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Granbury's Texas Brigade

Diehard Western Confederates

John R. Lundberg

Publication Year: 2012

John R. Lundberg’s compelling new military history chronicles the evolution of Granbury’s Texas Brigade, perhaps the most distinguished combat unit in the Confederate Army of Tennessee. Named for its commanding officer, Brigadier General Hiram B. Granbury, the brigade fought tenaciously in the western theater even after Confederate defeat seemed certain. Granbury’s Texas Brigade explores the motivations behind the unit’s decision to continue to fight, even as it faced demoralizing defeats and Confederate collapse. Using a vast array of letters, diaries, and regimental documents, Lundberg offers provocative insight into the minds of the unit’s men and commanders. The caliber of that leadership, he concludes, led to the group’s overall high morale. Lundberg asserts that although mass desertion rocked Granbury’s Brigade early in the war, that desertion did not necessarily indicate a lack of commitment to the Confederacy but merely a desire to fight the enemy closer to home. Those who remained in the ranks became the core of Granbury’s Brigade and fought until the final surrender. Morale declined only after Union bullets cut down much of the unit’s officer corps at the Battle of Franklin in 1864. After the war, Lundberg shows, men from the unit did not abandon the ideals of the Confederacy—they simply continued their devotion in different ways. Granbury’s Texas Brigade presents military history at its best, revealing a microcosm of the Confederate war effort and aiding our understanding of the reasons men felt compelled to fight in America’s greatest tragedy.

Published by: Louisiana State University Press

Series: Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. xi-xii

It would have been impossible to complete an endeavor of this magnitude without a great deal of support. When I first began working on this project eight years ago, I was a young historian who thought I knew much more than I actually did. I owe a great debt of gratitude to my mentor, Steven Woodworth of Texas Christian University...

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pp. 1-7

Granbury’s Texas Brigade contributed immeasurably to the Confederate war effort in the West. Although the brigade suffered high rates of desertion, the men who remained became the diehard Confederates of the West. The question that has divided Civil War historians since the end of the war is why. Why did Confederate soldiers...

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1 Off to War

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pp. 8-28

As the various regiments that became Granbury’s Brigade came together and headed for the front, their very organization and demographics demonstrated the early strength of Confederate nationalism. In recent years, several studies have outlined the Confederate nationalism inherent in Texans in the early months...

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2 Fort Donelson

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pp. 29-38

As other Texas regiments organized themselves, the 7th Texas prepared to see combat for the first time in the Fort Donelson campaign. The experiences of the 7th Texas Infantry in the campaign demonstrated the strength of Confederate nationalism among these Texan infantrymen. It also began their transformation...

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3 Sojourn in Arkansas

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pp. 39-52

As the 7th Texas dealt with capture and prison life, the other Texas regiments that would become part of Granbury’s Brigade found themselves caught up in the mad scramble to get troops to the front. As a result, all of these regiments ended up in Arkansas, where they would get their first taste of war. Even in...

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4 Arkansas Post

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pp. 53-63

As Union forces concentrated along the Mississippi River to capture that waterway, the Texans in Arkansas were caught up in this campaign and suffered a similar fate to that of the 7th Texas with their capture at Arkansas Post in January 1863. Arkansas Post would provide a crucial turning point in shaping the regiments that became Granbury’s Brigade. The capture of the garrison and accompanying...

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5 Fighting for Vicksburg

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pp. 64-74

The campaign for Vicksburg began the second phase of the war in the regiments that became Granbury’s Brigade, testing the 7th Texas Infantry after their surrender and imprisonment following Fort Donelson. The fighting for Vicksburg gave these Texans the first chance, after surrender, to prove their loyalty to the Confederacy...

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6 Prison

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pp. 75-84

The shared experience of incarceration affected the Arkansas Post prisoners much like it had the 7th Texas; for those that survived, it served to deepen their loyalty to the Confederacy and to each other. It also culled the ranks, as disease took its toll and some men made the decision to take an oath of allegiance...

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7 A New Start

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pp. 85-100

Like most prisoners captured relatively early in the Civil War, the Arkansas Post prisoners would soon find themselves exchanged and back in the Confederate ranks in time to participate in the Tullahoma campaign—a disaster for the South that nonetheless gave these Texans a new start and a chance to prove themselves. Following their exchange, the Confederate war effort continued to fare...

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8 Chickamauga

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pp. 101-110

The coming battle of Chickamauga would offer the Arkansas Post prisoners their first taste of combat since their exchange, and put the 7th Texas through a crucible of fire. During the battle, the Texans would perform extremely well, maintaining good discipline and performing everything asked of them while suffering...

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9 Chattanooga

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pp. 111-127

The aftermath of Chickamauga united all of the regiments of Granbury’s Brigade. The addition of the 7th Texas aided the other Texans. The excellent regiment served almost as an example, and brought with them Hiram Granbury, the most effective leader the brigade would possess throughout the war. When Granbury and the...

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10 Camp Life

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pp. 128-138

In early 1864, the instatement of Hiram Granbury and Joseph Johnston to command the Texas Brigade and the Army of Tennessee provided a major boost for the Confederate war effort. The morale of the western forces of the Confederacy might have dissipated without these charismatic leaders in command. From...

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11 From Dalton to Pickett’s Mill

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pp. 139-156

the Confederates sat in camp that winter, little did they know that their situation would soon change. As spring began they would find themselves retreating into the interior of Georgia, hounded by blue-coated troops and the timidity of their own beloved General Johnston. But even as Johnston retreated toward Atlanta and the...

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12 Stuck in the Thickets of North Georgia

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pp. 157-164

After the dramatic events of May, the Texans would soon find themselves engaging in tedious marches and countermarches as both sides attempted to outmaneuver each other in the thickets of North Georgia. From a strategic standpoint, the marching and countermarching in Georgia weakened the Confederate war effort because...

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13 Hood Takes Command

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pp. 165-181

In July 1864 a high-level command decision would set in motion a series of bloody battles as both sides vied for possession of the Gate City of Atlanta. This dramatic shift in the campaign would shake the Texans to their core and send many of them to their graves. The fighting around Atlanta reinforces the idea that a localized...

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14 The Fall of Atlanta

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pp. 182-190

Despite the hard fighting for Atlanta, the city would soon fall into Union hands, dimming hopes for the survival of the Confederacy. As these events transpired, Granbury’s Texans clearly understood the dire circumstances facing their cause in August and September 1864, but they stayed with their regiments anyway....

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15 The Interlude

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pp. 191-197

The willingness of Confederate troops to stay with the Southern cause late in the Civil War, despite their obviously dire situation, is the strongest argument in favor of a strong nationalism that provided the backbone of the Confederate war effort. Authors such as Mark Weitz in More Damning Than Slaughter, and others, do not have...

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16 Flanking Sherman

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pp. 198-207

During the march into North Georgia and beyond, the Texans of Granbury’s Brigade exhibited a bravado that remains a testament of their devotion to their leaders and the Confederate cause. They also rejoiced at the end of the Atlanta campaign. Although they had lost Atlanta, to the Texans it was no different than having...

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17 Spring Hill and Franklin

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pp. 208-228

In Tennessee the Texans would soon experience disappointment and disaster at the battles of Spring Hill and Franklin. At the same time, they would also reach the zenith of their combat prowess despite the heavy losses at Franklin. As the Texans marched into Tennessee, they exhibited attachment to their leaders...

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18 Nashville

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pp. 229-235

Nashville and beyond began the final phase in the history of Granbury’s Brigade. Amazingly, although their leaders had perished at Franklin, and the chances for the Confederacy looked bleaker than ever, an intrepid band of four hundred Texans stayed with the Confederate cause until the bitter end, proving once again their allegiance to the Confederacy, regardless of the odds or the...

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19 The End of the War

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pp. 236-243

The main thing that kept the Texans in the ranks in the last days of the conflict was their loyalty to the Confederacy. With their leaders dead, a deep emotional attachment to the cause they had fought so long to defend kept them going and kept their spirits up. Not until the actual surrender of the Army of Tennessee...

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Afterword: Reminiscences, Reunions, and the Lost Cause

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pp. 244-250

After the end of the war, the Texans of Granbury’s Brigade returned home and tried to begin their lives again as best they could, but they never gave up on the ideals of the Confederacy. In 1871 survivors of the brigade began to gather annually to reminisce about the war, and to glory in their history as Confederate soldiers...

Images Plates

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Appendix 1 The Demographics of Granbury’s Brigade

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pp. 251-253

Appendix 2 The Regiments of Granbury’s Brigade

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pp. 254-258

Appendix 3 The Battle Casualties of Granbury’s Brigade

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pp. 259-262


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pp. 263-292


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pp. 293-304


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pp. 305-321

E-ISBN-13: 9780807143483
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807143476

Page Count: 344
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War