The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Hood's Texas Brigade in Reunion and Memory. By Colonel Harold B.
Simpson. (Hillsboro: Hill Junior College Press, 1974. Pp. xviii+369.
Illustrations, appendix, bibliography, index. $9.50.)
This is the third volume in a proposed tetralogy which will comprise,
if the first three efforts are any indication, the definitive study of Hood's
Brigade. In addition to being an exceedingly handsome and profusely
illustrated book, it is obviously written with that single-minded devotion
which reflects a labor of love on the part of its prolific author, Harold B.
Simpson, director of the Confederate Research Center at Hill County
Junior College. Often and regrettably, unit histories only fleetingly observe
or ignore altogether the post-war activities of the military organization in
question; however, Simpson has diligently tracked the trail of those veterans
of this Confederate legion all the way from their early years of robust
exuberance to their later melancholy aspects in decline and death. In this
respect, the work lays some honest claim to being a social history of one
particular organization of the many which multiplied so rapidly following
the Civil War. The phenomenon of the burgeoning veterans groups is a
story in itself and one which as yet is unexplored by historians. Yet across
the expanse of America they rose like a paramilitary Phoenix from the
fire of the greatest war in the nation's history.
Most of the brigade association's sixty regularly scheduled meetings,
which convened between 1872 and 1934 and normally on the date of the
battle of Gaines's Mill, were located in the eastern and central counties of
the state from which the strength of the original personnel was gathered.
The town of Bryan served most often as host to the meetings, including all
of them since 1919. The early reunions were often boisterous and were
accompanied by much food and strong drink. As the age of the veterans
increased and as their notions of public propriety became more staid, their
taste in libation altered and preference shifted from whiskey to tea, from
beer to lemonade. But if their interest in the hard stuff waned, their appe-
tite for viands supplanted it and remained gargantuan until the first world
war. The feast in Cameron in 1911, for example, was a veritable paean
to gluttony.
Apart from the annual revelry, the brigade association also engaged in
the commendable charity of providing a fund to assist the scattered orphans
of the late commander, John Bell Hood, who died of yellow fever, a victim
as well of unhappy and ineffectual forays into the cotton and insurance
businesses. Also, the organization served as the moving spirit to rouse the
conscience of the people of Texas by reminding them that they had a
moral obligation to the disabled and sometimes destitute veterans who as

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101203/. Accessed May 27, 2015.