Archive for June, 2011

Companies of 1st Texas Legion

It is a lot of fun to work with the names of the 27th Texas Cavalry Regiment and the alignment of its companies. Whitfield must have had a great ego.  First General McCulloch must have promised a legion if he recruited 8 additional companies. Then McCulloch was killed at Elkhorn Tavern. But by May 1862 Whitfield had recruited 8 additional companies.  Then came reorganization.  Whitfield had on paper, 13 companies. But none were designated Artillery or mounted Infantry.  This did not seem to bother Whitfield. He was commander of a Legion. Whitfield’s Legion. 1st Texas Legion.

Then there was the Companies. Five companies were independent in the summer of 1861. when they arrived at Fort Smith, General McCulloch attached them as the 4th Battalion of Texas Cavalry under Major Whitfield. One company was not Texan. Company B was an Arkansas company headed by Captain Murphy. This company was first transferred to Bridges Battalion of Texas Sharpshooters and then Stirman’s battalion of Arkansas Sharpshooters where it became Company H. The company was never replaced in the Legion. It went through the war without a Company B.

The remaining 8 companies were attached to Whitfield’s Battalion in May 1862 and a large regiment was formed. John Whitfield was elected commander and the name Whitfield’s Legion or 1st Texas Legion was born. The Confederate government gave it a name, the 27th Texas Cavalry Regiment, but this name was not used by the members who liked the term “Legion.”

At this time I am working through the Companies of the  Regiment entering individual data from the National Archives to each soldier on the roster. I am currently working on Company H.  A through G have been uploaded to the regimental files and are available for viewing. As time goes on I will add individual data that I find for soldiers. Some are lost in history, but many have both great military and civilian careers.

Allen G. Hatley wrote a book called “the First Texas Legion”, which gives some great incite on the 27th Texas Cavalry Regiment. but which I believe wasted to much time on a supposed relationship between John Whitfield and Sul Ross. Whitfield was several years older than Ross and was his commander until Whitfield was assigned to the staff of the Department of Trans-Mississippi. At that time Mabry, who had been a prisoner of war from 19 September 1862 until May of 1863 was made commander of the Texas Brigade. In December 1863 Mabry was transferred to General Forrest’s Command as a brigade commander and Ross assumed command.

The politics of this command was probably very involved as Hatley implies, but he wasted his book on the supposed feud and not the facts of the Legion. The roster is very difficult, but it is slowly opening the story of the Legion.  Had Ross accepted the Captains position offered by the US Army when he and Van Dorn were wounded in 1859. He would probably gone to West Point and would have been a Brigade Commander earlier in the War.  Maybe then he would not have been under Red Jackson and Armtrong and would have gained more fame.

The Texas Brigade, and thus its regiments get lost in history where Terry’s Texas Rangers and the Texans of Hood’s Brigade have much more fame. Like the US Marines they had better publication.  Hopefully Stephen Kirk’s book on the Ross Brigade will add to this story.

Comments (6,887)