True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 15
HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 15
HOOD'8 BRIGADE'8 MASCOT.
URING the winter of 1869 I was sitting in the reading
room of the old St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans, when
I saw in a stray copy of the Houston Telegraph the following
"DEATH OF JAMES LONGSTREET."
Naturally I supposed that General James Longstreet, the great
Confederate general and the loved and admired leader of the
Texas brigade in Virginia, which brigade was so immediately
under his command, was the Longstreet referred to. I read
the article eagerly and was relieved to find that it was the death
of a famous mule rather than that of the famous general that
was chronicled. That mule was famous indeed, for it had the
distinction of being the "mascot" of Hood's Texas Brigade in
the army of Northern Virginia.
Just where, Jim Longstreet came from I never knew. All I
know is that Major W. D. Denney, who was commissary of the
brigade, owned him as early as 1862 and that Jim was a conspicuous
object around the commissary wagons during the four
years of the war. Major Denney was killed at Elthams Landing
the first time the brigade was under fire, on May 7, 1862, and
was succeeded by Major Robert Burns, who fell heir to the
mule and also to a big gray horse owned by Major Denney. I
mention these facts so as to get Jim Longstreet's war record
straight He shared in the glory of the first battle, though
from a safe distance, and laid down his ears at Appomattox.
Jim was a beautiful animal. He was about the size of a small
Shetland pony, perfectly formed, graceful, quick in his movements
and, though by no means lazy, he never did a lick of
work in his life. He was a camp follower in the strictest sense
of the word, and before the war had continued very long he
was considered the very best authority on the nearness of a
fight. At the sound of the first gun Jim would break for the
rear and remain there until the trouble was over. He was a
great forager and would go off alone on private expeditions,
but at the sound of a cannon he would duck his head and make
a bee line for the wagons. His track was about the size of
a silver dollar and was easily recognized, so that it frequently
served as a guide for the two-legged foragers to find camp. Jim
shared in all the hardships through which the army passed, but
they seemed to do him good instead of harm, for he was always
fat and sassy. He was with the brigade when it went to help
Bragg out at Chickamauga and in Tennessee. He followed Lee
to Gettysburg and finally, as already remarked, laid down his
ears at Appomattox. When the end came Major Burns brought
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Young, Samuel Oliver. True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young., book, 1913; Galveston, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24646/m1/15/ocr/: accessed April 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .