7th Texas Volunteer
A Brief History
by Stephen L. Davis
John Gregg, a judge from Freestone County and a Texas delegate
to the Confederate Congress, was given authority by the Secretary
of War to raise a regiment of infantry for service in the East.
He enlisted the aid of Jeremiah M. Clough, a citizen of Marshall
who had served in the Mexican War. In October 1861 they assembled
in Marshall nine companies of infantry from northeast and north-central
Texas. Gregg and Clough were duly elected Colonel and Lt. Colonel.
The office of Major went to an imposing 65" lawyer from
Waco, Hiram Bronson Granbury.
From Marshall the regiment went by train, foot, and steamboat to
Hopkinsville, Kentucky, where it became part of the thinly-spread
army of General Albert Sidney Johnston defending Tennessee. At Hopkinsville
the men of the 7th Texas fell victim by the score to
measles and other diseases. Roughly one man in five died from disease
as winter settled in, and dozens more were discharged permanently
In February 1862 the regiment was rushed to Ft. Donelson on the
Cumberland River where it was almost immediately surrounded along
with the rest of the garrison by the forces of General U. S. Grant.
On February 15 the 7th Texas fought its first major engagement
as it participated in an attack which temporarily broke the Federal
lines and opened a route of escape. Lt. Colonel Clough was among
the casualties, killed by a bullet in the brain. Inexplicably, the
Confederate commander, General John B. Floyd, lost his nerve and
instead of using the escape route his troops had opened, allowed
the entire garrison to be surrendered the following day.
Most of the regiment was now in Union hands, and was shipped into
captivity in the North. The enlisted men went to Camp Douglas in
Chicago, where large numbers of them died of pneumonia and typhus
in the winter cold. Colonel Gregg and Major Granbury were imprisoned
in Fort Warren in Boston, a prison reserved for high-ranking officers.
The other officers went first to Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio, and
later to Johnsons Island at Sandusky, Ohio.
The men languished in prison until September 1862 when they were
shipped to Vicksburg to be exchanged. Many of the men were too weakened
by their prison ordeal to serve and were discharged. So reduced
in numbers was the regiment that it was temporarily reduced to two
companies and consolidated with two Tennessee regiments. Colonel
Gregg received a promotion to Brigadier General, and Major Granbury
took his place as Colonel. Granbury and most of the other officers
spent much of the winter of 1862-1863 in Texas recruiting to fill
the regiment back up. They succeeded sufficiently that in February
1863 the 7th Texas, now stationed at Port Hudson, Louisiana,
was restored to the status of a regiment.
In April 1863 a Federal cavalry raid under Colonel Benjamin Grierson
cut its way the length of Mississippi. The 7th Texas,
now part of a brigade commanded by John Gregg, was among the forces
sent north in an unsuccessful attempt to intercept the raiders.
This led, however, to Greggs brigade being drawn into the
campaign around Vicksburg. On May 12, 1863, Greggs Brigade
fought a valiant delaying action at Raymond against an entire Federal
corps. The 7th Texas suffered over 150 casualties before
falling back with the brigade toward Jackson. Two days later the
regiment, now part of a force under General Joseph E. Johnston,
fought an unsuccessful battle to hold the Mississippi capital.
During the ensuing siege of Vicksburg, Greggs Brigade, with
the rest of Johnstons small army, hovered helplessly in Central
Mississippi waiting for the opportunity that never came to relieve
the besieged city. After a frustrating summer in Mississippi, they
joined forces with Braxton Braggs Army of Tennessee in Georgia.
On September 19 and 20, the 7th Texas participated in
the Battle of Chickamauga, a counter-offensive by Bragg against
the invading Union army of William S. Rosecrans. As part of the
left wing of the army, the 7th Texas participated in
the massive assault which shattered the Union right and led to victory
at Chickamauga. The regiment had relatively few casualties, but
suffered the loss of its commanding general, John Gregg, who was
severely wounded. (After his recovery Gregg would be assigned command
of the famous Texas Brigade of the Army of Northern Virginia. He
died in battle October 7, 1864, near Richmond.)
After Chickamauga the Army of Tennessee underwent a reorganization
which led to the 7th Texas being reassigned to
a brigade composed entirely of Texas troops under General James
Smith. The brigade belonged to the division of General Patrick Cleburne,
easily the finest division commander in the army. In the ensuing
siege of Chattanooga, Cleburnes Division was assigned the
defense of the northernmost section of the Confederate line on Missionary
On November 25, 1863, the Union Army, now under the command of
U.S. Grant, assaulted and broke the Confederate lines on Missionary
Ridge. But Cleburnes Division to the north, though outnumbered
more heavily than any other section of the line, refused to break.
At the center of that line was the 7th Texas. During
the battle the Texans again lost a brigade commander when General
Smith went down wounded. Cleburne immediately named Colonel Granbury
to fill Smiths place, an appointment which was later confirmed
by Granburys promotion to Brigadier General.
Following the disaster at Missionary Ridge, Granburys Brigade
served as the armys rear guard as it retreated into Georgia.
On November 27 at Ringgold Gap the brigade made a defensive stand
which halted the Federal pursuit and enabled Braggs dispirited
forces to escape without further loss. Bragg soon resigned and was
replaced by Joseph E. Johnston, who set about restoring the armys
physical and moral condition during the following winter.
In May 1864 the new Federal commander in the west, William T. Sherman,
began a campaign aimed at capturing Atlanta and crushing Johnstons
army in the process. It was a campaign of many skirmishes but relatively
few major battles. The most significant engagement for the 7th
Texas was the Battle of Picketts Mill on May 27 when Cleburnes
Division, principally Granburys Brigade, beat back a Federal
flanking attack and then counter-attacked, inflicting heavy casualties
on the Yankees.
In July, with his back to Atlanta and showing no sign of putting
up a fight for the city, Johnston was sacked in favor of General
John B. Hood. Hood immediately launched a series of attacks in an
attempt to destroy Shermans army in detail. The largest and
most nearly successful of these attacks was the Battle of Atlanta
on July 22. Cleburnes Division spearheaded a whirlwind assault
on the Union left which could have succeeded had other Confederate
commanders performed as well. But Cleburne was eventually driven
back, and the attacks so drained Hoods army that he eventually
had no choice but to abandon Atlanta to Sherman.
After some sparring around and north of Atlanta, the two armies
parted, each conducting an invasion of its own. As Sherman marched
to Savannah and the sea, Hood led his much smaller force into Tennessee
in an attempt to retake Nashville. Hoods offensive surprised
the Federals to the extent that he gained, but lost, an opportunity
to isolate and destroy a Federal army of five divisions under General
John M. Schofield. But Schofield escaped and entrenched his small
army at Franklin south of Nashville. In frustration, Hood ordered
a frontal assault on the Union positions.
In the Battle of Franklin on November 30, the 7th Texas
took part in some of the Wars hardest, bloodiest, and most
futile combat. At the end of the unsuccessful attack the dead were
stacked in piles in front of the Yankee entrenchments. Granburys
Brigade was at the very heart of the battle where the fighting was
fiercest. Granbury himself was among six Confederate generals killed
that day. Among that number was also Pat Cleburne, his division
commander. The 7th Texas, like most of Hoods army,
After the battle, Hood foolishly followed Schofield north to Nashville
where the Northern generals forces joined the growing army
of General George Thomas. Hood entrenched south of the city, attempting
to besiege a much larger and better supplied army. Thomas took his
time to prepare, and on December 15-16 his army poured out of Nashville
and almost swept Hoods ragged force into oblivion. The remnants
of the Army of Tennessee fled southward, leaving behind many of
the 7th Texas wounded to be captured by the pursuing
The winter of 1864-1865 gave the Southern army its last brief respite.
Towards the spring part of the Army of Tennessee, including the
7th Texas, went east to take part in a campaign against
Shermans juggernaut which was now marching north through the
Carolinas with the intent of linking up with Grant at Richmond.
Opposing him was a piecemeal army commanded, once again, by Joseph
In March 1865 the 7th Texas fought with surprising success
in an attack on one wing of Shermans army at Bentonville,
North Carolina. Inevitably, however, Johnstons outnumbered
army fell back in retreat. The 7th Texas was now so reduced
in numbers that the regiment was consolidated down to two companies.
What had been Granburys Brigade became only a small regiment.
Johnstons faint hopes of linking up with Robert E. Lees
Army of Northern Virginia were crushed when Lee surrendered at Appomattox
on April 9. On April 26, after several days of negotiations, Johnston
surrendered his army to Sherman near Greensboro, North Carolina.
Out of a total of 974 men who had served in the 7th Texas
Infantry, only 66 were left.
Battles and Campaigns
The 7th Texas participated in the following
battles and campaigns during the war:
Fort Donelson, Tennessee, 12 - 16 February 1862
Raymond, Mississippi, 12 May 1863
Jackson, Misssissippi, 14 May 1863
Chickamauga, Georgia, 19 - 20 September 1863
Missionary Ridge (Tunnell Hill), 25 November 1863
Ringgold Gap, Georgia, 27 November 1863
Dug Gap (Rocky Face Ridge), Georgia, 8 May 1864
Resaca, Georgia, 14 May 1864
Rome Crossroads, Georgia, 16 May 1864
Pickett's Mill, Georgia, 27 May 1864
Gilgal Church, Georgia, 15 June 1864
Mud Creek, Georgia, 16 - 18 June 1864
Smyrna, Georgia, 4 July 1864
Atlanta, Georgia, 21- 22 July 1864
Jonesboro, Georgia, 31 August - 1 September 1864
Spring Hill, Tennessee, 29 November 1864
Franklin, Tennessee, 30 November 1864
Nashville, Tennessee, 15 - 16 December 1864
Bentonville, North Carolina, 20 - 21 March 1865