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BLOUNT, THOMAS WILLIAM

Title: Thomas William Blount (photo)  Source: Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library Thomas William Blount (1839–1934)
Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photographs,
DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries,
Southern Methodist University

BLOUNT, THOMAS WILLIAM (1839–1934). Thomas William Blount, Confederate Army officer and legislator, the oldest son of Mary (Landon) and Stephen William Blount, was born during a visit of his parents to Shelby Springs, Alabama, on October 27, 1839. His father was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence. The family returned home to San Augustine, Texas, while Blount was an infant. The Blounts were a family of some means and in addition to their town house in San Augustine owned a plantation on Patroon Creek in the east end of the county. Blount received a primary education in San Augustine and graduated from Kentucky Military Institute at age eighteen. The next year he "took a course in literature," and at age twenty he began to read law.

After secession Blount spent three weeks in Montgomery, Alabama, the temporary capital of the Confederate States, where John H. Reagan introduced him to Jefferson Davis, who appointed him a lieutenant in the Confederate Army. Blount was ordered to report to Pensacola, Florida, as a member of Gen. Braxton Bragg's quartermaster staff. Bragg's mother had been a Blount, a circumstance that no doubt hastened his preferment. Among his duties in the early months of the war was the escort of $2.5 million in specie and banknotes from the Treasury Department in Montgomery to Pensacola to pay Bragg's troops. After about a month in the quartermaster corps, Blount requested and received transfer to the staff of Gen. Adley Hogan Gladden, whom he served as aide-de-camp, instructor in artillery, and inspector general. Blount commanded a battery during the bombardment of Fort Pickens in November 1861 and until April 1862 supervised the fortification of Mobile Bay. In April he was reassigned to Bragg's command at Corinth, Mississippi, and appointed chief of ordnance. He participated in the defense of Fort Pillow, Tennessee, and served as its last commandant prior to its evacuation by the Confederates at the end of May 1862. Thereafter he served for a time on the staff of Gen. Earl Van Dorn before transferring to the staff of Gen. Henry Watkins Allen as inspector general and participating in the battle of Baton Rouge, in August 1862. He was captured at Baton Rouge, placed on the gunboat USS Essex, and interviewed by Commodore David Dixon Porter and later, in New Orleans, by Gen. Benjamin F. Butler. Blount was shortly exchanged and returned to the army as ordnance officer under Col. William R. Miles during the siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana. When Port Hudson was surrendered on July 9, 1863, he once again became a prisoner and ate "old rotten beans and rancid bacon" at Johnson Island until February 1, 1865, when he was transferred to Fortress Monroe. From there he was moved to Fort McHenry and then to Fort Delaware before being paroled on June 12, 1865. He returned to San Augustine on July 4.

Although the ill effects of prison caused him to give up the study of law, in 1866 Blount was elected to represent the Fifth District in the Eleventh Texas Legislature–the so-called "Bloody Eleventh"–composed almost entirely of former Confederate officers. He served but a single term before returning to his plantation about four miles west of San Augustine. Blount was married to Mary Rather of Shelby County and was the father of four children. In 1929 he dictated his memoirs to an amanuensis, Lois Foster Blount, who edited them for publication in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly (July 1935). In 1910 he returned to San Augustine, where he died on May 6, 1934.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]).

Thomas W. Cutrer

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Thomas W. Cutrer, "BLOUNT, THOMAS WILLIAM," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbl32), accessed December 27, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on January 18, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.