"It could scarcely be said that any [of the officers in Longstreet's corps]...save one had by this date displayed qualities that would dispose anyone to expect a career of eminence. The exception was Hood. Anyone who had followed the operations of the Army after Gaines's Mill would have said that of all the officers under Longstreet, the most likely to be a great soldier was Hood." (Douglas Southall Freeman, Lee's Lieutenants)
The history of war is replete with examples of men who distinguished themselves in battle only to disgrace themselves after being promoted to commands above their capabilities. During the American Civil War, that man was John Bell Hood. Hood was one of the most tenacious generals in the Confederacy, for better and worse. This quality, which made him one of the best brigade and division commanders in the Army of Northern Virginia also made him ineffective when he was promoted to higher commands, forever marring his career at Atlanta and Franklin.
Although Hood may have sullied his reputation, the brigade that bore his name suffered no such fate. Organized in Richmond, Virginia on October 22, 1861, Hood's Texas Brigade was one of the most formidable fighting forces of the Confederate States of America (C.S.A.) during the American Civil War. At times undisciplined, the men who comprised this brigade were a group of fearless and determined volunteers-turned-soldiers.
Over the course of the Civil War, the Texas Brigade engaged over 4,000 men and was comprised of the only Texans to fight with General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia in the Eastern Theater. With the exception of Chancellorsville, these men fought in every major battle in the East, and they also participated in significant battles in the Western Theater. Of the more than 4,000 men who fought with the brigade over the course of the war, approximately 600 remained to surrender at Appomattox. The brigade suffered a horrific casualty rate of 61 percent and were lauded for their courage by men such as generals Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, James Longstreet, and Lee.
It is estimated that 56,000 Texans served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, yet the approximately 4,000 men, organized into 32 companies, that formed the Texas Brigade were the only Texans who fought in both theaters of operation. They have been compared to the famous Stonewall Brigade in terms of bravery, skill, and fortitude, and naturally, their fighting directly contributed to the outcome of crucial battles like Antietam and Gettysburg. As a result, they helped change the course of history.
Hood's Brigade: The History and Legacy of the Legendary Texas Brigade During the Civil War looks at the history of the brigade and the battles it fought in. You will learn about the Texas Brigade like never before.
©2016 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors