Heritage, Volume 14, Number 3, Summer 1996 Page: 12
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1863. When they were called, they were
about 30 miles away, encamped to the west
around Chambersburg. After a long, bonewearying
forced march they knew they had
reached the field when they began to meet
the wounded moving toward the rear and
see the battlefield debris left in the
wake of the first day's victorious fight.
Then, for much of the day marching
and countermarching, they and
the other units of their division
were moved to the extreme right of
the Confederate line by that time
strung-out along Seminary Ridge
west and south of the town. The
portion of the field that their attack
was directed toward late that
afternoon included such now-familiar
sites as Little Round Top,
Devil's Den, the Wheat Field, and
Rocky Ridge. Their assigned mission
was to turn the left flank of the
Federal line that had been established
along Cemetary Ridge, running south
With the late afternoon sun sinking
slowly toward the western horizon behind
them, they advanced to the attack. Division
commander Hood was seriously
wounded by shrapnel almost immediately.
Later, in his memoirs, Hood observed
proudly that, " . .. [n]ever did a grander,
more heroic division enter into battle; nor
did ever troops fight more desperately to
overcome the insurmountable difficulties
against which they had to contend ... in
this unsuccessful assault."13 Even though
the attack was repulsed with heavy losses,
Corps commander, Gen. James Longstreet
referred to his troop's performance generally
that day as, "the best three hours fighting
by any troops on any field."
At Chickamauga, a little more than two
months after the Gettysburg fight, the Brigade,
along with the rest of Longstreet's
Corps, found themselves entrained for
Georgia. They were going there to aid Gen.
Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee, which,
outmaneuvered by Gen. William
Rosecrans' Federal Army of the
Cumberland, had been forced to give up
Chattanooga without a fight.
Hood, not yet recovered from his
Gettysburg wound, went with them, left
arm in a sling. There he sustained a bullet
wound that cost him his right leg, amputated
below the hip, and thus ending his
direct connection with the Texans. The
Brigade was in the van of the great charge
Private John C. West, 4th Texas, documented
the Brigade's long, hot march to
Gettysburg in the summer of 1863.
"... neverr did agrander,
more heroic division enter
into battle; nor did ever
troops fight more desperately
to overcome the insurmountable
which they had to contend...
on the second day of fighting that broke the
Federal line and sent them retreating in
disorder into Chattanooga.
At Knoxville came the bitter winter of
1863-1864 in which the Brigade suffered
more from the effects of the cold and lack
of supply and commissary than from enemy
action. In the literature of the Brigade,
there is more than one mention of bloody
footprints left in the snow by shoeless men
during that particularly trying winter.
Returning to Virginia in the spring 1864,
the Brigade was in the Wilderness,
House, Cold Harbor fights,
the Petersburg Seige and,
finally, April 9, 1865,
House. Official records
show that the 1 st Texas
surrendered at Appomattox,
133 men - the
4th Texas, 145 - the 5th
Texas. 149 - and the 3rd
Arkansas, 130; making,
in the aggregate, 557 officers
and privates, as the
number of the Texas BriAssei
gade who surrendered. The
three Texas regiments surwr
sic rendered 427 officers and privates.
Estimating their entire
enlistment, from the beginning
to the close of the war, to have
and privates, 4,000, it will be seen that
3,573 are not accounted for. Of these,
some were dishonorably absent, many hundreds
were dead, and many more hundreds
were sick or disabled."4
In the years following the war, wounds,
both physical and emotional, healed gradually.
In an effort to keep the memory of the
Brigade, its service and sacrifices alive,"
Hood's Texas Brigade Association was
formed May 24, 1872, and had its first
meeting at Hutchin's House, Houston,
Texas."'5 Annual reunions were held from
that year forward until 1933, excepting the
waryears, 1898 and 1918. "Altogether sixty
regularly scheduled annual reunions were
held.... Reunions took place in twentyeight
different Texas cities and towns. Bryan,
the last home of Hood's Texas Brigade
Association, hosted more reunions than
any other Texas community.... The date
selected for the annual affairs was June 27.
This was the date of the brigade's first great
victory of the war, the breakthrough of Fitz
John Porter's line at Gaines Mill in 1862.'16
At the 1907 reunion held at Navasota,
Texas, a movement was begun to erect a
monument to perpetuate the memory of
the Brigade.Within three years funds had
been raised and at the 1910 reunion, held
in Austin, the monument was dedicated
and unveiled. "The monument is forty
12 HERITAGE *SUMMER 1996
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 14, Number 3, Summer 1996, periodical, Summer 1996; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45405/m1/12/: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.