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ROBERTSON, FELIX HUSTON

ROBERTSON, FELIX HUSTON (1839–1928). Felix Huston Robertson, the only Texas-born general officer to serve the Confederacy, was born on March 9, 1839, at Washington-on-the-Brazos, the son of Mary (Cummins) and Jerome Bonaparte Robertson. He attended Baylor University and was appointed to West Point in 1857, but he resigned shortly before graduation in order to offer his services to the Confederacy. Robertson rose rapidly in the army. He was commissioned a second lieutenant of artillery and participated in the reduction of Fort Sumter before joining the staff of Gen. A. H. Gladden at Pensacola, Florida. Considered by many of his superiors to be "an able and accomplished artillery officer," Robertson, who had been named captain in charge of an Alabama battery, fought with workmanlike efficiency at Shiloh. At Murfreesboro his controversial but nonetheless courageous performance under fire was noticed by Gen. Braxton Bragg, then commanding the Army of Tennessee. As a reward for his services and because of his personal loyalty to Bragg, Robertson was promoted to the rank of major and given command of the artillery reserves. After leading a battalion at Chickamauga, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and given charge of Gen. Joseph Wheeler's cavalry-corps artillery, which he led during the 1864 Atlanta campaign. On July 26, 1864, Robertson was appointed brigadier general. After serving as General Wheeler's chief of staff, he commanded a brigade and then a small division. A severe wound inflicted on November 29, 1864, at Buckhead Creek near Augusta, Georgia, ended Robertson's active service. His military career, despite his rapid advancement, was not without controversy. He was often an unwilling subordinate, and his loyalty to General Bragg sometimes caused friction with other officers. Robertson was also a harsh disciplinarian whose savage punishments and Indian-like features earned him the sobriquet "Comanche Robertson." The most controversial incident of his military tenure occurred in the southwestern Virginia hamlet of Saltville. There, on October 3, 1864, troops under Robertson's command killed well over 100 wounded, mostly black, survivors of a Union attack that had occurred the previous day. Though Robertson was never charged with any crime, one of his subordinate officers was hanged for murder. After the war Robertson returned to Texas and made his permanent residence in Waco. He read law and soon became a member of the State Bar of Texas. With his father he invested in railroads and real estate. Robertson was an enthusiastic member of the United Confederate Veterans and served as the commander of the Texas Division in 1911. He was married twice; his first wife was Sarah Davis, whom he wed in 1864. After she died, he married Elizabeth Dwyer, in 1892. At the time of his death in Waco on April 20, 1928, Robertson was the last surviving general of the Confederacy. He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Waco.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Marcus J. Wright, comp., and Harold B. Simpson, ed., Texas in the War, 1861–1865 (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1965).

Robert Maberry, Jr.

Citation

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

Robert Maberry, Jr., "ROBERTSON, FELIX HUSTON," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fro26), accessed September 02, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.