...Forward, men, forward! Let it never be said that Texans lag in a fight!  

7th Texas Volunteer Infantry Regiment
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 6’5" 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 disabled.

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 Johnson’s 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 Gregg’s brigade being drawn into the campaign around Vicksburg. On May 12, 1863, Gregg’s 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, Gregg’s Brigade, with the rest of Johnston’s 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 Bragg’s 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, Cleburne’s Division was assigned the defense of the northernmost section of the Confederate line on Missionary Ridge.

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 Cleburne’s 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 Smith’s place, an appointment which was later confirmed by Granbury’s promotion to Brigadier General.

Following the disaster at Missionary Ridge, Granbury’s Brigade served as the army’s 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 Bragg’s dispirited forces to escape without further loss. Bragg soon resigned and was replaced by Joseph E. Johnston, who set about restoring the army’s 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 Johnston’s 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 Pickett’s Mill on May 27 when Cleburne’s Division, principally Granbury’s 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 Sherman’s army in detail. The largest and most nearly successful of these attacks was the Battle of Atlanta on July 22. Cleburne’s 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 Hood’s 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. Hood’s 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 War’s 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. Granbury’s 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 Hood’s army, was shattered.

After the battle, Hood foolishly followed Schofield north to Nashville where the Northern general’s 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 Hood’s 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 Yankees.

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 Sherman’s 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 E. Johnston.

In March 1865 the 7th Texas fought with surprising success in an attack on one wing of Sherman’s army at Bentonville, North Carolina. Inevitably, however, Johnston’s 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 Granbury’s Brigade became only a small regiment. Johnston’s faint hopes of linking up with Robert E. Lee’s 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

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