Indian wars and pioneers of Texas Page: 231 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
Fifteenth Texas Infantry was organized, with J. W.
Speight as its Colonel, and M. D. Herring, Captain,
and the subject of this memoir Lieutenant of Company
B. The regiment was ordered to Arkansas,
remained at Camp Daniels until 1862, reached
Little Rock in October following, and did garrison
duty at Camp Nelson and Camp Bayou Metre until
shortly before the fall of Arkansas Post, when
it was ordered to Fort Smith, and from thence
through the Indian Territory, to Camp Kiamisha on
Red river. In 1863 the Fifteenth, and the brigade
of which it formed a part, were ordered to Louisiana
to oppose, with the other troops under Gen. Taylor,
the advance of Gen. Banks. The brigade was
commanded by Gen. J. W. Speight, Sr., Gen.
King and Gen. Polignac, in the order named,
and participated in the fights at Fordash,
Bayou Bourdeau, Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, Marksville,
Yellow Bayou, and numerous skirmishes
and smaller engagements. Capt. Westbrook was
slightly wounded at the battle of Mansfield.
When mustered out of the service at Houston,
Texas, after the final surrender of the Confederate
forces, he held the rank of Captain and was acting
Adjutant of his regiment. A friend, speaking of
his bearing as a soldier, says: " In camp he was
modest and unobtrusive, kind and jovial; in the
thickest and hottest of the raging battle, cooler
than most men on dress-parade, prompt to act and
utterly fearless. He enjoyed the respect and confidence
of his men and brother and superior officers.
Knowing him as I did, I can truthfully say that he
was as a friend as true and tried as tempered
Damascus steel; as a soldier and patriot, as brave
and devoted as any man who wore the gray."
Returning to his home in Robertson County he
engaged in farming upon his own account. His
possessions increased from year to year until he
took rank as one of the wealthiest planters in
Texas. He was an ideal, practical farmer -one
of the most successful in the State
and his large
Brazos bottom plantations near Hearne, on which he
continued to reside until his death, showed at all
times the perfection of good management. He
spared no expense in securing and enjoying the
good things of life. He and his beloved wife
(formerly Mrs. Jennie Randle), to whom he was
married December 4th, 1878, dispensed a generous
and wholesale hospitality at their palatial home to
their many friends and the chance " stranger within
their gates." It was his custom, assisted by his
wife, to see that every one on his plantation, black
or white, received each Christmas day some suitable
present. He lived in the half patriarchal, half
princely style of his ancestors and was a noble survival
of the high-souled, warm-hearted and chivalric
gentlemen of a by-gone day. While exact in his
business methods, his hand dispensed liberally to
others of what it gathered. He sympathized with
human suffering and sorrow and sought when he
could to relieve it, and few contributed so much to
the support of the church. It was chiefly through
his influence and exertions that the Hearne two nieces and a nephew and many score of
devoted friends to mourn his loss. The announcement
of his death cast a shade of sorrow over the
community of which he had been such a prominent,
useful and honored citizen. The remains were conveyed
to Hearne in a special car and were followed
to their last resting-place in Oakwood Cemetery by
the largest funeral cortege known in the history of
the town, many of those in attendance coming from
a distance. So ended the career of a noble man.
There is something peculiarly sad in the reflection
that he was cut down in the full maturity of ripened
manhood and when he was surrounded by all the
endearments that render a continuance of life
desirable. However, if ever man was ready for
the summons, he was ready. To his devoted wife
is left the consolation that through her example and
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas, book, 1880~; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/231/: accessed May 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .