Archive for February, 2011

A New Adventure With the 27th Texas Cavalry Regiment

When I decided to stop working on the 6th and began the 27th, I had no idea what was coming. Being smart, I started with A. As I went through the records at Footnote, I began to discover patterns of combat. “A” went well with only minor problems.  “B” was different. Right off, none of the records went to May, except for a few exceptions. The more I looked for “B” after May 1862, the less I found. I even went to the Texas History web site and declared a Mayday.  Where was the lost Company B.  I finished “B” with clouds in my mind.  Starting Company C, I decided to do some checks on other companies.  I quickly came to the conclusion that Company “B” ceased to exist when it was transferred to the 1st Arkansas Cavalry. This is not typical Military. The Army in its great wisdom reworks everything to meet its predetermined order. But maybe just this one time something was slipped by. Colonel Whitfield decided not to rename just to fit convention.  Thus Company B became Company H, 1st Arkansas Cavalry Battalion, but was remembered by its Texas brothers.

I still have to get through “N’ to be sure, but that is what it looks like.

The four Texas companies  were born between July and November of 1861. All made there way separately or close together to the vicinity of General McCulloch at Wilson Creek in Missouri.  They seem to have arrived about three days late on August 13, 1861.  The good General recognized the leader in Colonel Whitfield and put him in charge of a five company Battalion, called the 4th Texas Cavalry Battalion or Whitfield’s Cavalry Battalion. They were together during December as a detachment working with Colonel Young in the Indian Territories. Many were back home seeing family and recruiting. Colonel Whitfield wanted a Regiment. To be exact he wanted a Legion.

By March the Battalion was at Elkhorn Tavern and did a little as did many Confederate units. The 3rd, 6th and 9th Texas Cavalries were lucky to get in one charge. Major Ross led a detachment and cut the rear of the Union force, but did little to effect the outcome of the battle.  As they moved toward the Mississippi, General Van Dorn decided he needed more Infantry.  The best way to accomplish that was to send the horses back to their home. At the same time eight new companies were forming in Texas and moving to Arkansas. By May they had arrived and were joined with Whitfield’s Battalion. Company B was transferred and Whitfield had a twelve company regiment.  Several companies were small so probably Company O was never organized.  This is a problem that I still have to solve.

Then God did some reorganization. At Iuka on 19 September 1862 the 27th had a baptism by fire. Many soldiers were killed, wounded and lost.  At Corinth the 27th was in reserve. The day following Corinth at Hatchie Bridge the 27th was leading. A second baptism by fire. Again many killed, wounded and lost. The Legion was being brought down to size. The regiment did well at Holly Springs and Thompson Station. They did not loose many.  Then they got careless and were over run by a Union Raid.  A large number were captured.  All this happened before the real fighting began in May 1864.

Now providence enters the picture. Little is reported and little is known of the losses per regiment. Record keeping came to an end. How exactly did the Legion go from 1000 to 200 from May 1864 to May 1865?  As I go through this in a detailed assessment, I hope to resolve this problem.

The one thing I have not mentioned is disease and miscellaneous. Under 18 and over 45 were lost.  Others were hurt from falls, and accidents. Many of these were out with disability certificates. Disease killed every foot of the way. Soldiers were lost in Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi at an unbelievable rate. Mumps, measles, Typhoid Fever and pneumonia were killers.  Company C seems to have lost at least half to disease and accident. One drowned and one fell off a train. It was sad as I went through the roster.  I will keep you posted.

So back to the grind. To go through Footnote is difficult and slow. At my current rate it will take a couple of months. Less I hope. Then back to the 6th and 9th that have detailed books already written. That will speed up the works.  I look forward to having this done!

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