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WALKER'S TEXAS DIVISION

WALKER'S TEXAS DIVISION. Walker's Texas Division was organized at Camp Nelson, near Austin, Arkansas, in October 1862. The only division in Confederate service composed, throughout its existence, of troops from a single state, it took its name from Maj. Gen. John George Walker, who took command from its organizer, Brig. Gen. Henry Eustace McCulloch, on January 1, 1863. During its existence it was commonly called the "Greyhound Division," or "Walker's Greyhounds," in tribute to its special capability to make long, forced marches from one threatened point to another in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Elements of the division attempted to relieve the siege of Vicksburg by attacking the federal troops at Milliken's Bend in June 1863 and took part in the battle of Bayou Bourbeau in Louisiana in November 1863. The high point of its service was during the early months of 1864, when it opposed federal Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks's invasion of Louisiana by way of the Red River valley. On April 8–9, 1864, it was committed with other Confederate forces in the battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill, halting Banks's advance on Shreveport and Marshall. On April 10, 1864, with Thomas J. Churchill's and William H. Parsons's divisions, it began a forced march north to intercept federal Maj. Gen. Frederick Steele, who was moving from Little Rock to Camden, Arkansas, in cooperation with Banks's invasion from the south. Steele reached Camden on April 15, then evacuated it on the 27th. On the 30th he was overtaken by Confederate forces, including Walker's Division, at Jenkins' Ferry on the Saline River, fifty-five miles north of Camden. The ensuing fighting was desperate, costing the lives of two of the three brigade commanders of the division, Brig. Gen. William Read Scurry and Brig. Gen. Horace Randal. Steele completed his withdrawal to Little Rock, ending the last real threat to western Louisiana and Texas during the war. In June 1864 Walker was directed to assume command of the District of West Louisiana, and Maj. Gen. John Horace Forney took command of the division. During March and April 1865 the division marched to Hempstead, Texas, where the men disbanded themselves in May 1865.

Initially, the division was made up of four brigades: First Brigade, composed of the Twelfth (usually called "Eighth"), Eighteenth, and Twenty-second Texas infantry regiments, the Thirteenth Texas Cavalry (dismounted), and Haldeman's Texas Battery; Second Brigade, composed of the Eleventh and Fourteenth Texas infantry regiments, the Twenty-eighth Texas Cavalry (dismounted), the Sixth (Gould's) Texas Cavalry Battalion (dismounted), and Daniel's Texas Battery; Third Brigade, composed of the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, and Nineteenth Texas infantry regiments, the Sixteenth Texas Cavalry (dismounted), and Edgar's Texas Battery; and Fourth Brigade, composed of the Tenth Texas Infantry and the Fifteenth, Eighteenth, and Twenty-fifth Texas cavalry regiments (dismounted). The original regiments of the Fourth Brigade were detached from the division shortly after its organization, and these were captured intact at Arkansas Post on January 11, 1863. Late in the war another Fourth Brigade was reconstituted which included the Sixteenth and Eighteenth Texas infantry regiments and the Twenty-eighth and Thirty-fourth Texas cavalry regiments (dismounted). At the same time the Twenty-ninth Texas Cavalry (dismounted) was added to the First Brigade and the Second Regiment of Texas Partisan Rangers (dismounted) to the Third Brigade. For a brief period, during the Jenkins' Ferry phase of the Red River Campaign, the Third Texas Infantry was assigned to the Third Brigade, but this regiment was ordered to return to Texas shortly thereafter.

Brigade commanders in Walker's Texas Division were: First Brigade, Col. Overton C. Young, Brig. Gen. James M. Hawes, Brig. Gen. Thomas Neville Waul, and Brig. Gen. Wilburn Hill King; Second Brigade, Brig. Gen. Horace Randal and Brig. Gen. Robert P. Maclay; Third Brigade, Col. George M. Flournoy, Brig. Gen. Henry Eustace McCulloch, Brig. Gen. William Read Scurry, and Brig. Gen. Richard Waterhouse; Fourth Brigade, Col. (later brigadier general) James Deshler. The fighting service of Walker's Texas Division was less arduous than that of many similar commands in the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of Tennessee. It operated efficiently, however, under peculiar difficulties unknown east of the Mississippi River, and it deserved major credit for preserving Texas from federal invasion.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Joseph P. Blessington, Campaigns of Walker's Texas Division (New York: Lange, Little, 1875; rpt., Austin: State House Press, 1994). Mark Mayo Boatner, Civil War Dictionary (New York: David McKay, 1959). Norman D. Brown, ed., Journey to Pleasant Hill: The Civil War Letters of Captain Elijah P. Petty (San Antonio: University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, 1982). M. Jane Harris Johansson, Peculiar Honor: A History of the 28th Texas Cavalry (Dismounted), Walker's Texas Division, 1862–1865 (Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Texas, 1993). Ezra J. Warner, Generals in Gray (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959).

Lester Newton Fitzhugh

Citation

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

Lester Newton Fitzhugh, "WALKER'S TEXAS DIVISION," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qkw01), accessed July 11, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on March 8, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.