The Texas Brigade

Hood’s Texas Brigade, comprising the 1st, 4th and 5th Texas and 3rd Arkansas Infantry Regiments -- Lee’s "Grenadier Guard" -- served in Longstreet’s Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. The Texas Brigade, held by many to be the most celebrated infantry brigade in the Confederate Army, was to Gen’l Robert E. Lee and his army what the Old Guard was to Napoleon and the Imperial Army of France. First in the advance, the Texans were the shock troops in battle and in retreat the trusted rear guard. The Texas Brigade was created on October 22, 1861, with General Orders No.15, issued by the War Department in Richmond. The 1st Texas report for duty in Virginia during the spring and summer of 1861, and was later united with the 4th and 5th Texas, which arrived that fall. The three regiments came together for the first time on November 13, 1861, when the 4th and 5th joined the 1st at Dumfries, Virginia, roughly 25 miles south of Washington City. Thus the frontier Texans, who were admired as the best riders and riflemen in the army, began their almost matchless and unsurpassed march across the pages of history. In November of 1862 the Army of Northern Virginia was reorganized and the 3rd Arkansas was assigned to the Texas Brigade, where it served until the end of the war. The Texas Brigade fought in all the battles engaged in by the Army of Northern Virginia except Chancellorsville and it more than made up for missing this battle by fighting with the Army of Tennessee at Chickamauga and Knoxville and with Longstreet at Suffolk. The war record of this renowned fighting unit was a gallant and glorious one, written in blood, smoke and bandages. General Lee knew of no better troops upon which he could depend. In fact he referred to them as "My Texans," stating "I rely upon them in all tight places" and "Texans always move them." In 1889 Jefferson Davis wrote "the Texas Brigade showed on many battlefields a willingness to live and die for Dixie." Indeed, the Texans had no fear of death at all. On May 20, 1863, Private West penned a letter to his wife in Texas and remarked, "We can’t be whipped, though they may kill us all," a statement which nearly came true. Of the estimated 5353 men who enlisted in the three Texas and one Arkansas regiments, only 617 remained to surrender their well-used Enfields and bullet riddled flags on April 12, 1865 at Appomattox, Virginia. … ...We pray to God that this feat of valor shall never be suppressed nor forgotten.

The Great State of Texas has once again given approval and recognition of the Texas Brigade. As in 1861, volunteers are being called and troops are being raised to fill the once-glorious but depleted ranks. You are invited to join with other lovers of history in recreating the units that made up this remarkable command. The "long arm" of the Texas Brigade is provided by the First Texas Artillery and the eyes of the brigade by the Eighth Texas Cavalry. The purpose of the organization is to establish a body of men (known as reenactors) to identify with and portray the Texas Brigade through living-history vignettes. Living-history may be best defined as activities depicting historical events and people with the clothing, equipment, food and speech of the time; and having the knowledge and understanding of an actual occurrence so as to historically relive the event. There are more than 40,000 people engaged as military and civilian reenactors in this fascinating hobby and sport. Of course, like anything else, there are varying degrees of commitment; and in the case of reenacting, authenticity. Units of the Texas Brigade are committed in spirit and deed to the historically accurate portrayal of the gallant men who served in the companies of this celebrated command and contributed to its aura of invincibility. You too can become a soldier in the lines, wear the uniform, and fight the battles of this defiant command. If reenacting or living-history appeals to you, contact the Recruiting Office to enlist or look over the Upcoming Campaigns, and come out to see the men in action. Someone, or several people, will be glad to talk with you personally. Now just close your eyes for a moment listen can you hear the drums and smell the smoke? It’s time for you to rally to the colors!