacinto April 21, 1836  gained Texas Independence. The Republic of Texas lasted for 10 years when the people voted to join the United States in 1845. It is just one example of a successful secession by people exercising their God given right of people to govern themselves under a government of their own choosing. That is a right very well recognized and spelled out by the great secession document, the Declaration of Independence.

And of course possibly the greatest example of successful secession was the War for American Independence, 1775-1783. Another, less known example, was the West Florida Republic, which was formed in what is now Southeast Louisiana when the people of the Spanish colony of West Florida seceded from the Kingdom of Spain 1810 to form their own independent nation. The West Florida Republic lasted only three months before the United States took it over peacefully, claiming it was rightfully part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The national flag of the West Florida Republic was the Bonnie Blue Flag, a banner that made a deep impression on the people of the South. The Bonnie Blue Flag was one of the banners that represented the Texans battling for their independence, and was incorporated into the Texas state flag and its nickname, "Lone Star State."

So, when the people of the Southern states exercised their God-given right to govern themselves under a government of their own choosing in 1861, they had those successful examples of secession in mind and every reason to believe that their quest for freedom and independence would be successful too. Many leaders of the War for Southern Independence were the sons of veterans of the War for American Independence, including President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee, and General Joseph E. Johnston.

Here are some veterans of the War for Texas Independence who became Confederates (more will be added to this list as they are found), arranged by highest Confederate rank:

General Albert Sidney Johnston was the most prominent Confederate that was also a veteran of the War for Texas Independence. He was born in 1803 in Kentucky, was the grandson of a veteran of the War for American Independence, and an 1826 graduate of West Point. He was  the most prominent Confederate general who was also a veteran of the War for Texas Independence. Johnston served with the Sixth U.S. Infantry in the Black Hawk War. He came to Texas in 1836 and joined the Texas Army as a private, and a month later was made major and aide-de-camp for General Sam Houston. He later became a colonel and adjutant general of the army, senior brigadier general and then, in 1838, Secretary of War of the Republic of Texas. Johnston became colonel of the First Texas Rifles in the Mexican War, and in 1849 rejoined the U.S. Army, served as colonel of the Second U.S. Cavalry, and led the Utah Expedition. In the War for Southern Independence, he was made a full general in the Confederate Army and command the Confederate forces at the Battle of Shiloh, where he was killed in action on April 6, 1862.

Brig. Gen. Thomas "Tom" Green: He was born in 1814 in Virginia, moved to Tennessee with his family and graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1834. He came to Texas in December 1835 to join the Texas Revolution, and enlisted in Captain Isaac Moreland's Company of the First Infantry Regiment. He helped fire the "Twin Sisters" cannons at the Battle of San Jacinto April 21, 1836. After the battle, he was promoted to lieutenant and then major and aide-de-camp of General Thomas J. Rusk. Green returned to Tennessee after the war but returned to Texas in 1837, where he became active in the politics and government of the new republic. He also continued his military service helping defend Texas from Mexican raiders, and commanded a company of Texas Rangers in the First Texas Regiment of Mounted Riflemen. During the war for Southern Independence, he commanded the 5th Texas Cavalry in the New Mexico Campaign, the Battle of Galveston, and the Bayou Tech Campaign. He was promoted to brigadier general May 20, 1863 and led the First Cavalry Brigade at the Battle of Bayou Bourbeau, and the Confederate cavalry in the Battle of Mansfield. He was killed in action four days later, April 12, 1864, at the Battle of Blair's Landing, Louisiana.

Brig. Gen. William Polk Hardeman: He was born in 1816 in Williamson County, Tennessee and attended the University of Nashville. In 1835, Hardeman and his family moved to Matagorda County, Texas on the Gulf Coast. He joined the Texas Revolutionary Army early and participated in the Battle of Gonzalez. He went to the relief of the Alamo but it fell before he arrived. He also missed the Battle of San Jacinto. After Texas became a republic, Hardeman served in the Texas Rangers and fought Comanches at the Battle of Wallace's Creek Feb. 22, 1839 and at the Battle of Plum Creek August 18, 1840. During the Mexican War, Hardeman served in Gen. Zachary Taylor's army. He took part in exploration and scouting for the army. In 1861, Hardeman was a delegate at the Texas Secession Convention and voted for secession. He raised a group that became Co. A, 4th Texas Cavalry, Sibley's Texas Cavalry Brigade. Hardeman fought in the New Mexico Campaign and then in the Great Texas Overland Expedition in Louisiana in the fall of 1863. After leading his men at the Battle of Yellow Bayou Louisiana, May 18, 1864, he was promoted to brigadier general. Following the war, Hardeman temporarily went into exile in Mexico. He returned to Texas in 1866 and, after Reconstruction, served in various positions in Texas state government. Hardeman  died in 1898 and is buried in the state cemetery in Austin. [Added Oct. 6, 2014}

Brig. Gen. Walter Paye Lane: He was born in County Cork, Ireland in 1817 and immigrated to Ohio with his family in 1821. Lane answered the call for volunteers for the War for Texas Independence in 1836, joining Captain Henry Karnes Company of Cavalry. He was wounded in a skirmish on April 20, and then participated in the Battle of San Jacinto the next day, April 21, 1836. He received a battlefield promotion to second lieutenant for his gallantry. Following the war, Lane served as a privateer for the Texas Navy on the Thomas Toby, and also served in the Captain Jack Hayes Company of Texas Rangers. During the Mexican War, Lane served in the First Texas Regiment of Mounted Riflemen and rose to the rank of major. After that war, he became a gold prospector in California and Arizona. With the outbreak of war in 1861, Lane became lieutenant colonel of the 3rd Texas Cavalry and fought at the battles of Oak Hill, Mo., Pea Ridge, Ark., and Corinth, Miss. He then raised and became colonel of the 1st Texas Partisan Rangers and was seriously wounded at the Battle of Mansfield, April 8, 1864. After his recovery, he was given command of a brigade and was promoted to brigadier general March 18, 1865. Following the war, Lane returned to his mercantile business in Marshall, Texas and died in 1892.

Brig. Gen. Benjamin McCulloch: He was born in 1811 in Rutherford County, Tennessee and was one of the closest neighbors of the frontier legend, and congressman, David Crockett. In 1835, he went to Texas with his younger brother Henry, and waited in Nacogdoches for Crockett and his hunting party. His brother went  back to Tennessee before Crockett arrived, and Ben got sick and couldn't accompany the group to the Alamo. He was suffering  from measles and didn't recover until after the fall of the Alamo. McCulloch then joined Captain Isaac Moreland's Company with General Sam Houston and fougtht at the  Battle of San Jacinto. He  received a battlefield commission to first lieutenant, but returned to Tennessee. He returned three months later as part of a 30 man company led by Robert Crockett, the son of David. He then began a storied career as a Texas Ranger, served in the Congress of the Republic of Texas, the Texas State Legislature and was a major in the Mexican War. He went to the California Gold Rush in 1849 and was a U.S. Marshal in the Buchanan administration. In the  War for Southern Independence,  McCulloch led 1,000 men who forced surrender of the U.S. Army in San Antonio and elsewhere in Texas. McCulloch  was appointed a brigadier general by President  Jefferson Davis in May 11, 1861. McCulloch was killed in action at the Battle of Elk Horn Tavern, Arkansas on March 7, 1862, [Added Oct. 9, 2014]

Brig. Gen. Jerome Bonaparte Robertson: He was born in Kentucky in 1815 and graduated from Transylvania University in 1835. He volunteered to fight for Texas Independence with a Kentucky group but was delayed in New Orleans until September, 1836 when the fighting was already over. Robertson, however, served as a captain in the Texas Army until 1837. He settled in Washington-on-the-Brazos, where he opened his medical practice in December 1837. The doctor continued to serve in military campaigns against Indians and Mexicans, and served his community in such offices as coroner, postmaster and mayor. In the War for Southern Independence, Robertson began as captain of Company I, 5th Texas Infantry, Hood's Texas Brigade. He was elevated to lieutenant colonel, colonel and then brigadier general. Robertson became commander of Hood's Texas Brigade and led it longer than any other man. He fought at Eltham's Landing, Gaines' Mill, Second Manassas, Fredericksburg, and Chickamauga. Robertson disagreed with General James Longstreet over how he was running the corps, and was removed from his command after a court-martial in 1864 and sent back to Texas. There, Robertson finished the war in command of state reserve forces. His son, Felix Huston Robertson, was also a Confederate brigadier general. Robertson continued to practice medicine and in 1874 became the Texas superintendent of immigration. He died in 1890. [Added Oct. 6, 2014]

Lt. Col. Kindallis "King" Bryan: He was among the first volunteers for the Texas Revolution, joining the Brazos Rifles at age 17 in September, 1835 to help defend Gonzales after the first skirmish of the war. A native of Louisiana, he settled with his family in 1834 in Liberty, Texas. He also served in the Siege of Bexar and volunteered to relieve the Alamo in 1836, but it  fell before the relief force could get there. After the war he served in the Army of the Republic of Texas, became a sheriff of Liberty County and a state representative for his district. In the War for Southern Independence he had a distinguished military record with the 5th Texas Infantry of Hood's Texas Brigade, fighting at Eltham's Landing, Gaine's Mill, Second Manassas, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, and the Wilderness. He was wounded three times and disabled, but after the war  represented his district at the Texas State Constitutional Convention of 1866. He died later that same year.

Maj. Josephus S. Irvine
Major Josephus Somerville Irvine: Born in 1819 in Tennessee, he moved to Texas in 1830 with his family. He joined the Texas Revolution in 1835 and took part in the Siege of Bexar in Captain Henry W. Augustine's Company. In 1836, he joined Captain Benjamin Franklin Bryant's Company of Colonel Sidney Sherman's Second Texas Cavalry. With them, he fought in the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, He then service a three month enlistment, beginning July 4, 1836, in Captain William Scurlock's Company. After the war he served as tax assessor and collector in Newton County, Texas. In the War for Southern Independence, Irvine raised a company or which he was captain. It became Company C, of Major James Liken's Battalion. When Liken's resigned to raise a cavalry battalion, the battalion was reorganized as the 11th Battalion (Spaight's) Texas Volunteers with Lt. Col. Ashley W. Spaight commanding and Irvine as major. Major Irvine commanded the battalion at the first Battle of Sabine Pass in September, 1862. He also took part in the battalion's campaign in Louisiana in the summer and fall of 1863, including the Battle of Stirling's Plantation on September 29, 1863, where his son James Patton Irvine was killed. Irivine, suffering with malaria, resigned his commission in December, 1864. He died in 1876 in Newton County.

Sergeant William Physick Zuber: He was born July 6, 1820 in Twiggs County, Georgia. Zuber moved with his family to Texas in 1830 when it was still a province of Mexico. He joined the Texas Army in the Fourth Company, Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers and served from March 1, 1836 to July 1, 1836. During the Battle of San Jacinto, much to his disgust, the 15-year-old was assigned to the rear guard to protect the army supply wagons. After the War for Texas Independence was won, he served in campaigns against the Indians and in 1842, the Somervell expedition, a punitive campaign against Mexico for three raids into Texas. During the War for Southern Independence, Zuber served in Company H, 21st Texas Cavalry (First Texas Lancers) and fought in Arkansas, Missouri and Louisiana. Zuber became ill with pneumonia in December, 1864 and went home on sick furlough and was there when the war ended. He was a farmer and teacher who wrote about the Texas Revolution, his memoirs and his family genealogy. When he died in 1913, he was the last survivor of the Texas Army  at the Battle of San  Jacinto. [Added Oct. 9, 2014]