Assorted facts about
the 7th Texas Infantry Regiment
In terms of numbers, the 7th Texas' costliest battle was Raymond,
Mississippi, 12 May 1863. The regiment counted 306 officers and men
present for duty that morning, and lost 43 killed in action and 71
wounded, as well as 44 captured (a 51 % loss). However, the 7th Texas
suffered a considerably higher percentage of losses at the battle
of Franklin, Tennessee, 30 November 1864. Among some 95 men in the
ranks, a staggering 65% were either killed (18), wounded (25), or
captured (19). Nearly 1 in 5 were killed in action in five hours of
combat, an extraordinary high rate even by Civil War standards.
Disease claimed the lives of more Civil War soldiers than combat,
particularly in the early stages of the war. This was also true
in the 7th Texas, which suffered severely from illness during the
first winter. From November 1861 to February 1862, no less than
172 men died from measles, typhoid fever, dysentery, pneumonia,
and diarrhoea - nearly 1 out of every 4 men. An additional 25 were
discharged for medical reasons. Many others were sick for weeks
before eventually regaining their health. To make matters worse,
an additional 64 men died of illness during the regiment's confinement
as prisoners of war in the North (February to September 1862). The
lousy prison conditions also led to a significant number being discharged
as unfit for duty upon exchange. Thus, no less than 236 men died
of disease during the 7th Texas' first year of service, or nearly
1/3 of the original personnel strength. Scores of others were permanently
disabled. It was indeed a most miserable beginning of an outstanding
Two original members of the 7th Texas became Brigadier Generals
in the Confederate army, John Gregg and Hiram Bronson Granbury.
John Gregg was the founder and first Colonel of the 7th Texas, and
was promoted to Brigadier General on 29 August 1862. He commanded
a brigade (which included the 7th Texas) in the west until severely
wounded at the battle of Chickamauga, Georgia, 20 September 1863.
Following his recovery, Gregg was assigned to command (January 1864)
of the renowned Hood's Texas Brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia,
which he led with distinction until killed in action near Richmond,
Virginia, 7 October 1864.
Hiram Granbury was the founder and first Captain of Company A, 7th
Texas, thereafter regimental Major 1861-62, and succeeded Gregg
as Colonel. He was promoted to Brigadier General on 29 February
1864, and led his Texas brigade with great skill until killed in
action at Franklin, Tennessee, 30 November 1864.
Both Gregg and Granbury were regarded by their superiors as being
among the very best brigade commanders in the army. After the war,
Texas would honor them by naming a county for Gregg (1873) and a
town for Granbury (1893).
Blacks in the 7th Texas.
A number of blacks served with the 7th Texas, as personal (officer)
servants, cooks and teamsters. Only in Company H were they recorded
on the regular company muster roll, however, so only a few are known
Of the blacks who are registered in official documents, five were
in Company H. They were Lafayette Hearne, Samuel Hill, Jesse Powell,
Nathan, and Sam. All were slaves who accompanied their owners to
war, and all were captured at Fort Donelson (February 1862) and
sent to Camp Douglas as prisoners of war. Hearne died in prison
of typhoid fever, while Hill was exchanged with the other members
of the 7th Texas in September 1862. Jesse Powell and Nathan enlisted
in the Union army, while the fate of Sam is unknown. Another recorded
black man was Peter Callaway of Company D, also a slave. He was
eventually released unconditionally from Camp Douglas and apparently
stayed in the North.
In April 1862, the Confederate Congress authorized the enlistment
of blacks as cooks and teamsters in army regiments. Each company
was allowed four cooks, "white or black, free or slave",
who would be paid and uniformed like ordinary soldiers. In combat
situations, they were often employed to evacuate the wounded (as
stretcher bearers). While in principle unarmed, blacks serving with
combat units such as the 7th Texas faced many of the same hardships
and dangers as white men shouldering a musket.
The October 11, 1862, issue of the (Marshall) Texas Republican contained
a notice by regimental quartermaster Quentin D. Horr seeking 50
Negroes for service as cooks and teamsters in the 7th Texas Infantry.
It is not known to what degree Horr's appeal succeeded, but quite
a few blacks were presumably enlisted as a result of his efforts.
Thus, it is fair to say that the Confederate army contained a significant
number of black support personnel, but due to the prevailing practice
of recording only combatants on unit muster rolls, their names have
largely been lost to posterity (with some exceptions, such as in
Company H of the 7th Texas).
Throughout its career, the 7th Texas and 3-6 other infantry regiments
made up a brigade. The two principal brigades to which it belonged,
and whose history is inextricably linked to that of the 7th Texas,
were John Gregg's and Hiram Granbury's.
John Gregg's brigade was formed about November 1862, and composed
of the 3rd, 10th & 30th (consolidated), 41st, and 50th Tennessee
Infantry Regiments, the 1st Tennessee Infantry Battalion, plus Hiram
Bledsoe's Missouri Battery of field artillery. The 7th Texas was
added upon completing its reorganization in January/ February 1863.
Gregg's brigade fought at Raymond, Jackson, and Chickamauga, before
being broken up in November 1863. At that time the 7th Texas was
transferred to the brigade of James Smith, consisting of the 10th
Texas Infantry, 6th Texas Infantry & 15th Texas Dismounted Cavalry
(consolidated), 17th & 18th Texas Dismounted Cavalry (consolidated),
and the 24th & 25th Texas Dismounted Cavalry (consolidated).
Only two weeks later Smith was wounded and Hiram Granbury advanced
to command, and the brigade was thereafter always known as 'Granbury's
brigade'. Granbury led the brigade until killed at Franklin, Tennessee,
30 November 1864. Although the Texas regiments remained the core
of the brigade until war's end, two other regiments were later incorporated,
namely the 5th Confederate Infantry (24 July 1864) and the 35th
Tennessee Infantry (August 1864).
The men of the 7th Texas were predominantly in their early 20s,
but quite a few were considerably younger and older than the average.
The regiment's youngest was drummer boy Thomas Shook who enlisted
in Company A at the age of 12 (1861). Shook served for two years,
being discharged for disability (dysentery) in August 1863. The
youngest combat soldier was also from Company A, private Terry Willie,
aged 14. He joined the cavalry to escape capture at Fort Donelson
in February 1862, and never returned to the 7th Texas.
Incomplete records indicate that no less than 35% of the regiment's
original members (1861) were under 21 years of age, whereas over
10% were 40 or older, or reached that age during their period of
service. Among the latter group, 9 were aged 50 or more.
Relatively few of the men in the 7th Texas owned any slaves. A census
survey of 534 of the regiment's original 746 members (1861) shows
that on average only 9 % were slaveowners, or 1 in 11. The portion
was highest in Company D, where 15 of 91 men (16%) owned slaves,
whereas Company I counted only 3 slaveowners among 75 men (4%).
In Company A, 6 of 71 men (8 %) were registered as slaveholders.
Considering the officers as a separate group, the statistics are
somewhat different. At the time of regimental organization (1861),
28% of the officer corps owned slaves. Of course, the officers tended
to be men of social prominence, older and wealthier than the average
soldier. Among the officers was Khleber Miller Van Zandt, Captain
of Company D and later regimental Major. His company contained the
largest number of slaveholders (16%), and Van Zandt himself owned
16 slaves - more than any of the other officers. He wrote after
"I was never an advocate of slavery, and slavery was not the
direct cause of the War
[I]n my company of 100 young men that
I carried into the War, not more than 25 per cent were interested
in the question. At least 75 per cent had no interest in the question
and didn't own any slaves."
The statistics, at least, gives no reason to doubt Van Zandt's words.
Only 11 of the 7th Texas' soldiers are recorded as foreign born,
which is a rather low number in view of the fact that Texas had
a sizable European and Mexican population in 1860 (7 %). The regiment
counted 5 Germans, 2 Irish, 2 Norwegians,
1 Englishman, plus one simply recorded as born in "Europe".
However, enlistment data on many of the soldiers are incomplete,
especially for those who joined after 1861, so the actual number
of foreigners may well have been higher.
On the eve of the Civil War, Texas was a typical frontier state,
populated largely by immigrants from other parts of the United States
(53 %), particularly the South. The men of the 7th Texas were typical
of the diverse origins of antebellum Texas society. A survey of
545 of the regiment's original 746 members (1861), reveals that
96% hailed from various Southern states, the largest number (25%)
from Alabama. Only 8 % had been born and raised in Texas, whereas
2 % had been born in the North and another 2 % were first generation
immigrants from Europe.
Proposal to abolish slavery.
Irish-born Major General Patrick Ronayne Cleburne was an outstanding
divison commander, a bold fighter, and an outspoken visionary. His
combat performance and tactical prowess were unrivalled in the army.
To the soldiers of his eminent division, including the 7th Texas,
'Old Pat' was a hero, always leading by example and ever alert to
the men's needs. In January 1864, Cleburne submitted a radical proposal
to his superiors, which stipulated that the South ought to free
all slaves and enlist Negro soldiers. He was backed by most of his
brigade and regimental commanders. Among the signers was Captain
James H. Collett on behalf of the 7th Texas Infantry. However, the
issue proved too controversial to win approval, and Confederate
authorities ordered it suppressed. Not until the situation became
truly desperate one year later would Southern politicians consider
similar measures. But by then their bid for independence was already
doomed to failure.
For the 7th Texas, the war officially ended on 26 April 1865, when
General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to Union General William
T. Sherman. Johnston's ragtag army was then based near Greensboro,
North Carolina, and the remnants of the 7th Texas made up only two
small companies of that army - numbering 67 officers and men.
On May 2, 1865, the men of Granbury's Texas brigade were assembled
for the last time and received their paroles. More than three and
a half years of arduous military service had come to an inglorious
end. All told, some 1005 men served in the 7th Texas Infantry regiment
throughout its existence, and only 67 were present for duty in the
end. What had become of all the others? Many had been killed in
combat, an even greater number had succumbed to disease, still more
had been incapacitated by wounds or illness, others were held as
prisoners of war, a few were away on leave, and some had deserted.
"We, the undersigned, in behalf of the officers and men
of Granbury's (Texas) brigade, respectfully desire to assure General
Johnston of our undiminished confidence and esteem; and fully symphatizing
with him in the present issue of our affairs, do most cordially
tender him the hospitality of our State and our homes (such as the
future may provide for us.)"
- Farewell note to General Joseph E. Johnston signed by 18 officers
of Granbury's former brigade, dated April 28, 1865. Lieutenants
Ben D. Foscue and Leroy F. Moody signed on behalf of the 7th Texas.